Red Heather Hut/Elfin Lakes
Hiking Key: M~2~ST~PT~V~KF
Length: 11 Km's
Elevation: 600 meters
Pit Toilet: Yes-beginning & Red Heather
The road up to the trail head is a little rough and bumpy. In the winter months it would be best to have a 4x4 and signs say, "chains are mandatory." The day we went the roads were not snow covered but icy near the parking lot. Arrive early as this is a popular overnight~SS/cross country skiing trail. The parking lot fills up fast!
The day we went it hadn't snowed in the area for weeks so the rain had melted the snow off leaving solid ice for the first couple of Km's. I can't say enough good things about MICROspikes. For the cost (anywhere from $39-$56) is well worth the price. They take up minimal room in your pack and good for ice, hard packed snow and going down on steep slippery trails. I will keep mine in my pack until after spring.
The trail is wide and has a gradual climb that is a little steep at times. Mostly you are walking up a wide road with trees around and no views. As you get closer to Red Heather Hut the views start to peek through the trees. Once at Red a Heather Hut you can go inside and have lunch and even a fire. There's lots of chopped up wood. BC Park's ask you not stay overnight here unless it's an emergency. If you just hike to the hut it's 11 Km's return. You can go about another km up a steep hill and the views really pop through.
If you are continuing on to Elfin Lakes you will take a Winter Route that BC Parks has marked with orange poke trail markers. They have done an amazing job! The reason for the winter route us safety. The other way is an avalanche risk so please stay on the winter trail route until BC Park's changes it back. It is 6 Km's more to the lake. There are some views but only about 2 Km's before the lake. At the lake there is a larger hut for sleeping, a stove & pit toilets. Go to www.env.gov.bc.ca for more information on cost per person. It's 22 Km's to the lake and back to the Diamond Head parking lot.
After the initial first two Km's we took off our spikes and put on our SS. Wearing spikes to the hut was fine but after the hut SS are required as the trail is not as hard pack or wide. I'm recommending that you have both SS and micro spikes for this snow shoe. Happy & safe snow shoeing trails.