Panorama Ridge, Garibaldi Park Whistler Hiking Trails
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.
The trail to Panorama Ridge from Rubble Creek is not so much difficult as it is long. 30 kilometres makes for a long 8-10 hour roundtrip hike. Staying overnight, therefore is a great idea. There are several excellent options for camping in the valleys around Panorama Ridge. The beautiful though often crowded Garibaldi Lake campsite, the less crowded and also beautiful Taylor Meadows campsite, the seldom crowded and serene Helm Creek campsite (located on the side of Black Tusk).
The more adventurous bivouac on the far end of Panorama Ridge itself. As you hike along the spine of Panorama Ridge, it leads to quite a large, flat and level grassy area with breathtaking views. Perfectly south facing, this beautiful, grassy slope is always sunny, seldom hiked as it lays at the far end of Panorama Ridge, and beautifully insect free. The ridge is often windy and flying insects cannot cope and remain in the valleys below.
Panorama Ridge stretches for 1.5k, then drops into an expansive meadow down to Garibaldi Lake and access to the Burton Hut at the far end of the lake. The hut is little used in the summer due to its remoteness. This route, via Panorama Ridge, is the best way to reach this difficult to reach hut in the summer.
The main trailhead for Panorama Ridge is at Rubble Creek, 25 kilometres south of Whistler Village on the Sea to Sky Highway you will see a Garibaldi Park sign indicating the turnoff. From the highway a paved road runs for 2 kilometres to the Rubble Creek trailhead and parking area. This is the most popular and close trailhead for Garibaldi Lake, Taylor Meadows and Black Tusk as well as Panorama Ridge. Parking is free however keep in mind that overnight camping requires payment. The BC Parks website says that cash only payment can be made at all Garibaldi Park trailheads. This is true at Rubble Creek and the Diamond Head trailheads, but don't count on it as BC Parks is moving to the more efficient, online payment method found on their site. Other popular Garibaldi Park trailheads such as Cheakamus Lake, Singing Pass and Wedgemount Lake don't have trailhead payment facilities.
The fees are $10 per person per night and $5 for kids (6-15 years). You will quickly find these fees well worth it, especially at the campsites around Panorama Ridge. Very clean and tidy, well organized and still somehow retaining a remote and wilderness feel. You will likely spot a park ranger while at one of the campsites at Taylor Meadows or Rubble Creek as they are staffed for most of the summer to provide maintenance, security and friendly help. The more remote campsites like Helm Creek, Wedgemount Lake and Russet Lake are far less busy and you will not often spot BC Parks staff, yet somehow they are kept well maintained.
Trailhead Directions & Trail Map Printer, Smartphone & Tablet Friendly
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.
Camping Options in the Vicinity of Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Park