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 tranquil forest, 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. 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.

  • 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
  • The trail is longer than other Whistler trails
  • No wow factor like Wedgmount or Joffre Lakes

The trail is poorly marked in this section and you have to keep bearing right to avoid descending back into the valley.  3 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. 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.

Ring Lake Trail Map

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.

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 trailhead.  There is lots of parking at Callaghan Lake, an outhouse, boat launch and several nice campsites. 

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 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 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.

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.  The trail from Madeley Lake to Hanging Lake is nice, however at times muddy.  Free of snow, usually early July 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 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.

We Rent the Best Hiking Gear at Bargain Prices!

Rent Hiking Gear in WhistlerBuying hiking gear is expensive and confusing. Let us take the time and trouble out of getting hiking gear for you. We have the best quality and highest rated hiking gear on the market, and bring it to you at bargain prices. We rent individual items or complete hiking and camping kits. Our complete kits for one or two people consist of everything you need to hike in Whistler except clothes, food and water! Reserve today and hike into paradise! Whether you are short one backpack for your group or need to fully equip everyone, we have you covered. We rent all the best, highest rated hiking gear you will need to enjoy hiking in and around Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park. We are proud to offer the best gear at the best prices. Fully equip yourself with backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, sleeping pillows, complete cooking stove systems(stove, fuel, pot, cup, fork, spoon and coffee press), first aid kits, camp towels, knife and trekking poles. All you have to bring is food, water and clothes! We put all the fun back into hiking and remove the boring and expensive parts. We will deliver your full set of hiking gear, packed and ready to hike. You then hit the trail into paradise for a night.. or two.. or more, call us when you get home and we will pick up everything. You don't have to worry about figuring out what to pack or buying expensive equipment. We bring the best to you and at bargain prices. Why? Because we love Whistler, love hiking, love camping and we are passionate about hiking in Whistler. We will do everything in our power to make you have the most amazing hiking and camping trip of your life. And it starts with getting you the best gear, prepacked and delivered to you, without you having to spend a fortune buying gear. You can rent individual items or entire hiking/camping kits. Whatever your need, we have what you need to get you on the trail! Have a look at what we have to rent here! Next Hiking Trail - Whistler Gear Rent

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