7 - 8
FATMAP difficulty grade
Russet Lake is tucked away in the backcountry beyond Whistler Mountain, and is part of Garibaldi Provincial Park.
This small lake sits in a circular valley at the foot of Fissile Peak, a striking pyramidal mountain that can be seen beyond Blackcomb and Whistler from the Peak 2 Peak gondola.
Russet Lake makes a great destination on its own or a strategic base camp for further exploration in the Fitzsimmons and Spearhead Ranges.
The hike to the lake and back can be completed as a long day trip but is better as a two-day trek.
With a Garibaldi Provincial Park overnight permit, you can tent camp or stay in a hut near the lakeshore.
Don’t count on the hut, though, because it is first come, first served.
A brand new, much larger hut is under construction and slated for completion summer 2019. Begin from Whistler Resort on the Harmony Lake Trail, near the top of the Peak 2 Peak and Whistler Village Gondolas.
The trail takes many ups and downs on its way past some small lakes and streams and up toward Flute Summit in the backcountry.
Most of the route is through green meadows that burst with colorful flowers in July and August.
Just before the last uphill to Flute, the trail gains a high ridge crest where you’ll suddenly get a huge view over Cheakamus Lake in the valley far below.
Continue over Flute Summit, which is the high point of the trail.
From there, more rolling terrain leads to a somewhat steep, final climb from Singing Pass to cross into the perched basin of Russet Lake. The trail leads to the moraine at the lake’s outflow, where the hut and good campsites are located.
The view from here is incredible, with blue lake water on one side and an expansive mountain panorama on the other.
You’ll gaze over the bronze-hued cone of Fissile Peak, a craggy ridgeline of Overlord Mountain, the Overlord Glacier descending from its slopes, the forested Fitzsimmons Creek Valley, and the many peaks above it. Sources: http://hikeinwhistler.com/index.php/whistler-hiking-trails/russet-lake https://assets.vailresorts.com/-/media/whistler-blackcomb/products/the-mountain/about-the-mountain/trail-map/wb_mk1754_sum18_trailmap.ashx http://www.spearheadhuts.org/category/progress/