Discover some of British Columbia’s most stunning backcountry by taking on the Rohr Lake hike near Pemberton. This moderately difficult trail takes you up towards Rohr Mountain and alongside the glacial blue Rohr Lake. British Columbia is renowned for its glacial blue lakes and this is another awesome one to add to the list.
The Joffre Lakes hike is 5 minutes down the road from here and is probably the busiest hike in BC. And while we highly recommend visiting Joffre Lakes (it deserves all the hype), if you are looking for something much quieter with similar scenery, then this is an excellent choice.
It’s not quite a hidden gem as you’ll definitely see plenty of other hikers on the trail, but it’s a hike that should definitely make it on to your BC hiking bucket list.
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Rohr Lake Trail Overview
How to Get to Rohr Lake Trailhead
The trailhead for this hike is easy to get to, but it is just a long drive from downtown Vancouver. Expect it to take 2 hours 40 minutes on a good day with little traffic. Drive through Whistler and straight through Pemberton as well, staying on Highway 99.
You will drive approximately 31 kilometres passed Pemberton to reach the trailhead. It is about 5 minutes passed the parking lot for Joffre Lakes on Duffey Lake Road. The main parking lot on the side of the road is easy to find as it is opposite a large shed which is the only building for miles around and very easy to spot.
There are a couple of options for parking when you arrive. You can park along the main road in one of the gravel areas and hike in along the service road. Or you can drive along the service road to reduce the length of the hike.
Two-wheel drive cars can make it easily down this service road for a few hundred metres before the road gets too rough. If you have a car with high clearance, you can make it all the way to the end of this road and cut about 1 kilometre off your trip each way. When the service road splits take the road on the left to reach the trailhead.
Rohr Lake Hike
If you are like us and you parked on the side of Duffy Lake Road, then you will need to walk a couple of hundred metres back towards Pemberton. Then you will see the small service road on the right hand side. Walk along this service road and at the junction take the lower path to the left.
The road comes to an end and turns into a narrow trail which takes you in through the trees. Expect lots of mud on this trail as soon as you leave the service road. This trail is part of the Marriott Basin Trail which takes you to the Wendy Thompson Memorial Hut.
You will climb fairly steeply for around 30 minutes through the forest. Eventually you will reach a junction with wooden signs nailed to the trees. To the left is marked WTH for the Wendy Thompson Hut but you will go right to follow the trail marked Rohr.
This trail continues to climb steeply and you will have to make your way through some extremely muddy patches on the trail. After around 30 minutes of climbing the trail plateaus and the view opens up as you walk through some marshy meadows. You’ll get some great views of the surrounding mountains and a first look at the infamous boulder field that you will have to conquer to reach the lake.
The Boulder Field
As you walk through the meadows the trail breaks off to the right near the base of the mountain. Follow this trail and after a just a few seconds you will find yourself at the base of the boulder field.
This can be a tricky part of the hike and you will need to be very careful if it is raining or has rained recently. Rain makes these boulders ridiculously slippery so watch your step as you make your way up. There are a couple of options to make your way up this section of the hike however.
There is a small stream to the right hand side that you can climb up if you want to avoid the boulders although it is very wet and muddy. We chose to scramble straight up over the boulders as it was dry and seemed like an easier route. It was a fun climb up hopping between the rocks and you gain elevation quickly this way as well.
Once you’ve climbed up passed the main boulder field keep an eye out for the pink and orange tape which marks the trail as it is quite easy to take the wrong route here. You will cross the main creek that runs through here and traverse up and over to the left hand side.
Once you traverse across this creek you will come to another creek flowing through the rocks. You can choose to climb straight up this creek as well but there is a path on the right hand side which is much easier to follow. After a short climb up this path the trail flattens out and you arrive right on the edge of Rohr Lake.
It took us just over 2 hours to reach the lake although we were carrying our overnight camping backpacks which did slow us down a little bit. The lake comes out of nowhere and you don’t even realize you are close until you arrive right at the lake’s edge. You get a stunning view of the crystal clear water with its brilliant bluey-green colours.
At the far end of the lake in the distance, you will also see Mount Rohr with a summit sitting at 2423 metres. This can either be an extension of this hike or an activity for day 2 if you are camping.
The best views of Rohr Lake are actually seen from the far end of the lake from a slightly elevated section of the trail which allows you to look down and see the amazing colours of the lake come to life.
To get to this viewpoint, follow the trail along the left hand side of the lake which in itself is very pretty as you walk along the edge of the lake. Most people who camp here will find a spot along the edge of the lake, so if you are camping you will probably want to drop your bags here and set up camp first.
Continue along this path and it eventually climbs up a little further into another boulder field. Keep walking along this trail until you come to the far end of the lake and eventually the trees will open up and you’ll get a sensational view of the lake with Cayoosh Mountain off in the distance.
This is the best part of the hike so make sure you make the extra effort to reach this viewpoint to take in Rohr Lake in all of its glory.
To make your way back to your car you can just retrace your steps back along the same trail that you hiked in on. The boulder field is even sketchier on the way down, so be careful on this section. We would strongly recommend a good pair of hiking boots or poles if you have them. Other than this section, it is plain sailing all the way back to your car.
Expect this hike to take around 4 hours roundtrip, although if you wish to swim and spend some time at the lake you will need a little bit longer.
Camping at the Lake
Backcountry camping is allowed here and you do not require a permit to camp here overnight. The usual rules apply here and you should try to minimize your impact on the environment and make sure you pack out everything you pack in. There are also no facilities such as toilets or filtered drinking water so come prepared.
This is one of our favourite camping spots in BC. Setting up camp right on the edge of the lake is incredible and while we didn’t have it all to ourselves, it was still a beautiful and peaceful trip. Read our guide on the best backcountry tents that will help you to camp at spots just like this.
Check out these great places to stay in Whistler
Whistler is an awesome place to stay when exploring and hiking the mountains around Pemberton. Here are some of our favourite places to stay in Whistler.
Budget: Pangea Pod Hotel – There isn’t anything super cheap around Whistler but the Pangea Pod Hotel is as budget friendly as it gets. Stay right in the heart of Whistler village without breaking the bank and enjoy a unique experience in your own private pod.
Mid-range: Pinnacle Hotel Whistler – Stay right in Whistler village and enjoy a spa bath and seasonal fireplace in every room. This hotel also has an outdoor pool and hot tub to relax your muscles after a tough day of hiking.
Luxury: Fairmont Chateau Whistler – The ultimate luxury getaway in Whistler. Enjoy amazing views over the mountains and relax in the hot tub, sauna or enjoy a massage at the spa. It doesn’t get any better than a couple of nights at the Fairmont Chateau.
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If you are looking for one of British Columbia’s beautiful blue glacial lakes but don’t want the crazy crowds at Joffre Lakes, then the Rohr Lake hike is a great alternative. It’s so far from any sort of civilization and gives you a great backcountry experience without too much effort.
What’s your favourite glacial blue lake in British Columbia? We think Garibaldi Lake is ours but let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Looking for more hikes near Whistler? Check out some of our other guides here: