Vancouver is celebrated as being one of the most scenic cities in the world. And, just a short jaunt away (30 mins up the Sea To Sky Highway) from the hustle and bustle of a busy city centre you are transported to the centre of one of the most magnificent landscapes on Earth, the coast mountains!
Here is our guide to the most spectacular lakes near Vancouver to see from the air, including some of the best remote beaches near Vancouver that can only be accessed by plane or hiking trail.
Our run-down of the most beautiful lakes near Vancouver
1. Lake Lovely Water
Located in the Tantalus Range near Squamish, Lake Lovely water is a fantastic hidden gem. Hidden because it is nestled in the mountains, out of sight from the valley floor. For those that brave the hike (including a river crossing) the rewards of taking a dip in the glacial lake, with massive walls on three sides of the lake are obvious to see! You can also take things to the next level and stay a night in the Tantalus Hut which is maintained and bookable via the Alpine Club of Canada. Of course hiking into the lake is an option, however flying in either via float plane or by helicopter really raises the weekend bar to another level!
2. Phantom Lake
Completely inaccessible from the ground, Phantom Lake has to be on every outdoor enthusiasts bucket list! Perched up high in the mountains North West of Squamish, Phantom lake makes for the most remote and stunning beach near Vancouver. Access to the lake is provided by float plane meaning that even getting to the beach is an experience to remember. Surrounded by glaciers taking a dip in the fresh water is the perfect cure to the summer heat.
3. Garibaldi Lake
There are multiple ways to access Garibaldi Lake from the ground, one of the most well known lakes near Vancouver. Famous for its beautiful geographic features such as Black Tusk and Table Mountain as much as the stunning turquoise lake itself. It truly is impossible to take everything in from just one visit, this is one lake that needs to be seen again and again. Flying over Garibaldi Lake is one of our pilots’ favourite routes to take guests on, and from one look at the picture above it is easy to see why!
4. Elfin Lakes
Also in the Garibaldi Provincial Park Elfin Lakes is a pair of lakes surrounded by kilometres of fantastic hiking. One of the few hikes that allows hikers as well as bikers, the latter option definitely providing for an easier return trip back to the car! Speeding back down the hill on your bike however means you will miss the stunning views looking south down on to the Howe Sound and the Squamish Valley.
5. Tricouni Meadows Lake
Now this one really is an adventure for those looking to get into the backcountry! Located approximately 20km north of Squamish, the Tricouni Meadows offer’s a little bit of everything that makes the west coast mountains so special. Three different lakes to visit and mountain peaks to scramble up, but our preferred view is from the air! In this picture taken by a guest on our Prehistoric Glacier Express you can see the first of the three lakes, a perfectly heart shaped lake and in the background the distinctive Mt Cayley.