Print Edition: June 19, 2013
In our predictably slow start to summer we have been hard-pressed to find a day that stays sunny and hot enough to justify a long drive out to the lake. Last week I was lucky enough to get a day off on a day with some sun so I decided to head up to one of my favourite lakes in the eastern Fraser Valley: Hicks Lake.
The drive up to the lake is a little longer than I would like, taking just under an hour-and-a-half, but it is well worth it. To get to my destination I drove through Harrison Hot Springs, a tourist town which is a day of exploration in itself, and alongside Harrison Lake. Harrison Lake is another beautiful destination but I have always found it to be a little too cold for my liking as well as too full of people and motorboats. After leaving the paved road for the gravel road of Sasquatch Provincial Park and driving 10 minutes or so, I arrived at the parking lot for Hicks Lake.
Hicks Lake has its own campground, day-use area, private group site, as well as a hiking trail that circles the lake. I started my hike heading north on the trail that leads away from the public campground, hopping over a barrier that keeps vehicles off the path. The trail is a relatively shaded, flat-surfaced path with minimal overall altitude gain and loss, making for a comfortable trip even for the beginner.
The trail lacks a real opportunity to view the lake until the halfway point, when the trail winds down to a beach at the end of the lake. Hicks Lake is known for its sandy beaches and unusually warm waters, making it a great early summer lake destination.
As I pulled myself away from the beach and back onto the trail I began to see that the second half of the trail is much more exciting. The shore of the lake is much steeper on the south side and it makes for a great view for much of the second half of the hike. Also featured on this shore is a rope swing that starts from a 20-foot ledge over the lake. When I hiked past, there was a line-up of young and old alike taking their turns swinging out over the lake and taking the plunge into the light blue water.
Continuing on, the trail eventually leads to the day-use area for the campground and another sandy beach. The trail winds along the shore between the campground and lake to one of Hicks Lake’s most fascinating features: a series of flat, smooth, rocky ledges that draw the heat from the sun. On a warm day these rocks are the perfect location to lie out and soak up the sun and dive into the lake from. Unfortunately on this day the rocks had been all but spoken for, as most of the campgrounds patrons had staked out their spot early in the day. I had to settle for a spot on the beach – a compromise I was more than willing to make.
Despite the lengthy drive, Hicks Lake is a worthwhile trip. Whether you are looking for a hike or just a day at the beach, this park has all that you need. Just be sure to get to the lake early if you want a spot on the rocks!