Logo Christian Olsen

Marriott Basin - Hike, scramble and camping

Stunning scenery just north of Pemberton ☀️⛰️🏔

Aug 29, 2021 - 4 minute read
feature image Our campsite on the far shore of Lower Marriott Lake.

I did this hike with three good friends. We had originally set our eyes on Illal Meadows, north of Hope. But had to come up with a new plan do to forrest fires. The choice landed on Marriott Basin, which turned out to be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

Trail stats

  • Starting point is a small FSR just off highway 99, ~30km north of Pemberton (N 50°23'11.4", W 122°27'58.2").
  • Lower Marriott Lake (N 50°25'36.8", W 122°27'56.3") is 6km from the trailhead, and makes for a good campsite.
  • Cumulative elevation gain for the weekend was approximately 1600m and we hiked 27km in total.

Our trip didn’t start as expected! We agreed to leave Vancouver somewhat early on Saturday, at 6:30am. We had 3h of driving before reaching the trailhead. Unfortunately the battery in the car was drained and it’s an automatic, so we couldn’t push start it. Luckily, Mariah had a jump starter, so we got the car started with only an hour delay. We reached the trailhead just before 11am. The first 2.5km is along the FSR, which has quite a few parking spots that’s reachable with 4WD. The actual trail begins at the end of the FSR and traverses up through a forrest. The trail was quite wet in sections, which would have been at lot worse if the weather hadn’t been so dry leading up to the weekend. We found plenty of both blueberries and huckleberries along the trail, which made for a nice little snack. The trails evens out over the last 500m before reaching the lower lake. We reached the lake by 1pm and found a nice spot on the far side of the lake where we pitched our tents. We agreed to spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the area around the lake. We aimed for a nice waterfall we had spotted when we reached the lake. After reaching the waterfall, we scaled the hill on the opposite side of the lake, where we had a great view of the lake and campsite.

We stumbled on a small nook, which provided us with a way down the hill.

We wanted to find another way back down the hill, so we didn’t have to backtrack our steps. We managed to find a little nook, where we could get down. We enjoyed a cold beer while cooking dinner and turned to hot choco with whiskey after dinner. As the light faded, we was met by an incredible starry sky. We made fun of our neighbours as they spend quite some time trying to get a bear hang up in pitch black, before we went to bed.

We got up at 7am the next morning. It was completely wind still and the mirror effect in the lake was amazing.

The hill we scaled the day before (left), mirrored in the lake.

We took our time and got moving a little after 9am. Our goal was Marriott Mt, 6km further into the wilderness. We knew that we had quite a scramble in order to get onto the ridge, so we packed helmets as well as lunch and snacks. We followed the trail to a hut 20min further into the valley. After the hut the trail stops, so we were left to our own navigational skills. Half way up we reached the Upper Marriott Lake, a lake of the same size as the lower one. After the lake the rest of the trail went through bolder fields and a few snow patches that were still around.

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Our route through bolder fields to the ridge and the last bit of scrambling.

The final stretch up the ridge was a scramble that turned out to be more involved than we had anticipated. We were all glad that we brought helmets as we crawled up. We had lunch and enjoyed the view from a flat bit of the ridge, at roughly 2500m above sea level. The peak of Marriott Mt was towering up right before us an extra ~250m up. The scramble up looked to be harder than what we had just done. This and the fact that we were running short on time, meant that we decided against going any further.

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View down the valley, with Upper Marriott Lake in the foreground and a group photo from the ridge.

The hike down was much faster, so we stopped at the upper lake for a swim and a snack. We got back down to the campsite and started packing up our stuff right after a short snack break. We were done packing by 5pm and started the 6km hike down to the car. We stopped at The Pony in Pemberton for dinner and Richard got a large coffee for the car ride back to Vancouver☕🚙.