Madeley - Hanging Lake Trail Update - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-15-2014, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Default Madeley - Hanging Lake Trail Update

The Madeley to Hanging lake trail, up the Callaghan Valley road near Whistler, is the poor cousin to the very busy Rainbow Lake trail, both of which yield access to great sub-alpine terrain. The Hanging Lake trailhead is somewhat more obscure than the Rainbow trail TH, although it is nicely accessible with any decent 2wd vehicle. Although the trail is well marked with red/white metal tags, information about it is somewhat sketchy and sometimes conflicting. Time for a little look-see ourselves.

Although this trail has some very nice forested ridge and sidehill sections it has been well known for its mucky sections through numerous bogs in the first few km of the track. Recently, however, the RMOW trail crew has placed many sturdy foot bridges across these wetlands. The trail experience is vastly improved as a result. Many thanks to these hard working trail builders.

The path is about 6.7 km to the north end of Hanging Lake from the TH. It climbs gently, for the first three km, through wetland and very old, decaying Hemlock-dominated forest. It then begins a steady climb up and across varied terrain including rock scree, sidehill and ridge top. This latter portion of the trail requires crossing about 1/2 dozen heavily vegetated, rocky slide chutes in the upper sections. These can be tricky to navigate, especially when wet. They can be a little unpleasant when they are in an overgrown state, as they are right now in summer. That aside, the trail has many enjoyable sections.

The elevation difference from TH to the first lake view is less than 1700', but much of that occurs in the back half of the trail. The track undulates a great deal so there is noticeable elevation gain and loss along the way. Hanging Lake is quite pretty, and affords great access to marvelous terrain.

ACCESS to the trailhead:

The TH is accessed via the Callaghan valley road, south of Whistler, which heads up to the Whistler Olympic Park. Near the end of the paved road, turn left across the river on to the Cllaghan FSR. A few hundred meters later turn right on to the Madeley FSR. It is about 5 km along this road to the Trailhead, where a large sign and parking area are to be found. Here is a TH pic and a plotted track of the trail:


The LOWER section of the trail:

Examples of the many new footbridges across wetlands and creeks in the lower, notoriously muddy section of the trail. Some sections have been re-routed as well. A great improvement:


Jurassic sized skunk cabbage, devil's club and a massive, ancient Western hemlock tree in the lower slope area of the trail. The upgraded trail does a great job of working its way through these intense areas of vegetation, without having to wade through mud and standing water:



The MIDDLE to UPPER sections of the trail:

After some 3km from the TH, a formidable looking rocky scree slope appears where the trail heads sharply upward, This is not as bad as it looks but still requires careful footing in wet conditions. As the trail climbs above this rocky area there are nice sections of hillside/ridge footpaths but also some 1/2 dozen or so short, rocky sections which are narrow and slippery when wet. Some of these are somewhat brushed in. A dry day is recommended.


Above the major slide area, a nice viewpoint of the powder/brandywine area and a look down towards a hiker on the trail below the slide:



The HANGING LAKE area:

Our day was wet and cloudy so picture taking was not very rewarding. However, the lake is lovely, with a shimmering green when the sun comes out. At the right time of year flowers of all types fill the meadow with abundant colour. The area affords access to much further hiking and scrambling, including a short hop over the ridge to hook up with Rainbow lake. If you can arrange a pick-up or second vehicle, hike this trail up and then head over the ridge and down the Rainbow lake trail. Beautiful



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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-15-2014, 08:46 PM
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Thank you for the update on this area. Great information
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-15-2014, 10:13 PM
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Wow, what an informative TR. Next time I venture south from Powell River I will have to check this one out. Thanks for posting.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-15-2014, 10:49 PM
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RMOW has its trail crew scheduled to improve the Hanging Lake campsite this September and, if time permits, hit the section of trail closest to the lake. The crew is currently still continuing their excellent work on the Rainbow Lake Trail.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 12:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by msulkers

RMOW has its trail crew scheduled to improve the Hanging Lake campsite this September and, if time permits, hit the section of trail closest to the lake. The crew is currently still continuing their excellent work on the Rainbow Lake Trail.
Kudos to the trail crew. The work on both Rainbow trail and Madeley-Hanging Lake trail is excellent. We've avoided returning to the Hanging lake path for some time because of past epic, muddy slogs through the wetlands. The work done so far has made the route a much, much better track.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 01:51 AM
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we were up in july? 2014, was a bit of a slog, kinda ok but lengthy from madely lake
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Aqua Terra

we were up in july? 2014, was a bit of a slog, kinda ok but lengthy from madely lake
Agreed, the added distance from Madeley lake itself adds little joy to the hike. Taking off from the Trailhead on the Madeley FSR (as we did in this TR) is shorter and better. Gotta say though, the recent additions of foot bridges and re-routing in the lower portion of the trail turns a 'slog' into a much better trail experience. I always disliked this route, for all the patches of wet, slimy mud to grunt through in the first 2 km. Much better now.

Still, there are the 1/2 dozen or so of short, rocky chutes to work across up top. These aren't at all pleasant, especially with overgrown vegetation and wet conditions. Judging from the very old blazes on the trees along the track, the trail has been there a very long time. It's long overdue for some serious upgrading and that seems to be happening.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 10:24 AM
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Thanks for the update, good to see the improvements enhancing the trail enjoyment.

K
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by KARVITK

Thanks for the update, good to see the improvements enhancing the trail enjoyment.

K
It is really encouraging to see some $$$ being spent on these trails. The hiking-scrambling-climbing and mountain biking community demands very little from the public purse, it's nice to see a recognition of the importance of these activities.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 10:22 PM
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I pumped up this trail in the rain on Saturday, motivated by the short window I had between my 4 month old's naps, partially inspired by this report. It's been about 10 years since the last visit and I greatly enjoyed the outing. Took 1.5 hours to get to Hanging lake, and 1.25-ish to descend, although my legs and feet didn't appreciate this pace. Trail is in very good condition for the first 1/2 to 2/3, although it gets quite narrow and somewhat overgrown in the last part before the lake. Easy to follow/see, but lots of pushing foliage out of the way, which sucks on a rainy and cold day, as you'll be soaked.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 11:13 PM
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RMOW trail crew was reassigned and did not get to the Hanging Lake area yet. That third of the trail closest to the lake on the Madeley side does need to be dealt with, but we'll have to be patient.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Big Ian

Trail is in very good condition for the first 1/2 to 2/3, although it gets quite narrow and somewhat overgrown in the last part before the lake. Easy to follow/see, but lots of pushing foliage out of the way, which sucks on a rainy and cold day, as you'll be soaked.
It was damp for us on the hike we did as well. Like we noted then, because of the brushed in sections,"a dry day is recommended". Msulkers says the trail crew may hit the upper section of the trail, if time/money permits. Hope so. Their work on the lower 2/3 of the trail is great stuff
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2015, 01:57 AM
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Just finished a hike and overnight camp to Hanging Lake.
Took 2.5 hours from carpark to Hanging Lake shoreline and 2 hours back at steady pace.
Took half an hour to reach Rainbow Lake viewpoint from Hanging Lake and was well worth the trip.

Trail conditions: Dry in most sections with new bridges on bottom half providing good coverage.
Overgrown on top half and some river crossings over slippery rocks. Stay cautious.
Drank the water from the stream leading to Hanging Lake and so far so good.
Bring mosquito repellant! They're out in force! We could barely leave our tent without being attacked.

Enjoy! It's so beautiful up there.
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2015, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sara87 View Post
Just finished a hike and overnight camp to Hanging Lake.
Took 2.5 hours from carpark to Hanging Lake shoreline and 2 hours back at steady pace.
Took half an hour to reach Rainbow Lake viewpoint from Hanging Lake and was well worth the trip.

Trail conditions: Dry in most sections with new bridges on bottom half providing good coverage.
Overgrown on top half and some river crossings over slippery rocks. Stay cautious.
Drank the water from the stream leading to Hanging Lake and so far so good.
Bring mosquito repellant! They're out in force! We could barely leave our tent without being attacked.

Enjoy! It's so beautiful up there.
Hey, thanks for the update. We're just putting a plan in the works for a loop hike up from Madeley-Hanging Lake-Rainbow Lake then down the rainbow lake trail for a pick up

nice to have an update on conditions

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post #15 of (permalink) Old 07-02-2015, 11:59 PM
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The RMOW trail crew is hoping to have some time to work on the upper Madeley-Hanging Lake Trail later this summer, as it looks like most of their work on the Rainbow Trail overwintered very well indeed. First task will be improving the route and tread of the trail from Rainbow Lake to Hanging Lake, however...

Fun is where you make it...
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