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.
Total Gain: 500m
|Type of Hike||Out and Back|
|Toilets||Trailhead & Backcountry campgrounds|
|Backcountry Campgrounds||Cheakamus Lake Helm Lake|
|When to Do||June through September|
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 7km 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 3km from the trailhead, and from there you can walk up to 7km 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 1.5km 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 1.5km 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.
- 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.