Taylor Meadows in Garibaldi Provincial Park
Most years the trail will be reasonably easy to hike through the quickly melting and tracked out snow in late May. Other years will find you stuggling through the snow on the trail well into June. 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 potentially dangerous. 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!
Taylor Meadows is a beautiful campsite and alternative to the much busier Garibaldi Lake campsite. Located in between Garibaldi Lake and itself. It is reached from the same trailhead to Garibaldi Lake. There are 40 very nice tent platforms, toilets, a good water source and a food cache, all in the lush forest of Taylor Meadows with the distant view of Black Tusk.
Reservations are required for camping at Garibaldi Lake campground and Taylor Meadows campground in the summer months Camping fees must be paid before entering the park. Before June 22nd pre-pay via before your trip. There are no cash payment options. You can pay online here..
Generally Taylor Meadows is not a destination, but part of a circle route. For example, trailhead to Taylor Meadows, Taylor Meadows to Black Tusk or Panorama Ridge, then return via Garibaldi Lake. This makes for a long hike at 30k, which is why tenting at this perfectly beautiful, and perfectly located Taylor Meadows Campsite, is a great idea. The Garibaldi Park Rangers do frequent trail reports that can be found here.
The trail to Taylor Meadows is well marked, well used and well signed. The Rubble Creek trailhead is located just 25 minutes north of Squamish and a clear sign on the Sea to Sky Highway indicates the turnoff. Expect to take 2-3 hours to reach Taylor Meadows from the trailhead/parking lot. Parking is free, however there is a camping fee that can be paid online here.
Trailhead Directions to Taylor Meadows
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 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. : 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
More Squamish Trails - Sea to Sky Hiking
Garibaldi Lake is the centre and base for much of the hiking in Garibaldi Park. The Garibaldi Lake campsite is located on the amazing, turquoise shores of this massive and mostly undisturbed mountain lake. There are no trails around the perimeter of the lake with the exception of the small section leading to the campsite, so your view of the lake is a sea of unnaturally coloured water ringed by swaths of forest and a magnificent glacier towering in the distance. The water is painfully cold, though plenty of brave hikers swim here as well as camp. The camping area is well laid out and stretches deep into the forest with 50 tent clearings. You can, except for the busiest of days, put your tent out of earshot and sight of others. The trail to Garibaldi Lake from the Rubble Creek trailhead, just off of the Sea to Sky Highway takes about two hours. Black Tusk is a mountain of unbelievable beauty. It possesses the incredible distinction of looking more impossible to climb the closer you get to it. Even when you are close enough to touch its vertical, black and foreboding sides, you wonder in amazement how anyone can ever reach the top. It’s vertical on all sides. The barely distinguishable trail skirts its edge along the ledge of a perilous scree slope that runs around its trunk. As you clamour carefully along the trail you come to a chute heading almost straight up. Again, even this close you will wonder, as almost everyone else at this spot, “I don’t think this is a safe way to go.” Then you pause and look around. Many take a seat at this moment and marvel at the view. Spectacular. Just spectacular. Brandywine Falls Provincial Park is a beautiful stop in between Squamish and Whistler. It's about 25 minutes north of Squamish, 11k south of Whistler. The hike from the parking lot to the falls is less than a kilometre and on a wide and flat trail. Most people miss the other viewpoint from above the falls, from the train tracks bridge. To find it is easy. As you walk toward the falls from the parking lot you will have to cross train tracks. Standing at the train tracks look to your right and you will see a bridge that the train tracks cross. Walk over to that to see the falls from above. Amazing! Brandywine Falls drop an amazing 66 metres (216 feet) into the chasm far below that the viewing platform extends over. Another trail extends past this viewing area leading to another, quieter area overlooking Daisy Lake. Brew Lake is beautiful mountain lake in the Callaghan Valley, north of Squamish. Compared to Garibaldi Provincial Park across the valley, the Callaghan Valley is relatively unknown and seldom hiked. Brew Lake lays in a massive alpine valley of enormous erratics scattered around and in the lake. On first seeing it, it looks serene, yet wild and hostile. The lake is surrounded on one side by idyllic tree covered hills and lakeside cliffs and on the other side a brutal looking wasteland of huge boulders sloping up from the lake to the skyline. Hiking into this wasteland of erratics reveals an amazing paradise of small, island forests, cute streams and endless worlds within worlds to explore. A perfectly arranged glacier is required to form a cirque lake. A magical combination of size, a certain slope and more unexpectedly, a certain angle away from the sun. In the northern hemisphere, this means the glacier must be on the northeast slope of the mountain, away from the suns rays and the prevailing winds. Thick snow protected in this way grows thicker into glacial ice, then a process of freeze-thaw called nivation, chews at the lower rocks, hollowing out a deep basin. Over a thousand winters you are left with a magnificently circular lake with steep slopes all around. If you arrive at Cirque Lake on a favourably sunny, summer day, you will almost certainly fall silent, gaze in wonder at this spectacular place, and feel in that moment that this place is as perfect as it is possible for a place to be. Shannon Falls towers above Howe Sound at 335 metres as the third tallest falls in BC. The wonderful, though very short trail winds through a beautiful old growth forest to get to the base of the falls. From your car to the viewpoint takes only about four minutes, however the trail continues a bit further to a higher viewpoint (five minutes higher). You can even continue along the trail and join with the Stawamus Chief trail which goes to the three summits of the Chief. The trail to the Chiefs peaks are very steep and almost constant stairs to be prepared for quite a workout comparable to the Grouse Grind in Vancouver. The trailhead to Shannon Falls Provincial Park is just south of the Stawamus Chief trailhead. Stawamus Chief is the mammoth rock face that towers over Squamish. Though hardly believable from looking at, the summit is an easy two hour hike. In fact there are three peaks, South (First), Centre (Second), and North (Third). Each accessible from the single trailhead. Growing in popularity as the newest brother to the Grouse Grind in Vancouver because there are quite a few stairs and considerable elevation gain. 540 metres in 1.5k. (The Grouse Grind is 853 metres in 2.9k) The trailhead to the Chief is easy to find. From highway 99, in Squamish. As you approach the Chief, visible for several kilometres, watch for the sign for "Stawamus Chief." The large parking lots are arranged next to the trailhead.