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Helm Creek in Garibaldi Provincial Park, Whistler

 

Helm Creek in Garibaldi Park Location Map

Helm Creek in Garibaldi Park                                            Whistler Hiking Trails

Helm Creek Campground Tent SiteHelm Creek is a cute, 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 not far from where it leaves Cheakamus Lake.

The location of Helm Creek Campground is pretty amazing for a variety of reasons.  First it is just a great location. 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 well into July.  Rivers, creeks and waterfalls everywhere you look from the idyllic campground. A large, grassy field ringed by trees and Helm Creek.  What you always want from a campground is a convenient and clean water source and of course Helm Creek is both.  Another aspect of a great campground is a variety of beautiful views and a serene setting and again Helm Creek has both of these.  The campground is so widespread that even if the area becomes busy, you can still manage to not hear your neighbours.

Helm Creek Campground Tent ViewThe area really has no defined trails except the Helm Creek trail that runs past the campsite, 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.

Possibly the nicest aspect of Helm Creek as a campground is that it is quiet and serene when compared with the other two area campgrounds. Garibaldi Lake 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.

Helm Creek Campground View of Black Tusk in Early July

Helm Creek Campground in Late July

 

Helm Creek in Garibaldi Park, Whistler Topo Map

Camping Options in Garibaldi Park Near Black Tusk

Garibaldi Lake Campsites: The most busy camping option in the area is at Garibaldi Lake with 50 campsites with full service (water, security, etc) and fees (May 1 - Nov 15).  The campsites are well laid out and disappear into the forest.  All are steps from the amazing Garibaldi Lake with great, though very cold swimming.  There is good fishing here for rainbow trout, which were introduced back in the 1920's.

Taylor Meadows CampgroundTaylor Meadows Campsite: gets very busy at times as well with 40 campsites with full service (water, security, etc) and fees (May 1 - Nov 15).  There are some small rivers close by but no swimming.  The draw for Taylor Meadows camping is the wonderful location.  It lays in a beautiful forested meadow full of hills and flowers and views of the towering Black Tusk.  It has a less crowded feel than Garibaldi Lake does, though bear in mind that even when crowded these campsites don't feel crowded - they are just that organized and thick with trees and hills.  Also, if you were to feel crowded, you could easily wander in any of several directions and become immersed in the wonderful forest and beautiful desolation in these vast meadows.

The Helm Creek Campground is smaller than the others at 9 tent platforms, however it is in a beautiful setting on the quiet side of Black Tusk, though 1.5 hours away from the approaches to Black Tusk.  Helm Creek is another beautiful campground.  Most of the 9 tent platforms are next to the cute, small and rushing, Helm Creek.  The main draw of this campsite is that it is on the quieter side of this area and can be approached from Cheakamus Lake.

The trails through Garibaldi Park are in such a vast area that suitable places far into the wilderness away from anyone, to put up a tent are limitless.  People bivy on top of Black Tusk, put up a tent on the far slopes of Panorama Ridge, or tent in any number of other places.  Being located in British Columbia means that you are never far from a creek, river or lake wherever you hike, especially in Garibaldi Park.

Take a look at the most recent trail reports here for all of these campgrounds as well as all of Garibaldi Park.

Directions to the Helm Creek(Cheakamus Lake) Trailhead:

Cheakamus River Crossing on the Helm Creek TrailThe Helm Creek trailhead is the same as the Cheakamus Lake trailhead. From Village Gate Boulevard, drive south, toward Vancouver for 8km. At the lights at Function Junction, turn left, about 300 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.

It takes about 2-3 hours from the trailhead to Helm Creek. You will likely need snowshoes at higher elevations from this direction until the end of June. This trail remains quite muddy as well much of early July.  Not muddy enough to require waterproof hiking shoes, but muddy enough to necessitate clinging to the trail edges in quite a few places along the trail.

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Walking Lakes and Parks from Whistler VillageDriving Destinations around WhistlerPlanning Your Hiking Trip to Whistler and Garibaldi Park