Madeley Lake is a beautiful, remote mountain lake hidden high up in the Callaghan Valley.  From Whistler Village expect to take 40 minutes to drive there.  You can drive directly to the lake, however the access road is pretty bad with deep waterbars.  An average 4x4 can make it quite easily, though most cars with have great difficulty driving over the numerous deep water cut gouges in the road.  Located near Alexander Falls, Madeley Lake is close to several beautiful places.

  • Amazing, remote feeling corner of Whistler
  • Driving there is very scenic and beautiful
  • Perfect little rocky beach and great for swimming
  • Tidy & cute campsite with picnic tables & fire rings
  • Beach is south facing & always sunny
  • Free campsite
  • Freshwater creek flows through the campsite
  • Stunning mountain views all around
  • Swimming is amazing, although freezing!
  • Whistler Hiking Trail ConAccess road blocked by snow until mid May

Whistler & Garibaldi Park

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Whistler Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail ModerateRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlySproatt  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

 Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JanuaryJanuary  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking FebruaryFebruary  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking MarchMarch  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking AprilApril  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking MayMay  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JuneJune  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JulyJuly  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking AugustAugust  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking SeptemberSeptember  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking OctoberOctober  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking NovemberNovember  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking DecemberDecember

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Just metres past the turnoff to Alexander Falls, turn left at the sign for Callaghan Lake Provincial Park. Cross the bridge and follow the terribly potholed logging road for about 300 metres, turn right at the first logging road that branches off to the right(Madeley Road).  Follow this logging road and bear left at the next fork in the road. Continue for about 5 minutes until Madeley Lake appears on your right. There is a large map board at the trailhead to Hanging Lake, Rainbow Lake and Mount Sproatt.  You can park here or continue past this and drive to the end of the lake and small campsite area(park and look for the small trailhead sign across the bridge). This is an unmaintained area camping area and for the most park you will feel very far from civilization despite being just a couple kilometres from Whistler Olympic Park.

Madeley Lake Tent View

This is an amazing place to camp.  If looking for solitude at a paradise, mountain lake, Madeley Lake is hard to beat. Though somewhat popular with fishing, you are still likely to rarely see anyone at the lake in the summer and never in the fall.  Once in a while you will see a car or two at the trailhead to Hanging Lake.  If you have a canoe, Madeley is a great place to paddle around or just float in the sun. Hanging Lake is located just before Rainbow Lake. Though ugly in comparison to Rainbow Lake, Hanging Lake has a nice camping area and is dog friendly and swimming friendly. Rainbow Lake is the source of Whistler's drinking water and camping, dogs, swimming and fishing are prohibited.  Though all of these prohibitions are unfortunately, routinely flouted at Rainbow Lake, Hanging Lake is a good alternative.  The dividing line for dogs allowed and not allowed runs between Rainbow Lake and Hanging Lake and is marked with a huge sign.

Hanging Lake

The trail from Madeley Lake to Hanging Lake is nice, however at times muddy. Free of snow, usually early June to November most years, this trail is a great way to avoid the much busier Rainbow Lake trail that starts from the Whistler side of this area. If you can arrange to have someone drop you off at the trailhead you can hike all the way to Whistler Village via the Rainbow Lake trail and the Valley Trail.  The entire distance is about 23 kilometres and should only take about 6 hours, much of it steadily descending the beautiful Rainbow Lake trail. The route is well marked and there are several map-boards along the route ensuring you find your way safely.

Madeley Lake Trail Map

This trail map shows the Madeley Lake trail to Hanging Lake as well as the Rainbow Lake Trail to Rainbow Lake and down to Whistler near Rainbow Park on Alta Lake. To print: Right Click on the map, save image as, save to desktop, then open the image and print on standard size printer paper. Cell coverage is sometimes spotty in the Callaghan Valley, however generally good nearer to Rainbow Lake. You will likely be able to access the internet and this map if you have a data plan, however saving this image may be a good idea especially if you are venturing out toward Beverly Lake where the trail is hard to find and follow.

Madeley Lake to Hanging Lake Topo Map

Camping at Madeley Lake

The campsite at the end of Madeley Lake is very basic, though wonderfully remote feeling and rustic. The sun rises over the lake in the morning and you are bathed in sun most of the day.  In previous years you could also camp at the nearby Alexander Falls, however this is no longer allowed.  Also, keep in mind that this whole area in the winter is taken over by Callaghan Country and Whistler Olympic Park so access via skis comes with a usage charge.  Another campsite option in the area is the beautiful and large campsite area at Callaghan Lake Provincial Park nearby. Both Madeley Lake campsite and Callaghan Lake are free of charge for camping.

Madeley Lake Campsite - Hike in Whistler

Facilities at Madeley Lake

Madeley Lake is a wonderfully remote feeling place and the campsite is not maintained.  There are a few picnic tables, an outhouse, several fire rings and several clearings for tents. Madeley Lake sits in a forgotten corner of Whistler's Callaghan Valley. Camping here is free and compared to every other campsite in and around Whistler, it is probably the nicest. Tranquil, great rocky beach with a crashing river flowing by. Well laid out tent sites in a deep forest, sun facing and you can drink straight from the river which comes from a glacier at Telemagique Lake.

Restrictions and Concerns at Madeley Lake

No Campfires AllowedThere are not really any restrictions at Madeley Lake. Free camping, dog friendly, and fires are OK in the fire rings. Though during the most dangerous months for a fire, you will see a "no fires" sign in the campground. The Madeley Lake trail to Hanging Lake is very dog friendly but keep in mind that it is often a muddy trail so your car will get muddy if you don't take him for a swim at the end. Beyond Hanging Lake you will come to a large sign indicating that Rainbow Lake is Whistler's water source and dogs, swimming, fishing, etc are prohibited. There are plenty of other dog friendly trails around Whistler.  For a look at some of the best easy, dog friendly trails try here.. and some of the best challenging dog friendly trails here...

Wildlife at Madeley Lake

WildlifeLots of black bears inhabit the forest around Madeley Lake and the Callaghan Valley. So many that you will occasionally see a bear watching tour across the lake. They drive up Callaghan Valley road and then up to Madeley Lake. Often seeing multiple bears on the drive to the lake. The Callaghan Valley is also home to grizzly bears. Occasionally you hear of someone photographing a grizzly bear in the area. If you encounter a black bear, don't worry too much as they are rarely aggressive in Whistler. If you encounter a grizzly bear, you should be worried. Though sightings are rare and there has never been a grizzly bear attack, or unprovoked black bear attack in Whistler, it is still possible. Much more so than an encounter with a black bearBlack bears are timid and fearful of humans, whereas grizzly bears are far more likely to become aggressive if you get in their space.  The worrying thing about grizzly bears is though you are extremely unlikely to ever see one in and around Whistler, if you do happen upon one, you will be in a lot of danger if it is inclined to find you a threat.

Bear Near Madeley Lake - Hike in Whistler

History of Madeley Lake

History of Madeley LakeMadeley Lake has been locally known by that name in recent memory as well as identified at Madeley Lake in many Forest Service records.  Madeley Lake is named as a memorial to remember Canadian Army Lieutenant William A. Madeley, from Squamish; killed in action 15 June 1945.  In the 1970's the Lakewood Mining Company worked in the area and discovered a high tungsten geochemistry in the west shore of the lake.  A yellow fluorescent material named powellite, an extremely rare material discovered in Utah and named after one of the directors of the US Geological Survey, Major JW Powell.  Lakewood Mining Company geologists called Madeley Lake, Powell Lake.  It is possible that Madeley Lake appeared unnamed on their maps at the time.  Madeley Lake and Powell Lake are both used for the same lake today.  On many maps, including google maps, you will see it named Powell Lake.  On many other maps you will see it named Madeley Lake.  Around the lake itself, signs and mapboards show it as Madeley Lake, which seems to reinforce this name as the correct, and official name to use.

Parking & Trailhead Directions to Madeley Lake

Parking & Trailhead DirectionsPublic Transit to TrailheadBiking and public transit options to get to Madeley are not good. Far away from any bus routes, you may be able to make your way to Whistler Olympic Park by a local tour or taxi, but then you still have a fair distance to hike to the lake. Driving there is the only realistic option. From Whistler drive 20 kilometres towards Vancouver on the Sea to Sky highway, then turn right at the sign for Whistler Olympic Park. Drive up the beautiful, winding road for about 8 minutes. The sign for Callaghan Lake will be just after Alexander Falls and just before Whistler Olympic Park, you will turn left, cross a bridge and after a couple hundred metres turn right onto another logging road. Follow this for 5 kilometres(bear right at first Y junction and left at the second Y junction) until you come to Madeley Lake and a large info board and signs directing you to Hanging Lake and Rainbow Lake. There is lots of parking here.  The first parking area as you approach the lake is the best if you are just hiking. Here you will see a nice sign and great directions. If you are camping, then continue to the end of the road where the campsite is and the top of the trail. If you try to find Madeley Lake on Google Maps it is named incorrectly as Powell Lake.  **the access road to Madeley Lake is often impassible due to snow until mid June.  In 2018, June 12th was the first day a high clearance 4x4 made it through the last deep snow section about 1 kilometre from the lake.  Most SUV's should manage to get through by about the 16th of June.  Cars likely will have to wait until late June to get through.

More Great Hiking Around Madeley Lake

Alexander Falls is a very impressive 43 metre/141foot waterfall just before the left turn to Callaghan Lake and Madeley Lake.  Accessible year-round and located just before Whistler Olympic Park where several of the 2010 Olympic events were held.  There is a nice viewing platform on the edge of the cliff across from the falls which crash fantastically into the valley below.  The parking area and viewing platform at Alexander Falls is one big area just 40 metres from the main road (to Whistler Olympic Park).  The adventurous can find the obscure trail that leads to both the top of the falls as well as, with great difficulty, to the base of the falls. Callaghan Lake is not really a hiking destination but more of a drive to campsite on a beautiful lake, and gateway to some beautiful intermediate hikes.  The campsite is small and looks a bit like a parking lot with about 6 spots to put up a tent. There is a proper boat launch at the campsite and the lake is large and beautiful to paddle. Surrounded by snowy mountains and nice rock outcrops the lake is good for fishing. If you have a canoe or boat of some kind you can find numerous, breathtaking places to camp.

Callaghan Lake Near Madeley - Hike in Whistler

To get there from Madeley, drive back the way you came from and at the T junction, turn right and drive for about 8 kilometres. Rainbow Lake is one of the original hiking trails in Whistler that has existed well before Whistler was called Whistler. The 8 kilometre trail is challenging though beautiful as it passes through an impressively huge forest of giant trees. There are several wonderful bridge crossings and crashing river views. Rainbow Lake itself is surreal and beautiful.  An unnaturally bright, green meadow extends from one side of the lake and a field of starkly white erratics litter the landscape along the shores of the crystal clear lake. Rainbow Lake is Whistler's water source so swimming, fishing, dogs and camping are not allowed.  There are, you will quickly notice upon reaching Rainbow Lake, that a trail continues past the lake then forks.  From the Madeley Lake trail to Hanging Lake, Rainbow Lake is just a 20 minute hike past Hanging Lake. Cirque Lake is an unbelievably beautiful paradise high up above Callaghan Lake in the Callaghan Valley. It requires a canoe to get you to the trailhead at the far end of Callaghan Lake and therefore is seldom hiked. The trailhead is tricky to find and the 2 kilometre trail is very steep, though surprisingly well marked with flagging tape.

Once at the lake you find yourself in the wind shadow of the cirque and in a world of serenity and calm. It is an extraordinary thing to have a cirque valley to yourself. Feels like you are standing in a volcano of sorts. But a giant, tree filled meadow of a volcano with a mesmerisingly still and perfectly reflecting lake at its centre. To get to Cirque Lake you have to canoe from Callaghan Lake Provincial Park to the trailhead at the far end of the lake.

Ring Lake is a fantastically beautiful and wonderfully remote lake similar to Cirque Lake but considerably farther to hike to reach it.  The 10 kilometre hike takes you through a beautiful forest of cedars then to a spectacular meadow filled with ponds and ringed with distant, enormous mountains. 5 kilometres into the hike you come to Conflict Lake with trails running around it. Signs at various junctions indicate which trail to take to reach Ring Lake, a further 5 kilometres from Conflict Lake. The trailhead to Conflict Lake & Ring Lake is very close to the Callaghan Lake Provincial Park campsite. About 200 metres before the Callaghan Lake campsite on your left you will see and unmarked parking area and a trail that crosses the river over a large log bridge. A few minutes into the trail you will start seeing trail signs.

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Vancouver Garibaldi Hiking Camping Rental

Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking

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 Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JanuaryJanuary  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking FebruaryFebruary  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking MarchMarch  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking AprilApril  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking MayMay  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JuneJune  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JulyJuly  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking AugustAugust  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking SeptemberSeptember  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking OctoberOctober  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking NovemberNovember  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking DecemberDecember

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February continues to be great for snowshoeing in and around Whistler.  The days slowly get longer, but the temperatures stay consistently cold.  Expect several ...
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Whistler Hiking Trails

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Mount Sproatt, or as it is known locally as  just Sproatt, is one of the many towering mountains visible from Whistler Village. Above and beyond Alta Lake, directly across from Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb ...
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