August - Best Hiking Destinations in and Around Whistler and Garibaldi Park
Average low and high valley temps in Whistler in August range from 11c to 27c (52f/80f)
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 still hot. Even in the high elevations and on glaciers the temperatures are often a beautifully hot 20c plus. There are numerous glaciers that are readily accessible via Whistler area hiking trails. The Wedgemount Lake trail leads to the beautiful Wedgemount Lake which is fed by the massive glacier of the same name. The glacier is easily hiked to and very safe to clamour over its lower reaches. This glacier disappears into the sun as it stretches up the the magnificent Wedge Mountain and no fewer than 12 named glaciers beyond.
This is a wondrous hiking paradise with branching hikes that stretch away from the hut like a giant spiders arms. The hikes from Wedgemount Lake range from easy to difficult to extremely dangerous. And you will likely see a good mix of day hikers at one end to the ice axe, rope and harness types at the other. All dispersing into this fantastically huge expanse of mountains, glaciers and perfect lakes.
Garibaldi Park is incredible in August. From Elfin Lakes in the Diamond Head region to the south in Squamish. To the spider web of trails in the middle leading to Garibaldi Lake, Taylor Meadows, Black Tusk, Helm Creek, Mount Garibaldi, Cheakamus Lake and many more all the way up to Wedgemount Lake.
If you start on the trail to Garibaldi Lake on a beautiful day in August, you may find quite a few cars at the trailhead, and a fair number of people on the trail. When you reach the fork in the trail between Taylor Meadows Campsite and Garibaldi Lake Campsite, you may see, "campsites full". This leads you to believe that this place is overrun with hikers, but that's only partly true.
The reason is that this incredibly vast wilderness, with many hiking trails and countless alpine routes, is only accessed by a few trailheads, which is a great thing. This ensures that the vast, though very accessible wilderness beyond the popular, named hiking trails remain impossibly quiet. A look at a map of Garibaldi Park and you can see this pretty clearly. There will be concentrations of people at Elfin Lakes, Garibaldi Lake, Black Tusk, and Taylor Meadows and some way over at Wedgemount Lake, but everything in between will be empty. Even on a seemingly chaotic August weekend.
For a unforgettable hiking experience, Cirque Lake is a great choice. The trailhead is only reachable by canoe and the hike looks impossibly steep from far off. But it's not terribly difficult, and fairly short. So if you have a canoe it's amazing, especially in August.
For and good idea where to hike in Whistler in August take a look at the top 5 best places to hike in Whistler here.. Or for easier and shorter hikes take a look here, at the best easy hikes in Whistler... Remember though that in Garibaldi Park, which most of the best Whistler hikes are located, dogs are not allowed. So if you have a dog, take a look here at the best dog friendly hikes in Whistler here.. and the best easy and short dog friendly hikes here..
If your interested in quick and beautiful, short hikes take a look at the easy hikes to waterfalls in Whistler here..
If you just want to relax in a natural hot spring, there are four to choose from, though a bit of a drive from Whistler. If you have not been to or heard of Skookumchuck Hot Springs, Sloquet Hot Springs or Keyhole Hot Springs take a look, they make for an amazing day trip or an even better two or three day trip.
Vancouver, just 1.5 hours south of Whistler has plenty of fantastic, summertime hiking options as well. From the easier hikes like Lighthouse Park and . To more strenuous hikes like , , and The Lions. The Lions in August will be snow free which allows for the difficult ascent of the West Lion, which is borderline suicidal during the snowy months of winter and spring when hand and footholds are wet and slippery. Hiking trails in Vancouver's amazing Lighthouse Park are featured in the May edition of Vancouver's Ultimate Hiking Magazine.
Amazing August hiking in Whistler - Cirque Lake in the Callaghan Valley
is an unbelievably beautiful paradise high up above Callaghan Lake in the Cirque LakeCallaghan Valley. It requires a canoe to get you to the trailhead at the far end of Callaghan Lake and therefore is seldom hiked. The trailhead is tricky to find and the 2 kilometre trail is very steep, though surprisingly well marked with flagging tape. Once at the lake you find yourself in the wind shadow of the cirque and in a world of serenity and calm. It is an extraordinary thing to have a cirque valley to yourself. Feels like you are standing in a volcano of sorts. But a giant, tree filled meadow of a volcano with a mesmerisingly still and perfectly reflecting lake at its centre. A cirque lake is a wonderful thing, and Cirque Lake in Whistler takes you as close to a hiking paradise as a place can get. And that is just the beginning... you can hike in almost any direction. Thirty minutes past the lake and you find yourself staring at a monstrous glacier. Glaciers, mountain peaks, lakes and more lakes. You can lose yourself in the hiking possibilities in the Callaghan Valley around Cirque Lake. And one magical and striking feature of this area often goes unnoticed. The trail ends at Cirque Lake. You won't find any indication of humanity past the lake. Every hiking step you take beyond Cirque Lake makes you feel like you are the first to explore the area. So high up in the valley keeps the hiking season short with just August to October free of snow. There is no charge for parking and/or camping at Callaghan Lake where you must park at the boat launch.
Why should you hike to Cirque Lake?
Wonderfully beautiful, untouched wilderness hiking. Endless hiking opportunities beyond Cirque Lake. Trailhead must be reached by canoe, amazing! Challenging trail to Cirque Lake due to its steepness, however the trail is short and should pose no difficultly, for example, for a moderately experienced weekend hiker.
Garibaldi Park's Helm Creek Campground - Wonderful in August
Helm Creek is a beautiful, 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 it descends further along the Helm Creek Trail, until it joins the Cheakamus River near where it leaves Cheakamus Lake. The location of Helm Creek Campground has two tremendous advantages. First it is just a great location in Garibaldi Park. About halfway between Cheakamus Lake and Black Tusk it lays in some amazingly scenic areas. Beautiful, climbable mountains all around. Amazing fields of snow that run all the way to the base of Black Tusk. Rivers, creeks and waterfalls everywhere you turn. And the campground area itself is very nice. A large, grassy field ringed by trees and Helm Creek. The area really has no trails except the Helm Creek trail that runs past it, 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. The second great 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.
Why should you hike to Helm Creek?
Though Helm Creek is generally called Helm Creek Campground it is somewhat of a destination on its own. Beautiful scenery, relaxing area. It is an incredible base camp allowing access to the less hiked but arguably most spectacular area of Garibaldi Park. You can hike in several directions from Helm Creek and because you are in the alpine you don't need to follow a trail. With a topo map you can venture any number of marvellous places within an hour from your tent.
The High Note Trail on Whistler Mountain in August
The High Note Trail begins high up on Whistler Mountain at the top of the Peak Chair. To get there you must buy a lift pass and ride the Whistler Gondola for 22 minutes up to the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain, then hike for about 8 minutes to the Peak Chair. Ride this beautiful and alarmingly steep chairlift up to Whistler's Peak where the High Note Trail begins. The trail begins with some narrow, rocky and fairly steep ups and downs as you hike out to the edge of a rock outcrop with amazing views to the valley and Whistler below. Though there are two small chain-assist sections, most should have no difficulty. Even if you are bringing your kids along, you will have no problem or worry at these parts or any other along the trail. After this short up and down section at the beginning of the High Note Trail, the route evens out and runs along the edge of the ridge parallel to the amazing Cheakamus Lake far down the valley below. There are signs at a couple spots along the way directing you very clearly. The High Note Trail is 9.5k roundtrip and should take about 3 hours. Partway along the trail you can take a short cut, the Half Note Trail and head back earlier and shorten the trail by a couple k's. The trail is by no means easy as it is narrow and has a few ups and downs, but aside from the fairly long distance (9.5k), the High Note Trail is family friendly. It is open from July to October depending on when the Whistler Gondola and Peak Chair are open of course. The cost can be prohibitive at around $70, however, there is so much to see and do up there, not least the Peak to Peak Gondola which shouldn't be missed on the same outing as hiking the High Note.
Why should you hike the High Note Trail?
From beginning to end this trail is amazing. The gondola and chairlift rides are fantastic as well. The trail has constant views and you don't have to hike an uneventful trail to reach the sites like almost all other hiking trails. There are restaurants at both ends of the Peak to Peak Gondola which your lift pass includes access to. The combination of gondola rides, restaurants and hiking make this the ultimate, family friendly outing in Whistler that is hard to beat.
August hiking in Whistler - The Rainbow Lake Trail
Rainbow Lake is one of the original hiking trails in Whistler that has existed well before Whistler was called Whistler. The 8k trail is challenging though beautiful as it passes through an impressively huge forest of giant trees. There are several wonderful bridge crossings and crashing river views. Rainbow Lake itself is surreal and beautiful. An unnaturally bright, green meadow extends from one side of the lake and a field of starkly white erratics litter the landscape along the shores of the crystal clear lake. Rainbow Lake is Whistler's water source so swimming, fishing, dogs and camping are not allowed. There are, you will quickly notice upon reaching Rainbow Lake, that a trail continues past the lake then forks. The right fork takes you to the right and to the popular, though difficult scramble to the summit of Rainbow Mountain. In the same direction you can bear left on the Rainbow Mountain trail and after about 3k you will arrive at the secluded, pristine and wonderful, Hanging Lake. Camp and swim here all you want as you are far from Rainbow Lake. Back at Rainbow Lake, the left fork takes you to Beverly Lake. This is the often used campsite alternative to Rainbow Lake and is just a 40 minute hike away. Rainbow Lake can also be reached from the Madeley Lake trailhead past Beverly Lake and Madeley Lake has a nice wilderness (no facilities or cost) camping area as well. The Rainbow Lake trail is moderately difficult and there is significant elevation gain. 850 metres in 8k make this a tough hike and most will take about 5 hours for the 16k roundtrip journey.
Why should you hike to Rainbow Lake?
Challenging, beautiful hike to a mountain-lake paradise. Hypnotizing views of Wedge Mountain across the valley as well as impressive views along the trail of Whistler Village. The Rainbow Lake trail is eventful with several small waterfalls and interesting sights.