Cirque Lake is a wild and beautiful lake that hides high above and beyond Callaghan Lake in Callaghan Lake Provincial Park.  What makes Cirque Lake special among the other sensationally beautiful lakes in the Whistler area is both its location and geologically formed shape.  It sits high above Callaghan Lake, which itself is a gorgeous, mountain lake.  The remoteness of Callaghan Lake is a bit of a mirage due to the fact that you can drive right to it!

  • Infrequently hiked & relatively untouched
  • Stunningly beautiful lake created by glaciation
  • Endless alpine terrain to explore beyond the lake
  • The cirque acts a shield against the cold mountain winds
  • The side of the cirque you will be on is always sunny
  • You feel like you are in a hidden world in the mountains
  • Starting your hike from a canoe is fun
  • Callaghan Lake is a destination on its own
  • The drive to Callaghan is beautifully scenic
  • Few flat areas to put up a tent & cold swimming!

Whistler Hiking Trails

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb 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 WhistlerHelm Creek Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJoffre Lakes Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerParkhurst Hiking Trail ModerateRainbow Falls Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRussett Lake Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlySproatt Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedge Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler

Callaghan Lake is accessible via an 8 kilometre weather battered and very potholed forest service road. The entire road is cratered with deep potholes, cut by frequent cross-ditches, and more recently a small section collapsing into the valley below. This logging road begins high up in the Callaghan Valley, which itself is largely overlooked by travellers to Whistler.

The Callaghan Valley is home to quite a few natural and man-made attractions. Brandywine Meadows, Alexander Falls, Northair Mine and Mount Sproatt are all found in the valley. Recently, the 2010 Olympic Games produced the largest man-made attraction in Callaghan Valley, Whistler Olympic Park. Though Cirque Lake is tremendously far into the wilderness, the amount of hiking required to reach it is effectively less than two kilometres.  Another two kilometres of canoeing is required to reach the trailhead at the far end of Callaghan Lake. But for such an enchantingly beautiful, mountain lake, the exertion to reach it is remarkably little.

The other attribute of Cirque Lake that makes it special, is its cirque structure. From the moment you catch sight of Cirque Lake, the abruptly steep sides all around give you the humbling feeling that you are inside a volcano. A volcano filled with emerald water and ringed by grassy meadows and crumbling, near vertical cliffs. Where you stand, at the entrance to the cirque, is not far from the only water channel out of the cirque. An ever narrowing gap in the cliffs spills water down one cliff after another until reaching Callaghan Lake just 1.4 kilometres away.

Owing to the fact that you have to reach the trailhead to Cirque Lake by boat ensures that it almost always remains deserted. Even in the middle of summer, your tent will almost certainly be the only one that resides in this magical cirque. You sometimes get hikers venturing up from their campsites at Callaghan Lake for a couple hours, otherwise nobody.  One feature of the Cirque Lake trail that no doubt scares hikers away is its steepness and ruggedness. It is mostly very steep, and due to the obliterating effects of winter snow, the trail markers are sporadic at best. One consolation is of course the length of the trail. Under two kilometres, makes the steepness much easier to tackle. With a heavy pack you can easily hike the trail in a little over an hour.  Or an hour and a half or two if you linger at the frequent viewpoints looking back on Callaghan Lake. The eruption of blueberry bushes in August is cause for some delays as well as it is surprisingly hard to pass up feasting on every bush you see.. and you will see a lot. The trail, for the most part is quite scenic and enjoyable. The first 15 minutes of the trail winds through a cute forest along and over some small streams. The next 15 minutes takes you up some steeper and more challenging terrain that require pulling yourself up with tree roots and at one section a knotted rope.

Cirque Lake Hike in Whistler

More information on hiking to Cirque Lake in Whistler...

Hike in Whistler & Garibaldi Provincial Park

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb 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 WhistlerHelm Creek Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJoffre Lakes Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls

Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerParkhurst Hiking Trail ModerateRainbow Falls Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake

Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRussett Lake Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlySproatt

Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedge Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler

Hike in Squamish & Garibaldi Provincial Park

Easy Hiking Trail - Vancouver HikingAlice Lake Hiking Trail ModerateBlack Tusk Easy Hiking Trail - Vancouver HikingBrandywine Falls Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyBrew Lake Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake Hiking Trail ModerateElfin Lakes Hiking Trail ModerateGaribaldi Lake

Hiking Trail HardHigh Falls Easy Hiking Trail - Vancouver HikingLevette Lake Hiking Trail ModeratePanorama Ridge Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyRing Lake Pay Use Hiking TrailSea2Sky

Easy Hiking Trail - Vancouver HikingShannon Falls Hiking Trail HardThe Chief Hiking Trail ModerateTaylor Meadows Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyThe Lions Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyUpper Shannon

Hike in Vancouver & the North Shore

Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverBlack Mountain Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverBrunswick Mountain Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverBurnaby Lake Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverBurnaby Mountain Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverColiseum Mountain Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverCrown Mountain

Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverCypress Falls Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverDeeks Peak Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverDeep Cove Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverDeer Lake Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverDog Mountain Moderately Steep Pay Use Trail - Hike in VancouverGoat Mountain Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverGoldie Lake Steep Trail - Hike in VancouverGrouse

Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverHollyburn Mountain Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverKitsilano Beaches Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverLighthouse Park Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverLynn Canyon Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverLynn Peak Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverMt Elsay

Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverMt Fromme Very Steep Technical Terrain - Hike in VancouverMt Hanover Very Steep Technical Terrain - Hike in VancouverMt Harvey Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverMt Seymour Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverMt Strachan Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverMystery Lake

Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverPacific Spirit Easy Trail No Dogs - Hike in VancouverRice Lake Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverSt Mark's Easy Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverStanley Park Moderately Difficult Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverThe Lions Difficult and Steep Dog Friendly Trail - Hike in VancouverUnnecessary

Whistler Hiking Trails

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The three Joffre Lakes are some of the most stunning lakes you are likely to ever see. Each lake gets progressively more beautiful and impossibly turquoise from one to the next.  By ...
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Whistler Hiking Maps

Callaghan Lake Provincial Park is a relatively untouched wilderness of rugged mountainous terrain. The valley walls were formed by relatively recent glaciation.  Evidence of ...
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Sloquet Hot Springs is a wonderfully wild set of shallow, man-made pools fed by a small, all natural, and very hot, waterfall.  The pools stretch from the waterfall to the ...
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Nairn Falls is a wonderful, crashing and chaotic waterfall that surrounds you from the deluxe viewing platform that allows you to safely watch it from above.  The beautiful, ...
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Decades ago a train derailed south of Whistler near what is now Function Junction.  Seven train cars were left scattered next to the Cheakamus River.  As it turns out, time and ...
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