Whistler Aerial ViewsCallaghan Lake is a stunning lake high up in the Callaghan Valley that you can drive to from Whistler Village in less than an hour.  The very potholed and waterbar strewn gravel road to get there ends at the Callaghan Lake Park campsite and shore of the lake.  Hardly any hiking trails exist at the lake itself, however trails are being planned for the near future.  

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

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Whistler Aerial Views

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There is an amazing trail that starts at the far end of the lake to Cirque Lake as well as a trail from the Callaghan Lake campsite to Ring Lake.  The Ring Lake trail takes you around Mount Callaghan to this beautiful mountain paradise while the Cirque Lake trail takes you far up alongside Mount Callaghan.  Most visitors to Callaghan Lake Park camp or stay close to the main campsite area and paddle around the lake.  The lake is surrounded by pristine wilderness and endless white capped mountains.  There are dozens of interesting places along the shore to pull up your canoe and explore the wilderness or just find a sunny hilltop for a picnic.  The right side of the lake is always sun facing and several rocky lakeside cliffs give you stunning views as well as a secluded oasis from the world.  Almost anywhere you enter the forest along the shore of Callaghan Lake you will find the forest wide open under the thick forest canopy.  Hiking through the forest is easy and quite beautiful.  Little ground level foliage and only fallen trees to scramble over as you explore a marvellously untouched mountain rainforest.  From the water, the shoreline looks thick with foliage and uninviting, but just metres in and you discover a beautiful hidden world.  Halfway along the right hand side of Callaghan Lake you will see some cliffs along the shore.  There you will find a quick route up to the top of the cliffs and a great place to view this amazing lake.

Callaghan Park Map v8

Callaghan Lake Aerial View 21

Callaghan Lake Aerial View of Island

Callaghan Lake Aerial View 19

Callaghan Lake Aerial View 10

Callaghan Lake Aerial View 11

Callaghan Lake Aerial View 7

Callaghan Lake Aerial View 2

Cirque Lake Aerial View

Cirque Lake Sunset Aerial View

Cirque Lake Aerial View 2

Cirque Lake and Mount Callaghan

More Great Hiking Around Callaghan 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 & Conflict Lake 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, Ring & Conflict 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 Park. 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 evidently doesn't fall into any park jurisdiction and finding the unmarked 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.  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 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 Park bound.  The Callaghan Valley gets a lot of drive in traffic since the recent paving of the road and installation of 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.  Whistler has quite a few beautiful waterfalls to see.  From Squamish there is Shannon Falls, then Brandywine Falls closer to Whistler. Rainbow Falls in Whistler and Nairn Falls twenty minutes north.  Out of these, Alexander Falls in the Callaghan Valley is both impressively huge and convenient to see.  It is located just before the turnoff to Callaghan Lake.  You can drive to the viewing platform and actually see the falls without leaving your car.

Callaghan Valley Map v10

Callaghan Lake Directions Map v10

More Info for Callaghan Lake Park

More Whistler Aerial Views!

Callaghan Lake is a stunning lake high up in the Callaghan Valley that you can drive to from Whistler Village in less than an hour.  The very potholed and ...
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The Rainbow Trail is a convenient and popular trail near Whistler Village that takes you to Rainbow Lake as well as the Rainbow-Sproatt Flank Trail, ...
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Russet Lake is a surreal little paradise that lays at the base of The Fissile, in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The Fissile is the strikingly bronze ...
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Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking Glossary A to Z

Accumulation Zone: the area where snow accumulations exceeds melt, located above the firn line.  Snowfall accumulates faster than melting, evaporation and ...
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Neal Carter (14 Dec 1902 – 15 Mar 1978) was a mountaineer and early explorer of the Coast Mountains primarily in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Astoundingly skilled as a ...
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Surprisingly often in Whistler's forests you will find a tree growing on an old fallen tree or out of a decaying tree stump. Decaying logs and stumps in ...
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The Peak 2 Peak Gondola connects Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain at a dizzying height of 436 metres(1427 feet).  It runs all winter and in the ...
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Mills Winram was a very active mountaineer from Vancouver with some very notable ascents in the 1920's and 1930's.  He, along with Fred Parkes and Stan ...
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The Rubble Creek trailhead is the main access point for many of the best hikes and sights in Garibaldi Provincial Park.  Rubble Creek is located midway ...
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Porteau Cove is a beautiful little stop on the drive to or from Whistler. You will notice the lack of convenient washroom stops on the way to or from ...
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Bench: a flat section in steep terrain.  Characteristically narrow, flat or gently sloping with steep or vertical slopes on either side.  A bench can be ...
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Whistler & Garibaldi Park Best Hiking by Month!

April in Whistler is a wonderful time of year.  The winter deep freeze ends and T-shirt weather erupts.  The village comes alive with overflowing patios and ...
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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 fairly ...
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June is a pretty amazing month to hike in Whistler and Garibaldi Park.  The average low and high temperatures in Whistler range from 9c to 21c(48f/70f).  ...
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July is a wonderful time to hike in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.  The weather is beautiful and the snow on high elevation hiking trails is long ...
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Free Camping Gear Delivery to Garibaldi Park

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