Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial Park
New this year, as of June 22nd 2016 reservations are required for camping at Garibaldi Lake campground and Taylor Meadows campground from June 29th-September 30th, 2016. Camping fees must be paid before entering the park. There are no cash payment options. You can pay online here.. In 2016 the trail to Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake was reasonably easy to hike through the quickly melting and tracked out snow in late May. Hiking to Black Tusk or Panorama Ridge before mid June this year will remain very challenging and potentially dangerous.
The main concerns are the shoe soaking sections of knee deep snow and the possibility of losing the snow covered trail and getting lost. The tracked out route keeps it relatively easy to follow, however for some this already exhausting trail, may become frustratingly painful to hike and dangerous to the unprepared.
It is surprisingly easy to absentmindedly set out on a trail like this without adequate clothing and decent pre-planning. You can quickly find yourself soaked with sweat, drenched socks and find yourself approaching hypothermia. It is doubtful that any week of the year passes without hiking, skiing or snowshoeing occurring in this part of Garibaldi Provincial Park. And owing to the large numbers of visitors a few unprepared hikers are often seen. Best to assume it will be very cold near the end of the trail and being dry and warm makes a world of difference!
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 adventurouson 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 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.
Trail Map, Hiking & Camping Info for Panorama Ridge
From Garibaldi Way(the last intersection before leaving Squamish, near Canadian Tire), heading North on Highway 99, toward Whistler. The well marked turnoff to Black Tusk(Garibaldi) trailhead is 32 kilometres on your right. 150 metres up this road it will fork. Take the right fork and continue up the paved road for 2 kilometres to Garibaldi Provincial Park, Rubble Creek trailhead. This is also the most direct trailhead for Taylor Meadows, Black Tusk and .
Pit 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.
Unfortunately 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 Creek, Upper 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.
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 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 campsites, 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 campsites are next to the beautiful 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.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
Trailhead & Parking Directions Map for Panorama Ridge
Rubble Creek is the most popular route to Panorama Ridge and consequently the most chaotic. The huge parking lot is often filled to capacity, with additional cars parked along the access road. This road is the only paved(not a heavily potholed, gravel road) to access a trailhead to Panorama Ridge. Though very busy, the Rubble Creek trail to Panorama Ridge is constantly maintained to a high standard. Plenty of helpful mapboards and trail signs keep you on track and aware of where you are. The tidy, natural dirt trail is wide enough to hike side-by-side most of the time. The constant ascent from here gets you to the Panorama Ridge in about four hours. From Garibaldi Way(the last intersection before leaving Squamish, near Canadian Tire), heading North on Highway 99, toward Whistler. The well marked turnoff to Black Tusk(Garibaldi) trailhead is 32 kilometres on your right. 150 metres up this road it will fork. Take the right fork and continue up the paved road for 2 kilometres to Garibaldi Provincial Park, Rubble Creek trailhead. This is also the most direct trailhead for Taylor Meadows, Black Tusk and Garibaldi Lake.