This Garibaldi Lake Day Hike was the first hike during our 3-week trip to Western Canada (and therewith the Rocky Mountains). The pictures looked amazing and the idea was to take this hike from Whistler. We stayed at Whistler RV Park and Campgrounds which was around a 10 minute drive from the parking lot of the start of the trail (just Google Maps: “Rubble Creek Trailhead” for the location).
You can actually make the hike even longer by adding the Panorama Ridge trail to it. We decided to not do that, as this hike was already quite challenging in terms of distance for the first day. On top of that, the Panorama Ridge hike was said to be more challenging at the peak.
Btw; try to start the hike on time. When the parking lot is full, you might have to drive back and park your vehicle on the side of the road, which means hiking additional kilometers!
When hiking, we used THIS route description. I will not describe the trail in detail, only on a high level, but well supported with pictures to inspire you! When you are going to walk the trail yourself, I would advice to print the previously named description.
The distance is around 20km
The hike takes around 8 hours
Elevation is around 1000 meters
It’s time to start hiking now. Don’t be demotivated, but the start of the trail is actually the toughest bit. You’ll start with an ascend of almost 1000 meters over 6 kilometers through the pine forest. A well marked path and switchbacks will take you all the way up. Careful, do not waste all your power and energy here and take enough rest.
When you arrive on ‘top’, a junction will follow as you can take two different routes. We took the route that is slightly longer but prettier on the way to Garibaldi Lake, which takes you through Taylor Meadows and rewards you with a view on “Black Tusk”.
Good to know: At Taylors Meadows, there is also a campground. In case you don’t want to hike too much on a day and you actually want to hike up to Black Tusk or Panorama Ridge, this might be a good place to spend the night (camping).
After the meadows, make sure you get back on the trail towards Garibaldi Lake. You’ll pass Rubble Creek (hence the name of the parking lot) before you’ll finally arrive at Garibaldi Lake!
For us, this was the first lake we saw in Canada, which made it very impressive. The water was really blue and breath taking. We couldn’t stop staring and making pictures.
When you’re arriving at this bit though, your Garibaldi Lake Day Hike isn’t over yet.
On the right side of the lake there is a path so you can actually wander around the lake and head to your perfect picnic spot (so, make sure to bring lunch!) and enjoy the view.
And.. just when you thought it couldn’t become more beautiful, you’ll arrive at an outstanding view over Garibaldi Lake. Have a seat on one of the stones or one of the picnic tables and soak it all in for as long as you like.
On the way back, we took the path past the creeks instead of through the meadows to make it as much as a round hike as possible. However, the same trail as you ascended (the 6km one through the forest) is the same as you have to descend. Generally, make sure you are quite fit, as the elevation of this trail is quite intens.
And, as already mentioned, you can extend this trail by hiking Panorama Ridge, which rewards you with a view on Garibaldi Lake from above. Do you want to read more about hikes in Canada? Check out my article about the top 10 hikes in and around Jasper National Park.