Squamish-Lillooet: Tricouni Peak Trail (2 days / 11 km)

Trip Report - Tricouni Peak

Located near Squamish-Lillooet in British Columbia, this beautiful peak is a great introduction to backpacking with reasonable distance and elevation for a beginner looking to get into overnight trips. 

However, the forest service road from the Lower Parking Lot to the Upper Parking Lot where the trail begins is quite bad. The biggest issue is a fairly deep sinkhole about 3 km before the trailhead – a high clearance 4×4 with a confident (read: aggressive) driver should be able to clear it with no problem. We did it with a GMC Yukon XL and were fine, though we saw lots of other cars had bailed and parked along the road. 

Trip Completed: Sept 2023

Trip Report - Tricouni Peak
Day 1 – Beautiful colours and streams along the way
Trip Report - Tricouni Peak
Day 1 – Starting off with amazing views right at the beginning of the trail
Trip Report - Tricouni Peak
Day 1 – Views on the hike up to Tricouni Peak
Trip Report - Tricouni Peak
Day 1 – Views from Tricouni Peak
Trip Report - Tricouni Peak
Day 2 – Our tent at Reflection Lake

Trip Summary

Location: Near Squamish-Lillooet in British Columbia. Take the Squamish River Forest Service Road and then the Branch 200 Forest Service Road to get to the trailhead. 

Traditional Territory: This route takes place on the traditional territory of Lil’wat and Skwxwú7mesh-ulh Temíx̱w (Squamish) (source). 

Maps & Resources

Guidebook: No guidebook was used. 

Map: We downloaded the offline map for the trail from AllTrails which was fairly accurate. Below is my Google Map view as well so you can see where we went wrong and accidentally went off path. 

Permits & Reservations

Campsite Reservations: No reservation needed. 

Permits: No permit needed. 

Know Before You Go

Season: Anytime from June – Sept should work. When we went in late September, it was very chilly at night. We woke up to frost on the ground and a thin sheet of ice covering a small pond we camped next to so ensure you’re bundled up with the appropriate layers. 

Cell Reception: No cell reception for the most part. 

Water: Yes! There are plenty of lakes along the way but of course should be boiled/filtered. 

Wildlife: There are black bears and grizzlies in this area so keeping your campsite clean and properly storing food/scented items will be critical. We didn’t see any signs of large wildlife when we went. 

Waste: No facilities for waste. Pack out all garbage. 

Outfitters & Shuttles

Outfitter: We didn’t use an outfitter or need a shuttle for this trip.

Shuttle: No shuttle was needed as this route starts and ends in the same location.

Trip Report

Day 1: Trailhead to Tricouni Peak to Campsite (5.5 km)

Driving to trailhead: We left Vancouver at 7 am and started the trail at 11 am, having made a brief stop in Squamish for coffee and breakfast pick up. The first service road took a long time to drive up due to sketchy road conditions, but we also dilly-dallied when we made it to the parking lot. We probably could’ve started 30-45 minutes earlier if we had hustled. 

We parked at the Upper Parking Lot aka Tricouni Meadow East Trailhead on Google Maps. Starting from the Lower Parking Lot near the beginning of the FSR will add about 3 km each way and 500 m of elevation gain.

Trailhead to Pendant Lake: This first section of the trail was fairly easy & relatively well maintained. In late September, this part of the trail was still glorious with beautiful shrubbery in reds, golds, and greens. The trail was very empty – we bumped into maybe 3-4 groups total the entire weekend. 

Pendant Lake to Spearpoint Lake: This is where we made our mistake – instead of going from Pendant Lake to Spearpoint Lake, we accidentally took a wrong turn and made it to Tricouni Lake. While absolutely beautiful, it was not in the same direction as the summit, so we had to backtrack (this also added a few kilometres making our total distance for the day 10 km instead of 5 km). 

Just keep an eye on the map to ensure you don’t get lost! If you’re feeling eager, the lake was beautiful so it could be a worthwhile addition to your day, but because we were strapped for daylight and knew we’d be passing many more lakes it wasn’t part of our intended plan. 

Spearpoint Lake to Reflection Lake (Campsite): This section gets a little steeper but not super technical. Just go slow here. There is a section of steep scree and some scrambling. Once we made it to Reflection Lake, we set up camp on a flat rock nearby, had lunch, left our big packs at camp and got our day packs (and extra layers) on before continuing on to the summit. Don’t forget your headlights! 

Reflection Lake to Tricouni Peak: This is where the hike really tests you – a fairly steep scramble with big jagged boulders. We had about 45 minutes to hustle before the sunset so we did our best to just keep going up. Unfortunately, the path to the summit was not well marked and the cairn markers were a little sparse and possibly inaccurate so we may not have taken the easiest route – we honestly just picked a path up and hoped for the best. 

Note: When we went in September, we hit small patches of snow during this section of the hike. We made it up right after sunset and got to enjoy the beautiful, unbeatable views of twilight. 

Tricouni Peak back to Reflection Lake (Campsite): Started the descent with some twilight light, but did a majority of the hike down in the dark. It was super difficult to figure out where we were going in the dark (everything looked different, you had to be careful on your steps because the shadows from the headlights were distracting, and it was hard to see far ahead). So again, take your time and just keep heading towards Reflection Lake. Once we got back, we made dinner and hot chocolate and tucked in for the night. 

Campsite: We found a flat spot near Reflection Lake to set up camp. There weren’t any official tent pads or facilities, so just be mindful of that. We were the only group that camped here; we saw a few other folks at the other lakes on the way but overall was a very quiet trail. The moon was absolutely glorious that night & you’ll get a decent sunrise too after the sun peeks out over the mountain range. 

Distance5.5 km
Elevation Gain1000 m
Campsite ReservationReflection Lake – no reservation required.

Day 2: Campsite back to Trailhead (5.5 km)

Reflection Lake (Campsite) to Trailhead: Really easy day. We had a slow morning – my friends slept in while I took some time to enjoy the outdoors and read in peaceful nature. After we made breakfast, we packed up, and headed back towards the trailhead the exact same way that we came. We stopped by Pendant Lake for a quick lunch break, and then followed the trail back to the parking lot. 

Distance5.5 km
Elevation Gain0 m
Campsite Reservationn/a

Reflections

What Went Well 

Overall, it was an amazing trip to wrap up the end of my hiking season. The trail was very reasonable in terms of both elevation, distance, and technical difficulty. I loved how quiet it was and truly how beautiful the views were. Pretty unbeatable. It was also great to have so many water sources along the way, which hasn’t always been the case in my past hikes – so that was one less thing to worry about. Very high reward to effort ratio provided you make it up the FSR. 

What Didn’t Go Well 

Speaking of, while the drive up the forest service road was harrowing and had us stressing the entire time, it really was worth it to shave off the extra kms and elevation gain. Getting off track at Spearpoint Lake was a little annoying because it made us really need to hustle to make it to the summit with enough daylight, but we did it (although I personally did not love hiking down in the dark). It was also so much colder than we anticipated at night with frost forming overnight and small puddles icing over – so pack those layers because it was a chilly one! 

And finally – we ran out of fuel by Day 2 lunch. This was a rookie mistake for blasting the fuel on high during Day 1 Dinner and Day 2 Breakfast (don’t do that!). So we shared whatever pre-made snacks we had amongst us for lunch and tried to keep our spirits up while we hiked back to the car. 


Author Bio

Angela considers herself an avid beginner hiker and loves trips that have a high reward-to-effort ratio. She moved a few years ago from Ontario to BC, where she has fully immersed herself in that west coast life. Outside of hiking & backpacking, she enjoys skiing, running, reading, and cooking dinner for friends.

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