Main Menu
HomeAbout BC Car-FreeWhere to Buy BC Car-Free
Table of Contents
Cycle Touring
Weekend Getaways
Horseback Riding
Whale Watching
Bird Watching
Salmon Watching
Cave Exploring
River Rafting
Sea Kayaking
Appendix: Getting There
Seasons in the Sun
About the Author
The Critic's Voice
" is a wonderful collection of 94 outdoor adventures you can enjoy using public transportation. "
Common Ground Magazine: the Common Reader
Nodding Onion
Packing fresh veggies along on the trail may be impractical due to weight or time considerations. Widely-available nodding onion imparts a welcomed taste of green to almost any dish except granola perhaps. Both white bulb and green stalk can be used like green onions or chives. Rubbing the crushed bulbs on exposed skin is said to keep mosquitoes, black flies and maybe even your traveling companions away. Nodding onion is commonly available throughout the province though toxic death camas looks deceptively similar to nodding onion to the uninitiated. To verify, crush a bit of the plant. Only the edible species gives off an unmistakable onion smell.
Illustration by Manami Kimura
Vote Now
Would you be interested in an E-Book Version of BC Car-Free for iPad, iPhone & PC
FacebookMySpaceTwitterDiggDeliciousStumbleuponGoogle BookmarksRedditNewsvineTechnoratiLinkedinMixxRSS FeedPinterest
Cal-Cheak Trail E-mail
(8 - user rating)
Written by Brian Grover   

Level: Easy
Distance: 4 km o/w
Time: 1½ hr o/w
Elevation Change: 10 m
Map: Brandywine 92J/3
Season: May to October
Access: See Getting to Whistler

The best way to access this trail would have been BC Rail. The railroad right-of-way parallels historic Pemberton Trail for the most part, crossing it at a couple points. There is even a whistle stop called McGuire near the north end of the trail but, alas, the train, now owned by CN Rail, won't stop there no matter how hard you whistle. The next best alternative is the dependable Whistler-bound bus. Since the turn off to Cal-Cheak Forest Recreation Area may be difficult to find for some drivers, jump out, figuratively-speaking of course, at Brandywine Provincial Park instead. From the parking lot walk over to Brandywine Falls before beginning the hike in earnest. The Falls is best viewed in the morning when fingers of sunlight stream in to light up the mist and canyon walls below the 66-metre falls.

The Pemberton Trail was originally the only transportation route from Squamish through to Pemberton providing a vital link between the aboriginal peoples of the coast and those of the interior. Later, pioneers and prospectors trod the forest footpath in search of a better life. Little remains of the trail today though this little 4-kilometre section should be sufficient to take you back in time while leading over to Cal-Cheak Forest Recreation Area.

Brandywine Falls: Brandywine Creek meets an untimely end, dropping off a cliff into a gorge of its own making.

This section of the Pemberton Trail is known as the Brandywine/Cal-Cheak Trail and can be accessed by crossing back over the railroad tracks from the waterfall and making an immediate right. Near the beginning, the trail cuts across a ridge above tiny Swim Lake. There are some undulating sections and staircases to be negotiated but the trail is generally easy and should take just an hour and 20 minutes to complete. On the way look for outcroppings of columnar basalt and other signs of volcanic activity, leftovers from the cataclysm that created nearby Black Tusk and The Barrier. The trail flattens out for the last kilometre or so. Near the end the trail passes by the disused whistle stop of McGuire before reaching Callahan Creek.

The Ministry of Forests Recreation Site is just across the suspension bridge. This route could also be undertaken as a very easy backpacking overnighter. Rustic campgrounds and a picnic area are situated here at the confluence of the Cheakamus River and Callahan Creek. Due to high recreational use in the area drinking water should be boiled or treated with iodine. Both waterways are heavily laden with glacial till. Camping is possible too at Brandywine Provincial Park. While the water is better the price is also higher and the highway noise thunderous.

No need to walk all the way back to Brandywine Provincial Park to catch the return bus to Vancouver. Instead follow the dirt forest access road north for a kilometre to Highway 99. Cross the highway and stand in a visible location. Be sure to leave during daylight so the driver has plenty of time to safely pull over. Wave a jacket or $50 bill as the bus approaches.




0 #2 lisa 2010-11-04 00:28
Thank you for sharing, it is so great.
0 #1 Nice Day Hike TooHarold J 2010-02-08 01:07
We did this one as a day hike last August. Nice hike but we car-pooled instead of taking the bus. Cal-Cheak would be ideal as an easy overnighter.

Copyright © 2007 Brian Grover. Content Distribution is Prohibited
The graphical images and content hosted at are viewable for private use only. All other rights - including, but not limited to, distribution, duplication, and publication by any means - are the exclusive property of Brian Grover and Whisky-Jack Communications. International law provides criminal and civil penalties for those found to be in violation.

Contact the Author for further information.

© 2018 BC Car-Free Outdoor Portal - Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU General Public License.