Callagnan & Cirque Lake, Whistler, BC

Have had the pleasure to enjoy a few hikes in and around Whistler, such as Garibaldi, and Joffre Lakes, but this most recent visit took me to Callagnan park with my cousin Matt, to paddle board across Callagnan Lake and then hike up to Cirque Lake. Callagnan Park is about halfway up Highway 99, between Squamish and Whistler. Sheltered by surrounding mountains, Callaghan Lake was so calm and mesmerizingly clear that it perfectly reflected back our images on our boards, along with the mountains and glaciers that formed our backdrop. WhistlerHiatus has this to say about a “cirque” lake:

Panoramic of Cirque Lake
Panoramic of Cirque Lake

“A perfectly arranged glacier is required to form a cirque lake. A magical combination of size, a certain sloping terrain, and more unexpectedly, a certain angle away from the sun. In the northern hemisphere, this means the glacier must be on the northeast slope of the mountain, away from the suns rays and the prevailing winds. Thick snow protected in this way grows thicker into glacial ice, then a process of freeze-thaw called nivation, chews at the lower rocks, hollowing out a deep basin. Over a thousand winters you are left with a magnificently circular lake with steep slopes all around. If you arrive at Cirque Lake, near Whistler, BC on a favourably sunny, summer day, (which we did) you will almost certainly fall silent, gaze in wonder at this spectacular place, and feel in that moment that this place is as perfect as it is possible for a place to be.”

For us it really was magical, and a perfect day after experiencing a few rainy one’s. A 45′ minute paddle, about the same again to get to the top and overlook Cirque Lake. A little steep at times, but someone has installed rope lines in places to make the going easier.

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