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Rio Cheakamus
Rio Cheakamus

Rio Cheakamus

Whistler, BC

The basics

With churning rapids and scenic riverbanks, the Cheakamus River is an obvious choice for paddlers. White-water rafting and kayaking trips along the river typically depart from Squamish or Vancouver. Some tours combine river paddles with a ride on the nearby Sea to Sky Gondola. The Cheakamus is also a popular fishing destination, with chinook and coho salmon, steelhead trout, and char all present in its waters. While traveling down the river, enjoy views of the towering Coast Mountain peaks.

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Things to know before you go

  • The Cheakamus River is a beginner-friendly rafting destination, with gentle Class I and II rapids.
  • Valid licenses are needed to fish on the river.
  • During the winter, look out for migrating bald eagles who can often be spotted on branches at the river’s edge.
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How to get there

The Cheakamus River is about 60–90 minutes’ drive from Vancouver. Follow the Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99) north. The Squamish Valley Road exit will take you to Cheekye, where the river can be accessed. The upper sections of the Cheakamus River can be reached via Cheakamus Lake Road near Whistler Village.

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When to get there

White-water rafting season begins with snowmelt around early May and extends until late September. The fishing season typically runs from September to December, and between March and May.

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Cheakamus Lake Trail

For a scenic hike along the river, follow the Cheakamus Lake Trail near Whistler. Extending for 8.9 miles (14.3 kilometers), the trail runs around the edge of the lake and offers views of the pristine waters, which mirror the surrounding forests and peaks. Although the access road to the trailhead is bumpy, the path itself is flat and relatively easy.

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