At the west end of the lake, a massive waterfall plunges through the forest, roaring down the steep slope from Upper Hourglass Lake. Large chunks of broken bedrock separate the upper and lower lakes. Hikers may scramble up this rock slope to the spectacular Upper Hourglass Lake. White Grouse Mountain is a semi-forested dome across the valley.
The scenery of Upper Hourglass Lake is worth the climb. A ring of light-grey jagged rock protects this alpine lake, and alpine larch trees cling to the jumble of boulders. Near the lake’s outlet, shallow pools spill into tiny rivulets and splash into other tiny pools of clear water. Soft carpets of heather smooth the ground.
The mountains surrounding these lakes are typical of the southern Purcells. Exposed bedrock reveals the scouring by ancient glaciers. Spruce and fir forests dominate the ecosystems and few flowers grow between the trees. The exception is the beargrass with its tufts of white flowers growing on stiff metre-high stalks.
Upper Hourglass Lake
To get to Upper Hourglass Lake, cross that turbulent creek and scramble up the loose rocks. In wet weather the rocks are very slippery under a cover of fine dark lichen. It is about an hour of scrambling up these rocks, with a further elevation gain of 335 m (1,100 ft.). The trip to Hourglass Lake is a satisfying day hike, but combined with the vigorous ascent up to Upper Hourglass Lake, it is a memorable hike.