Cheakamus Lake

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
4.5-6h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
16.6 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
500 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.5
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Panoramic views from the Cheakamus Lake hike in Whistler, British Columbia

The trail up to Cheakamus Lake is one of the best in the Whistler Region. A relatively flat approach brings you to a massive and secluded mountain lined lake with stunning views. This hike is perfect for a picnic, kids, or an easy backpack.

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Route Description for Cheakamus Lake

This dirt road is not that rocky, though it has several potholes, and is definitely drivable in almost all two-wheel-drive cars. You will drive up the dirt road through second growth forests for 7.0 km until you arrive at the Cheakamus Lake parking lot. There is a map and an outhouse here.

Before starting, be aware that this route can also be done on mountain bikes, so watch out for bikers as you hike!

This hike can be as short or as long as you like. The start of the lake and the first campground is only 3.0 km from the trailhead, and from there you can walk up to 7.0 km one-way along the lake.

The trail starts out with an initial climb, however this is most of the elevation you will gain for the entire hike. After 1.5 km you’ll come to a junction that turns off towards Garibaldi Lake.

Descending down this path for 2 minutes will bring you to a cool bridge going over the Cheakamus River. Return to the junction and follow the signs towards Cheakamus Lake. Don't try walking this route to Garibaldi Lake – it's a long journey!

The next 1.5 km of walking leads you up to the initial approach to the lake. This is a stunning, secluded nature walk that meanders through old growth forests, ending at mouth of Cheakamus Lake, and the first of two backcountry campsites. These sites are beautiful, as you can camp right on the lake. Additionally, they are fantastic for a first-time backpack, as the hike in is nice and easy.

The trail past the first campsite narrows and some small hills exist as you hike beside the lake. You will continue to get fantastic views into Garibaldi Park, with Corrie Peak across the lake to the right, and Mount Davidson and the Cheakamus Glacier visible at the far end of the lake.

Continue along the trail as far as you want to go, then return the way you came towards your vehicle.

Want to find more amazing hikes around Whistler? Check out the Garibaldi Lake hike, Panorama Ridge hike or the Black Tusk hike.

Insider Hints for Cheakamus Lake

  • Bring a picnic to enjoy on the rocky beach at either of the two campgrounds.
  • Be aware that this route can also be done by bike, and thus be cautious of bikers while on the trail.
  • This is a great hike for young kids as there is minimal elevation gain.

Getting to the Cheakamus Lake Trailhead

From Function Junction (signed and marked on most maps as such), enter the Whistler Olympic Village. After driving for a couple hundred meters, just as the speed limit drops, turn left on a dirt road leading up to the Cheakamus Lake trailhead. If you enter the Olympic Village you have gone too far.

Route Information

  • When to do

    June through September

  • Backcountry Campsites

    Cheakamus Lake Helm Lake

  • Toilets

    Trailhead & Backcountry campgrounds

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Cheakamus Lake Elevation Graph

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