Cheakamus Lake Trail – Whistler Hikes

Cheakamus Lake Trail – Whistler Hikes

Cheakamus Lake Trail - Hike to this glacial lake near WhistlerThe 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.

Although this is a popular walk, considering how pretty the views are, it was not as busy as I expected. We saw far fewer walkers than up on the High Note Trail or even the trail to Garibaldi Lake.

Cheakamus Lake Trail Map

Cheakamus Lake Trail – the basics

Distance: 15km 
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.

Lake views

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.

Cheakamus Lake Trail - views from Singing Creek Campground Cheakamus Lake Trail - Hike to this glacial lake near Whistler Cheakamus Lake Trail - beautiful hike through the forest

50 thoughts on “Cheakamus Lake Trail – Whistler Hikes

    1. It was in November, before the snow had started to cover Whistler in a giant white blanket. I’m tempted to go back and see what it’s like now!

  1. That looks absolutely spectacular, and you’ve included nothing like too many photos. I love the sunbeams through the trees and the sky reflections in the lake.

    1. I looove seeing sunbeams through forests. We’ve seen it a few times now (I guess the rainforest often has mist on sunny days!) But you’re right, the reflections were gorgeous too.

  2. Wow! That looks absolutely magical. I think this would be a great place to camp! Joffery Lakes also looks amazing. Guess I need to get to BC!

    1. Yeah Joffrey Lakes is stunning as well, it’s just it gets veeery busy, so it’s best to avoid it at weekends if you visit!

  3. Wow, I love that turquoise blue water! I want to start hiking small this year Josy! I hope I can have the same strengths us you. Beautiful photos! Maybe a banner of a walk and a lark need to be in hand.

    1. Lol maybe I should get one. I normally only want to carry the bare minimum, but that might be fun on an easy walk like this.

  4. Wow, absolutely gorgeous – great photos. With these view, 15km sounds more like a day trip with many stops to enjoy the views to me.

    1. Yeah, it’s funny, it didn’t really feel as long as 15km…maybe because there were so few hills!? We were heading home within 4 hours because the light was fading, but you could stretch this out all day and go for a (cold) swim in the summer!

  5. The sunbeams in the forest were so dreamy, you were right! It must have been great to be surrounded by those towering trees. Beautiful!

    1. I love them! It’s a bit scary how fast the old growth trees are being cut down here…but when you see them it’s magical.

  6. This hike looks absolutely fabulous and your photos of the lake are stunning. Love them. I like how the colour of the lake changes as you see it from different angles.

    1. Thanks yooou! The colour range always blows my mind as well.

      Sometimes it’s annoying, as you want to take a photo of the green/blue water with the best background…but at least if it’s not bright, the reflections still look cool!

  7. Great photos of a fabulous place. Cheakamus Lake looks fabulous, what a hike and love the jumping shots. You look like you are loving life.

    1. Thanks Jonno! I guess I am always loving life when we’re out hiking. It’s slightly less fun in the week when I’m at work, but I don’t blog about that. 😉

  8. This hike looks absolutely stunning and I love your photos! It reminds me of hiking in New Zealand, particularly the snow-capped mountains and mirror-like lakes!

    1. Oooh I loved hiking in NZ too! It’s really interesting how much Canada and New Zealand have in common. It’s just all the trees are different once you look closely!

  9. This hike sounds absolutely amazing! I would love to add this to my bucket list and your photos look amazing. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Samantha! If you can have a holiday near Vancouver of Whistler, I promise you’ll find loooads of fun adventures to add to your list!

  10. This looks like a really great day out!
    I did Joffrey Lakes a few years ago in summer and it was stunning. Apparently the water is still freezing in summer, as my friend found out when she slipped off a log!

    1. Oh no! Did she fall of the famous insta-log? (The one that everyone seems to pose on for the gram?)

      I have to admit, I have never swum in any of the Joffre Lakes – they are sooo cold! I guess I have never visited in mid summer though! Ah well, if you come back, compared to Joffre Lakes this is a much easier walk, with about 1/20th of the people. I bet the lake is just as cold.

  11. I find there are a lot of hikes out there that are well beyond my ability. This one along Cheakamus Lake looks very doable! It’s such a picturesque hike, too, judging by your photos. Looks like you picked a perfect time of day to capture the light through the trees and reflecting on the water. Bookmarked this post (and your site) for future reference.

    1. Thanks Jacqueline! Yeah, we like to mix it up with some tough hikes, but also some super easy ones for a relaxing afternoon. If you’d like to find other easy/pretty places near Vancouver let me know as I have plenty of ideas. 😀

  12. As someone from Seattle, I have always heard that Whistler is more than just a ski town but have never known what else is there until now! This is so incredibly beautiful, and oh my gosh, those pictures of the sunlight in the trees… enter those in a photography competition or something! They are stunning. I would love to go up to Canada during the summer to do this hike someday.

    1. Oooh there is so much more Kevin! You like good food and pretty places so I am sure you’d love it. Even the drive down the Sea to Sky Highway is pretty epic!

      I need to come down to Seattle too!

  13. wow this is just gorgeous! I always thought of Whistler as more of a winter sports destination, but it seems like there’s plenty to offer non-skiers too?

    1. I mean, you’re not wrong! It is brilliant for winter sports…but I think I love Whistler in the summertime even more, especially if you can get into the back country or explore Garibaldi Provinical Park. The whole area is full of glacial lakes, waterfalls and spectacular scenery. <3

  14. This just made my bucket list! I love hiking and these views are just incredible!! Love the pictures of the sun peaking through the trees,

  15. You never cease to amaze me with all these gorgeous hikes. I really missed out when I didn’t explore around Whistler while working in Vancouver! I gotta get back!

  16. What a stunning lake – you’ve certainly captured the hike beautifully through this detailed post and the photographs. So glad to read that this is a family friendly hike. We often travel to Vancouver and have visited Whistler once – next time around we’ll be sure to head off on this adventure!

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