Whistler & Garibaldi Park - August Trails Guide
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 , or take a look, they make for an amazing day trip or an even better two or three day trip. North Vancouver, just an hour 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, slippery, and occasionally fatal.
Sproatt Alpine Trail - Whistler Trails in August
Mount Sproatt, or as it is known locally as simply "Sproatt", is one of the many towering mountains visible from Whistler Village. Above and beyond Alta Lake, directly across from Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain. Next time you walk through Whistler Village and cross the pedestrian bridge with Village Gate Boulevard below you, you will see Mount Sproatt from this excellent vantage point. It is the rocky giant, abruptly steep on one end and gently sloping on the other.
What you can't see from Whistler Village is the extraordinarily beautiful alpine paradise that lays beyond it. Lakes and tarns everywhere you look. Fields of alpine flowers and wonderfully mangled, yet strikingly beautiful forests of krummholz. Hostile looking fields of boulders and absurdly placed erratics the size of RV's. Beyond, of course, endless stunning view of distant, snowy mountains.
From the towering elevation of much of the Sproatt Alpine Trail you often look across or even down on distant mountains. Rainbow Mountain looks incredible from much of the trail. Four teeth-like, jagged grey peaks in a row that face you from Rainbow Mountain, just 5 kilometres away look enormous. A couple kilometres closer you spot Hanging Lake and the Lord of the Rings style valley that stretches 2 kilometres from its shores to the abrupt cliffs at your feet. Several times along the trail you see the clearly defined ski runs on Whistler and Blackcomb and once in a while you can spot Alta Lake and Whistler Village.
Though a hive of snowmobile and ski/riding activity in the winter and spring, Sproatt is infrequently hiked in the summer. The reason for its lack of popularity is that it is comparatively difficult to access. There are several ways to reach it, though none are clearly marked and most require bushwhacking and some careful planning to navigate. That was then. The future of Sproatt looks far more inviting as new trails are constructed every year and there is a massive 10 kilometre multi-use, hiking and biking trail being built right now that spans this enormous and challenging terrain.
In 2014, the Sproatt Alpine Trail was flagged and construction began. The new trail begins 1.4 kilometres from the Rainbow Sproatt Flank Trail trailhead in Function Junction. The trail is already quite easy to follow, though it is constantly steep and winding. Though you are mostly in deep forest, occasionally you emerge to fantastic views of the valley below and Black Tusk beyond.
The Sproatt Alpine Trail is being built by volunteer and paid trail builders from WORCA(Whistler Off Road Cycling Association). Construction is underway from both ends of the trail. One end being the Function Junction, Flank Trail end and the other being the Callaghan Valley, Northair Mine end, more than 10 kilometres away. If you don't mind a bit of a drive and a couple kilometres of very bad forest service roads, then the Northair Mine end is the more scenic and easier choice. The alpine terrain from that end is spectacular and if you manage to 4x4(or atv) close to the trailhead, then the amazing alpine views are less than an hour away on foot.
The Function Junction end the Sproatt Alpine Trail is the more convenient and easier end to get to from Whistler Village and destined to be the more popular trailhead. As trail construction continues through the summer of 2014 and 2015, there will likely be no trailhead signs or mapboards at either end of the trail until next year. The construction still to do on the trail is for the most part ramps, bridges and wonderfully elaborate features to make it into a world-class bike trail. If you are hiking the trail, however, it is effectively ready to go already(with the exception of signs and mapboards).
Panorama Ridge - Whistler Trails in August
New this year reservations are required for camping at Garibaldi Lake campground and Taylor Meadows campground from June 29th-September 30th, 2016. Camping fees must be paid before entering the park. There are no cash payment options. You can pay online here.. In 2016 the trail to Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake was reasonably easy to hike through the quickly melting and tracked out snow in late May.
Panorama Ridge is easily one of the most amazing hikes in Garibaldi Park. The 15 kilometre hike from the trailhead at Rubble Creek to Panorama Ridge takes you through beautiful and deep forests, across countless idyllic streams, through meadows filled with flowers, and past dozens of jaw dropping viewpoints. The amazing views start once you reach Taylor Meadows and get even more spectacular as the trail progresses.
Once you arrive at Panorama Ridge and its phenomenal vantage point, high above Garibaldi Park, you will stare in wonder. Mesmerized first by Garibaldi Lake, far below you and looking unnaturally blue, the lake looks amazing surrounded by green, untouched wilderness and snow capped mountains. The Table, the massive and unusual looking mountain with its bizarre flat top lays across the lake with the enormous Mount Garibaldi just beyond. In the distance, where Garibaldi Lake ends, a massive glacier rises out of the blue and jagged crevasses can be seen even from such a great distance. Behind you, Black Tusk lays across the valley. Close to the same elevation as Panorama Ridge, you get this wonderful view of it. Certainly the best and closest viewpoint to this iconic mountain.
Panorama Ridge sits, along with Black Tusk in the midst of some of the most popular and beautiful hiking trails in Garibaldi Park. There are two main trailheads for Panorama Ridge, Cheakamus Lake and Rubble Creek. Rubble Creek is the more popular starting point as it is a bit shorter, far more scenic and allows for the inclusion of the trail to Garibaldi Lake and the beautiful Taylor Meadows as well as Black Tusk.