Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Spearhead RangeThe Spearhead Range is a subsection of the Garibaldi Ranges that runs in an arc that connects Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain.  The Spearhead Range is effectively the brother of the Fitzsimmons Range which runs east from the summit of Whistler Mountain to Russet Lake.  The Spearhead Range covers the area on the north side or Blackcomb Mountain side of Fitzsimmons Creek

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

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Fitzsimmons Creek cuts between Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain.  Where the Fitzsimmons Range ends at Fitzsimmons Creek, the Spearhead Range begins and continues along a set of peaks resembling spearheads to Blackcomb Mountain.  These peaks include The Spearhead, Mount Trorey, Tremor, Shatter, Shudder, Quiver, and more.  The Spearhead Range is home to the increasingly popular and extraordinarily beautiful Spearhead Traverse.  This amazing ski traverse traces a very challenging route from Blackcomb Mountain to Whistler Mountain via the Spearhead Range.  It has, in recent years, spawned the Spearhead Huts Project.  An ambitious plan to install mountain huts along the Spearhead Traverse.  It has considerable public support and funding via donations.  The first hut, the Kees and Claire Hut was completed in September of 2019.  Located at Russet Lake with a gorgeous view over Russet Lake and The Fissile.

The Spearhead Range is a subsection of the Garibaldi Ranges, which in turn is a subsection of the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains.  Deriving its name from Mount Garibaldi, the Garibaldi Ranges cover the huge stretch of mountains between two enormous river valleys.  The Lillooet River valley on the east side and the Cheakamus River/Green River valley on the west.  Whistler is located on the west edge of the Garibaldi Ranges, while Pemberton near the north end and Vancouver at the south end.  Other subdivisions of the Garibaldi Ranges include Garibaldi Névé, McBride Range, Fitzsimmons Range, Golden Ears, Misty Icefield and the Bastion Range.

Spearhead Range in Whistler

Blackcomb View of Overlord Glacier

Spearhead Range Map

The Spearhead Range is fairly accessible to hike in the summer.  The Rendezvous Lodge on Blackcomb Mountain is the starting point to a whole network of beautiful hiking trails that extend along the Spearhead Range.  A summer sightseeing lift pass gives you access to all the available lifts and gondolas on Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain.  A new gondola is being built in the summer of 2018, so you have to ride the gondola up from Whistler Village or take the Creekside Gondola up to the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain.  From the Peak 2 Peak Gondola building next to the Roundhouse Lodge you can ride the spectacular Peak 2 Peak Gondola over to Blackcomb Mountain.  The Peak 2 Peak Gondola drops you next to the Rendezvous Lodge and the start of the wonderful Blackcomb Mountain hiking trail network.  The Blackcomb Mountain trails almost always have amazing views across the valley to the Fitzsimmons Range that stretches from Whistler Mountain on the far right to Overlord Mountain on the far left.  You even catch incredible views of the massive Overlord Glacier from the end of the Overlord Trail.

Spearhead Range Tents on Blackcomb

Spearhead Range Bear on Blackcomb

Blackcomb Mountain in the Spearhead Range

Blackcomb Mountain Hike RatingBlackcomb Mountain in July is a stunning place to hike.  The Blackcomb Gondola, completed in 2018, takes you all the way to Rendezvous Lodge and Peak2Peak Gondola.  The Blackcomb Mountain trails start the moment you exit either the Blackcomb Gondoal or the Peak2Peak Gondola, and immediately give you stunning views of Whistler valley.  The trail then ascends up and along a winding route that opens up to great views across to Whistler Mountain.  At every trail junction you can circle back to where you started or continue another leg.  At each turn you have very nice mapboards and signs indicating where to go and how long you likely will take to hike it and return in time for the Peak2Peak which stops around 4pm.

Blackcomb Large Map v19

Whistler Mountain, Musical Bumps and Russet Lake

Whistler Mountain Hike RatingWhistler Mountain's huge winter snowfalls mean that alpine hiking usually takes until late June to open up.  So July and August are the months where the Whistler Mountain hiking trails are clear of snow and beautiful.  Valleys of flowers, distant glaciers, alpine lakes, and plenty of hiking trails to choose from.  From the Roundhouse you can start hiking the Musical Bumps trail towards Russet Lake or hike down to the Peak Express Chair and ride up to the summit of Whistler Mountain.  An easy interpretive hiking trail loops around the summit and the more challenging Half Note and High Note trails run out along the ridge that overlooks the Whistler valley and Cheakamus Lake.  The High Note trail eventually links to the Musical Bumps trail which takes you to Russet Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park

Whistler Mountain Russet Lake Map v20

Russet Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park

Russet Lake Hike RatingRusset Lake is a fantastic hiking destination as it is located close to where the Fitzsimmons Range meets the Spearhead Range and at the foot of The Fissile.  The Fitzsimmons Range is the range of mountains that includes Whistler Mountain.  The Spearhead Range is the mountain range that lays across the valley, cut by Fitzsimmons Creek.  If you have ever been on the Peak2Peak Gondola that connects Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain, you would have noticed at the mid-point a river that runs down the valley.  This is Fitzsimmons Creek which is fed by Russet Lake and Overlord Glacier as well as hundreds of small streams.  Russet Lake can be hiked to via the free, BC Parks Garibaldi Provincial Park trail that starts a couple hundred metres up from the base of Whistler Mountain.  The big bus stop on Blackcomb Way has a trailhead mapboard for the Singing Pass trail to Russet Lake.  It is quite a long and boring trail that constantly ascends for about a dozen kilometres through the forest before getting scenic.  A nicer alternative is to buy a lift pass and ride the Whistler Gondola up Whistler Mountain, then hike the Musical Bumps trail or the High Note trail to Russet Lake.

Russet Lake View of Overlord Glacier

Both are shorter than the Singing Pass trail, and constantly amazing.  Also, you ride most of the ascent by gondola.  No matter what way you hike to Russet Lake, if you do it in July you will likely have gorgeous weather and a wonderful time at the lake.  Russet Lake has a cute old hut that anyone can use(with a campsite park permit) as well as several nice tent clearings.  The campsite sits near the base of The Fissile, at the shore of Russet Lake, and overlooking Overlord Glacier.  A small stream runs along the campsite that you can drink straight from.  From the campsite you can hike in several directions to see some incredible sights.  The Fissile is a challenging scramble. 

Russet Lake, The Fissile and the Hut

Overlord Glacier is just an easy hike down the valley.  The small and comparatively warm, Adit Lakes sit up from Russet Lake on the opposite side of the valley from The FissileRusset Lake is paradise in July, but keep in mind that it can get busy, especially on weekends.  If you are camping, get your BC Parks camping permit ahead of time.  If you are day hiking, you don’t have to pay a think, except the Whistler lift pass if you hike in that way.  If you hike up Singing Pass, it is of course free, and you can return via Whistler Mountain on the Peak Express Chair and/or the Whistler Gondola for free.

Parkhurst Ghost Town CaterpillarParkhurst Sawmill SiteKups Blue Face ParkhurstParkhurst Plow TreeParkhurst RidgeParkhurst Sawmill Caterpillar

Adit Lakes Near Russet Lake

Books About Geology in BC

In Search of Ancient British ColumbiaRoadside GeologyHere 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.  Roadside Geology of Southern British Columbia by Bill Mathews and JWH Monger is a wonderful geologic history of BC and covers some great features along the Sea to Sky Highway.

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Along Whistler’s Valley Trail near Rainbow Park you come across some impressively unusual trees. Unlike most other Whistler trees with straight trunks and ...
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The Table is an extraordinary flat-topped mountain located in Garibaldi Park just one kilometre south of Garibaldi Lake.  Sometimes reflexively referred to as ...
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When hiking to Parkhurst Ghost Town, the first area you will encounter after you cross the disintegrating bridge over Wedge Creek is the wye.  In railroad ...
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The rocky and narrow row of islands in Garibaldi Lake just offshore from the Garibaldi Lake campsite are known as Battleship Islands.  Named by the ...
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Fitzsimmons Creek is the beautiful and huge creek that crashes through Whistler Village.  When walking from Whistler Village to the Upper Village, you will cross ...
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Green Lake is the marvellously vivid, green coloured lake just north of Whistler Village.  Driving north on the Sea to Sky Highway, Green Lake appears ...
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Parkhurst Ridge is an incredible place for a lot of reasons.  Of course, the view is spectacular with Green Lake's absurdly vivid green coloured water.  ...
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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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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 become ...
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December hiking in Whistler is mainly done on snowshoes, though if it hasn't snowed for a few days, trails to Whistler Train Wreck and Rainbow Falls can ...
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There are plenty of beautiful and free snowshoe trails in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.  From the surreal paintings of Whistler Train Wreck to ...
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Rent Hiking Gear Whistler & Garibaldi Park

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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Meager Hot Springs(aka: Meager Creek Hot Springs) is located 93 kilometres northwest of Whistler, was beautifully developed into gorgeous pools, with a caretaker and usage charge.  At its height of ...
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Cheakamus Lake is a wonderfully relaxing way to get in the wilderness easily and quickly from Whistler Village. The trail begins on the far side of Whistler Mountain, 8 kilometres from the Sea to Sky Highway ...
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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 ...
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Sloquet Hot Springs is a wonderfully wild set of shallow, man-made pools fed by a small, all natural, and very hot, waterfall. The pools stretch from the waterfall to the large and crashing Sloquet River. The ...
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