Inland from Howe Sound and northwest of the Squamish River (renowned for the highest concentration of bald eagles in the world), the magnificence of the Tantalus Range has recently gained park status. For years, the vista has impressed those travelling the famous Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler, especially from the area near Cheakamus Canyon. The park features coastal rain forests, alpine meadows, glaciers, ceracs, waterfalls and rugged peaks. At its centre, rimmed by peaks and glaciers, is the aptly named Lake Lovely Water. The highest point in the park is Mount Tantalus (2603m).
Summer brings wonderful opportunities for camping and hiking through fields of alpine flowers; swimming in the crystal clear, but very cold waters of the lake; excellent rock climbing and mountaineering; fishing in the stocked lake; hunting (strictly regulated); and limited canoeing on the lake for those staying at the Alpine Club of Canada cabin. Winter brings very deep snow packs and advanced back-country skiing.
Wildlife sighting can include deer, cougar, black bear and even grizzly, which may migrate into the area as part of a wider range, as well as numerous smaller species including marmots, which can be heard with their distinctive whistle from amongst the alpine rock. High concentrations of eagles, which gorge on migrating salmon in the fall, can be expected at lower elevations.
Camping at the lake is on a first-come first-serve basis. The Alpine Club of Canada Tantalus Hut at the eastern edge of the lake is available for 15.00$ per night by reservation (call 604 687-2711 - www.alpineclubofcanada.ca). All facilities are user maintained, pack in, pack out and campfires are not permitted.
There are two levels of access:
Hikers must first cross the Squamish River using canoe (caution is advised depending on the river level) or with boat operators who offer this service. To reach the river access point, go West from Highway 99 on the road to the Upper Squamish Valley. Turn left at the fork in the road just past the Cheekeye River bridge. 2 km past the fork is an unmarked dirt road to the left. Travel this road for approximately 2 km to the river access point. Access to the river crosses Squamish First Nation and private lands. Contact the Squamish Chamber of Commerce to find out about service across the river.
Several helicoptor and float plane companies are permitted to bring people into the park. These include: Black Tusk Helicopter, Blackcomb Helicopters, Glacier Air, Omega Aviation, Whistler Air and Seaair Seaplanes.