WILLIAMSON LAKE, CHILLIWACK, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Williamson Lake is Chilliwack’s best-kept secret. The magic blue waters of this lake will keep you returning back year after year! The trail is short, but steep and unmaintained with exposure in the alpine.
Distance: 4.0 km if you can find the right trail head, plus up to 4km of road length depending on your driving skill. 485m-elevation gain if you can drive right to the parking lot.
Travel down Chilliwack Lake Rd to the 28 km mark and immediately after one of the Vedder River Bridge crossings, turn left onto Chilliwack-Foley Forest Service Road. Zero your odometer again here.
Follow the forest service road for 2.0 km to a T-junction. Turn right after crossing the bridge. Drive northeast past Foley Lake. After the lake the road will turn north. Park here unless you have a quad, or a serious desire to 4x4 through slide alder on an unmanaged road.
From here follow (on foot) the directions on the map below. Correct road is in RED. Common wrong turns are in BLUE. The Trail is in YELLOW. If you find yourself crossing any of the landmarks I wrote in white, TURN AROUND. We really need to get signs up for this trail! Be prepared to get lost on your first time up. Most people do!
Once you have reached the proper parking lot, take the trail on your right. It should lead through the meadow towards the forest. Once you are in the forest be prepared for a steep dusty trail with much many trees down on the unmaintained trail. Eventually the forest breaks out into the open alpine and you are greeted with views of Welch and Foley above you. The lake in the bowl you can see up in the distance. At the lake there are opportunities for swimming and many areas to explore. At some points mid summer there are snow caves at the far end, always be careful around snow caves! They can cave in at any point. There are also several waterfalls in the stream flowing out of the lake. One can try a quick dip here in the frigid waters!
There are many excellent books describing the routes up to Welch and Foley from here. I highly recommend Matt Gunn’s book “Scrambles in Southwest BC”.