July's Best Hiking and Camping in and Around Whistler and Garibaldi Park
Average low and high valley temps in Whistler in July range from 11c to 27c (52f/80f)
July in Whistler is when the snow on the higher elevations finally melt enough to hike all the trails without worrying about snowshoes. Take a look at this summary list of the best 5 hikes in and around Whistler. These include Black Tusk, one of the most incredible hikes in Whistler, and a Whistler icon. Though a long hike, 15k roundtrip, the breathtaking and scary final ascent, makes the summit view even more memorable. You will see Black Tusk as you approach Whistler, about 30 minutes south. Hard to believe, but you can actually get to the summit, and without special equipment.
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 July nights.
Russet Lake is another beautiful hike ending at a beautiful lake and free mountain hut. This hike can be done, starting at the Whistler Gondola, then the Peak Chair, then 14k alone the amazing Musical Bumps trail via the High Note Trail. There is a charge of course to ride the gondola, but it can be done for free via the Singing Pass trail and returning for free on the Whistler Gondola, but not nearly as fun.
And of course Panorama Ridge, an unbelievable 29k roundtrip hike that passes the flower filled Taylor Meadows Campground, Black Tusk and beautifully turquoise Garibaldi Lake and of course best done via these other sights over 2-4 days.
For a list of the best easy hikes in and around Whistler take a look here.. These include amazing places such as Train Wreck, the Whistler and Blackcomb mountain trails, Cheakamus Lake and some waterfall hikes.
Black Tusk in Garibaldi Park is one of the best hikes to do in July
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. There are three very nice campgrounds in the area allowing for a beautiful, multi-day hiking trip to the area. Helm Creek one one side of Black Tusk and Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake campgrounds on the other side provide dozens of beautiful places to put up a tent. 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 Garibaldi Park. Though it is best hiked July to October, many people brave the hike during the snowy months.
Why should you hike Black Tusk?
Hiking to the top of Black Tusk is certainly one of the most extraordinary and memorable hikes around Whistler. It is a tremendous hiking workout as you gain 1735 metres in the 15k from trailhead to summit. It is an exhilarating hike as the last summit chute requires some courage and daring.
Russet Lake in Garibaldi Park is another amazing hike to do in July
Russet Lake, in Garibaldi Park 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. There are, in fact, several ways to get to hike Russet Lake. The Singing Pass Trail from the base of Whistler Mountain near the Whistler Gondola. The Musical Bumps Trail that begins near the top of the Whistler Gondola. The High Note Trail that begins at the top of the Peak Chair on Whistler Mountain. There is an increasingly popular route that begins from Blackcomb Mountain. And finally, a very infrequently hiked route from Cheakamus Lake that runs along Singing Creek. Russet Lake is a beautiful place to camp. It has a wonderful hut available to use by anyone. It is a basic wooden hut with no facilities, but surprisingly comfortable. It holds up to 12 crowded or 8 comfortable. There is also an outhouse and a beautiful stream that runs along the massive camping area. There are no tent platforms but over a dozen tent clearings. There is a considerable amount of exploring available in the valley around Russet Lake. The fissile is a difficult but very feasible hike from Russet Lake. Below Russet Lake is a very accessible glacier as well as a bonanza of glacier formed landscape features, inviting hours of interesting exploration. Above Russet Lake there is a beautiful snow covered ridge that commands incredible views all around and if you have the energy makes for a spectacular tent site.
Why should you hike to Russet Lake?
Russet Lake is certainly one of the most amazing places in Whistler to hike. The various routes to reach it allow for not retracing your steps and instead doing an interesting circle route. Though you have to pay to ride the Whistler Gondola if hiking there via Musical Bumps or the High Note Trail. If you hike in reverse via Singing Pass Trail and returning by the Musical Bumps Trail you can ride the Peak Chair and Whistler Gondola for free. 's
Panorama Ridge is one of Garibaldi Park's most amazing hikes
Panorama Ridge is arguably the most amazing hike in Garibaldi Park. It certainly is in the top 5 of the best hikes in Whistler. Usually accessed by the Rubble Creek (Garibaldi Lake) trailhead, just off the Sea to Sky Highway 30 minutes south of Whistler. The hike to Panorama Ridge is comparatively long at 15k trailhead to ridge, but there is plenty to marvel at along the way. Though the first 5k is fairly uneventful as you gain altitude via several deeply forested switchbacks. After the switchbacks you come to a fork in the trail. You can take either fork to reach Panorama Ridge. The left fork takes you through the beautiful Taylor Meadows Campground. In the summer this area is flower-filled and beautiful in every direction. The campsite stares up at the iconic Black Tusk. The right fork takes you first along the Barrier. An extraordinary buttress of rock that holds back a potentially devastating debris slide. You may have noticed the trailhead sign indicating that camping at the parking lot is prohibited as it is directly in the path of a potential debris flow. Past the Barrier viewpoint you can take a short side-trail to Garibaldi Lake or continue on and eventually the forked trail that led to Taylor Meadows meets with the Garibaldi Lake trail and the single trail continues to Black Tusk and then Panorama Ridge beyond. The trail(s) from the fork until Panorama Ridge is a continuous marvel of alpine creeks, views of distant mountains, turquoise lake views and rarely boring. The final hike up Panorama Ridge is fairly steep. Though there is no scrambling involved a couple sections of lingering snow require hiking up fairly steep, hard snow trails. Still, with the steep sections you still see people of all ages making the journey, though be prepared for a long hike as 15k one way translates into 4-5 hours, trailhead to summit for the average hiker. That's possibly 10 hours of moderate and at times exhausting hiking if Panorama Ridge is hiked in one day. Camping at Taylor Meadows Campground or the Garibaldi Lake Campground and making Panorama Ridge part of a multi-day hike in Garibaldi Park is certainly a preferable option.
Why should you hike to Panorama Ridge?
Challenging, long distance hike. Jaw dropping views from Panorama Ridge. Often cited as the best hike in Garibaldi Park. Panorama Ridge is often combined with other hikes in the area such as Black Tusk and Garibaldi Lake, over several days of amazing hiking.
Wedgemount Lake in Garibaldi Park is an amazing hike in July in Whistler
If you were to search your whole life for an absolutely amazing, astoundingly perfect, alpine hiking paradise, you'd have trouble finding a place as great as Wedgemount Lake in Garibaldi Park. To start with, the lake is breathtaking. Every angle you look at it and every hour of the day it alters its appearance dramatically. From its wonderful turquoise, marble-like appearance reflecting bronze mountains at sunrise and sunset. To its startlingly vivid appearance in the darkness of night. Reflecting stars are as clear looking down on the lake as they are looking up at the sky. The massive valley that contains Wedgemount Lake is ringed by impressive mountains and the ever-present Wedgemount Glacier that continuously pulls your attention to it. The trail that leads around the lake to the glacier takes only 20-30 minutes and is quite amazing to explore. Wedgemount Glacier, at its edge, has what is called a glacier window. A huge ice cave, created out of the melting underneath this huge, crushing mass of ice. You can get right up close to this impressive ice cave and have a drink of what was just moments before ice left thousands of years ago before Wedgemount Lake was called Wedgemount Lake. Though glaciers can never really be considered safe to hike on, the Wedgemount Glacier is relatively safe. Hiking up the glacier by bearing left, close to the rocky edge will lead you after about an hours, very strenuous hiking to the top of the glacier into the Wedge-Weart Col. Wedge Mountain is the highest mountain in all of Garibaldi Park at 2891 metres, and Weart is the massive mountain to the left of Wedge if looking from the lake. The hike to Wedgemount Lake is difficult. Though no technical skill is required it is constantly steep. You gain 1220 metres in just 7k trailhead to lake! The trail is well marked though and easy to follow. There is also an amazing hut at the lake free to use by anyone.
Why should you hike to Wedgemount Lake?
One of the most spectacular hikes in Garibaldi Park. Close to Whistler, the trailhead is only about 10-20 minutes away. Though the hike is hard and steep, it is short. A fit person can hike the trail in under 1.5 hours (one way). There are endless mountains, glaciers and hidden trails to explore. Wonderful and free hut to use with a million dollar view of the lake.
Joffre Lakes, north of Whistler is an incredible hike to do in July
Joffre Lakes is one of the most beautiful lakes you are likely to ever see. There are three lakes and they get progressively more beautiful. By the third lake the intense blue is breathtaking. The mighty Matier Glacier rises above the third lake, making the experience even more spectacular. The trail is rough and tricky in some parts, but not terribly difficult. The trail is 5.5km to the third lake so give yourself 1.5 - 2 hours(one way). Snowshoeing is easy and relaxing to Joffre Lakes. There is no avalanche danger if you keep to the trail and do not continue past the third lake. The only danger is losing the trail (mainly on the way back to your car). I've never snowshoed Joffre Lakes without seeing an easily visible trail of ski or snowshoe tracks in the snow however, the days are short in the winter and when the light fades the ski/snowshoe tracks you easily followed on the way up become harder to discern. This is a bit worrying though the contours of the land push you toward the first lake near the parking lot. To be safe you should always have a map or gps and headlight with you in the winter and be extra cautious about leaving early and returning early to get lots of light on the trail.
Why should you hike the Joffre Lakes Trail?
The drive to the trailhead is beautiful and you can see some interesting sights on the way from Whistler. Nairn Falls, the cute town of Pemberton, North Arm Farm and great views of Lillooet Lake are all convenient pit stops on the 1.5 hour drive to Joffre Lakes. The lakes are extremely beautiful and accessible for only a moderately difficult, family friendly hike.