“My Garmin Saved Me From Getting Lost, twice!”
Having Fun and Getting Lost!
Today Johnny and I went up to Alice Lake so I could run the “Four Lakes Trail”. Alice Lake is home to a series of trails for the avid hiker and trail runner. There are both short trail options, and longer courses if you wish. I attempted the run the Four Lakes Trail last year, but got myself lost as there are many places that the trail divides. This year I came prepared with my Garmin Fenix 3 with the trail uploaded. Any time I got too far off track, I was alerted and able to correct.
Getting To Alice Lake
Alice Lake is a quick drive from Vancouver on highway 1, about 1.25 hrs door-to-door. Take the Alice Lake turn-off about ten kilometres north of Squamish. From there, the road winds up a couple of steep hills for about 5k before getting to the lake. It is a popular campsite in the summer, so it is wise to get there early as parking can be a challenge.
The most popular hike/run is the “Four Lakes Trail.” You can park right at the trail head at the farthest end of the park.
The first kilometre is a nice path, switching back and forth up the hillside. You can run this with some extra effort, but I have to walk after a bit to catch my breath. The trail levels off nicely at the top where you can open it up. From here, you are at the first lake where the trail starts to take you north. Be careful though! I have run this trail twice and both times I went down paths that were not a part of the course. With some experience, mentioning this will seem silly, but if you are attempting this trail for the first time, it is wise to bring a map or GPS to make sure you don’t get lost.
My favourite part of the trail is about 3k in, notoriously called, “Sleep Hollow.” As the trail runs north, the woods become thick. The darkness is consuming. I have not seen the headless horseman on the trail myself, but if you let your imagination off her leash, you will definitely spook yourself!
The last half of the trail is very easy. You travel south along the northwestern most lake, and from there it is a straight shot to where you started.
The trail is very well-groomed and used by mountain bikers, hikers, and runners alike. People talk regularly about bear sightings, but I have been lucky so far; best not to think about it as bear sightings are very rare in this area.
Who is This Trail For?
If you are just getting started with trail running, I recommend the “Four Lakes Trail.” But again, do take some form of navigation, whether it be a GPS watch, iPhone, or a map. The trail can be confusing. Finally, there are no technical parts of this course in my opinion, making it ideal for learning your “trail legs”.