Callaghan Lake Provincial Park
Centered on a mountain-surrounded lake with mirror-like waters, Callaghan Lake Provincial Park is an unspoiled wilderness escape. The park is relatively undeveloped with just a few rustic drive-in campsites, a small boat launch, and some bushwhacking opportunities. In winter, its reliable snowfall and rolling terrain attracts backcountry Nordic skiers.
In summer, visitors to Callaghan Lake Provincial Park can canoe on the lake, fish for trout and char (providing they have the appropriate fishing license), and hike backcountry routes. Drive-in campsites are available on a first-come first-served basis. In winter, the park is a popular spot for ski touring, with a range of backcountry cross-country ski trails snaking through the valley. Just south of the park sits Whistler Olympic Park, which hosted several events, including cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, and ski jumping, in the 2010 Winter Olympics. The facility now offers cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, and more.
Things to know before you go
- Callaghan Lake Provincial Park is ideal for travelers who want to reconnect with nature and escape the crowds of nearby Whistler.
- Note that there are no formal, maintained hiking trails in the park, meaning routes are rough, unmarked, and only suitable for experienced, fit hikers.
- The park features a single pit toilet and has no trash facilities, meaning visitors must take any garbage they accumulate out of the park with them.
- Cell phone coverage in the park is minimal.
How to get there
To get there, follow Highway 99 north from Vancouver for about 44 miles (70 kilometers) then take the Callaghan Valley Road turnoff. After about 5 miles (8 kilometers), turn left onto the gravel Forest Service road for another 5 miles (8 kilometers). If you’re coming from Whistler, drive south along Highway 99 for about 12 miles (20 kilometers) to reach the Callaghan Valley Road turnoff. The Forest Service road is only suitable for SUVs and other high-clearance vehicles.
When to get there
Plan your visit for late June through October. In winter, the Forest Service road is not plowed, meaning vehicle access to the campground is not possible.
Wildlife in the Callaghan Valley
With so much untouched wilderness and so few humans, it’s no surprise the Callaghan Valley holds a healthy wildlife population. Wolves, moose, cougars, bobcats, mountain goats, deer, and bears—both black and grizzly—have all been known to frequent the park area. Avoid contact with wildlife, and be sure to practice bear safety.