The Cheakamus Lake Trail is a family-friendly hike close to Whistler that finishes by a beautiful glacial lake. When we visited, the forest was especially gorgeous with sunbeams lighting up the mist. If you need to get outside, but can’t quite face an epic hike, this is a fantastic option. If you’re not used to walking, you can turn back after the first 3km, once you had your first view of the lake.
Cheakamus Lake Trail Map
Cheakamus Lake Trail – the basics
Elevation Gain: 50m (so pretty minimal, over this distance)
Time: 4-5 hours
What to bring:
Water, snacks and your camera!
You don’t really need hiking poles for this one.
The 10 essentials.
There are campsites with pit toilets at a couple of spots at the edge of the lake
Dogs are not allowed in Garibalidi Provincial Park because the vegetation is so sensitive.
How hard is it?
Easy. This is a great family hike for children.
Cheakamus Lake Trail – Getting started
The trailhead for Cheakamus Lake is pretty easy to reach. Turn off the Sea to Sky Highway at the Whistler Interpretive forest. Take the first left onto a dirt road (called Cheakamus Lake road) and drive up for about 6km to reach the trailhead.
We started quite late for us, at midday. As we moved deeper into the forest we reached a patch of mist that was burning off as the sun warmed it. It filled the forest with beautiful sunbeams.
Giant trees on the trail
The old growth trees along the Cheakamus Lake trail are really impressive.
You look up and they seem to reach all the way up to the sky.
Forest full of sunbeams
The mist wasn’t everywhere, so we’d wander through a sunny spot, only to re-emerge into the mist a few minutes later.
I am adding too many photos, but the forest just felt so dreamy!
I even managed a sunbeam-filled jump shot…
Camping at Cheakamus Lake
There are two campgrounds; The first is this close-end of the lake. The other is at the end of the trail, so a bit more than double the distance away. Now we have seen how pretty this area is, I would love to come back and camp here.
The trail through the forest is only 3km. So it doesn’t take long for you to hike up to the end of the lake. You’ll know when you are close because you can see the crazy blue water through the trees.
Cheakamus Lake Camp Ground
The first campground has 10 camping spots, a pit toilet and a pully system for hanging food up to keep it out of the reach of bears and critters.
Once you walk a little further down the trail, you start getting the amazing views of the crazily blue lake.
The trail continues around Cheakamus Lake. Every so often there are openings where you can look out to Garibaldi Provincial Park across the lake. It’s pretty amazing that you get these views with so little effort.
As always with glacial lakes, the colour of the lake changes as you look at it from different directions. We visited in autumn, so the colours were a range of blue to turquoise. Earlier in the year, it is an even brighter colour.
As we hiked further around the lake, it looked more and more turquoise.
We found plenty of trees that were covered in lichen. This can only grow where there is very little pollution in the air.
You need to hike for 3.5km around the lake to the end of the trail. This gives you an idea about how pretty the path can be.
Singing Creek Camp Ground
The end of the hike is at the Singing Creek Campground. This is the view backwards, to the end of the lake we had just walked from. There are 7 more camping spots along with another pit toilet and a place to hang food.
There is a beach, with views of the backside of Whistler mountain. Isn’t it beautiful?
The Singing Creek campground is half the way along Cheakamus Lake. This is the view in the opposite direction, into Garibaldi Provincial Park.
The light was starting to fade, but it was still beautiful.
For this hike, you return the way you came, back along the lake, and through the forest back to the trailhead.
I have to say this is one of the best view-to-effort ratio hikes I have done in a while. If you are visiting Whistler and want to do a fantastic hike that isn’t too long, or hard. You should definitely take consider this one.
Other amazing blue lakes near Whistler
If you like the look of this, but you fancy a bit more of a workout, you could visit Jofffrey Lakes or Elfin Lakes. Or if you want a really epic workout, you can try Panaorama Ridge (or Garibaldi Lake). Lastly, if you prefer being high up, the High Note trail above this trail with views down to Cheakmus Lake.
If you like the look of this hike, please click on the pins below to save it for later.