Enjoy an afternoon of kayaking before spending a night at the 5 Billion Star Hotel camped out in front of a glacier.
Please note, the glacier lakes now fall under our Angling Guide Permit. Effective immediately, fishing licences are required on all kayaking trips, regardless of if you plan to fish or not. Single day fishing licences can be purchased online here for $10 CAD if you are a BC resident, $20 CAD if you are a non-resident. If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Kayak Through B.C.’s Beautiful Glacial Waters
Summer is a special time in the mountains. The glacial lakes undergo a series of seasonal transformations yielding jewel-like water colors best enjoyed on a kayak or stand up paddle-board. See below for the different monthly experiences:
MAY/JUNE MELTWATER KAYAKING
- Every spring (late May/early June), a frozen lake nestled between two glaciers begins to melt along the shoreline, revealing vibrant blue water so extraordinary looking you have to see it to believe it. What better way to experience this than to kayak through these frigid crystal clear waters. The meltwater follows the contours of the lakeshore, giving the illusion that it is a river, when in fact the water is perfectly still. These seasonal blue waters are not created by glacier ice, but by snow melting and pooling on top of the frozen lake ice. This annual process is short-lived but incredibly beautiful.
JULY GLACIAL LAKE KAYAKING
- Once the ice begins to break up by mid-summer, a new unique experience is revealed as we relocate to a beautiful glacial lake that we simply refer to as “July Lake”. Ever seen Moraine Lake in Banff National Park? It’s like that but smaller and without the tourists. Just you and 3 friends. This stunning turquoise lake is all that is left of the glacier that once covered the area. Much of the granite rock in the area has been smoothed and scoured by the glacier that was once here. Large boulders deposited by the glacier sit at the bottom of the lake. Wildflowers and young vegetation are present all along the shoreline and there are waterfalls cascading off the huge cliffs above the lake. If you’re looking for the most beautiful scenery, this is it.
AUGUST TO SEPTEMBER GLACIER LAKE KAYAKING
- By August, the lake ice has mostly disappeared at the largest lake we go to. Tucked in a U-shaped valley high in the mountains, sits an impressive glacier that has survived while most others at this elevation and latitude have disappeared forever. The first thing you might observe on our final approach is the lack of trees. That’s because this entire valley was still filled with ice in 1992. Since then the glacier has retreated 1km. Trees haven’t had a chance to take hold yet in this giant boulder garden. However, look closely and you will see an abundance of rare wildflowers and other alpine vegetation. Our landing spot couldn’t be more perfect. It’s a large sandy beach bisected by a spring-fed stream surrounded by wildflowers, just steps away from the lake and your kayak. Without a sense of scale, the glacier at the west end of the lake looks small, almost blending in with the surrounding rock. It’s not until you paddle over to it do you truly understand how big it is. Look up in awe at the wall of ice towering above you. There’s another beach at the foot of the glacier, and we often get out here for a photo stop. From there we’ll go for a leisurely paddle across the lake to the east end where we will go for a short hike to a valley overlook at the top of a waterfall. Watch for mountain goats frolicking high above or getting a drink from the lake.
- August is the hottest and driest month of the year and is often accompanied by wildfire smoke. This location is a perfect way to beat the heat and is often isolated from the surrounding smoky skies. It becomes a place of peace and refuge. By September, the skies clear up, the air is crisp and the alpine vegetation begins to change color. These vibrant reds and oranges are what makes fall so special. Watch for bears filling up on wild blueberries.
Kayaking and paddle-boarding are available until Sept 30th, and in some exceptions, up until the lake begins to freeze over around the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend.
- 60-70 minute round-trip sightseeing flight from our base at Abbotsford Airport
- Four hours on location
- Trip photos
- Gourmet picnic lunch from Lepp Farm Market
- We ask that you keep your personal bags to 10 lbs or less.
- Mountain weather can change rapidly — guests should be prepared for the elements.
- At the very least, from May 1st to October 1st, we recommend dressing in layers: long pants, long-sleeve or short-sleeve shirt, windbreaker fleece, rain jacket, and appropriate outdoor footwear (hiking shoes, boots or trail runners with lightweight merino wool socks).
- Hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, and sunglasses are recommended as well.
- For those on the kayak or paddle board trips, you will get wet, and therefore we suggest you bring a change of clothes. Or if it’s really hot out, bring sandals, a towel, and swimming attire in addition to the above items.
- What not to wear: dark colors, cotton clothing, jeans with holes in them, street shoes, dress shoes
- Purchase your one day angling license here
Meltwater channels and ponds are highly dependent 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. The melting snow forms the water channels or ponds on top of the lake ice. These channels often do not encompass the entire lake. Channel length during peak conditions can reach 350 meters (1150ft) in length and take only minutes to kayak from end to end. Water depth can fluctuate greatly from barely enough to paddle through to over 3 meters (9.8ft)!
Conditions can also change daily and even hourly. For example, the water can freeze over during cooler temperatures. Sometimes up to an inch thick, making for a challenging paddling experience. Snowfall in May/June is not uncommon. Snowfall accumulations create slush, which sits on top of the water creating the most 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.
Another unique phenomenon occurs when the snow on the glacier gradually slides downslope, putting so much weight on the lake ice that it rises up out of the lake, displacing the melt ponds. It’s a beautiful feature that eventually leads to the break up of all the ice on the lake. Picture perfect conditions can happen at any time during the season. The blue color 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 is impossible to predict, and you as the client must be aware of that before you book. If that sounds like a gamble, consider booking later in the summer when the ice and snow are gone and the lake is wide open for exploring.