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Everything You Need to Know About Hiking to Panorama Ridge

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Panorama Ridge: One of the Best Views in Canada

The Panorama Ridge hike in BC has been on top of our hiking bucket list since we landed in Canada. The views from Panorama Ridge are no joke and it is pretty hard to believe they aren’t fake when you see them in person.

This is a hike that brought me to tears at the top, purely because the view is completely out of this world! The hike is a total grind, totalling 31.4km / 19.5 miles with an elevation gain of 1,525 m / 4,991 ft but it is so worth it.

Panorama Ridge is one of the best views in Canada and also one of the best hikes in Garibaldi Provincial Park!

In this guide I will tell you everything you need to know to hike to Panorama Ridge including where and how you can camp along the way and how hard the actual hike is.

couple standing at Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial Park during blue hour

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Hike Stats

The below hiking stats all include the return distance.

Rubble Creek Trailhead to Garibaldi Lake
Distance: 18km / 11.2 miles return
Time: 5-7 hours  
Elevation: 820m / 2,690 ft
Dog Friendly: No
Toilets: Yes, at the trailhead, campsites and one along the trail

Garibaldi Lake to Panorama Ridge
Distance: 13.4km / 8.3 miles
Time: 4-5 hours 
Elevation: 705m / 2,313 ft
Dog Friendly: No
Toilets: Yes, at the trailhead, campsites and one along the trail

Rubble Creek Trailhead to Taylor Meadows
Distance: 15km / 9.3 miles
Time: 5-7 hours  
Elevation: 1,050m / 3,445 ft
Dog Friendly: No
Toilets: Yes, at the trailhead, campsites and one along the trail

Taylor Meadows to Panorama Ridge
Distance: 13.5km / 8.4 miles
Time: 4-5 hours 
Elevation: 687m / 2,253 ft
Dog Friendly: No
Toilets: Yes, at the trailhead, campsites and one along the trail

Everything you need to know about hiking to Panorama Ridge

What is Panorama Ridge

If you are wondering, what in the world even is Panorama Ridge? I’m here to explain! Panorama Ridge is a viewpoint on a ridgeline in Garibaldi Provincial Park that looks over Garibaldi Lake.

Now you are probably thinking, ok.. a view of a lake… what is the big deal?

Panorama Ridge at sunset


Garibaldi Lake is a lake fed by a glacier so it is a beautiful turquoise blue in colour. The bright blue colour created by the glacial silt comes out much more when you are high above the lake which is why the view from Panorama Ridge is so spectacular! Add some snow capped mountains behind the lake and you have an artistic masterpiece!

girl at Panorama Ridge

📍 Where is Panorama Ridge Located

Panorama Ridge is located in Garibaldi Provincial Park in British Columbia. The trailhead is a 30 minute drive from Whistler and a 1.5 hour drive from Vancouver.

girl standing at Garibaldi Lake at sunset
Garibaldi Lake at sunset

🥾 How hard is the hike to Panorama Ridge?

Panorama Ridge is a long hike so its not easy. I would rate it as challenging due to the amount of distance you cover. It is also quite a grind as there are a lot of switchbacks (about 7kms worth) at the start from Rubble Creek Trailhead to Garibaldi Lake / Taylor Meadows where you climb up the mountain.

Panorama Ridge Peak
The last little stretch of the Panorama Ridge Trail to the top

The trail for the majority of the hike is extremely well maintained, which is something we loved about this hike. The only section of the trail that was technically challenging was the final ascent to Panorama Ridge.

The final ascent to Panorama Ridge takes you up a steep mountain of shale, which is a little more technical than the rest of the hike.

girl hiking back down Panorama Ridge
Kerry hiking back down with views of Black Tusk from the trail

📌 TIP: We 100% recommend bringing along a pair of hiking poles. They will help take the load off your legs on the way up, and save your knees on the way down. Purchase a pair of hiking poles here!

🐶 Can dogs do the trail to Panorama Ridge?

Dogs are not allowed in Garibaldi Provincial Park and therefore your pup cannot join you on your epic hike to Panorama Ridge.

couple at top of Panorama Ridge

⌚ Panorama Ridge Hiking Time

If you choose to do the whole hike in one go, it will take you around 10 – 12 hours. Otherwise, you can camp overnight in one of the campgrounds which is a really nice way to break up the hike and give your legs a rest!

view of Black Tusk from Panorama Ridge Trail

📌 Finding the Trailhead

The Panorama Ridge hike starts at the Rubble Creek Trailhead. There is a large parking lot here with a pit toilet, however the parking lot fills up extremely fast on the weekends.

If the parking lot is full when you go, you can also park on the side of the road.

🚻 Facilities

We were super impressed by the facilities along this trail and at the campgrounds. Thank you BC Parks!

Toilets

There are a couple of pit toilets at the Rubble Creek Trailhead as well as one about halfway up the trail to Garibaldi Lake / Taylor Meadows and another about 1/4 of the way up the trail to Panorama Ridge.

Girl sitting up at Panorama Ridge at sunset


At the campsites there are also multiple pit toilets available.

You will need to make sure to bring along your own toilet paper as this is not provided by BC Parks.

Bear Food Hangs

There are Food Hangs at all 3 campgrounds, Taylor Meadows, Garibaldi Lake and Helm Creek for campers. Make sure you bring along your own drybag to store you food in to hang.

Food Hangs are available for campers so that bears and rodents do not get any human food. Leaving food unattended at the campground or anywhere else in the park creates a risk for hikers, campers and wildlife because once an animal realises that they can obtain food easily from humans, they become a pest and potentially dangerous.

Shelters and picnic tables

At the campgrounds, there are shelters with sinks which can be used for washing for washing dishes and escaping the bugs and the weather. You should cook in the shelters as this will attract wildlife.

There are also quite a few picnic tables that you can eat at.

🚱 Where to Filter Water

This is a big hike and it can get extremely hot during Summer, so you are going to drink a lot of water. A water filter is a necessity to ensure that you never run out! You can purchase one here. We also love adding Nuun Sport Electrolytes to our water on big hikes like this one.

Man filtering water along trail to Panorama Ridge

Along the first section of the hike, there are no running streams to filter from.

Once you reach Garibaldi Lake, you can filter from the lake (which is what we did while camping).

Then on the way from Garibaldi Lake to Panorama Ridge, there are lots of little glacial streams running through the meadows and the mountains.

🐻 Are there Bears in Garibaldi Provincial Park?

Garibaldi is home to many animals including black bears and grizzly bears. If you go on any hike in the park, please ensure that you are familiar with bear safety. Check out this article to familiarize yourself. Bring along bear spray with you and ensure you know how to use it. You can purchase a bottle of bear spray here.

meadows on the trail to Panorama Ridge
Meadows on the trail to Panorama Ridge from Garibaldi Lake

It is also REALLY important to make sure that you never leave any food unattended at your campground if you choose to camp. The campgrounds at Taylor Meadows, Garibaldi Lake and Helm Creek all have food hangs. You will just need to bring a drybag or similar to put your food inside and attach it to the food hang.

Girl floating on Garibaldi Lake


Because the campgrounds at Garibaldi Lake and Taylor Meadows are so popular, there have been many incidents in the past where food has been left.

This leads to some bears realising that they can get food really easily from campers which then may lead to the bear becoming aggressive towards people. Unfortunately BC Parks then have to catch the bear and put him down as it is their responsibility to ensure the safety of the visitors to the park.

Astrophotography shot of Garibaldi Lake
The incredible stars at Garibaldi Lake!

Please remember, leaving food out can not only affect your safety and those around you but also affect the lives of the innocent animals that live in the park.

🌲 Leave No Trace

Whenever you are enjoying the beautiful nature that our world has to offer, remember to leave no trace (LNT)! Respect the beautiful places that make our world beautiful and take out everything that you take in, take only photos and respect the wildlife and other people. You can read more on the 7 LNT principles here.

Garibaldi Lake, Taylor Meadows and Helm Creek Campgrounds

There are 3 possible campgrounds that you can stay at if you decide to do Panorama Ridge as a backpacking trip. These are Garibaldi Lake, Taylor Meadows and Helm Creek.

Garibaldi Lake is the most popular, followed closely by Taylor Meadows. Not many people realise that the Helm Creek campground is also an option!

We chose to stay at Garibaldi Lake because we wanted to be able to swim in the lake to cool off during the day.

campsite at Garibaldi Lake
Garibaldi Lake Campsite

Do I need to book the campgrounds?

You will need to book to stay at any one of the campgrounds on the BC Parks website. Bookings fill up very quickly so you need to be organised. Reservations open on a rolling 4 month advance calendar, meaning you will need to book your campsite exactly 4 months in advance.

Hiking Panorama Ridge as a Day Hike

Instead, of booking a campsite, Panorama Ridge can be done as a day hike, however this will be an extremely long and tiring day so make sure you bring plenty of food water, sun protection and bug spray.

If you decide to hike Panorama Ridge in one day, it could take you around 10 – 12 hours.

Do I need a day pass to do Panorama Ridge as a day hike?

To do Panorama Ridge or any other hike from the Rubble Creek Trailhead, you will need to book a free day pass 2 days before your visit on the BC Parks website. These passes are used to monitor and stagger traffic flow on the trails as they are super popular.

If you have a camping permit, you do not also need to get a day pass. Your camping permit is all you need.

The Panorama Ridge Hiking Trail

The Panorama Ridge Hiking Trail can be broken into 3 sections. Starting with the trailhead to the campgrounds, then the campgrounds through the meadows and finally the most technical part of the trail up to Panorama Ridge.

Panorama Ridge Meadows

The trail from Rubble Creek Trailhead to Garibaldi Lake or Taylor Meadows

The Panorama Ridge trail starts at the Rubble Creek trailhead and parking lot. There is a pit toilet here right at the trailhead.

As soon as you begin your hike, you will dive head first into the switchbacks which are not overly steep, but steady and continue for the first 7km almost all of the way up to Garibaldi Lake.

You will be hiking through the forest so at least you have some shelter from the heat of the sun as you climb for what will feel like YEARS.

Man standing at viewpoint halfway up the trail to Garibaldi LAke
Viewpoint 3/4 of the way up the trail

Almost 3/4 of the way up, you will come to a sign saying “viewpoint – 100m.” Take this side trail for an awesome view! I know your feet will probably be starting to get tired at this stage but the view is worth it. Trust me!

Once you are back on the trail, the switchbacks will continue for a bit until you reach an intersection with an information sign. This is where you will either turn left to Taylor Meadows or right to Garibaldi Lake.

intersection where Garibaldi Lake and TAylor Meadows trails meet
Intersection for Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake trails

The trail begins to change slightly here and will flatten out a little but will also still gradually go up. You will hike around a crazy blue lake and over some lovely streams and a bridge.


Eventually you will see a sign pointing to Garibaldi Lake, turn a corner and hike down to the lake. Watch out through the trees on your left hand side here as you will start to see bright blue flashes of the turquoise lake.

Keep hiking down to the lake, cross the bridge and you’ve made it to Garibaldi Lake!

Hiking around Garibaldi Lake
Hiking around Garibaldi Lake to the campsites

The campsites are a little further around the lake however, so you will need to keep hiking. Then to actually find a free camping spot, you will need to hike through the trails in the forest as they are scattered all over and the trails get a little confusing.

Garibaldi Lake/Taylor Meadows to Panorama Ridge (through the meadows)

The hike from Garibaldi Lake to Panorama Ridge is 13.4km return with an elevation gain of 705m.

The hike from Taylor Meadows to Panorama Ridge is 13.5km return with an elevation gain of 687m.

Panorama Ridge Hiking Trial


From Garibaldi Lake, you will start the hike with a bunch of switchbacks which then open up into absolutely gorgeous meadows! Right after Spring, these meadows will be covered in colourful wildflowers.

There are quite a few streams along this trail so you will come across a few great spots to filter water and fill up your water bottles.


About 2km in, you will reach an intersection where there is a pit toilet and a sign pointing to Black Tusk, Taylor Meadows and Panorama Ridge. You are going to want to continue hiking to the right of the sign.

Any friends joining you from the Taylor Meadows campground can meet you here.


Continue hiking through the meadows and enjoy the scenery. This trail honestly just gets more and more beautiful from this point on and for a while you can enjoy a nice flat trail.

Eventually, you will start climbing again and be able to look back behind you and see Black Tusk! See what I meant about the views getting better and better?!

View of Black Tusk from Panorama Ridge Trail

The Most Technical Part of the Trail

The trail remains pretty well maintained until the final stretch to the summit of Panorama Ridge. It then turns into shale that can be slippery under foot so watch your footing and go slow. We found that our  hiking poles helped us a lot during this part of the hike.

View of Black Tusk from Panorama Ridge


Once you reach the shale, it becomes a little harder to follow the trail and it turns a little into a choose your own adventure kind of hike. It gets pretty steep in some sections with little scrambles here and there but overall the technicality of this section is not too bad.

One last little push and you will reach the little peak that is Panorama Ridge! The blue of Garibaldi Lake will come into view and you might feel the need to cry. I did. 😅

How to Hike to Panorama Ridge at Sunset

If you want to hike to Panorama Ridge for sunrise or sunset, here are some tips to make you feel more comfortable on your hike.

  1. Bring a headlamp.
  2. Hike in a group of 3 or more people and have bear spray with you.
  3. Camp at one of the campgrounds so that you don’t have to hike ALL of the way back out.
  4. Make lots of noise while hiking so that any animals out there can hear you coming. They want to see you as much as you want to see them.
  5. Tell someone where you are going and what time you plan on getting back to camp.
  6. Bring plenty of food and water as on any hike.
  7. Bring clothing layers such as a fleece and a puffer jacket to keep warm up at Panorama Ridge. It can be really windy and cold up there, especially once the sun has gone down.
  8. Bring offline maps or all trails to make sure you stay on the right trail! At one point we ended up on the wrong trail but with the help of all trails, we found our way again pretty easily.
  9. Don’t forget your camera! There will be some AMAZING photo opportunities at this time of the day.
  10. HAVE FUN

Commonly Asked Questions

Should I Wear Hiking Boots or Trail Runners for Panorama Ridge?

The entire trail is extremely well maintained so I would say trail runners are fine. EXCEPT, the last part of the climb up to Panorama Ridge is very steep and slippery.

You will be hiking on shale (small slippery pebbles) and hiking boots would definitely be my preferred shoe of choice on this kind of terrain. I wore my Oboz Bridger Mid B-Dry Boots to hike to Panorama Ridge.

Can I swim in Garibaldi Lake?

Yes! Absolutely you can swim in Garibaldi Lake!

girl floating on Garibaldi Lake


When we camped at Garibaldi Lake, we swam a couple of times and we were surprised to find that the water felt almost as warm as a swimming pool! I’m sure this is not entirely normal and it’s not like this all year around but going for a dip in Garibaldi Lake is the best way to cool off after all those switchbacks!

Can I camp at Panorama Ridge?

You are not allowed to camp up at Panorama Ridge. If you want to watch the sunset or sunrise and camp close by, you will need to stay in one of the campgrounds, Taylor Meadows, Garibaldi Lake or Helm Creek.

Girl sitting at Panorama Ridge at Golden Hour

Things to Take on a Backpacking Trip

Are you thinking about going on an overnight hike and don’t have any idea where to begin when it comes to gear? I’ve got you covered with my guide on Backpacking Gear Items that you need this Adventure Season!

🗨 Our Thoughts

A beautiful and exhausting grind. That is all. No but really, Panorama Ridge to Dave and I is probably one of the best views in Canada, at least that we have seen so far.

It is mind blowingly beautiful and I think the fact that it is so much work physically to get to, somehow makes it even more beautiful.

We stayed 2 nights at Garibaldi Lake and hiked up to Panorama Ridge on the second night which was awesome! We had enough time to rest and swim in the lake during the day before hiking up to Panorama Ridge at sunset.

The last 2-3km on the way back down the switchbacks from Garibaldi Lake to Rubble Creek trailhead killed me. It felt like they were never-ending, although this is the way for most hikes.

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