Wild and Spirited Hourglass Lake
Updated: Apr 12, 2020
Sites and trails BC truly maintains some of the most incredible hiking trails that lead to the dreamiest destinations. Hourglass Lake Trail, one of the many up the Meachen Creek Forest Service Road, near Kimberley, BC, is a damn fine representation of this.
The manageable hike with multiple switchbacks is an invigorating grind and only about 3km to the first part of "Lower" Hourglass Lake. A super light 1km walk along the shoreline is all you need to get to the other end where you have a front row view of Spirit Island, the talus cone and the 900 metre scramble to "Upper" Hourglass Lake.
Now here's what I don't get. Why are they referred to as "Lower Hourglass" and "Upper Hourglass"? Because I will tell you right now that the "Upper" lake, looks nothing like an hourglass. So riddle me that.
Make the climb to the upper lake, it is money, and the closest thing I have seen to a natural looking infinity pool. There is room to camp at the upper lake and enough turf to wander a bit further around the lake and explore. It's so beautiful even the fish are happy to be there. We saw at least two handfuls jump and swim in the clear emerald waters. How they got up there is beyond me, but let's not consume ourselves with things we cannot answer.
A tall waterfall divides the upper and lower lake, but let me be clear (because every single other website that talks about this is not), the waterfall is off to the side, in a treed area, visible from the scramble but touching neither lake nor actually "dividing" it as the word might imply. It's awesome though, but I always love a good waterfall.
On the hike into Hourglass, another small lake is waiting to to be explored about a kilometre up a trail on the right near the first lake. Lined with wildly beautiful flora and fauna (can I say that? or is it just flora?) lower Hourglass has a private lakeside campsite available, there is ample fishing in Meachen Creek and enough room at the trailhead to set up camp like we did. There's even an outhouse at this trail head, it's practically a 5 Billion Star Hotel.
At the time of this post, the Meachen Creek Fire is still burning through the valley, threatening some homes but becoming more manageable every day. I understand the fire tore through the trail head up around the lake and even across the pinch of the hourglass. It started as a cause of nature just a week after we were up there.
Our thoughts are with everyone who has had to evacuate the St. Mary's Valley and whose safe spaces have been threatened. It may not be as green and lush next year as it was earlier this summer, but Hourglass Lake Trail is still deservedly one of the best BC hikes this side of the Kootenays, and no matter what, it will remain wild and spirited.
Always remember to pack out what you back in, obey fire bans and preserve the wilderness you get to explore so that others can experience it just the way you did.
Hourglass Lake Trail Details
Level: Moderate hike
Distance: 7km roundtrip to Lower Hourglass Lake
Time: 2 hours if you blow in and out and don't stop to drink beer, hang out and swim
Elevation Gain: 270 m (900 ft.) to Hourglass Lake at 1860 m (6100 ft.)
Another 335m to Upper Hourglass Lake 2190 m (7200 ft.)
Beer Pairing: Recommend a Berline Weisse (Sour) - try Collective Arts Brewing Lime and Ginger Berliner Weisse