Widgeon Lake is a high mountain lake and like Burke Mountain, is in the Coquitlam Range and is a part of Pinecone Burke Provincial Park. The area is usually accessed via canoe from the Grant Narrows boat launch in Pitt Meadows. The area can also be access over land from Burke Mountain, or along Quarry Road through the Widgeon Marsh Regional Reserve property. The hike to Widgeon lake is challenging.
There is one main trail in the area that heads up the Widgeon Valley from the Widgeon Slough campground. This trail gives access to Widgeon Falls, and Widgeon Lake. There is a wilderness route beyond the main trail that becomes part of the Boise Valley route that is very seldom travelled, and difficult to follow.
The valley bottom trail is relatively flat, and follows the run of the river, past Widgeon Falls. As you leave the river the trail climbs to the 800m hanging lake through very steep terrain. There are camp sites at Widgeon Lake.
There are other, less well travelled routes through the area including a high ridge top route, and an overland route from Burke Mountain.
Type of Calls
Calls in the area run the gamut from medical rescues, injuries, and missing people. Searches in the area are hampered by access, and usually involved a three pronged approach including 4×4 / ATV access, helicopter, and boat access from Grant Narrows. Communications is always an issue, and responses are almost always in cooperation with Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue.
One notable case involved a young woman on a school outing who was reported to have fainted. Our response involved boat, 4×4 and helicopter access. She was evacuated by helicopter and transferred to hospital where it was discovered that there had been a cardiac event, requiring a pacemaker.
Another rescue involved a woman with an injured knee. Her partner had to run down the trail from Widgeon Lake, resulting in her waiting for over four hours for rescue. Several other searches in this area have been in excess of 12 hours in length.
Backcountry travellers should note that even though this area is very close to Vancouver, it is wilderness and is quite difficult to access. Cell phone coverage is very bad. People requiring rescue will need satellite communications, or will have to travel back to Grant Narrows boat launch for assistance.