Friday Trail Feature - The Brohm Lake Interpretive Forest
Along with Alice Lake, Brohm Lake is one of the few lakes around Squamish that isn’t arctic cold. As a result, it’s a favourite on hot summer days for those looking to cool off and go for a swim. Located about ten minutes north of Squamish on the west side of Highway 99, Brohm Lake is also home to one of the lesser known hikes in Squamish. But it is absolutely one of the most spectacular. The Brohm Lake Interpretative Forest surrounds the lake and is a worthy place to spend a day in the woods. Bring a picnic, your swim trunks and a camera, ‘cause you’ll need all three.
The hike begins right in the parking lot. I’ve been here a few times, mainly to hit one of the rope swings that dot the lake, and I’ve found the best way to approach the more than 10km of trails here is to start with the hike around the Lake. No slouch at roughly 3.5 km, The Brohm Lake Trail is a good two to three hour hike through one of the most beautiful areas in Squamish.
I’ve come early today to beat the crowds. So early, in fact, that the sun has yet to rise. As I get out of the car to begin my walk, my dog, Lola, slowly jumps down to the pavement. She’s not as spry as she usually is and I can see she’s wondering why on earth it was necessary to leave the house at 5:30am. I rub the sleep from my eyes and wonder the same thing.
As I start the hike, working my way to the north end of the lake, there is a stillness and calm to both the Lake and forest that is overwhelming. Even Lola senses the quiet in the woods this morning. The world hasn’t awoken yet, and we have the luxury of being around just before things get going. Both of us take a moment to savour that feeling, gazing through the trees at the mirrored water on the lake. Now I remember why I got up at 4:30.
The Brohm hike is special. This whole area has a long and storied history, dating back thousands of years to the first days of the Squamish Nation. As you work your way around the Lake, the forest becomes older. The trees here are ancient, many of them escaping early logging and a fire that raged through the area in 1953. There are Douglas Firs here that have stood for over two hundred years and evidence of even larger and older trees from a time long past. These ancient guardians of Cedar, Hemlock and Fir stand so tall the tops remain unseen. I will never stop being amazed at how big and tall trees can grow. What have they seen, do you think, in the hundreds of years they have stood?
Once on the other side of the lake, there are myriad little trails to secluded rocks and outcroppings along the lake that offer great options for a picnic, sunbathing or swimming. As mentioned, there’s a rope swing out here too, and it’s kid friendly. I stop at one of these spots to snap some photos. The lake is still as can be and there is yet to be anyone around. Even Lola has settled herself and I dig into my pack for a treat. With a hot cup of coffee and a book, we both settle in for a half hour of doing nothing.
Thoreau said he went to the woods because he wanted to live deliberately. Sitting here, enjoying the view of the lake, both my dog and I are doing just that.
Be safe, and enjoy your walk.