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Phantom Lake

Kayaking on secluded lake

By Callum Snape

Phantom Lake is a glacial and snow fed lake deep in the heart of the Sunshine Coast Mountains of British Columbia. With no official trails in, out or even at the lake, this location is extremely difficult to access and explore on foot. Fortunately we had two kayaks and a float plane to get us there so we could see this place for ourselves and paddle the lake.

A twenty minute flight took us from the town of Squamish just outside of Vancouver, to Phantom Lake, high up in the mountains and at least several days walk from civilization.

Close friend and talented videographer, Marshal Chupa, joined me. The Squamish resident calls these mountains home.

Carrying Oru Kayak

Kayaking in British Columbia

After an exhilarating flight through these beautiful mountains we touched down on the waters of Phantom Lake and offloaded our gear on a small peninsula to the north of the lake.

Anxious to get out on the water, we set up our tents, sleeping pads and bags, unfolded the kayaks and went to explore the surrounding area while the sun was still on the lake.

Kayak camping

Kayaking in British Columbia

Oru Kayak in British Columbia

Because of high water levels, we were restricted to a small patch of land on the end of a peninsula that also contained the only defined trail we saw on the whole trip. It was 10 meters long and went from camp to the fresh water source running into the lake. If it wasn't for the kayaks, claustrophobia or cabin fever would set in fast here.

Kayaking basics

I sent my drone up to get a real sense of the scale of this lake... it was enormous and incredibly beautiful!

Kayaking basics

The day seemed to fly by and before we knew it, it was dark. With very little light pollution in the area, we could see the milky way soaring from behind the mountains in the distance. The evening winds calmed down and the lake became still, offering up a near perfect reflection of the mountains and stars.

Basic kayak paddle strokes

The next day was just as stunning so we explored a little more of the lake and were completely blown away at the scenery out here.

Kayaking on an alpine lake

After a few hours of exploring the lake we heard the faint sound of a propellor plane echoing through the valley and a few minutes later, a tiny white plane emerged from a mountain in the distance, slowly making its way down to us. We packed up the plane, took a few last photos before taking off and making our way back out to Squamish.