Petain Waterfalls


Trip Details
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Trip Date: 
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Difficulty Notes: 

Rugged hiking on parts of the trail from the cabin between the upper and lower lake and again beneath the falls.

Trip Report

As part of our Elk Lakes backpacking trip, we took a day trip to Petain Falls. This is a pleasant and very easy hike, about 10km return. We also included the Elk Lakes viewpoint hike on the same day which made for a longer day and much more effort.


The trail was supposed to be flooded on the inlet flood plain to Upper Elk Lakes but on the way to the falls we were wondering what all the fuss was about. After 4 hours in 30 degree weather we came back to the same area and it was under water! There was one tricky log crossing where I definitely didn't want anyone slipping and falling into the raging stream underneath. The stream had come up so much that it was running over a section of this log bridge. Part of the trail bridges (planks) had been washed all the way down Upper Elk Lake to the outlet on the far end to Lower Elk.


The trail around Upper Elk Lake was much more maintained than I remembered it - BC Parks has done a wonderful job on it. I really wanted to go into the Petain Basin, but that was another 8km return with over 500 meters height gain. I want to climb some peaks back there so I guess I'll have to go back some day.


The Elk Lakes viewpoint wasn't really worth it IMHO. It's a rough trail and the views are marginal. Not terrible, but not up to par with the other hikes in the area. It's probably more worth your time to hike into Fox / Frozen Lakes instead.


[Hiking to the Lower Elk Lake from the ACC hut. The trails are excellent in the park.]

[The lower lake in the morning calm.]

[Mount Fox rises over us as we traverse the shoreline of the lower lake.]

[Excellent trail.]

[The first part of the upper lake.]

[This log bridge is obviously temporary and the creek was flowing OVER part of it on the way back!]

[Nice campground - a bit exposed to the elements.]

[I love all the fire pits in BC parks.]

[Coming up to the falls.]

[A gorgeous area - the air from the falls made us cool, even on a 30 degree day.]


[Perspective - Kaycie and Niko are getting blasted by cold air and water.]

[Notice how high the creek is now?]

[View of the lower lake from the lookout point.]

[Kaycie and the lower lake.]

[Walking down the lookout trail.]


[Cabin and night sky.]

[Great view of the Milky Way from near the cabin.]

[Time to go home!]


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