Access: High-Clearance vehicles, 4WD in mud or snow conditions, 16.5 km on gravel roads, 3485 ft. elevation gain on road from km.0 at Crawford Bay Transfer Station.
Rating: easy to moderate, total hiking elevation gain 1200 ft.
Needed: guide or good route-finding skills, map & compass, GPS unit
Hiking time- to Cannabis Ridge, 2 hours, to Cannabis Lake 2.5 to 3 hours one way.
For access to Cannabis Lake trailhead, the Crawford Bay Transfer Station is Kilometer 0 on the Crawford Creek Forestry Road.
Proceed East, passing the Hooker Creek junction at 5.4 km (stay left), the Spring Creek Road turnoff to the Plaid Lake/Mount Crawford trailhead at 6.6 km (stay right), an unnamed junction at 7 km (stay left on rough road), another unnamed junction at 10 km (stay right), a junction at 11 km (stay left) and finally to km 16 where vehicles can be parked at the last switchback. Since the turnaround at the end of the road at km 16.5 has limited space, (at 6,057 ft. elevation), you might choose to walk this 500 metres if there are more than 2 vehicles with your group.
From the end of the road, make your way uphill about 250 metres, keeping to the right side of the cut block, and locate the flagged trailhead. Time from km 0 to trailhead is about 2 hours. The trail is fairly well defined but a GPS device with map and/or topo map (50,000:1) and compass are needed to avoid getting lost unless you have a guide. It is recommended to have all of the above.
After an hour of hiking, enter a large burn area resulting from a forest fire about 10 years ago. Here the trail is less apparent or missing, and your route is defined by the ridge heading west then curving towards the north. Climb to the highest point on the ridge (about 7,200ft) where Cannabis Lake may be seen steeply below to the east, total hiking time to this point about 2 hours.
Many officially named peaks can be observed including Loki, Old Tom, Sphinx, Crawford and also locally named mountains Cannabis and Weed which appear on Google Earth maps. From here you can proceed generally northwest for a few minutes and then safely descend the 500 feet to Cannabis Lake; however you need to be prepared for some scrambling, bushwhacking, and boulder-hopping. The lake is situated in a lovely alpine meadow and well worth a closer visit. A 700’ climb from the lake up the west ridge (this is very steep & challenging) yields an amazing view of Plaid Lake (straight down a thousand feet or so) from the narrow ridge top that separates the two lake basins.