Must-do Hikes in Garibaldi Provincial Park
Are you looking to tackle some amazing hikes near Whistler? Garibaldi Provincial Park is stunning, one of our favourite British Columbia Provincial Parks and very close to Whistler! Garibaldi has loads of amazing day hikes and overnight backpacking trips and is probably the most popular park near Whistler and Vancouver for hiking.
From hiking though beautiful meadows full of wildflowers, to turquoise lakes, to incredible mountainous viewpoints, Garibaldi Provincial Park seriously has it all!
In this guide I have listed the very best hikes in Garibaldi Provincial Park that should not be missed!
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📍 Where is Garibaldi Provincial Park
Garibaldi Provincial Park is located in British Columbia, Canada near Whistler. The below map shows the trailheads for all of the hikes listed in this guide.
Click here to open the map in google maps!
How to Get to Garibaldi Provincial Park
It depends where you are planning on going in Garibaldi, so the below directions and times are approximate.
From Vancouver, Garibaldi Provincial Park is a little over a 1 hour drive up the Sea to Sky Highway towards Whistler. You will need to take Highway 99 North towards Whistler, crossing over the Lions Gate Bridge.
From Whistler, Garibaldi Provincial Park is about a 30 minute drive. You will need to take Highway 99 South towards Vancouver and Squamish.
Without a Car
If you are wanting to visit Garibaldi Provincial Park from Vancouver and you don’t have a car, don’t worry! Parkbus provides a bus once a week, taking people to the Rubble Creek parking lot which is the trailhead for Garibaldi Lake and Panorama Ridge. The cost is $95 per person return.
There is also an amazing photography hiking tour to Garibaldi Lake which goes from Vancouver.
ℹ A Bit About Garibaldi Provincial Park
Garibaldi Provincial Park was established in 1927 and was named after its 2,678m peak, Mount Garibaldi. The park has over 90km of hiking trails and is one of the most popular parks near Vancouver for hiking and backpacking.
🕐 Best Time of the Year to Hike in Garibaldi
We love visiting Garibaldi in the Summer months, doing day hikes and backpacking trips. During Summer, the mountains come alive with wildflowers, birds and other animals. In my opinion, Summer is the best time of the year to visit Garibaldi Provincial Park.
You can also hike or snowshoe on some of the trails in Garibaldi during Winter, however, you need to make sure you are well prepared and have all the extra Winter gear. There are a few huts that you can also backpack to during the Winter, such as Elfin Lakes.
🎒 Garibaldi Provincial Park Backpacking
Garibaldi Provincial Park is an incredible place to go backpacking. The list of 7 hikes below can also all be done as backpacking trips. The facilities in Garibaldi are awesome which toilet facilities provided (no toilet paper so bring your own) and bear boxes or pullies at some campgrounds.
Garibaldi is extremely popular for backpacking and so BC parks use a permit system which you will need to use to reserve a backcountry camping permit through.
The reservation system opens 4 month out from your booking date and you can book on the BC Parks website. You will need to go to the backcountry camping section and pick Garibaldi Provincial Park and then find the hiking trail that you want to do. For all hikes, camping is only permitted in the designated camping spots and you will need to bring along proof of your reservation with you in case a ranger asks to see it (which they often do).
🐶 Dogs in Garibaldi Provincial Park
Unlike many of the other parks in Canada, dogs are not allowed in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The reason for this is to keep the vegetation pristine, as it is sensitive due to the limited snow free period in the mountains.
🐻 Wildlife in Garibaldi
Garibaldi Provincial Park is home to lots of wildlife such as squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, grey jays, black bears, cougars, deer, mountain goats, wolverines and even grizzly bears. If you are planning on hiking in Garibaldi, I recommend bringing along some bear spray with you.
🌲 Leave No Trace
The 7 Leave No Trace principles are important to be aware of to help keep Beautiful British Columbia beautiful.
Nature is there for us to enjoy but also respect and leave the way we found it but as well as respecting nature, we should also be treating each other with nothing but kindness. To remind yourself of the 7 Leave No Trace principles, check out the LNT website.
🥾 The Top 7 Hikes in Garibaldi Provincial Park
These top 7 hikes are in no particular order. If you are looking to do any of these hikes as a day hike, please make sure you check the BC Parks website to see if you need to obtain a day pass.
Distance: 12.2km / 7.5miles return | Time: 6-8 hours | Elevation: 1,200m / 3,937ft
Wedgemount Lake was the first hike that we did in Garibaldi and I literally cried when we reached the lake. It was simply so jaw-droppingly beautiful seeing the turquoise lake with the glacier sitting next to it that I got a little emotional. It also could have been due to the fact that the hike itself is a total grind.
It is not too far, at just over 6km one way, however the hike is incredibly steep pretty much all of the way and with an overnight bag on, it makes it pretty tough!
Distance: 30km / 18.64 miles return | Time: 10-12 hours | Elevation: 1,520m / 4,986 ft
Panorama Ridge is probably the most talked about hike in Garibaldi Provincial Park, along with Garibaldi Lake which is actually one of the possible campgrounds that you can camp at if you do Panorama Ridge as an overnight hike.
The hike to Panorama Ridge takes you to an extremely insane viewpoint where you can see just how blue Garibaldi Lake really is from above. Once you take in this view for yourself, you will soon see why it is so popular!
Panorama Ridge is a grind and I recommend camping at either 1 or 2 nights to make the most of this once in a lifetime adventure!
Distance: 18km / 11.2 miles return | Time: 5-7 hours | Elevation: 820m / 2,690 ft
Garibaldi Lake, also one of the campgrounds for Panorama Ridge, is a gorgeous turquoise alpine lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The hike is pretty long, at 18km return with an elevation gain of 820m but the view of Garibaldi Lake is so worth it!
Garibaldi Lake, along with Joffre Lakes, is one of the most beautiful lakes in British Columbia and is well worth the journey.
TIP: I recommend bringing along your swimming costume so that you can cool off in the lake.
Distance: 22km / 13.7 miles return | Time: 5-7 hours | Elevation: 600m / 1,968 ft
You might have started to realise that Garibaldi Provincial Park is home to quite a few gorgeous lake hikes. Elfin Lakes is no exception.
Elfin Lakes are two small lakes surrounded by epic mountains and along the trail you will get incredible views of Mount Garibaldi!
At the campsite, there is a hut which you can book and 35 tent sites with amazing views! In my opinion, this is one of the best backcountry campsites in Garibaldi Provincial Park.
Distance: 15km / 9.3 miles return | Time: 5 hours | Elevation: 400m / 1,312 ft
The hike to Cheakamus Lake is quite flat but long. It is a popular trail for not only hikers, but also mountain bikers!
It is a great hike to do on a warm Summer’s day and bring your swimmers to cool off in the lake.
Distance: 29km / 18 miles return | Time: 11-13 hours | Elevation: 1,740m / 5,708 ft
Black Tusk is a HARD hike and the hardest on this list but the views of this incredibly unique mountain make up for it! Black Tusk is a mountain formed by a tower of volcanic rock and is known to the Squamish people as “Landing Place of the Thunderbird.” It is named after the supernatural bird, Thunderbird.
You could hike Black Tusk in a day or plan to camp overnight at Taylor Meadows or Garibaldi Lake and split it into 2 days. This is what a lot of people choose to do as it is such a huge one day hike otherwise!
Singing Pass to Russet Lake
Distance: 15km / 9.3 miles return | Time: hours | Elevation: 1,410m / 4,625 ft
Singing Pass is an alternative way to get to Russet Lake instead of via the Musical Bumps trial which you would need to couple with the Peak Express and Whistler gondola to reach.
Russet Lake is gorgeous but not a turquoise lake like Wedgemount or Garibaldi. You can choose to camp up there (reservation required) or hike there and back in a day.
🎒 Hiking Gear
- Hiking Boots or Trail Runners – My favourite boots are the Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry Boots and Dave’s favourite boots are his Scarpa Kailash Plus Gore-Tex Backpacking Boots.
- Hiking Socks – Good hiking socks are important to make your boots as comfortable as possible! Some great hiking socks are the Smartwool Hike Classic Edition Light Cushion Crew and the Darn Tough Hiker Midweight with Cushion Micro Crew socks.
- Micro Spikes – During Winter, you may want to bring along a pair of micro spikes if the trail is icy. We have a pair each in our backpacks on every hike we do in the Winter and they have come in handy more often than not.
- Merino Top / Tee – Merino is a great material to hike in so we use Merino tops to hike. Our favourite Merino tops are from Icebreaker!
- Fleece – My favourite fleece is the Patagonia Better Sweater 1/4 Zip.
- Puffer Jacket – We love our puffer jackets to keep warm at the beginning of a walk and then once we are at the viewpoint. Dave’s favourite puffer jacket is the Arcteryx Cerium LT Hoody and Kerry’s favourites are the Eddie Bauer CirrusLite Down Hooded Jacket and Rab Microlight Alpine Down Jacket.
- Rain Jacket – Check the weather before you go, but if there is any rain in the forecast we recommend bringing along raincoats which can also double as a wind breaker.
- Beanie – We never go anywhere in Winter, Spring and Fall without our beanies! Some of our favourites are from Dakine and Eddie Bauer.
- Hiking Poles – if you prefer hiking with poles.
- Safety Items such as a first aid kit, bug spray, sunscreen, headlamps, a navigation device and bear spray.
😉 For a full guide containing all of the things we take hiking, check out our hiking gear guide!
💭 Our Thoughts
Garibaldi Provincial Park is one of our favourite parks near Vancouver for hiking and backpacking during the Summer. Some of the backpacking trips, we will happily do again and again each year, such as Wedgemount Lake because I just love it so much!
You definitely need to be super organised these days, if you are wanting to go backpacking in Garibaldi however. I find it super helpful to make a spreadsheet at the beginning of the year with all of the times I want to book each site and when the site opens up for me to book them.
You might also enjoy:
- Golden Ears Summit – The Best Backpacking Trip in Vancouver
- Best Sunset Hikes in Vancouver
- Joffre Lakes – Hiking and Camping Guide
- 11 Best Hikes Near Squamish (including Easy Trails)
- How to Hike to Flora Peak in Chilliwack
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