Ring Lake is a fantastically serene and wonderfully remote lake similar to Cirque Lake, but considerably farther to hike to reach it. The 10 kilometre(6.2 mile) hike takes you through a rarely hiked forest, then to an idyllic meadow filled with ponds and ringed with distant, mountains, then finally up an over some steep terrain to reveal this very hidden lake. 5 kilometres(3.1 miles) into the hike you come to Conflict Lake with trails running around it.

  • Idyllic lake high up in the mountains
  • Nice and varied trail infrequently hiked
  • Lots of accessible alpine routes beyond the lake
  • Black Tusk's little brother sits across the lake
  • Ring Lake feels wonderfully far from the world
  • Trail starts from beautiful Callaghan Lake
  • The trail is longer than other Whistler trails
  • No wow factor like Wedgemount or Joffre Lakes
  • Easy to lose the trail if you aren't careful
  • Local tour company marches groups through

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

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  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyFlank Trail  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 FriendlyMount Sproatt  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

  Hike in Whistler GlossaryThe Barrier  Hike in Whistler GlossaryBears  Hike in Whistler GlossaryCloudraker Skybridge  Hike in Whistler GlossaryCoast Mountains  Hike in Whistler GlossaryErratic  Hike in Whistler GlossaryThe Fissile  Hike in Whistler GlossaryFitzsimmons Range  Hike in Whistler GlossaryGaribaldi Ranges  Hike in Whistler GlossaryGaribaldi Volcanic Belt Hike in Whistler GlossaryGreen Lake  Hike in Whistler GlossaryHoary Marmot Hike in Whistler GlossaryKrummholz  Hike in Whistler GlossaryMount Garibaldi  Hike in Whistler GlossaryNorthair Mine  Hike in Whistler GlossaryOverlord  Hike in Whistler GlossaryPeak2Peak  Hike in Whistler GlossaryRoundhouse  Hike in Whistler GlossaryRubble Creek  Hike in Whistler GlossarySpearhead Range

Journeyman Lodge sits near Conflict Lake. A wilderness lodge operated by Callaghan Country, a tour company that operates in the valley. They offer a range of alpine activities, far more serene than across the valley on Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain. Signs along the trail and at Conflict Lake indicate which trail to take to reach Ring Lake, a further 5 kilometres from Conflict Lake.  The trail from Conflict Lake to Ring Lake passes through a huge valley for a couple kilometres, then abruptly ascends on the right side of the valley. The trail is poorly marked in this section and you have to keep bearing right to avoid descending back into the valley. The trail is occasionally maintained, however owing to heavy winter snow, the trail gets pretty brutalized every winter.  Because of the winter destruction, the visible trail in some parts disappears and you find yourself wondering if you are still on your way to Ring Lake. The key to staying on the right route, you quickly figure out, is to keep to the right side of the valley. Three kilometres of, at times very steep, but not technical trail gets you to the magnificent Ring Lake and the imposing Ring Mountain across the emerald green water.

Ring Lake Trail Map - Hike in Whistler

The trailhead to Ring and Conflict Lakes is very close to the Callaghan Lake Provincial Park campsite. From the campsite, drive a couple hundred metres as if returning to Whistler and you will see a clearing on the right and a very well worn trail. From this trail you will see plenty of signs to guide you first to Conflict Lake in 5 kilometres, then Ring Lake, another 5 kilometres past Conflict. The 5 kilometre hike to Conflict Lake is quite relaxed and easy as you don't gain any significant elevation. The 5 kilometres from Conflict to Ring Lake is very steep, and though marked well with flagging tape and cairns, if often difficult to follow. Though the 10 kilometre trail is comparatively longer than most other Whistler hiking trails, the reward when you reach the end is magnificent. Unspoiled wilderness. Jagged mountain peaks, evidently from geologically recent volcanic activity. Snowy mountains beyond, and the stunningly clear and serene Ring Lake filling the valley.  Ring Lake and Conflict Lake have their own, unmarked trailhead, a stones throw from the parking/campsite area for Callaghan Lake Provincial Park.  It is very easy to find once you arrive at Callaghan Lake. Just a few metres outside/before the campsite/parking area at Callaghan Lake you will see a large area at the edge of the road with room for about 8 cars.  The wide and very visible trail enters the forest and almost immediately crosses a large bridge over Callaghan Creek. Shortly after that you will spot trail signs at various stretches of the trail.  Easy to follow and with good distance markers.

Ring Lake Trailhead Bridge

Ring Lake Trail Hike in Whistler

Ring Lake Trail Hike in Whistler

Ring Lake Trail Hike in Whistler

Conflict Lake Hike in Whistler

Callaghan Country Lodge at Conflict Lake

Mt Callaghan from the Ring Lake Trail

Ring Lake Trail Valley View

Ring Lake Trail Creek Crossing

Ring Lake Trail Creek Crossing

Ring Lake Hike in Whistler

Ring Lake Hike in Whistler

Ring Lake Hike in Whistler

Ring Lake Hike in Whistler

Trailhead & Parking Directions to Ring Lake

Parking & Trailhead DirectionsThe Callaghan Lake turnoff is 20km south of Whistler Village. From Whistler drive 20 kilometres on the Sea to Sky highway towards Vancouver, 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 before Whistler Olympic Park, you will turn left, cross a bridge and drive a bumpy logging road for 6 kilometres. This logging road is usually deep with snow until mid June, however the road is blocked by a gate until May 15 every year. The trailhead for Ring and Conflict Lake is on the left, about 100 metres before the Callaghan Lake campsite. There is room for about 6 vehicles at this unmarked trailhead.  There are plenty more parking spaces at Callaghan Lake, an outhouse, boat launch and several nice drive-to campsites. 

Bridge 100 Metres from Trailhead/Parking

Callaghan Creek Near the Trailhead

Callaghan Lake Campsite 300 Metres from Ring Lake Trailhead

More Great Hiking Around Ring Lake

The Callaghan Valley lays quietly across from Whistler despite being home to some incredible hikes.  Ring & Conflict Lake and Cirque Lake are two phenomenal hiking destinations in the valley that few people have even heard of. Cirque Lake resides high above Callaghan Lake at the end of a very steep, though very short hike that runs startlingly close to the almost vertical falls that empty Cirque Lake. Ring and Conflict Lakes sit high up in the mountains 10 kilometres west of Callaghan Lake. You will never, or at least comparatively rarely see anyone on the trails to Cirque Lake, Conflict Lake or Ring Lake for several reasons. First is location.  Despite the Callaghan Valley being tremendously beautiful geographically. The distant mountains are snow covered, even in September.  The lakes are emerald coloured and crystal clear. The forests are an untouched blanket of beautiful green.  The creeks, rivers and waterfalls are everywhere in your view or if not in view, heard as distant sounds of running water. Despite this beauty, it seems that the biggest reason for the Callaghan Valley's lack of use as a hiking destination is its location next to Garibaldi Provincial Park.

Cirque Lake near Ring Lake

The beautiful and well known park focuses all the throngs of hikers in the justifiably popular areas of Garibaldi Lake, Black Tusk, Taylor Meadows, Wedgemount Lake and Elfin Lakes.  Laying outside this monstrously famous Provincial Park exists the relatively untouched and unknown Callaghan Valley.  The second big reason of course is that the hikes in the Callaghan Valley are unmaintained or at least rarely maintained. The campsite at Callaghan Lake is maintained to a very high standard, however the trail to Cirque Lake is by comparison unmaintained.  Just finding the Cirque Lake trailhead is a challenge. There are flagging tapes along the trail after the trailhead. The third reason, at least for Cirque Lake, for being hardly hiked is the fact that the unmarked trailhead starts at the far end of Callaghan Lake.

Callaghan Lake Aerial View

Beautiful Callaghan Lake

So you need to canoe or otherwise, boat there. This added impediment surely contributes to this wonderful trail, continuing to be infrequently hiked. The fourth, more practical, yet inexplicable reason is that the road to Callaghan Lake Provincial Park is horribly unmaintained. Obviously grading this poor logging road is expensive, however it is beyond neglected. Boulders, waterbars and potholes exist on this road to such a high degree that the neglect seems malicious.  In fact, the moment you leave the deluxe road to the Olympic Nordic Centre the monstrous potholes begin, presumably scaring away any 4x4 lacking tourists Callaghan Lake Provincial Park bound. The Callaghan Valley gets a lot of drive in traffic since the recent paving of the road and installation of the fabulous Whistler Olympic Park for the 2010 Olympics. This road is open year-round and in the summer is frequented by bear watchers.  The grass along the road is a favourite for bears and in the summer months consistently ensures at least a couple bears along the route to the Callaghan Valley. Madeley Lake is an amazing place to camp.

Madeley Lake Tent Hike in Whistler

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 Lake is a great place to paddle around or just float in the sun.  The trail from Madeley Lake to Hanging Lake is nice, however at times muddy.  Free of snow, usually from June to November most years(late May in 2015), 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 Trail.  The route is well marked and there are several map-boards along the route ensuring you find your way safely.

Best Whistler Aerial Views

The alpine hiking trails on Whistler Mountain are the ultimate in luxurious, quick-access alpine hiking. Little effort gets you amazing views of turquoise lakes, ...
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Wedge Glacier descends the steep valley down from Wedge Mountain and flanked by Parkhurst Mountain and Mount Weart.  A couple decades ago the glacier ...
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Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is a gorgeous park with extraordinarily coloured lakes, waterfalls, stunning mountain peaks and ominous glaciers pouring into ...
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Logger’s Lake is an amazing little lake hidden up in the deep forest above the more well known Cheakamus River. The lake, almost unbelievably exists in a long ...
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Vancouver Garibaldi Hiking Camping Rental

Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking

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  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyFlank Trail  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 FriendlyMount Sproatt  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

 Best Whistler AerialAlexander  Best Whistler AerialBrandywine  Best Whistler AerialBlackcomb  Best Whistler AerialCallaghan  Best Whistler AerialCirque  Best Whistler AerialJoffre  Best Whistler AerialKeyhole  Best Whistler AerialLogger's  Best Whistler AerialMadeley  Best Whistler AerialPanorama  Best Whistler AerialSproatt  Best Whistler AerialParkhurst  Best Whistler AerialRainbow  Best Whistler AerialRusset  Best Whistler AerialTrain Wreck  Best Whistler AerialWedge Glacier  Best Whistler AerialWedgemount  Best Whistler AerialWhistler

 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

Best Hiking by Month

May is an extraordinarily beautiful time of year in Whistler.  The days are longer and warmer and a great lull in between seasons happens.  Whistler is ...
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There are plenty of beautiful and free snowshoe trails in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.  From the surreal paintings of Whistler Train Wreck to ...
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August hiking in Whistler definitely has the most consistently great, hot weather.  You can feel the rare pleasure of walking across a glacier shirtless ...
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In the(usually) deep March snow of Whistler you have an amazing array of snowshoeing options.  If you have not been to the Whistler Train Wreck, you have ...
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Best Whistler Waterfalls

Wedgemount Falls can be seen along the trail to Wedgemount Lake.  As the falls flow directly from Wedgemount Lake, they are located about three quarters ...
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Alexander Falls is a very impressive 43 metre/141 foot waterfall just 30 to 40 minutes south of Whistler in the Callaghan Valley. Open year-round and ...
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Shannon Falls towers above Howe Sound at 335 metres as the third tallest falls in BC.  The wonderful, though very short trail winds through a beautiful old ...
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Whistler Train Wreck is a hidden little world of brightly graffiti painted, wrecked train cars along a gorgeous stretch of Cheakamus River.  One ...
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Whistler Hiking Trails

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 ...
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Meager Hot Springs(aka: Meager Creek Hot Springs) is located 93 kilometres northwest of Whistler, was beautifully developed into gorgeous pools, with a caretaker and usage charge.  At its height of ...
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Ancient Cedars is a nice, easy/moderate 2.5 kilometre(1.6 mile) hiking trail on the far side of Cougar Mountain, just 10.8 kilometres north of Whistler Village. A small, untouched grove of huge western ...
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Callaghan Lake Provincial Park is a relatively untouched wilderness of rugged mountainous terrain. The valley walls were formed by relatively recent glaciation. Evidence of this can be seen in the ...
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