Panorama Ridge is easily one of the most amazing hikes in Garibaldi Provincial Park.  The 15 kilometre hike from the trailhead at Rubble Creek to Panorama Ridge takes you through beautiful and deep forests, across countless idyllic streams, through meadows filled with flowers, and past dozens of jaw dropping viewpoints. 

  • Stunning views of Garibaldi Lake, glaciers & mountains
  • Always sun facing and often warm in the cool alpine
  • The ridge is long so it is easy to find a quiet corner
  • A long but beautiful hike to reach it
  • A cute lake good for swimming near the ridge
  • One the most scenic views in Garibaldi Park
  • Best views of Mount Garibaldi & Table Mountain
  • Final ascent skirts a glacier!
  • No camping allowed on Panorama Ridge
  • The trail is longer & tougher than most expect

Whistler Hiking Trails

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Whistler Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail ModerateRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlySproatt  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

Hike in Whistler Glossary

Hike in Whistler GlossaryThe Barrier  Hike in Whistler GlossaryBears  Hike in Whistler GlossaryCoast Mountains  Hike in Whistler GlossaryErratic  Hike in Whistler GlossaryThe Fissile  Hike in Whistler GlossaryFitzsimmons Range  Hike in Whistler GlossaryGaribaldi Ranges  Hike in Whistler GlossaryGaribaldi Volcanic Belt  Hike in Whistler GlossaryHoary Marmot  Hike in Whistler GlossaryMount Garibaldi  Hike in Whistler GlossaryOverlord  Hike in Whistler GlossaryRubble Creek  Hike in Whistler GlossarySpearhead Range

The amazing views start once you reach Taylor Meadows and get even more spectacular as the trail progresses.  Once you arrive at Panorama Ridge and its phenomenal vantage point, high above Garibaldi Park, you will stare in wonder.  Mesmerized first by Garibaldi Lake, far below you and looking unnaturally blue, the lake looks amazing surrounded by green, untouched wilderness and snow capped mountains.

The Table, the massive and unusual looking mountain with its bizarre flat top lays across the lake with the enormous Mount Garibaldi just beyond.  In the distance, where Garibaldi Lake ends, a massive glacier rises out of the blue and jagged crevasses can be seen even from such a great distance.  Behind you, Black Tusk lays across the valley.  Close to the same elevation as Panorama Ridge, you get this wonderful view of it. Certainly the best and closest viewpoint to this iconic mountain. Panorama Ridge sits, along with Black Tusk in the midst of some of the most popular and beautiful hiking trails in Garibaldi Provincial Park. There are two main trailheads for Panorama Ridge, Cheakamus Lake and Rubble Creek.

Rubble Creek is the more popular starting point as it is a bit shorter, far more scenic and allows for the inclusion of the trail to Garibaldi Lake and the beautiful Taylor Meadows as well as Black Tusk. The trail to Panorama Ridge from Rubble Creek is not so much difficult as it is long. 30 kilometres makes for a long 8-10 hour roundtrip hike.  Staying overnight at one of the campgrounds therefore is a great idea.  Garibaldi Lake and Taylor Meadows are the campgrounds on the Rubble Creek trailhead side of Panorama Ridge.  Helm Creek is the campground on the Cheakamus Lake trailhead side of Panorama Ridge.

Black Tusk Lake on the Way to Panorama Ridge

The Panorama Ridge Trail

There are several excellent options for camping in the valleys around Panorama Ridge. The beautiful though often crowded Garibaldi Lake campsite, the less crowded and also beautiful Taylor Meadows campsite, the seldom crowded and serene Helm Creek campsite (located on the Cheakamus Lake side of Black Tusk).  Panorama Ridge stretches for 1.5 kilometres, then drops into an expansive meadow down to Garibaldi Lake and access to the Burton Hut at the far end of the lake.  The hut is little used in the summer due to its remoteness.  This route, via Panorama Ridge, is the best way to reach this difficult to reach hut in the summer.  The main trailhead for Panorama Ridge is at Rubble Creek, 25 kilometres south of Whistler Village on the Sea to Sky Highway you will see a Garibaldi Provincial Park sign indicating the turnoff.  From the highway a paved road runs for 2 kilometres to the Rubble Creek trailhead and parking area. This is the most popular and close trailhead for Garibaldi Lake, Taylor Meadows and Black Tusk as well as Panorama Ridge.  Parking is free, however keep in mind that overnight camping requires payment.  Reservations are required for camping at Garibaldi Lake campground and Taylor Meadows campground year-round.  Fees Per Night: $10 Adult - $5 Kids(6-15)  Campsite fees must be paid online in advance at the BC Parks Garibaldi Provincial Park reservations page.

The fees are $10 per person per night and $5 for kids (6-15 years). You will quickly find these fees well worth it, especially at the campsites nearest to Panorama Ridge.  Very clean and tidy, well organized and still somehow retaining a remote and wilderness feel.  You will likely spot a park ranger while at one of the campsites at Taylor Meadows or Garibaldi Lake as they are staffed for most of the summer to provide maintenance, security and friendly help. The more remote campsites like Helm Creek, Wedgemount Lake and Russett Lake are far less busy and you will not often spot BC Parks staff, yet somehow they are kept well maintained.

Panorama Ridge - Hike in Whistler

Panorama Ridge Trail Map

Panorama Ridge can be reached from the Garibaldi Lake(Rubble Creek) trailhead or the Cheakamus Lake trailhead. It is hard to say which is better. Rubble Creek is preferable if you are keen to stop at the beautiful Garibaldi Lake on the way. Certainly wonderful for a swim if you can take the glacial cold water. The Cheakamus Lake trailhead is similarly scenic minus the beautiful lake, but it is incredibly free of people. If you seek serenity, this is the way. Certainly, if you plan to overnight, this is the better way as well. The Taylor Meadows campground (Rubble Creek side) is often overrun on the weekends, while Helm Creek(Cheakamus side) is not.  From Village Gate Blvd, drive south toward Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Highway. The well marked turnoff to Black Tusk(Garibaldi) is 25 kilometres south of Village Gate Blvd, on your left.  Follow the signs to Rubble Creek trailhead just 2 kilometres up a paved road. This is the trailhead for Garibaldi Lake, Black Tusk, Panorama Ridge as well as Taylor Meadows. This trailhead parking area had a rash of vehicle thefts in 2014 so be sure to keep any valuable out of sight and don't be obvious about hiding valuables in your trunk before setting off in case someone is watching you. Cheakamus Lake trailhead directions: From Village Gate Boulevard, drive south, toward Vancouver for 8 kilometres. At the lights at Function Junction, turn left, about 700 metres ahead you will see a sign on your left for Cheakamus Lake. Follow the unpaved road for 8 kilometres to the Cheakamus trailhead. 

Panorama Ridge Map - Hike in Whistler

Garibaldi Lake Campground Near Panorama Ridge

Garibaldi Lake Campsite for Black TuskThe campground at Garibaldi Lake is the largest and most popular in Garibaldi Park with 50 tent pads.  It is open year-round, although it is only busy in the summer months.  Though you get some skier and snowboarder activity in the winter, the snow and cold weather keeps people away.  Along with the 50 tent pads, you have plenty of outhouses, picnic tables and a bear-proof hut for preparing and storing food.  No sleeping is allowed in the hut.  At the end of the campsites you will find a BC Parks ranger cabin which is often manned in the summer and sporadically the rest of the year.  The campsites at Garibaldi Lake and Taylor Meadows are popular bases for hiking to Black Tusk and/or Panorama Ridge.  The Helm Creek campground on the other side of Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge is another good base for these amazing sights.  Generally Helm Creek is hiked from the Cheakamus Lake trailhead instead of the Rubble Creek trailhead.  Fees Per Night: $10 Adult - $5 Kids(6-15)  Campsite fees must be paid online in advance at the BC Parks Garibaldi Provincial Park reservations page.

There are no well defined hiking trails around the lake.  The Panorama Ridge side of the lake is far to steep and wild to make a trail feasible.  On the other side of the lake, hiking is possible to Mount Price, although the faint trail disappears into the alpine and route-finding can get very difficult.  There are some trail markings that denote the trail past the BC Parks ranger cabin a the far end of the Garibaldi Lake campsite.  Plenty of hikers have hiked around Garibaldi Lake in the past, but you have to know what you are doing and be well equipped, tough and determined to do it.

Panorama Ridge View of Garibaldi Campsite

Taylor Meadows Campground Near Panorama Ridge

Taylor Meadows Campground for Black TuskNear Garibaldi Lake is another popular and beautiful campground at Taylor Meadows.  Taylor Meadows lacks the beautiful lake and distant glacier views you get from the campsite at Garibaldi Lake.  You do get a much prettier forest and meadow setting at Taylor Meadows as well as stunning views of the always impressive Black Tusk.  Fresh water is plentiful here as well as there is a pristine, glacier fed creek that runs through the campsites.  As with Garibaldi Lake you have a food storage and preparation hut to use and there is a frequently manned ranger cabin nearby as well.  Taylor Meadows has 40 well-spaced and organized tent pads sprinkled throughout the beautiful forest here.   Though Garibaldi Lake is often considered the better campsite because you can swim in the stunningly beautiful, though frigidly cold lake, Taylor Meadows is beautiful with its lush green and flower filled meadows surrounding the campsite.  Taylor Meadows tends to feel less hectic as Garibaldi Lake tends to draw the majority of visitors to the park.  Both Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake campsites are good if you are hiking to Black Tusk or Panorama Ridge as both connect to the Black Tusk trail and or the Panorama Ridge trail.  If you are hiking Black Tusk or Panorama Ridge in a day from Rubble Creek you can hike one route up and the other down.  So you can hike through Taylor Meadows, up to Black Tusk or Panorama Ridge, then return via Garibaldi Lake for a swim.  It is always nice to avoid retracing your steps in a hike and this way you only duplicate part of the trail in the first or last 5.5 kilometres where the trail forks left to Taylor Meadows or right to Garibaldi Lake.  Fees Per Night: $10 Adult - $5 Kids(6-15)  Campsite fees must be paid online in advance at the BC Parks Garibaldi Provincial Park reservations page.

Helm Creek Campground Near Panorama Ridge

Helm Creek Campground for Black TuskHelm Creek is the other BC Parks campground in this part of Garibaldi Provincial Park.  Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake campgrounds are on one side of Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge and the Helm Creek campground is on the other side.  Part way to Cheakamus LakeHelm Creek is much less busy, though you still find it full on many summer weekends.  Helm Creek has 30 well spaced tent pads in a large meadow with Helm Creek surrounding it in one large arc.  Helm Creek has bear proof cables on pulleys to lift your food out of reach of hungry bears.  There are outhouses at Helm Creek, but the campground is wonderfully free of human constructions.  If you are lucky enough to find yourself to be the only campers there you have the wonderful feeling that you have the whole of Garibaldi Park to yourself.  Surrounding your tent you see only meadow, and idyllic creek and wilderness forest and mountains all around.  One of those mountains is the wonderfully surreal and close Black Tusk.

Helm Creek is a cute, meandering creek that winds its way from beyond Black Tusk, down the valley to the wonderful campground that takes its name. From the Helm Creek campground, Helm Creek descends further along the Helm Creek trail, until it joins Cheakamus River, not far from where it leaves Cheakamus Lake.  The location of Helm Creek campground is pretty amazing for a variety of reasons. First it is just a great location. About halfway between Cheakamus Lake and Black Tusk it lays in some amazingly scenic areas. Beautiful, climbable mountains all around.  Pristine fields of snow that run all the way to the base of Black Tusk well into July.  Rivers, creeks and waterfalls everywhere you look from the idyllic campground. A large, grassy field ringed by trees and Helm Creek.  What you always want from a campground is a convenient and clean water source and of course Helm Creek is both.

Another aspect of a great campground is a variety of beautiful views and a serene setting and again Helm Creek has both of these.  The campground is so widespread that even if the area becomes busy, you can still manage to not hear your neighbours.  The area really has no defined trails except the Helm Creek trail that runs past the campsite, but there are infinitely numerous directions you can wander.  Exploring in any direction takes you to more and more pristine, green fields, streams, pocket lakes and mountain views.  Though most just use it as a base to extend onto Black Tusk, it is a great base for so much more. Helm Peak, Corrie Peak, Cinder Cone, Empetrum Peak as well as the more frequented Panorama Ridge, Black Tusk and Garibaldi Lake.

Possibly the nicest aspect of Helm Creek as a campground is that it is quiet and serene when compared with the other two area campgrounds. Garibaldi Lake and Taylor Meadows are very busy all summer long. In fact there is a posting part way up the trail to Garibaldi Lake indicating how crowded it is and if it is full.  At Helm Creek you find yourself in a remote and quiet valley in the midst of paradise. From the trail junction in the campground you see the enticing sign indicating what is around you.  The nice, well marked trail continues to Panorama Ridge in 7 kilometres.  Black Tusk in 9.5 kilometres or Garibaldi Lake in 9 kilometres.  All of these destinations branch off the main trail that ascends away from Helm Creek.  Fees Per Night: $10 Adult - $5 Kids(6-15)  Campsite fees must be paid online in advance at the BC Parks Garibaldi Provincial Park reservations page.

Camping in Garibaldi Provincial Park

Garibaldi Provincial Park CampgroundsDay hiking in Garibaldi Provincial Park is free and parking at all the trailheads is free as well.  If you are camping overnight in Garibaldi Park you will have to pay a campsite fee.  There are ten official BC Parks campsites in Garibaldi Park with dedicated and very well designed tent pads, platforms or clearings at each.  They are all now reservable year-round, with the exception of the Red Heather campsite near Elfin Lakes which is only open for winter camping.  In 2018, for the first time you can legally register and pay to camp in the backcountry beyond the official campsites.  The areas you can wilderness camp is quite restricted in an effort to not overrun the park and maintain some control over the massive numbers of hikers in the park.  Backcountry Camping Permits for Garibaldi Park cost $10 per person, per night.  Children 6-16 years old pay $5 per person, per night and kids under 6 years old are free.  Staying at the Elfin Lakes hut costs a bit more at $15 per adult, per night and kids 6-15 pay $10 per person, per night.  Kids under 6 are free.  The Elfin Lakes hut fee includes your backcountry camping permit, so one adult staying in the Hut pays a total of $15.  Campsite fees must be paid online in advance at the BC Parks Garibaldi Provincial Park reservations page.

The campsites open year-round in Garibaldi Provincial Park include: Garibaldi Lake campground which has 50 well laid out tent pads and clearings in the beautiful forest just steps from the shore of Garibaldi Lake.  Not far from the campsite at Garibaldi Lake you have another large and very beautiful campground at Taylor Meadows.  The Taylor Meadows campground has 40 very nice tent clearings and platforms dispersed in the marvellous forest with Black Tusk looming in the distance.  Beyond Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge you come to another beautiful Garibaldi Park campground at Helm Creek.  Helm Creek has 30 tent pads is a nice meadow with stunning views of Black Tusk.  Down the valley from Helm Creek you cross Cheakamus River and have two more campgrounds along the shore of Cheakamus Lake.  The Cheakamus Lake campground has 8 tent clearings in a beautiful forest along the edge of the lake.  Further along the shore of Cheakamus Lake you come to another campground, the Singing Creek campground with another 6 beautiful tent clearings at the edge of the lake near Singing Creek.  High up in the alpine of Whistler Mountain you have Russet Lake with 7 nice tent clearings near the shore of the lake and overlooking the mighty Overlord Glacier far below.

Blackcomb Mountain lays just across the valley from Russet Lake and Wedge Mountain, the tallest mountain in the Garibaldi Ranges is home to another Garibaldi Park campground, the Wedgemount Lake campground.  This beautiful campsite has 20 tent pads and clearings scattered through the huge boulder field overlooking the lake and along the gravel and grassy shore of the lake.  Back down in the southern end of Garibaldi Park are the campsites at and near Elfin Lakes.  Elfin Lakes campsite has 35 tent pads and the huge and inviting Elfin Lakes hut has 33 bunk spots!  Ten kilometres past Elfin Lakes you come to another campsite at Rampart Ponds, just 1.5 kilometres from Mamquam Lake and with 12 tent clearings.  All Garibaldi Park campgrounds are well maintained and often very busy.  Remember that you must pack out what you pack in as there are no garbage facilities at the campsites.  You will find fresh water at all the campsites and along nearly all the trails.  Some areas like at Garibaldi Lake or Elfin Lakes you should filter or treat the water you drink.  At other campsites such as Helm Creek, Singing Creek, Wedgemount LakeTaylor Meadows or Russet Lake, treating water flowing from a glacier poses little risk of giardia(beaver fever).

Garibaldi Provincial Park Reservations

Garibaldi Provincial Park ReservationsIn 2018 a lot of changes with Garibaldi Provincial Park’s campsite reservations.  The first big change is that overnight camping fees are required at all campgrounds, year-round.  It is still free to day hike in the park, but sleeping in the park requires a reservation and camping fees apply in all areas of Garibaldi Park.  You can’t pay by cash or at the trailheads or at the campgrounds.  Reservations must be made in advance via the BC Parks online reservation service or at the call center.  It is a pretty organized and fair reservation system.  Fairly easy to use online and reasonably priced.  The revenue goes into maintaining trails, access roads, parking lots, park buildings and snow removal.

The second big change this year for Garibaldi Park is that for the first time you can legally register and pay to camp in the backcountry beyond the official campsites.  Wilderness camping permits are available to mountaineers, climbers, ski tourers, and other visitors with advanced skills in wilderness travel and camping, within the wilderness camping zone.  The areas you can wilderness camp is quite restricted in an effort to not overrun the park and maintain some control over the massive numbers of hikers in the park.  Backcountry Camping Permits for Garibaldi Park cost the same as the campsite fees: $10 per person, per night.  Children 6-16 years old pay $5 per person, per night and kids under 6 years old are free. 

There are two ways to book a reservation to camp in Garibaldi Provincial Park.  You can book online here.  For mobile devices, scroll to bottom of page and click “Switch to Full Site”.  Or via the Call Centre (an additional $5 surcharge applies): 1-800-689-9025 (toll free Canada) +1-519-826-6850 (International) 7:00 am-7:00 pm seven days a week.  Some of the Garibaldi Park trailheads don’t have reliable cell coverage, so don’t forget to book your reservation  before you start hiking!  When you book online or by phone you will need the following information.  Your arrival date, your desired campground, your group size.  Then you have to pick the number of tent pads your party requires.  At tent pad is 10 feet by 10 feet and usually accommodates one tent.  Each tent pad can fit a maximum of 4 people. Choose your itinerary for each night.  Click “reserve”  Fill in the permit holder and camping party information.  Pay for your reservation with your credit card.

All overnight visits to Garibaldi Park require reservations beforehand.  In the past camping was allowed only in the designated BC Parks campsites.  New in 2018, for the first time you can camp in the vast wilderness beyond the campgrounds.  There are several eligibility requirements you must adhere to.  Your camp must be at least 2 kilometres from any established trail or campground and your group size must be 10 or less.  Your camp must be at least 30 metres from water sources such as a lake, stream or wetland.  You and your companions must be experienced wilderness hikers proficient in route finding and preparation.  It is stated on the Garibaldi Provincial Park BC Parks site that you should be an experienced mountaineer, climber, ski tourer or possess advanced wilderness skills.  You must be committed to the “Leave No Trace” ethos of camping and hiking.

In addition to this there is an overall wilderness camping zone that denotes permissible zones that you can camp in the wilderness.  Consult the Wilderness Camping Map which denotes prohibited camping zones such as the Diamond Head area and approach, Columnar Peak, the Gargoyles, Opal Cone, and Mamquam Lake.  Much of the area around Garibaldi Lake, Black Tusk, Panorama Ridge and Mount Price.  Cheakamus Lake has a sensitive wetland habitat at the east end of the lake where Cheakamus River flows into the lake.  There is a wonderful and very inviting plateau of land above Wedgemount Lake close to the end of the lake where the pours out via Wedgemount Falls.  Near Russet Lake where the north-south running UTM 511E forms the boundary for both the south and north sections of the Spearhead Traverse. Wilderness camping is prohibited west of this line. In the south, this line roughly dissects The Fissile and Overlord Glacier East of Russet Lake campground.  In the North, UTM 511E dissects the Decker Glacier. Wilderness camping reservations/fees cost the same as for the campgrounds.  Fees Per Night: $10 Adult - $5 Kids(6-15).  Campsite fees must be paid online in advance at the BC Parks Garibaldi Provincial Park's reservations page.

Panorama Ridge Profile View

Hiking Season in Garibaldi Provincial Park

Garibaldi Provincial Park is located in the high alpine of the Coast Mountains that stretches from Alaska, down the coast of British Columbia.  Snow accumulation over the winter months is measured in metres and varies tremendously year to year.  This makes gauging when the snow will recede from the Garibaldi Park trails difficult to know until just weeks before.  In just the last 10 years you could have hiked to Garibaldi Lake in late May while encountering little snow on the trail.  In other years deep snow on the trail persists well into June and even early July!  I once spent a couple nights at Helm Creek over the Canada Day long weekend on July 1st and my tent was on a metre of snow!  The following year the same spot was in a snow free, green meadow in mid June.  There are a couple good ways to find out, or guess how much snow is on the trails.  BC Parks releases trip reports every couple weeks over the spring and summer months and included details of the snow depths along the various trails.  If the trip report is a couple weeks old, you can pretty accurately estimate the current snowpack.

Another good way is to take a look at the many Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain web cams.  The Roundhouse Lodge has a great camera on it every day of the year and it will show the snow levels that you can then compare to comparable elevations in Garibaldi Park.  For the most part, even in very snowy winters, the determined can hike to places like Garibaldi LakeTaylor Meadows, Black Tusk and Elfin Lakes in late June.  Though you will encounter snow along the trail in the alpine that will make you wish you brought snowshoes and gaiters.  The trail to Wedgemount Lake is much steeper and snow impedes your way a lot more than on other trails.  Prepare to fight the snowy trail into early July!  Another measure of the snowpack is the opening dates from hiking trails on Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain.  The higher elevation trails don’t usually open until early July, though the hiking season officially starts in late May for hiking trails from the Roundhouse on Whistler Mountain.

You need to be well prepared whenever you are hiking in Garibaldi Park, but more so in the early summer weeks.  The alpine weather can change quickly and you should always have warm clothes with you well beyond the temperatures you are anticipating.  It takes little room in your backpack to bring along a toque, gloves and warm pants.  Whistler and Vancouver locals always tend to throw their snowboard/ski pants in their pack even on a sunny August overnight hike.  For many hikers to Garibaldi Provincial Park, the extraordinary flower meadows are a highlight.  Similar to gauging the winter snow lingering on the trails in the spring months, estimating when the flowers bloom is tricky as well.  Most years you will encounter extraordinary meadows of red, yellow and white flowers.  Laying in enormous meadows of bright green, the flowers are amazing to see.  Along the trail to Panorama Ridge via Taylor Meadows you will pass by a continuously varying array of flower fields that seem impossibly beautiful.  Seas of red, yellow and white fill the valleys, giving way to snowy mountains and grey and black mountain peaks.

Panorama Ridge Glacier View - Hike in Whistler

Facilities at Panorama Ridge

There are outhouses(toilets) at various places in Garibaldi Park along the trail to Panorama Ridge. The parking lot/trailheads at Rubble Creek and Cheakamus Lake have outhouses.  The campsites at Taylor Meadows and at Garibaldi Lake have outhouses. There is also an outhouse at the trail junction where the Black Tusk trail ascends from the main trail, 3.5 kilometres from Black Tusk. These are basic, pit toilets, usually equipped with toilet paper. At the campsites at Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake you will find nice, one room buildings for food preparation and to keep them away from bears. Beware of mice in these places. If you leave anything on the floor with food in it, such as a backpack with a chocolate bar in a pocket. You will find little holes chewed through and your candy bar gone! There are plenty hooks on the wall to hang things from, out of reach of the attacking mice.

Panorama Ridge Glacier Views - Hike in Whistler

Restrictions and Concerns at Panorama Ridge

Not Dog FriendlyNo Campfires AllowedNo Bikes AllowedNo Motorized VehiclesBikes are not allowed in much of Garibaldi Park, including the routes to Panorama Ridge.  You can bike to Cheakamus Lake, but not up to Helm Creek toward Black Tusk.  Use of motorized vehicles of any kind are restricted to park roads and parking areas.  Fires are prohibited in the park due to the potential forest fire hazard. Arriving or departing the park by aircraft is not allowed, as well as harvesting natural resources such as mushrooms.  Dogs are not permitted on the trail to Black Tusk or any other Garibaldi Provincial Park trails out of courtesy to the resident animals.  There are a large number of black bears in the park and encounters with dogs result in unpredictable and potentially dangerous conflicts.  There are quite a few excellent hiking trails in Whistler that are dog friendly.  Whistler's Valley Trail and Lost Lake Trails are dog friendly and run throughout Whistler.  The Sea to Sky Trail, which runs over 30 kilometres through Whistler is a paradise trail for dogs as it runs through numerous parks, beaches and forests. Ancient Cedars is a nice, dog friendly hike that is 5 kilometres roundtrip and takes you into a thousand year old forest. Whistler Train Wreck is also dog friendly.  The trailhead, marked Flank Trail is located in Function Junction, just a short drive south of Whistler Village.  Further south you will come to Brandywine Falls, which is a short, 2 kilometres roundtrip, dog friendly hike to the amazing falls.  About 25 minutes north of Whistler, Nairn Falls is another beautiful and dog friendly hiking trail. 

Panorama Ridge View of Garibaldi Lake

Wildlife at Panorama Ridge

WildlifePanorama Ridge sits in the midst of a pristine wilderness with plenty of wildlife to see. Black bears and hoary marmots can be occasionally spotted. Black bears in the park are reclusive and not easily spotted.  Hoary marmots, however, will emerge from nowhere and whistle to each other to help monitor any threats. Hoary marmots are cute, invariably pudgy, twenty plus pound ground squirrels that have evolved to live quite happily in the hostile alpine areas of much of the world. In the northwest of North America, hoary marmots have a distinct grey in their hair, a hoary colour, so have been named hoary marmots. They manage to survive quite happily in the alpine, largely by hibernating for 8 months of the year and largely for having a surprisingly varied array of food in such an inhospitable environment. They live off of grasses, berries, lichens, mosses, and roots and flowers. And live quite well it seems, as they always look chubby, which has one great drawback. They are sought after by bears and wolves. They have a wonderful defense system though. They are constantly on watch and whistle loudly at the first sign of danger, alerting the colony. The prevalence of these "whistlers" as they came to be locally called, in the early days of London Mountain resulted in it's name being changed to Whistler Mountain in the 60's. Hiking on Whistler Mountain, Blackcomb Mountain or Wedgemount Lake in the summer will almost guarantee an encounter with a chubby, jolly little whistler hoary marmot.

Trailhead & Parking Directions Map for Rubble Creek

Rubble Creek Access is Paved to the Parking LotRubble Creek is the most popular route to Panorama Ridge and consequently the most chaotic. The huge parking lot is often filled to capacity, with additional cars parked along the access road.  This road is the only paved(not a heavily potholed, gravel road) to access a trailhead to Panorama Ridge.  Though very busy, the Rubble Creek trail to Panorama Ridge is constantly maintained to a high standard.  Plenty of helpful mapboards and trail signs keep you on track and aware of where you are.  The tidy, natural dirt trail is wide enough to hike side-by-side most of the time.  The constant ascent from here gets you to Panorama Ridge in 4-6 hours.  To get to Rubble Creek, drive south from Whistler Village(zero your odometrer at Village Gate Boulevard) on Hwy 99.  At 25 kilometres look for the Black Tusk(Garibaldi) sign on the highway indicating you to turn left.  150 metres up this road it will fork.  Take the right fork and continue up the paved road for 2 kilometres to the Rubble Creek trailhead for Black Tusk, Taylor Meadows, Panorama Ridge, Garibaldi Lake and much more. Helm Creek campground is smaller than Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake at just 9 official tent sites, however it is in a beautiful setting on the quiet side of Black Tusk.  Most of the 9 tent sites are next to the wonderfully idyllic Helm Creek.  The main draw of this campsite is that it is on the quieter side of this section of Garibaldi Provincial Park and can be approached from Cheakamus Lake.

Biking or Walking Directions to Panorama Ridge

Biking to one of the Panorama Ridge access trailheads is not terribly difficult. The Cheakamus Lake trailhead is just 15.1 kilometres(9.4 miles) from Whistler Village. The last 8 kilometres is a bit of a grind though as you ascend quite a bit to the Cheakamus Lake parking lot. Bikes are allowed on the Cheakamus Lake trail, so you can ride the nice and easy trail for 1.5 kilometres, park your bike, then start your hike(bikes are prohibited on the connecting trail to Black Tusk. The route to Black Tusk via the microwave tower is an excellent way to bike, then hike. In fact, biking to the microwave tower is the preferred way to get there by most. It's a bit of a long, boring hike along a gravel, deep forest road. On a bike, however, it is much quicker and riding out at the end of your trip is all down hill. The Rubble Creek trailhead is probably the least bike friendly trailhead owing to its distance from Whistler Village. 27.2 kilometres(16.9 miles) is too far for most to bike to a trailhead and begin an arduous hike!

Public Transit Directions to Panorama Ridge

Public Transit to TrailheadCan you get to the Panorama Ridge trailhead at Rubble Creek by public transit? Not even close. No bus service will stop at the highway turnoff to Rubble Creek. The Cheakamus Lake trailhead is a possible option. The Whistler Public Transit goes between the Village and Cheakamus Crossing almost constantly. The problem of course, is you then have to hike 8 kilometres to the Cheakamus Lake trailhead. A taxi to the trailhead may be an option, however you will have to let the taxi company know where you are going as, depending on the driver, some won't drive any logging roads. Taking a taxi to the Rubble Creek trailhead is a decent option, depending on your budget. The ride will cost you about $45, each way. It does, however give you the amazing option to exit at Cheakamus Lake so you don't cover the same ground twice.

More Great Hiking Around Panorama Ridge

he hiking options around and beyond Panorama Ridge are quite good. Most hike to Garibaldi Lake to camp on the way to Panorama Ridge. Taylor Meadows is another route to Panorama Ridge and another campground. If you are hiking in a day, you can hike Rubble Creek to Taylor Meadows, then Panorama Ridge, returning via Garibaldi Lake. Garibaldi Lake barely adds any hiking distance to the overall journey with just a couple extra kilometres. Black Tusk is found on the way to Panorama Ridge and Helm Creek and Cheakamus Lake are found beyond, if hiking from the Rubble Creek side. Added to this you will find a wealth of alpine terrain leading to various mountain peaks and even the wonderful Helm Glacier.

Garibaldi Lake - Hike in Whistler

Best Whistler Aerial Views

The Rainbow Trail is a convenient and popular trail near Whistler Village that takes you to Rainbow Lake as well as the Rainbow-Sproatt Flank Trail, ...
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Russet Lake is a surreal little paradise that lays at the base of The Fissile, in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The Fissile is the strikingly bronze ...
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Cirque Lake is a beautiful mountain lake hidden up alongside Mount Callaghan in Callaghan Lake Provincial Park.  The trailhead is tricky to find and ...
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Alexander Falls is located far up in the Callaghan Valley just before the turnoff to Callaghan Lake Provincial Park.  The falls are very impressive with its ...
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Vancouver Garibaldi Hiking Camping Rental

Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Whistler Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyFlank Trail  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail ModerateRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMount Sproatt  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

 Best Whistler AerialAlexander  Best Whistler AerialBrandywine  Best Whistler AerialBlackcomb  Best Whistler AerialCallaghan  Best Whistler AerialCirque  Best Whistler AerialJoffre  Best Whistler AerialKeyhole  Best Whistler AerialLogger's  Best Whistler AerialMadeley  Best Whistler AerialPanorama  Best Whistler AerialSproatt  Best Whistler AerialParkhurst  Best Whistler AerialRainbow  Best Whistler AerialRusset  Best Whistler AerialTrain Wreck  Best Whistler AerialWedge Glacier  Best Whistler AerialWedgemount  Best Whistler AerialWhistler

 Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JanuaryJanuary  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking FebruaryFebruary  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking MarchMarch  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking AprilApril  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking MayMay  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JuneJune  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking JulyJuly  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking AugustAugust  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking SeptemberSeptember  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking OctoberOctober  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking NovemberNovember  Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking DecemberDecember

Best Hiking by Month

May is an extraordinarily beautiful time of year in Whistler.  The days are longer and warmer and a great lull in between seasons happens.  Whistler is ...
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February continues to be great for snowshoeing in and around Whistler.  The days slowly get longer, but the temperatures stay consistently cold.  Expect several ...
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June is a pretty amazing month to hike in Whistler.  The average low and high temperatures in Whistler range from 9c to 21c(48f/70f).  The summer tourist ...
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November in Whistler is when the temperatures plummet and the first heavy snow falls in the alpine and often in Whistler Village.  The hiking opportunities ...
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Best Whistler Waterfalls

Wedgemount Falls can be seen along the trail to Wedgemount Lake.  As the falls flow directly from Wedgemount Lake, they are located about three quarters ...
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Nairn Falls is a wonderful, crashing and chaotic waterfall that surrounds you from the deluxe viewing platform that allows you to safely watch it from ...
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Alexander Falls is a very impressive 43 metre/141foot waterfall just 30 to 40 minutes south of Whistler in the Callaghan Valley. Open year-round and ...
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Cirque Falls crashes down from Cirque Lake to Callaghan Lake, connecting these two remarkably beautiful and very different lakes.  Where Callaghan Lake is a ...
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Whistler Hiking Trails

Callaghan Lake Provincial Park is a relatively untouched wilderness of rugged mountainous terrain. The valley walls were formed by relatively recent glaciation. Evidence of this can be seen in the ...
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Madeley Lake is a beautiful, remote mountain lake hidden high up in the Callaghan Valley.  From Whistler Village expect to take 40 minutes to drive there.  You can drive directly to the lake, however the ...
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Cirque Lake is a wild and beautiful lake that hides high above and beyond Callaghan Lake in Callaghan Lake Provincial Park.  What makes Cirque Lake special among the other sensationally beautiful lakes in the ...
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The short, winding, and ever-changing hiking trail to Rainbow Falls is the same as the much more popular trailhead for Rainbow Lake.  The trailhead is marked as the Rainbow Trail, and the trail quickly ...
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