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Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Park - Whistler Hiking Trails

Panorama Ridge, Garibaldi Park                                         Whistler Hiking Trails

Panorama Ridge Aerial Video 1Panorama 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.Garibaldi Park trail to Panorama Ridge

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 Cheakamus Lake side of Black Tusk).

Black Tusk Viewed from the Panorama Ridge TrailThe 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.

Panorama Ridge Aerial Video Part 2Parking 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 only true at Rubble Creek and Diamond Head(trailheads).  You can pay online at the BC Parks site, online payment method found here.  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 nearest to 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 Garibaldi Lake 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.

Panorama Ridge View of Black Tusk

Panorama Ridge Aerial Video Part 3

Panorama Ridge View of Mount Garibaldi

Panorama Ridge hiking topo map and driving directions

Parking for Rubble CreekPanorama 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.From Village Gate Blvd, drive south toward Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Highway.  The well marked turnoff to Black Tusk(Garibaldi) is 25 kilometres south of Village Gate Blvd, on your left.  Follow the signs to Rubble Creek trailhead just 2 kilometres up a paved road.  This is the trailhead for Garibaldi Lake, Black Tusk, Panorama Ridge as well as Taylor Meadows.  This trailhead parking area had a rash of vehicle thefts in 2014 so be sure to keep any valuable out of sight and don't be obvious about hiding valuables in your trunk before setting off in case someone is watching you.  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.

Toilets on the Trail to Panorama RidgePit toilets are located at the Rubble Creek trailhead to Garibaldi Provincial Park.  Taylor Meadows just an hour and a half from the Rubble Creek trailhead has several outhouses.  Garibaldi Lake has several outhouses as well about an hour and a half from Rubble Creek.  There is also an outhouse along the trail past both Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake located just before the Black Tusk trail turnoff.  Beyond that you will next come to pit toilets at the Helm Creek campsite.

No Dogs Allowed in Garibaldi ParkUnfortunately dogs are not permitted in Garibaldi Provincial Park due to potential conflicts with the park's wildlife.  All of the other Squamish hiking trails outside of Garibaldi Park are dog friendly however, including Cirque Lake, Stawamus Chief, High Falls CreekUpper Shannon Falls and Ring and Conflict Lakes.  For a list of the best, dog friendly hiking trails around Whistler try here. And the best easy, dog friendly trails here.

Campsites Near Panorama RidgeGaribaldi 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 intoTaylor Meadows Tent Site the forest.  All are very close to outhouses, food storage and preparing huts and from the amazing shore of Garibaldi Lake which has great, though very cold swimming.  There is good fishing here for rainbow trout, which were introduced back in the 1920's. Taylor 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.

Whistler Hiking Map Guide

Helm Creek campground is smaller than Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake at just 9 official tent sites, however it is in a beautiful setting on the quiet side of Black Tusk.  Most of the 9 tent sites are next to the wonderfully idyllic Helm Creek.  The main draw of this campsite is that it is on the quieter side of this section of Garibaldi Park and can be approached from Cheakamus Lake.

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