Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Rubble CreekThe Rubble Creek trailhead is the main access point for many of the best hikes and sights in Garibaldi Provincial Park.  Rubble Creek is located midway between Whistler and Squamish, just 2 kilometres from the Sea to Sky Highway.  The name Rubble Creek is evidently quite appropriate when you reach the parking lot and see the remnants of the terrific rock slide that swept down the valley not that long ago. 

Whistler & Garibaldi 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  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJane Lakes  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  Whistler Hiking Trail HardNewt Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyRainbow 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  Sproatt East  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerSproatt West  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

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Giant boulders fill the river and river valley that sharply ascends up the valley toward The Barrier and Garibaldi LakeThe Barrier is a magnificently abrupt and unstable rock formation that holds back Lesser Garibaldi Lake and just two kilometres further, Garibaldi LakeThe Barrier partially gave way in the spring of 1856 and unleashed a horrific, rocky torrent of boulders down the valley.  It is estimated that more than 25 million cubic metres of rock tumbled down the valley at about 70 kilometres per hour.  Sixty years later the Pacific Great Eastern Railway completed the railway line that stretched up the coast from Vancouver, through Whistler, to Lillooet and beyond.  In 1916 the Garibaldi Lodge opened near the railway line at Daisy Lake and Rubble Creek.  The Garibaldi Lodge was similar to the Rainbow Lodge at Alta Lake in Whistler.  Garibaldi Lodge was located in a small community called Daisy Lake after the lake that we see there today that Brandywine Falls so dramatically spills into.  In 1932, five years after the creation of Garibaldi Provincial Park, the community changed its name from Daisy Lake to Garibaldi.  The newly named town of Garibaldi was poised to become the main base and tourism centre for Garibaldi Provincial Park.

Rubble Creek Springtime

Rubble Creek Mid Summer

The Barrier Above Rubble Creek

The town continued developing and soon grand plans were drawn up for a ski resort in the area.  The company that originally created what would become Whistler that we see today was called the Garibaldi Lift Company.  A name that suggested the location that the resort would emanate from, Garibaldi.  With huge development plans underway, the government had a look at the potential for another enormous rock slide if The Barrier ruptured again.  A massive study was done and it was determined that The Barrier could release a similar catastrophe as it did in 1856 at any time.  Specifically the study determined that the conditions that produced the 1856 slide are all still characteristics of The Barrier today.

The Barrier Above Rubble Creek

Because a similar catastrophic rock slide could occur anytime, the plans for Garibaldi were scrapped and the town was ordered evacuated.  To compensate the people that lived in the tiny community, lots were offered in the new settlements of Pinecrest and Black Tusk Estates, just north of Rubble Creek.  Those areas retain the same names today, however the settlement of Garibaldi is long gone.  Though you will still see the old townsite’s name on the Sea to Sky highway signs for the Rubble Creek trailhead.  The highway signs read Black Tusk(Garibaldi) referring to the Rubble Creek trailhead to Garibaldi Provincial Park.  In Whistler you will find a little piece of history if you go for a drink in one of Whistler’s best slopeside bars, the GLC.  The GLC sits at the base of Whistler Mountain and above the Whistler Gondola, and has one of the most amazing patios around.  GLC, of course is short for Garibaldi Lift Company. 

Garibaldi Lake Large Map v13

Today you will see Daisy Lake as you drive along the Sea to Sky Highway between Squamish and Whistler.  In 1957 the Daisy Lake Dam was completed and is dramatically visible as you drive by.  Just past the lake, heading north, you pass Brandywine Falls which spills from an abrupt cliff into Daisy Lake.  Near the falls you will find a tranquil viewing area overlooking the valley and a great view of Daisy Lake.  There are a couple of nice, sun facing park benches here as well which makes this spot unbeatable to relax for lunch with a million dollar view of this historically and geologically magnificent place.

Brandywine Falls Provincial Park

Brandywine Falls Hiking Trail Map

The Rubble Creek Landslide

In the spring of 1856 more than 25 million cubic metres of rock from The Barrier crashed down the valley of what is today called Rubble Creek.  The incredible torrent of volcanic rock boulders crashed down the valley more than 6 kilometres at a speed of more than 30 metres per second.  The vertical distance of the debris flow was over 1000 metres measured from the top of The Barrier to the end of the debris field where Rubble Creek meets Cheakamus River.  The exact cause of the 1856 Rubble Creek landslide is very difficult to be sure of.  There are a couple of possibilities geologists have come up with.  Water from Garibaldi Lake ends up passing through The Barrier via a subsurface drainage system that comes out the other side as springs far below.  Groundwater pressure  may have increased due to some sort of blockage resulting in pressures that triggered the slide.  Another theory is that an earthquake could have ruptured The Barrier, causing the massive release of rock down the valley.  There is a record of an earthquake in the area in 1853, however no record of an earthquake in the years that follow, before or after the 1856 Rubble Creek slide.  It is difficult to confirm that an earthquake did not occur in 1856 owing to the distance to populated areas at the time.  The abrupt shape of The Barrier and its interesting origin not only explain how it formed into such and unusual way, but why it will continue to threaten another collapse.

Garibaldi Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park

Garibaldi Lake is the centre and base for much of the hiking in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The Garibaldi Lake campsite is located on the amazing, turquoise shores of this massive and mostly still wild mountain lake. There are no trails around the edge of the lake except the small section leading to the campsites, so your view is an impossibly coloured lake edged by swaths of forest and a magnificent glacier towering in the distance.  Compared to other lakes in the Whistler area and in Garibaldi Provincial Park, Garibaldi Lake is enormous with a surface area of almost 10 square kilometres or 2460 acres.  It is also a very deep lake with its average depth of 119 metres or 390 feet and at its deepest, 258 metres or 849 feet!  What really makes Garibaldi Lake extraordinary is its geography.  It is flanked by volcanoes on three sides and lava flows from Mount Price during the last ice age formed The Barrier which blocked the valley which filled with water, creating Garibaldi Lake.  Vantage points around the lake such as Panorama Ridge and Black Tusk allow relatively easy views of this magnificent lake with Mount Garibaldi and other impressive peaks surrounding it.  More...

Garibaldi Lake and Distant Glacier

Books About Geology in BC

In Search of Ancient British ColumbiaGeology of British ColumbiaHere are two excellent books on the Geology of British Columbia.  In Search of Ancient British Columbia by Barbara Huck is one of our favourites.  It focuses on southern BC and covers each individual region separately.  The Lower Mainland chapter explains the geology, paleontology and archaeology of the region stretching from Vancouver, Sea to Sky, Garibaldi Park and north to Mount Meager and Meager Hot Springs.  Quite a lot of the book is devoted to how the last ice age shaped the land and inhabitants of southern BC.  The chapters on Vancouver Island are particularly good as the geological history was particularly chaotic and the history of glaciation around present day Victoria is very interesting.  Geology of British Columbia: A Journey Through Time by Sydney Cannings, JoAnne Nelson and Richard Cannings is a beautiful history of BC's geology and the 200 million year history of creatures living in this extraordinary corner of the world.  The authors take us on a journey through time, describing the collisions of island chains called terrains, the sliding of plates, the erupting of volcanoes, and the movement of glaciers that created British Columbia as we know it today.  They also describe the rich legacy of fossils left behind as a result of all this geological activity.

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July is a wonderful time to hike in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.  The weather is beautiful and the snow on high elevation hiking trails is long ...
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August hiking in Whistler definitely has the most consistently great, hot weather.  You can feel the rare pleasure of walking across a glacier shirtless and ...
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September hiking in Whistler is possibly the best month of all.  The snow has melted far up to the mountain tops, yet the temperatures are still quite high.  ...
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Hiking in Whistler in October is often unexpectedly stunning.  The days are much shorter and colder but the mountains are alive with colour from the fall ...
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Paper birch, also known as white birch is a type of birch tree that grows in northern North America. Named for its paper-like, white or cream coloured ...
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The Barrier formed as a result of huge lava flows from Clinker Peak on the west shoulder of Mount Price during the last ice age.  About thirteen thousand ...
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Bench: a flat section in steep terrain.  Characteristically narrow, flat or gently sloping with steep or vertical slopes on either side.  A bench can be ...
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Waterbar and Cross-Ditch: the purpose of a waterbar or cross-ditch is to capture and redirect surface water from the road and channel it across the road ...
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Neal Carter (14 Dec 1902 - 15 Mar 1978) was an early explorer of the Coast Mountains around what would eventually be called Whistler Valley.  In the summer ...
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Cirque: a glacier-carved bowl or amphitheater in the mountains.  To form, the glacier must be a combination of size, a certain slope and more unexpectedly, a ...
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Nunatuk: a rock projection protruding through permanent ice or snow.  Their distinct appearance in an otherwise barren landscape often makes them ...
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Alec Dalgleish (1 August 1907 - 26 June 1934) was a highly respected mountaineer and climber out of Vancouver in the 1920's and 1930's.  His enthusiasm and ...
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Whistler and Garibaldi Park Hiking Gear Rental

Whistler & Garibaldi 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  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJane Lakes  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  Whistler Hiking Trail HardNewt Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyRainbow 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  Sproatt East  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerSproatt West  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

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Brandywine Falls is one of the must see sights on the drive to or from Whistler, and arguably the nicest of Whistler’s numerous beautiful waterfalls.  Located about halfway between Squamish and Whistler, the ...
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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, Rainbow Falls, Hanging Lake, Madeley Lake, Beverley ...
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The Sea to Sky Trail is a 180 kilometre multi-use trail that runs from Squamish to D'Arcy. The trail is still under construction in many parts, however, the amazing route through Whistler is finally in ...
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Hiking and biking trails are so abundant in Whistler that many go unnoticed, neglected or taken for granted.  The Flank Trail is one of these.  Most people in Whistler don't even know about it, but the ones ...
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