NTS Map:92F11. From the trailhead, cross Paradise Meadows,keeping to the right at the first few trail intersections. You arrive at Lake Helen McKenzie after 3 easy km. Bear right, skirting the lake and climbing over a somewhat rooty and narrower trail to the meadows and Rangers' cabin at 6km. Just past this take the next two signed trails on the right heading past Hairtrigger Lake. The trail then descends to a junction above the head of Cruickshank Canyon. Turn right for a half km to the campsite at Circlet Lake. Distance to here is about 10.5 km.
To climb Mt Albert Edward, return to the last junction and turn right. You ascend a steep trail to a beautiful plateau. You then climb more steeply up to the ridge at about 11.5 km from the trailhead. Keep left where a route to Mt Jutland leads right.
Climb the ridge, staying right at the junction with the route to Mts Frink and Castlecrag on your left. Climb the open ridge to the top after about 15.5 km from the trailhead.
From Circlet Lake to the summit return takes perhaps 6 hrs including time to linger on the plateau, ridge and summit, despite the relatively short distance. It's also fairly tough going when there is snow still lingering.
Returning to the trailhead on the same day is fairly easy unless you're beat.
Take Strathcona Parkway from Highway 19 near Courtenay to Mt Washington. Turn left just before reaching the main ski area and park at the Paradise Meadows Trailhead. Distance from the highway is about 26 km
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Posted By: paula
- Sat Feb 28 00:07:31 EST 2009
UpsideEasy access. this is one of the few places where you can drive up to the subalpine level; the trail to Circlet lake has very little net elevation.
DownsideBecause of the above, it's very popular, and can get very crowded.
CommentA side trip worth doing if you have time to spare: just past Circlet Lake, watch for a turnoff to the left, which will take you right out of the crowds and towards Moat Lake and Castlecrag. Lots of gorgeous little tarns on the way. It's an easy hike to Moat lake (about 3 km with no significant elevation gain); the route around and over Castlecrag, however, is much more demanding, and there is no reliable water source after Moat Lake. (see the review for Castlecrag - Mt. Frink loop)
Posted By: somniferum
- Thu Jul 24 15:31:01 EDT 2008
UpsideGreat summer hike. Lots of flowers/plantlife, lakes and mountain views to admire while on your way. Trail is very easy to follow and pretty well-groomed; basicly a walk in the park until you start going 'up' from Circlet Lake. Cairns are easy to see and follow on the route to the summit. View from the summit is absolutely phenomenal.
DownsideAs with all popular trails, this one can be very crowded. Weather can be unpredictable. Sometimes buggy.
CommentI've done this trail as both a 2 day hike and a day hike (took 10 hours including about 1 hour in breaks). I think I prefer it as a dayhike (no huge pack and tent to carry). I highly recommend this trail.
Posted By: Bookwyrm
- Fri Nov 02 19:12:05 EDT 2007
CommentI probably am not a good judge, as this is the only major hike that I've ever done. I did it in May, when there was still quite a lot of snow on the ground. Did it as a school trip taking four days, two days to hike in to circlet lake, one day to summit and return to circlet lake, and one day to hike back. Highly recommended
Posted By: jlmt
- Tue Jul 24 19:00:10 EDT 2007
UpsideOr Winter? Based on my past experience with CVGSAR I would not recommend this as a winter hike unless you are very experienced in mountain terrain and avalanche risk assessment. I definitely recommend it as a summer hike.
DownsideStrathcona Park, where Mt. Albert Edward is located, can create its' own set of weather patterns. Be prepared for anything when hiking/climbing - not just warm weather. Circlet Lake campsite can get very crowded at times. Best to go during the week, if possible.
CommentAn excellent hike.
Posted By: guyl
- Thu Mar 16 01:02:32 EST 2006
UpsideInteresting habitats along trail, interesting wildlife, great views.
DownsideOvercrowded in summer. Camping restricted to Circlet Lake.
CommentI like this as a two day hike. A leisurely pace to Circlet Lake, where you overnight. Get up early and summit Albert Edward. Be back at camp for a late lunch and then break camp and be back in Courtenay for dinner. Go during the week in September when there are less people. We went in mid-October one year and it was great. Pay attention to the weather. It can fog up very quickly.
Posted By: toolbox
- Thu Oct 06 20:00:29 EDT 2005
UpsideFantastic Views once you hit the ridge!!
DownsideFor the first 2.5 hours, no views just a walk through the trees.
CommentA friend and I did the entire hike as a day hike in about 10 hours, 5.5 up and 4.5 down, in mid-September. At the time there were plenty of small ponds to fill up with water along the ridge, just treat the water in some way. Very easy to find your way, just follow the rock cairns to the summit. Definitely bring poles, they will help save your knees. Also with the variable weather conditions bring at least some warm clothing and a wind breaker. We had no wind on the summit but all along the ridge the wind howled. Once on the summit sit back and enjoy the views, absolutely fantastic!!
Posted By: Hiker43
- Wed Aug 31 13:43:50 EDT 2005
Upsidegreat views, good hike.
Downsidelots of rock cairns
Commentdo not try it in the fog or rain, watch for rock cairns, try to stay on the path
Posted By: klack
- Sun Apr 03 01:57:54 EST 2005
Upsidegreat hike, summer or winter
Downsideweather can be sketchy at times, unwise to attempt summit if fogged in or overcast and poor visibilty, especially in snow
CommentGREAT HIKE, my most hiked trail. lovely environment throughout the whole park. highly recommended