After crossing Welsh Creek on a log footbridge, the trail follows an old road bed for about 2 km. The trail then leaves the roadway and climbs over a forested knoll before opening onto an expansive talus slope of granite rocks. From this point on, hiking becomes more difficult. Keep to the left-hand side of the talus field. A faint trail and rock cairns help lead the way up through the rocks. The grade increases significantly for the final 300 metres of elevation gain before arriving at Lower Welsh Lake.
It is about 4.5 km to Lower Welsh Lake. To reach the next lake, Middle Welsh Lake, you have to rock-hop over large granite rocks around the arm of Lower Welsh Lake. Once around the arm pick up the trail that leads through open forest to Middle Welsh Lake.
From here, route-finding is required to reach the upper lakes. At the end of the middle lake, look for a faint trail through the narrow ravine beside the steep moraine. You are on large boulders at first but look for a steep dirt trail on your right. Once through the ravine the route veers to the right and climbs steeply through rocky meadows to Upper Welsh Lake. Occasional rock cairns and flagging may help you find your way.
Follow the cairns, and at times a faint trail, to the fourth lake, Aberystwyth Lake. You will lose some elevation but try not to lose too much elevation before you get into the trees. Bear left until you get a view of Aberystwyth. Since you are there for the views, it is best to go up onto a knoll overlooking Aberystwyth Lake. Getting back down to Lower Welsh Lake from Aberystwyth Lake can be very tricky if you don't pick up the trail on the other side of the creek (right hand map above) as the terrain is steep and rocky. Cross over the creek coming out of Aberystwyth to find a trail marked with cairns and flagging tap (marked in gold in small map above). Follow this steep trail for about 400 m, dropping 100 m before looking for a sharp right on level ground. Take this right even though there is a trail continuing on down. The right hand trail will bring you to a rocky notch where Lower Welsh Lake will be on your right, and back to your campsite, or take the left going down to rejoin the main trail on your way out. STMS hopes to have the loop from Middle Welsh Lake to the upper lakes and back to the lower lake marked with flags and cairns later this summer or early 2023.
The full loop from the trailhead and back is 16-17 km, with an elevation gain of about 950 m over some very rough terrain with lots of route finding. Caution: beyond Middle Welsh Lake the upper loop is not suitable for inexperienced hikers.
From Aberystwyth Lake back to Lower Welsh Lake
Back to Welsh Lakes
approx. 16-17 km - elevation gain of 950 m
Welsh Lakes Trail Map