Updated: Dec 21, 2022
Distance: 16.2 km roundtrip Elevation Gain: 1209 m Estimated Time: 6-9 hours
Difficulty: Hard Macbeth Icefield Trailhead is located roughly 23km up Glacier Creek FSR which is North of Kaslo, BC. You can also find the trailhead directions on google maps. At around the 22.5 km mark on Glacier Creek, you will fork left onto another road which will bring you right up to the start of the hike. There are also signs along the way to make sure you don’t get lost. This hike is easily accessible with a 2WD, low clearance vehicle. I suggest arriving at the trail relatively early as there is only space for 9-10 cars to park and it can get busy on the weekends The trail starts with an incline on a wider path but quickly turns into a narrow, somewhat overgrown path. The path will open up along a creek which you will follow being rewarded with a few small waterfalls. From here you will reach a metal bridge crossing the creek. The next stretch of the hike flattens out and guides you through a beautiful lush meadow with sections of beautiful turquoise water. There are a ton of berry bushes in this section so be cautious to make some noise in case there are some bears around. Also, there were around 4-5 hornet nests, so be sure to keep an eye out for those. From the meadow, you will head into an old-growth forest and the elevation begins to steepen again. In previous years fallen trees littered the trail making this even more difficult, but luckily all the fallen trees have been cleared this summer. You will be switch-backing through the forest, crossing a couple of man-made staircases built into the fallen trees, and pulling yourself up some of the steeper sections with a handy rope.
Shortly after this tougher section of climbing, the hike will level out yet again and you will be rewarded with amazing views of the first turquoise-coloured lake (Greymalkin Lake) being fed by a towering waterfall. Take a breather here, enjoy the view, have a snack, and take some photos, because the climb is not over yet. From here the path can be a little difficult to find. Luckily there are a lot of cairns to mark the direction you will be heading. It’s a pretty rocky hike from here on out and depending on which route you take there may be a little scrambling up some rock walls. Once you do a little climbing you will get onto a crest which you will follow across, climbing higher and higher towards the glacier. Once across the crest, the path widens into a boulder field and you will be required to once again follow the cairns which will guide you to the final destination. Congrats, you’ve made it!!! You will be rewarded with 360 views of mountains, glacier lakes and waterfalls. You can even climb down further to get down to this second lake where you can take a polar dip, or just relax with a picnic, you’ve definitely earned it. We camped the night out above the lake and it was so nice to have the whole afternoon/evening to enjoy the views and watch the sunset.
Overall this hike was super amazing and the tough hike is well worth all the beautiful views. The hike took us a total of 6 hours, but we had the advantage of resting our legs overnight. Also depending on your hiking experience, it could take closer to the 9-hour mark. So make sure you have lots of water, and snacks and start early.