Panorama Ridge 30k - Whistler Trail Running
Panorama Ridge, one of the most amazing hikes in Garibaldi Park, has inevitably become a popular trail running route as well. It is fantastic for several reasons. The first of course is the magnificent view from the top, the second is the challenging distance, 30k. Because of the long distance the elevation gain is gradual, at least more gradual than the Rubble Creek Classic or Wedgemount Lake.
Another great feature is a little variation in the route between Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake. Even though it is starts and finishes at the Rubble Creek trailhead, the trail splits part way up, branching into a trail to Taylor Meadows and another to Garibaldi Lake allowing for one route up and the other down.
Another bonus is passing Garibaldi Lake which allows for a detour to a beautiful swim. The route takes you through 5k of gradual switchbacks through deep forest. After 5k the trail opens up and running through Taylor Meadows reveals the first amazing views of snowy mountains and the impressive Black Tusk.
In August and September the valley will be filled with amazing flowers of various colours. On valley will be bright yellow, the next white, the next blue, the next red.. There are dozens of streams along the way which reduces the amount of water you have to bring. The final ascent to Panorama Ridge is up a fairly steep, though short glacier. It is safe, compact snow, that is easy to run/hike on. Previous hikers will have tracked out the route nicely and it will easy to follow to the impressive summit.
Panorama Ridge actually runs for over a kilometre from the main, popular summit. It is a gradually ascending ridge that eventually drops off into a valley leading to Garibaldi Lake. This is a less well known route to the Burton Hut at the far end of Garibaldi Lake. This hut is frequented in the winter by skiers doing the amazing Garibaldi Neve Traverse which connects Garibaldi Lake with Elfin Lakes in Squamish.
There is an annual running race in this area that covers much of this route. The Rubble Creek Classic 25k runs through an astonishingly beautiful linear route from the Cheakamus Lake trailhead to the Rubble Creek trailhead.
Trailhead Directions & Trail Map for Panorama Ridge
Panorama Ridge can be reached from the Garibaldi Lake (Rubble Creek) trailhead or the Cheakamus Lake trailhead. It is hard to say which is better. Rubble Creek is preferable if you are keen to stop at the beautiful Garibaldi Lake on the way. Certainly wonderful for a swim if you can take the glacial cold water. The Cheakamus trailhead is similarly scenic minus the beautiful lake, but it is incredibly free of people. If you seek serenity, this is the way. Certainly, if you plan to overnight, this is the better way as well. The Taylor Meadows Campground (Rubble Creek side) is often overrun on the weekends, while Helm Creek (Cheakamus side) is not.
Cheakamus Lake trailhead directions: From Village Gate Boulevard, drive south, toward Vancouver for 8km. At the lights at Function Junction, turn left, about 700 metres ahead you will see a sign on your left for Cheakamus Lake. Follow the unpaved road for 8km to the Cheakamus trailhead.Printer, smartphone and tablet friendly. Designed to fit standard printers and copiers. To print: Right click on the map below, save image as, save to desktop, then open the image and print on standard size printer paper. Cell coverage is reliable on all of the trail to Panorama Ridge so you will be able to access the internet if you have a data plan, however saving this map to your smartphone or tablet may be a good idea.