Every spring (May/June), alpine and glacial lakes begin to thaw along the shoreline, revealing vibrant blue water so extraordinary looking you have to see it to believe it. The melt water follows the contours of the lakeshore, giving the illusion that it is a river, when in fact the water is perfectly still. See British Columbia from a different perspective. Embark on a helicopter flight through the spectacular Coast Mountains and enjoy magnificent views as you fly over endless mountains and valleys, waterfalls cascading over granite cliffs, turquoise rivers winding their way through lush temperate rain forests, and even the occasional herd of mountain goats or elk. Just when you think it can’t get any better, our glacial destination pops into view only minutes before we land. Take a moment to revel in the true beauty of British Columbia’s untouched wilderness as we set down beside a lake and get ready for an experience of a lifetime. Choose from kayaking or paddle boarding and enjoy complete peace and serenity in one of Mother Nature’s best kept secrets.
Vibrant blue melt water ponds/channels are only available in late May, all of June, and sometimes into early July. These seasonal blue waters are not created by ice, but by snow melting and pooling on top of the frozen lake ice. Once the ice is off the lakes in late June, a new unique experience is revealed as we relocate to a large glacial lake. These stunning alpine lakes are often all that is left of the glacier that once covered the area. (Later in the season we relocate to a lake that is directly fed by an active glacier).Guests can explore the lake in its entirety and look up in awe at the size of the glacier towering above them. There are waterfalls, wildflowers, sandy beaches, and ice caves to explore. It is for this reason that July through September are the best months! However, kayaking and paddle boarding are available until the ice returns in October, usually after the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend. Check out the photo gallery here.
Please note, the tour name “Glacier Kayaking” applies to all heli kayak trips, regardless of the lake conditions and colour of water. The tour includes a 60 minute round trip sightseeing flight from our home base in rural Abbotsford, use of kayaks or paddle boards, 4 hours on location, trip photos, and a gourmet picnic lunch from Lepp Farm Market.
See photos below for the difference between June and the rest of summer for Glacier Lake Kayaking.
Melt Water Conditions Disclaimer!
Melt water channels and ponds are highly dependant on weather conditions daily and as a whole throughout the seasons. Total Winter snowfall, Spring precipitation and Spring temperatures play a crucial role in how the conditions will shape up prior to the arrival of Summer. Rain and wind melt snow faster than the sun. A drier than average Spring can result in lower melt water levels while a wetter Spring would result in higher water levels. The melting snow forms the water channels or ponds on top of the ice. These channels often do not encompass the entire lake due to avalanches that run out over the ice and compact into hard snow. These old avalanche debris paths take longer to melt than the surrounding snow. A snow bridge is often left behind, separating one melt channel from another. Multiple avalanche paths can create melt water ponds instead of channels. A typical melt water channel or pond is highly layered and can contain water 1-6ft feet deep on top of a layer of slush that’s 2-3ft thick sitting on top of a layer of ice that’s up to 6 feet thick that sits on top of a lake! Conditions can also change hourly during peak melting periods. For example, the melt water can freeze over during cooler temperatures. Snowfall in May/June is not uncommon. Snowfall accumulations create slush, which absorb the water creating very difficult paddling conditions. Conversely, hot temperatures may detach the bottom slush layer from the ice and float it to the surface, again resulting in challenging paddling conditions. The blue colour remains constant whether it’s slushy or not. Deeper water means darker blues, shallow water means lighter blues. Bottom line is, the quality of conditions are impossible to predict, and you as the client must be aware of that before you book. If that sounds like a gamble, consider booking in August when the ice and snow are gone and the lake is wide open for exploring!
Got questions? Have a look at our FAQ page or contact us here.