Panorama Ridge 30k Trail Run is Located in Garibaldi Park
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. And 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.
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.
Directions to the Rubble Creek Trailhead to Panorama Ridge:
From Village Gate Boulevard, drive south, toward Vancouver. The well marked turn off to Black Tusk trailhead is 25km south of Whistler on your left. From the trailhead follow the very clear and numerous trail signs to Panorama Ridge. You can either take the Taylor Meadows route or the Garibaldi Lake route. Of course it is a great idea to take one route one way and the other on the return journey.
Directions to the Cheakamus Trailhead to Panorama Ridge:
Panorama Ridge can also be reached by the Cheakamus Lake . It is a bit longer than from the Rubble Creek direction. The roundtrip from this trailhead is 33k. From Village Gate Boulevard, drive south, toward Vancouver for 8km. At the lights at Function Junction, turn left, about 500 metres ahead you will see a sign on your left for Cheakamus Lake. Follow the unpaved road for 8km to the Cheakamus trailhead. Walk the Cheakamus trail for 1.5km until you see the signpost directing you to turn right to Helm Creek. You will cross the raging Cheakamus River over a suspension bridge, then up steep switchbacks, then a somewhat steep trail through the beautiful forest. First you will reach the Helm Creek Campground. From Helm Creek you will see frequent trail signs directing you to Panorama Ridge as well as Black Tusk and Garibaldi Lake. This route has snow on the trail often until mid July until early November. trailhead