FATMAP difficulty grade
Mt Albert Edward is a popular objective on Vancouver Island and for good reason.
It has a very well maintained trails up to Circlet Lake and offers a wide range of scenery.
With lush green meadows, wildflowers, lakes and alpine views, you really do get it all on this trail.
Thanks to the great trail maintenance here, this hike is very accessible, although it's certainly not easy.
At over 30km in length with over 1000m elevation gain, this is a challenging hike that requires good fitness.
The most common way to complete this trail is by spending a night camping at Circlet Lake, then summiting the following morning before hiking out.
This is a great campground but it does get very busy on the weekends in summer.
It is possible to complete this trail in a day, but it requires an early start and some good fitness.
It's no accident that so many people visit this area, as soon as you leave the parking lot you hike through some picturesque wetlands that's full of wildlife.
For many people, that alone is worth the trip out here.
Shortly after the wetlands, you get to Lake Helen Mackenzie which is the first of a number of lakes on this trail.
This is another beautiful location that would be well worth the hike on it's own, but you can't hang around too long as you have to keep going to Circlet Lake. If you have the time, it's well worth spending a night camping at Circlet Lake, not only does it break up the hike and make it easier, but it's also just a great experience to spend the night in such an awesome location. The well maintained trails end at Circlet Lake, the trail to the summit is much more challenging.
It's a steep climb to get above the tree line before a long approach on a mix of rock and scree to get to the summit.
When you finally reach the summit, you are greeted with spectacular alpine views, you can even see the Golden Hinde from the top, which is the highest Peak on the Island.
The long approach and difficult climb will soon be forgotten about, as you take in the scenery before descending back to Circlet Lake.
Once back at the lake, you can either hike back out the same way you came in, or you can take the trail shown here and make it a loop to include some of the other lakes in the area, which are well worth a visit.