Tundra Lake is one of several lakes and tarns scattered throughout the alpine zone in British Columbia's Coast Mountains, along the Stein Divide, southeast of Lillooet Lake.
Occupying a sheer-walled cirque at 829 m (6000 ft), Tundra Lake is about 1.5 km (0.9 mi) long from east to west. The lake's vivid, cobalt-blue colour makes it the most unearthly body of water we've ever seen. From its east shore, the Tundra Lake outlet stream drains eastward to the Stein River.
Hiking to Tundra Lake is a challenge. Most people see it on a multi-day backpack trip. Approaching from the west (starting above Lillooet Lake, passing Lizzie Lake en route) was popular with backpackers until late 2003 when flood damage made the access road impassable to vehicles.
Today a few determined backpackers bash on regardless, starting at the bottom of the road. But a three-day trip is no longer enjoyable or satisfactory. A four- or five-day backpack trip is now necessary to appreciate the Stein Divide, visit Tundra Lake, and do it at a reasonable pace.
There is, however, one other option: heli-hiking, as described in in Done in a Day Whistler, The Ten Premier Hikes (Trip 10, Stein Divide Alpine Lakes). Having heli-hiked as well as backpacked the Stein, we know both are rewarding.
Backpacking costs little but requires two labourious days ascending and descending under the weight of a full pack. The benefit, and it's a significant one, is a more complete perspective: that of a resident, rather than a mere visitor.
Heli-hiking is costly, but the flight itself adds a thrilling aspect to the trip, which goes a long way toward justifying the expense. And heli-hiking eliminates the physical toll. You'll cruise all day in the alpine zone carrying only a daypack.
Want to see Tundra Lake? Go to http://www.hikingcamping.com/hike-whistler.php and learn about Done in a Day Whistler, The Ten Premier Hikes. It's the only book that explains how to heli-hike the Alpine Stein.