The Beauty of Lily Meadows
The first time I heard of this place, a friend casually mentioned it to me on a bike ride. It kind of surprised me because I had lived in this valley much of my life, yet had never heard of Lily Meadows.
With some research, I was able to find directions and put it on my bucket list for the following year. 2018 rolled around and I knew I wanted to tackle Lily Meadows. Since the lilies are only out for a few weeks in the end of June- mid July, I waited for a break in the weather, and then went for it.
As with most hikes, it began with me wondering if I should stay home and get some work done around the house instead of going out. My buddy texted me in the morning telling me that he had invited a buddy and his family to come along with us. (I love the buddy system because it keeps you accountable! I knew I wanted to do this hike, but I almost always second guess myself)
Despite the excellent directions on Valemount Trails, we still passed the turn-off and had to whip around. (almost immediately after the Valemount Marina you take a left up the Bulldog FSR and follow that for 8 km) The road requires a high clearance vehicle with 4x4. At the 8K marker there is a bridge and a bit of a pull out to park on. The trail is flagged off just to the right.
I'm not sure if it was just me, but the trail felt particularly steep initially and I found myself taking micro-breaks quite often. Of course, the children did amazing on the trail. We carried on for quite sometime until we stumbled on a beautiful waterfall with a peaceful pool at the bottom.
We crossed the small creek and continued up the mountain until we came to our first glance of a meadow of lilies. I wasn't sure if this was the only meadow of lilies we were going to see, but would have been happy with that small patch of flowers. We continued forward until the trees opened up and we came upon a massive field of wildflowers as far as you could see. They dotted the landscape with their beautiful yellows and greens. I was at the front and couldn't help myself from exclaiming "oh wow!" and from behind I heard someone say, "that must mean something good!"
Rarely am I so moved by a landscape, but something about this field of flowers really took my breath away. After an amazing picnic lunch, we carried on up to the lakes which, despite my initial guess, were actually on a bench up and to the left (looking towards the mountain), and not straight up. We couldn't find the trail, so we just headed up the lily meadow (all while taking in the unreal views of Kinbasket Lake) and then over and down.
The lakes were a beautiful, serene area to lay down and take in our surroundings. There's something about the alpine that just brings so much mental clarity. On the way down, we had an easier time finding the trail back to the meadow. We then followed the original trail back to the trucks.
While the trail is a little overgrown in parts, it is very well flagged, and pretty easy to follow. There are a few small marshy sections that you might lose the path for a minute, but the flagging tape is always there to save the day.
I've read that the reason there are so many lilies in this area is because the grizzlies dig up the bulbs and essentially cultivate the land for the yellow glacier lilies. While the only bear we saw was on the drive up, we still came prepared with lots of bear spray, and made lots of noise on the trail.
I would say that this is one of the more difficult trails in the valley, but if you pace yourself properly and come prepared, it is enjoyable for someone of average fitness. As far as "family-friendly" I don't think Gaia is quite ready for this hike, but the 10 & 14 year olds we brought with us seemed to do great.
My buddy Danny of Dan Roberts Photography came up with us and brought his drone so I'm looking forward to seeing his footage! He did forget his phone, but luckily I have the same drone and have the program on my phone so I was able to save the day. For now, here is a photo he took of Rufus and I.
Comment below if you've hiked this hike or are planning on it! :)