Fifteen years have passed since we camped at Nairn Falls, north of Whistler, and headed up the Duffy Lake Road towards Lilloet for spectacular day hikes into the alpine. This time we opted for the lesser known hikes up to Rohr Lake and the Marriott Basin, which are on the opposite side of the highway to the stupidly popular Joffre Lakes hike (which is closed due to Covid).
We booked Nairn Falls campsite for three nights from Thursday, and took the Friday off work. We got an early start on Friday, with the drive through Pemberton and Mount Currie up to the trailhead past Cayoosh Creek taking about 45 mins. The Cayoosh Creek forest service (FS) road is in good condition and you can drive about 1-1.5 km to some parking spots.
Both hikes start at the end of the left fork of the Cayoosh Creek FS road. Thanks to the Apline Club of Canada who maintain the Wendy Thompson Hut in Marriott basin, the trail is clear with logs crossing several creeks, and planks helping navigate several boggy sections. After about 45 mins to one hour, the trail forks, with right being the steep climb up to Rohr Lake and left taking you up the gentle trail through the forest to Marriott Lake and the hut.
Rohr Lake is a glorious vivid glacial blue and was a welcome sight after the steep climb. We continued east along the lake and then southeast at the lake end, following a vague trail and cairns up the boulder field to the end of the valley – just before the headwall we headed north up one of the grassy gullies to the gentle ridge opposite Mount Rohr. We climbed the ridge towards the rocky summit, but didn’t attempt the final scramble. We had a great lunch with amazing 360 views of Mount Rohr, Mount Joffre, and views north towards across the Cayoosh range towards the Bendor range. There was strong, cold wind on the ridge, which kept the bugs at bay and meant we wished we had warmer clothes. There are plenty of other day hike destination options from the end of the lake including Mount Rohr – it would be well worth camping at the lake. We dropped off the ridge again and meandered back though the boulder field to the lake, and then dropped back to the road while making future plans to return for backpacking.
Marriott Basin on the second day was not our original intention – we planned to hike Cerise Creek on the south side of the Duffey Lake road, but didn’t realize the Nlháxten/Cerise Creek Conservancy was closed due to a landslide in 2019, so we returned to the Rohr/Marriott trail much sooner than planned! The trail to Marriott Lake is fantastic – an easy grade through nice forest, past a few wet meadow glades and a waterfall. Marriott Lake is in a beautiful sub-alpine basin, and we continued up past the lake aiming to find the Wendy Thompson Hut. We arrive at the hut after about 6 km, and followed the flagged/cairned trail up above the hut for great views of the basin towards Mount Rohr. It was really hot by this time, with no breeze and lots of mosquitoes (bring your bug nets!). On the way down, we checked out the hut (closed due to Covid) but the pit toilets are open. We stopped at Marriott Lake for a while, before dropping down the easy trail back to the car.
Rohr Lake and Marriott Basin are two great hikes in wonderful with lots of variety – forest, meadow glades, lakes, and boulder fields and ridges to explore. We will be back with a tent for several days of exploring.
Check out our Rohr Lake and Marriott Basin Google Photos album!