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Pets allowed
Yes
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
20.00 km (12.43 mi)
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The Sea to Sky Corridor is packed full of so many amazing hiking trails that the biggest challenge is often deciding between the seemingly endless options. If this predicament sounds familiar, Ring Lake Trail is one option that should be high on your list. At 20 kilometers round-trip with just under 500 meters of elevation gain, it is a full day hike that is not excessively long; allow between 5 and 8 hours hiking plus time for swimming stops.

The trail begins at Callaghan Lake and gradually ascends through old-growth and second-growth forests dominated by massive western redcedar and Douglas fir before emerging into subalpine meadows spattered with colorful wildflowers and babbling creeks. Watch your step here as a patch of moss that appears solid may turn out to be a boot-sized muddy sinkhole.

At 5 kilometers the trail reaches the Callaghan Journeyman Lodge at Conflict Lake. The Lodge is primarily used during wintertime, but hikers may encounter guests or staff year round. Diving off the dock into the frigid waters of Conflict Lake is the perfect halfway interlude, like a dress rehearsal for what’s to come. From here the next section follows Ring Creek up the meadows and gaining very little elevation until the final pitch, which ascends steeply up the right hand side of the valley. The reward for the steep climb is immediate, as the lake is just beyond the crest of the hill. The water is crystal clear and slightly colder than that of Conflict Lake in the valley below. It’s definitely worth taking some time to explore the area, and a lookout rock beside the entrance of Ring Creek offers great views of Mount Callaghan, Ring Mountain, and the northern edge of the Brandywine Ice Cap; you'll also have views back down the valley toward Conflict Lake, Black Tusk, Whistler, and the Spearhead Range. After the initial steep descent the return hike is a blissful gravity-assisted casual stroll through alpine meadows, gradually descending back to civilization.

This hike is great for families and dogs (provided they have enough energy), perfect for casual hikers, and it offers great access for mountaineering, incredible views and gorgeous lakes, and virtually no people. For all that it has to offer, Ring Lake Trail is inexplicably under-appreciated.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Accessible. No crowds. Beautiful views. Three swimming holes. Dog friendly.

Cons

None.

Trailhead Elevation

3,871.39 ft (1,180.00 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,640.42 ft (500.00 m)

Address

Unnamed Road
Whistler, BC V0N 0A0
Canada

Features

Backcountry camping
Mountaineering
Waterfalls
Big vistas
Old-growth forest
Wildflowers
Fishing

Location

Field Guide

Comments

07/14/2018
Trail is in good shape until the last river before the steep climb; The current seems to have washed the rustic bridge + rope away, making it difficult to cross. It is still doable if you don't mind getting wet, but the river comes down hard and the current may drag you if you're not careful.
09/04/2017
Did hike on September long weekend 2017. The access road to Callaghan Lake is in good shape an passable to any moderate clearance car. Just take it slow over the waterbars and you will be fine.

Trail is in great shape. A note to first time hikers, above Conflict Lake you will begin an ascent (gradual) on the right side of the Ring Creek Valley. The trail will stiffen and you will hit the first landmark - a dodgy bridge and an equally dodgy ladder and rope leading out of that creek. Nothing death defying but take care as the ladder is old and the "bridge" is slick and can result in a sprained ankle or a bruising fall. After that you will encounter a rock slide, just follow the cairns and you have about 1km to go. Enjoy!
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