3 - 4
FATMAP difficulty grade
Cheakamus is a large lake located just a short distance into the backcountry near Whistler.
It is the other large glacial lake, besides the namesake one, in Garibaldi Provincial Park, and it’s easier to get to.
The hike is short and mostly level, quite unlike the hike to Garibaldi Lake.
The only drawback is a bumpy dirt road to reach the trailhead. From the parking area, The well-maintained Cheakamus Lake Trail leads through a mountainside forest of damp moss and giant old growth trees—Western red cedar, Douglas fir, and others.
It weaves among massive logs and crosses small streams.
From somewhere downhill through the foliage you can hear the rushing of more water.
This is the Cheakamus River, which the trail meets near its outflow from the lake. You’ll reach the lake, where the river pours out, in about 3 kilometers.
A bit farther along are nice backcountry campsites (permit required) and a swimming beach with a broad view over the lake’s milky blue water.
Some choose to turn around here, but the trail continues along the forested shore for a few more kilometers, and the views get better as you go.
Curving around the lake, the snow-capped mountains beyond seem to grow bigger and bigger.
If you’re lucky enough to have a windless day, they reflect on the translucent lake surface like a perfect mirror. The trail ends at another fine beach and set of secluded campsites at the mouth of Singing Creek.
It is possible to continue farther, but the path is unmaintained and rugged. Sources: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/garibaldi/park_map.pdf http://hikeinwhistler.com/index.php/whistler-hiking-trails/cheakamus-lake