Marble Meadows, Strathcona Park, BC

I finally hiked to Marble Meadows in August 2020 after it’s been on my bucket list for years and it sure did not disappoint. It’s a fantastic place with many pretty lakes, meadows of colourful alpine flowers, cool looking limestone formations, great views, interesting side trips and lots of room to explore. It’s now my favourite spot in Strathcona Park and I plan to go back many times. Here is a brief description of our trip:

Day 1

We met around 9:30 am at the Augerpoint parking lot on the road to Westmin Mine. My friends rented a canoe from the Strathcona Park Lodge up the road, while I used my inflatable kayak. We were on the water by 10:30 am. Buttle Lake was flat calm, so it was an easy 15 minute paddle across to the Phillips Creek marine campsite, where the trailhead is. We hiked up the Marble Meadows trail and camped at Globeflower Lake. It was great camping spot, with a nice sunset and a starry sky. The mosquitoes were horrendous, but you have to pay to play, so whatever.

It took about 4 hours to get up to the plateau. There is only one spot to get water on the way up, a small creek about 1.5 hours / 3.2 km from the trailhead. It’s right beside the trail and well signed, so you can’t miss it. Once you are on the plateau, there are lakes and tarns all over the place, so finding water is no issue. The trail up to the plateau is well maintained and graded with switchbacks.

Day 2

We hiked across the plateau and up onto the ridge connecting Mt McBride and Morrison Spire. We originally planned to go up Mt McBride but turned around part way up because we were running out of time. Oh well, we will do it on the next trip. We stumbled onto a makeshift campsite on the ridge where some people had put a great deal of effort clearing rock to create two flat tent pads, right beside a convenient tarn fed by snowmelt. It was an incredible spot, with a panoramic view including a closeup of the Golden Hinde and other big peaks in the distance. It ended being a very windy night, which almost collapsed our tents but at least that kept the mosquitoes away. 

From Globeflower Lake, it took an hour to hike to Wheaton Hut, a small hut that sleeps 4 people. The lake below Wheaton Hut has some great campsites and a nice view. From Wheaton Hut, the trail passes through interesting limestone formations and many tarns on its way towards the ridge that connects Mt McBride to Morrison Spire. It took us about 3 hours from the hut to get onto the ridge. There are a few routes up but it wasn’t obvious from where we were looking up from. We definitely didn’t take the most direct route towards Mt McBride, but did end up stumbling upon some tent pads out of the rock covered ground on the ridge. The tent pads were right by a little tarn fed by snowmelt and had a fantastic close up view of the Golden Hinde and many distant peaks. 

Day 3

From our campsite, it was a 30 minutes walk along the ridge to Morrison Spire, which has a great panoramic view from the top, then continued along the ridge to Limestone Cap. We were surprised to find a steep cliff before the cap, so we bushwhacked down to a nice little blue lake in Rainbow Pass, which was about an hour away from Morrison Spire. My friends camped at the lake and hiked up to Limestone Cap in the afternoon but I had to head back a day early, so I skipped Limestone Cap because I didn’t think I’d have time. I regret that because my friends said it was epic, but I will definitely go there on the next trip. At least I got a closeup look at it. There wasn’t a trail, so I picked my own route back to the plateau through some stunning terrain until I found the trail we took the previous day, then backtracked to Globeflower Lake (5 hours from Rainbow Pass).

Day 4

Hiked back to Buttle Lake (3 hours), paddled across and drove home. 

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