Globally celebrated for its plethora of national parks, Canada is where sweeping mountain ranges, sprawling glaciers and secluded trails reign, the latter granting hikers access to some of the globe’s most exciting areas of wilderness.
For those visiting Vancouver in British Columbia, the huge Garibaldi Provincial Park serves to bolster Canada’s international reputation as an outstanding playground for adventurers, particularly when it comes to its most glorious hike: the trail up to Panorama Ridge.
With the park located only 16-miles (25km) from Whistler along Highway 99, Garibaldi makes an excellent stop-off on a short vacation in one of Canada’s most remarkable, and accessible, areas of natural beauty.
Panoramic views from aptly named Panorama Ridge
As its name would suggest, this trek up to the 7,000 ft. (2,130 m) peak of Panorama Ridge delivers with 360° panoramic vistas of the cobalt blue waters of Garibaldi Lake, along with an assortment of snow dusted volcanoes that form the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt.
Although it is certainly strenuous, this hike is ideal for those who judge a trail by its views and for whom conquering a new peak should be rewarded with a celebratory picnic, in this case allowing you to bathe in the astonishing views of Garibaldi Park’s rugged, glacial landscapes that include the sharp peaks of Black Tusk and Mount Garibaldi.
Information about trekking to Panorama Ridge
Distance: 18-miles (30 km) round trip with 5,000 ft. (1,520m) of ascent
Time: 8-11 hours return. Many choose to camp at Lake Garibaldi and attempt the final 4-miles (6km) to the top of Panorama Ridge the following day. You are required to reserve a spot at the campground located on the shores of the lake.
When to hike: July through October.
How to trek to Panorama Ridge
Starting in the parking lot at Rubble Creek, the trail is a steep climb that starts with a series of switchbacks through western red cedar and Douglas fir forests.
After 4-miles (6km) of walking, a path leads off to Lake Garibaldi where the campground is located and where weary hikers can take a refreshing drip. The main trail continues to Panorama Ridge via Taylor Meadows where another campground is located (although camping here is considerable less picturesque than at the lake).
From this campground, wander through alpine meadows blooming with color (particularly between July and August) before arriving at a junction leading off to Black Tusk – a stark mountain that can be spied from almost everywhere in Whistler.
Continue along the well-marked trail through Black Tusk Meadows to arrive at your first sumptuous views of Garibaldi Lake and Mount Price.
From here, the trail is less well-defined, but follow previous hikers’ tracks as you climb steeply through rough scree and snow – even during the summer months. Here you will arrive at the climax of the hike: the peak of the ridge where the unique and most breathtaking panoramas of the park can be spied.
Recommendations for hiking in Garibaldi Provincial Park
- Always bring appropriate clothing for hiking. This is includes layers for any cold weather you are likely to experience on Panorama Ridge.
- Suitable hiking boots. Remember that snow is possible on the trail all year round, so sturdy walking boots that will keep your feet dry are essential.
- Plenty of food and water and camping equipment if breaking the hike into a two-day trek.