Level: Difficult

Distance: 12 km r/t

Time: 7 h r/t

Elevation Change: 1036 m

Topographical Map: Brandywine 92J/3

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Season: July to Oct

Access: See Getting to Whistler. Brew Lake must be accessed via the CNR [Formerly BC Railway] right-of-way. Take the bus as far as Brandywine Falls Provincial Park.

Before beginning your hike in earnest be sure to take a moment to check out Brandywine Falls. Brandywine Creek tumbles 66 metres down into a gorge of its own creation, filling the air with a fine cloud of mist. Return to the railway tracks and follow them west towards the Sea to Sky Highway. The rail bed turns abruptly south on the other side of Highway 99, continuing in a straight line for 1.8 km before making another sharp westward turn. Continue along the tracks until just 200 metres before this latter turn where you will find the well-marked trail to Brew Lake and beyond. At all times when following the railway right-of-way remain alert to the approach of freight and passenger trains as well as the fire-suppression crews which follow them.

The elevation gain is unrelenting, rising first over treed slopes then steeper, switching back and forth over rocky terrain. Pause from time to time to not only catch your breath but take in the views across the valley towards Garibaldi Provincial Park. By the time you have dropped down through alpine meadows to the shores of Brew Lake you will have climbed 1036 metres over six kilometres. Small rainbow trout are abundant in Brew Lake. The ambitious could set up a base camp at the lakeside from which to explore the open alpine ridges thereabouts. The route to Brew Mountain continues for 1.6 additional kilometres with a further elevation gain of 280 metres.

The End


Labrador Tea

Labrador Tea

Forgot the tea bags and dying for a cuppa? Look around the camp. Chances are your drippy socks are draped over a Labrador tea bush. Steep the leaves, but not the socks, in boiled water for a tea that was enjoyed by more North American Indians than any other kind. Don’t actually boil the leaves however as boiling releases a chemical called ledol which has a number of unpleasant side effects. Pregnant women should avoid Labrador tea altogether. As a mild narcotic, Labrador tea was also an essential ingredient in kinnikinnik, a tobacco-less smoking mixture used by native groups throughout much of North America.

Illustration by Manami Kimura