The broad, glacial-carved valley of the Callaghan River holds significant biodiversity values as a home to both black and grizzly bears, and coastal flora and fauna that do not occur in the Whistler Valley. Its upper reaches are both heavily glaciated and contain significant volcanic edifices.
The valley provides backcountry access to a wide range of landforms and geosites, including the Powder Mountain and Pemberton Icecaps, Callaghan Lake, Conflict Lake, Cirque Lake, Ring Lake, Ring Mountain (a flat-topped tuya) and the Mt. Cayley Massif and Volcanic Field.
There are numerous hiking and biking trails, as well as road access to the Whistler Olympic Park legacy Nordic-skiing facility. At the Alexander Falls B.C. Rec Site (pictured here), the waters of Madeley Creek (a tributary of the Callaghan River) tumble 43 metres over six distinct layers of Cheakamus basalt.
Approximately 44 km north of downtown Squamish or 14 km south of Whistler Village, turn west off of Highway 99 onto the Callaghan Valley Rd. Consult online or print guides for exact locations of specific trails and navigable logging roads.
Protection and guardianship are at the heart of the Geopark philosophy. We ask that you treat the land with the same reverence as its original inhabitants, and not remove anything from a site but what you’ve brought to help preserve it for future generations.
50° 11.5570' N 123° 10.9620' W
50° 11' 33.42" N 123° 10' 57.72" W
Geosites of the Aspiring Geopark lie wholly within the unceded traditional territories of the Líl̓wat Nation and the Sk̲wx̲wú7mesh Nation. The nations have lived in—and shared parts of—these territories since time immemorial, with many landscape features and geological events woven into their cultural and oral histories. We are grateful for, and committed to, the opportunity to learn and share these perspectives of the land alongside its original stewards.
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The Fire & Ice Aspiring Geopark comprises four main geological pillars referenced in all interpretive material: (M)ountain Building, (G)laciation, (V)olcanism and (C)ollapse.
Mountain building can involve several processes that contribute to the formation of mountains, such as the collision of tectonic plates that result in folding, faulting, metamorphism and the creation of subduction zones associated with volcanic activity and igneous intrusion.
Glaciation refers to landform phenomena associated with the formation, movement and recession of glaciers and ice sheets. In temperate latitudes such as British Columbia, montane glaciation at higher altitudes is the norm while continental glaciation occurred during Ice Ages like the recent Pleistocene.
Volcanism is the eruption of subterranean molten rock (magma) and gasses onto the surface of the planet and includes the production of volcanic landforms and the effects of eruptions and flowing lava on pre-existing surface formations.
Collapse is a term that refers broadly to both slow processes of destabilization and erosion by wind, water and ice, as well as rapid processes like rockfall and landslides.
Whether acting as primary or secondary forces, one or more of these processes figure in the creation of each geosite.