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

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Free Camping Gear Delivery to Garibaldi Park

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