Whistler & Garibaldi Park Trails in August
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 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.
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 place. The Whistler section of the Sea to Sky Trail is 33 kilometres long between Brandywine Falls Provincial Park and WedgeWoods Estates just north of Green Lake (north of Whistler Village). The 33k Whistler section of the Sea to Sky Trail is either paved, dirt or crushed rock and often very wide. Much of the trail just north and south of Whistler Village is wide, two lanes and paved with plenty of signs and occasional mapboards. North of Whistler Village the trail can be challenging with several hills as it rises above and beyond . South of Whistler, the paved trail ends at Cheakamus Crossing and becomes a narrow at times dirt trail with some wider sections of crushed rock. This beautiful section follows the Cheakamus River making four dramatically beautiful river crossings. Ghost Town
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. Cirque Lake is an unbelievably beautiful paradise high up above Callaghan Lake in the Callaghan 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.
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...
Brandywine Falls is one of the must see sights on the way to or from Whistler. The falls drop from a 66 metre, unnaturally abrupt cliff to the valley below. It is such a popular and beautiful sight that it is a Provincial Park complete with a large and elaborate viewing platform directly opposite the falls. Located just 20 minutes south of Whistler, Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is just off of the Sea to Sky Highway. If driving from Vancouver, keep your eyes out for the Brandywine Falls sign on your right about 25 minutes north of Squamish. The parking lot is immediately off the highway and the short 1 kilometre trail takes you over then alongside the Cheakamus River to the viewing area...
Helm Creek in August 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 . 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. 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.
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...
Black Tusk is the amazing pinnacle of volcanic rock visible for hundreds of kilometres and located near the centre of Garibaldi Park. Black Tusk, along with the Chief in Squamish are the most astoundingly noticeable peaks in the Garibaldi Range. 170,000 years ago the Black Tusk was created when a lava dome formed within a million year old, volcanic cinder cone. The cinder cone is crumbling away, revealing the starkly black, hardened lava dome within. Looking at the Black Tusk from a distance, two things seem incredible. First, that such an unusual thing formed, and second that there is a trail that takes you to its peak. With a little sketchy and dangerous, though non technical climbing, you can get to the top of Black Tusk. It is a fairly long dayhike as you cover 30k on the roundtrip hike. The final ascent of Black Tusk is a bit scary and dangerous so be prepared. You have to climb a narrow, steep and crumbly chute up about 10 metres to reach the top. Quite a few people don't climb this last part and instead just take in the extraordinary views from the base. Either way, Black Tusk is unquestionably one of the best of the best hikes in the Whistler area and in .
Wedgemount Lake is another Whistler hiking marvel. Just 7k to the unbelievable Wedgemount Lake which leads to easy access to the impressive Wedgemount Glacier, and several amazing mountain hikes beyond. Wedgemount Lake has a beautiful, and free to use little hut if you don't want to tent or sleep under the stars as many do on perfect summer nights. The trail to Wedgemount Lake is very steep as you climb 1220 metres in just 7 kilometres! The trail is fairly uneventful as you climb through deep forest. Wedgemount Lake sits in a massive valley surrounded by abrupt and rocky peaks. The terrain is dominated by the colour grey. Grey rocks and massive grey erratics are scattered everywhere. The Wedgemount Hut sits amongst a pile of truck sized erratics, adding to the brutal attraction of this wonderful corner of Garibaldi Provincial Park in Whistler.
Russet Lake, in is the wonderfully expansive hiking area located just a few spectacular kilometres from Whistler. Among the various ways to reach Russet Lake, possibly the most impressive are the approaches from either the Musical Bumps Trail or the High Note Trail. Both begin from high up on Whistler Mountain. Musical Bumps starts near the Roundhouse on Whistler and the High Note Trail begins at the top of Whistler near the Peak Chair. Though Russet Lake is not terribly impressive in terms of size or colour, the valley around it is remarkably beautiful. The colours change from moment to moment in and extraordinary way. The distinctive colour of the Fissile and the stark grey of the mountains around contrast amazingly with the blue of the lake and green grass in the valley. So many different factors fill the place with colour and in August this piece of paradise is brilliant.
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 , or 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.
Whistler & Garibaldi Park in August Whistler Hiking Trails
More hiking and camping info for the Whistler area in August...