Fire Restrictions in Effect for this Park
Please Note: During a campfire ban, smoking is restricted in all public areas of a park or protected area. Please read this Information Bulletin [PDF 79KB].
Activites and Facilities Available in this Park - Click icon to view
Activities Available at this Park
Facilities Available at this Park

Callaghan Conservancy

  • Please be reminded that snowmobiling in Callaghan Conservancy is only permitted in specific areas from November 1st to May 15th of each year. See more information in the Winter Recreation section below.

About This Conservancy

The Conservancy was established in 2008, initially under the name of Sea to Sky Conservancy 1 as an outcome of the Sea to Sky and Resource Management Plan approved the same year. In 2009, it was renamed Callaghan Conservancy.

The Callaghan Valley is a year round backcountry recreation area with winter being its primary activity season. It is also the home of the 2010 Winter Olympics Nordic sports venue (Whistler Olympic Park) for cross-country skiing, biathlon, ski jumping and Nordic combined.

Callaghan Conservancy receives an average snow pack of 275 centimetres, which may yield 150 days of skiing. The rolling subalpine terrain with interspersed meadows in the upper valley near Conflict Lake is well suited to Nordic Skiing. The steeper slopes offer telemark and alpine ski touring and heli-skiing opportunities.

Western sections of the conservancy are a main travel and activity area for skilled, experienced snowmobilers. The area is accessed from the south via the adjacent Brandywine Recreation (snowmobile) Trail.

Conservancy Size: 8081 hectares

Special Notes:
  • Approximately two thirds of the conservancy is closed to winter motorized recreation between the dates of November 1st to May 15 of each year. This closure is to protect recreation resources and non-motorized recreation experiences. Refer to Winter Recreation below for more information.
  • There are fees for the use of the groomed cross-country ski trails payable to the trail system operators.
  • Area is not suitable for dogs or other pets.
  • Bring your own drinking water as potable water is not available in the park.
  • No wilderness, backcountry or walk-in camping.
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Location and Maps

Please note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation. The conservancy is accessed in summer from Highway 99, 70 km north of Vancouver or 20 km south of Whistler. Turn north off the highway onto the paved Callaghan Valley Road for 8 kilometres, then turn left following a rough, gravel Forest Service Road (Callaghan FSR 01) for another 8 kilometres into Callaghan Lake Park. High clearance vehicles are recommended. The Forest Service Road is not plowed in winter and instead becomes a groomed cross country ski trail. Once at Callaghan Lake, a rough hiking trail heads west through the park for approximately 1.2 km and then enters the Conservancy. In winter, the trail is a groomed cross country ski trail.
The closest community, town or city is Whistler.
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Nature and Culture

  • Cultural Heritage: The conservancy is within the traditional territories of both Squamish First Nation and Lil'wat First Nation.
  • Wildlife: A variety of wildlife exists within the conservancy and surrounding area, such as bobcat (Lynx rufus), cougar (Felis concolor), coyote (Canis latrans), mink (Mustela vison), Douglas’ squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) and weasel (Mustela frenata). Large mammal species present or probable include black bear (Ursus americanus), grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilus), Columbian black-tailed deer (Odecoileus hemionus columbianus), and mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus). Transient species include moose (Alces alces), wolverine (Gulo gulo) and wolf (Canus lupus).

    Recent wildlife studies indicate the conservancy contains high value grizzly bear habitat.
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Management Planning

Management Planning Information
  • There is currently no approved valid management plan for this area. Management plans are prepared as soon as practicable, subject to available resources and the ability of key planning partners to participate.
  • The related excerpt from the approved 2008 Sea to Sky Land and Resource Management Plan states:
    • Detailed management direction within the Callaghan Conservancy will be defined by the Province and First Nations through a collaborative process to develop a Conservancy management plan. The following interim management direction applies until conservancy management planning is undertaken:
      • Harvesting of non-timber forest products is allowed and any pre-existing uses or rights for non-timber forest products may continue.
      • Existing commercial uses are maintained, but new commercial recreation uses are not authorized until a management plan has been completed or management direction specified through a collaborative government-to-government process between the Province and First Nations.
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Activities Available at this Conservancy

Climbing / Rapelling

Climbing

There are climbing opportunities in the park. Mountaineering opportunities exist on the peaks that form the border of the conservancy.
Cycling

Cycling

Bicycles must keep to roadways. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia. There are no trails in the conservancy designed for cycling.
Fishing

Fishing

Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
Fishing opportunities are unknown at this time. There may be cutthroat trout in the Callaghan River and some of its feeder tributaries.
Hiking

Hiking

For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. Shortcutting trails destroys plant life and soil structure.
Trail Information: This park has hiking and/or walking trails.
Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding

Callaghan Country Wilderness Adventures Ltd offers guided horseback riding in the conservancy on the access road to their backcountry lodge and on some trails (cross country ski trails in winter). There are no facilities for public horseback riding. The conservancy is otherwise not suitable to horse back riding due to extensive wet meadows and lack of support facilities.
Hunting

Hunting

Hunting is permitted in the conservancy. Please confirm with the Hunting and Trapping regulations for specific details. All hunters require applicable hunting licences.
Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife Viewing

There are viewing platforms in the park.
Winter Recreation

Winter Recreation

Winter recreation opportunities include cross-country skiing on groomed trails, snowshoeing, backcountry skiing (alpine touring), and some snowmobiling (limited primarily to the western portions of the conservancy).

Whether you are on or off trail in the conservancy during the winter, you are in a wilderness area. Anyone venturing into the backcountry does so at their own risk. Visitors should be well prepared, equipped and informed before entering the backcountry. The winter climate can be severe and unforgiving with weather conditions changing quickly. Heavy snow and poor weather will significantly increase the difficulty of skiing and snowshoeing. Cellular phone coverage is minimal  - do not rely on a phone for emergency or communication purposes!

Winter backcountry travel hazards exist, including avalanches and potentially unsafe ice and snow layers on Callaghan Lake. Visitors must be familiar with recognition and avoidance of avalanche terrain and conditions and with conditions on the lake. Backcountry visitors should be appropriately equipped with avalanche transceivers, probes, snow shovels, first aid kits and have adequate knowledge of avalanche assessment skills and avalanche rescue procedures.

For current Avalanche Bulletins check out http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/bulletins/latest/south-coast
For more information visit http://www.avalanche.ca/

There are no garbage facilities, so always pack out what you pack in!

To be consistent with the broader non-motorize management direction in the Upper Callaghan Valley, prior to the establishment of the conservancy, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts issued a Recreation Order closing the upper Callaghan Valley to winter motorized use. This recreation order was carried forward into the establishment of the conservancy, includes approximately two thirds of the conservancy and is in effect from November 1 to May 15 of each year hereafter. Callaghan Conservancy remains open to snowmobiling in the Grizzly Lake and Ring Creek basins and only the top bench of Solitude Glacier during this period. For more information, please refer to this map [PDF 2.52MB] and the Recreation Sites and Trails BC website.

Callaghan Country Wilderness Adventures operates a commercial cross-country ski operation which includes over 15km of groomed trails within the conservancy (of the total 38 km in its operating area), and a backcountry lodge. The operator also may offer a shuttle service for skiers to their lodge in winter.

In the Callaghan Valley, both Callaghan Country Wilderness Adventures and Whistler Olympic Park offer an extensive, marked, snowshoe trail system (trail use fees in effect).

Helicopter skiing occurs in a western part of the conservancy under licence to Whistler Heli-skiing Ltd. This area is part of a larger tenure that also exists outside of the conservancy.
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Facilities Available at this Conservancy

Cabins / Huts / Yurts

Cabins / Huts / Yurts

There is a backcountry lodge in the conservancy operated by Callaghan Country Wilderness Adventures Ltd.