Places to Visit

Garibaldi Lake Hike: 16 Most Interesting Facts

The breathtaking beauty of Canada is encapsulated in the beautiful, brilliant blue Garibaldi Lake Hike which is encircled by snow-capped mountains. Visitors from all over the world travel to this region of British Columbia to experience the Garibaldi Lake Hike.

It’s one of the most well-known hiking paths in the territory and one of the top things to do in British Columbia. Planning a day to go on this Garibaldi Lake hike is a choice you won’t regret, whether you’re traveling from Vancouver via Lake Louise or even just stopping in at neighboring Whistler or Squamish.

But there’s a lot to know before you hit the water at any of British Columbia’s well-known lakes, including the breathtakingly beautiful Joffre Lakes.

Garibaldi Lake Hike

Southwest British Columbia is home to Garibaldi Lake, which is around 19 km from Whistler and 37 km from Squamish. It is located in Garibaldi Provincial Park’s sizable subalpine basin.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The park is a hub of outdoor recreation for both residents and visitors who take pleasure in hiking, climbing, and sightseeing in its lovely surroundings.

We’ve covered everything, including the location of the lake, whether swimming is permitted there, the length of the trip, and the best time to visit. You’ll be fully prepared because it answers any question you might have, including a few extras!

1. About the Garibaldi Lake Hike

Over 9,000 years ago, lava flowed from adjacent volcanoes that closed the valley, creating Garibaldi Lake. The famous turquoise lake which we know and adore today was created when meltwater from glaciers & winter snow gathered in the valley due to this natural dam.

The lake is bordered by volcanoes on its north, west, & south sides, and the 2.1 km long Barrier dam was built by lava flows from Clinker Peak. Garibaldi Lake is currently prevented from inundating the neighboring town of Squamish by this ancient structure.

The lake receives inflow from the nearby Sphinx and Sentinel glaciers, and the majority of its outflow happens through breaches in The Barrier that start to develop around Rubble Creek.

The lake’s stunning blue color is a result of the glacial flour found in the meltwater from such inflows.

There may be sufficient outflow during periods of strong spring melt water for drainage to take place via a shallow channel inside the lava dam into the tiny and lesser-known Little Garibaldi Lake & Barrier Lake.

Unquestionably, one of the gorgeous locations in British Columbia to visit is Garibaldi Lake.

There are a lot of things to do near Garibaldi lake, like alpine meadows, douglas fir trees, daisy lake road, panorama ridge hike, panorama ridge trail, Taylor meadows campground, Taylor creek, snow-capped mountains, beautiful turquoise lake, and many more to visit.

Bring your camera! You must undertake an 18-kilometer (11-mile) trip hike that is classed as intermediate to get to the lake.

Visit the lake during the summer season, to witness the beauty of blue turquoise and have fun with your family and friends.

Garibaldi Provincial Park, which is a protected park, contains the trail to Garibaldi Lake. As a result, it is crucial to be informed of and make plans for all provincial park restrictions. We’ve put together some of the best advice for hiking this trail so you can enjoy the time exploring and have the greatest experience possible.

2. Accommodations Near Garibaldi Lake Hike

Since Whistler and Squamish are both close to the trailhead for Garibaldi Lake, most visitors stay in one of these cities before & after their hike towards Garibaldi Lake.

2.1 Whistler

The ideal spot to base oneself for hiking Garibaldi is Whistler. In Whistler, there is a tonne of fantastic restaurants,  exciting activities, &, of course, hotels to pick from.

It’s a simple motel with pod-style rooms and tidy, well-maintained amenities. In the center of Whistler Village, the location is also excellent. It is, however, the best cheap option in terms of location and pricing.

You can have privacy inside a good place if you have a bit extra money to spend. When you travel to Whistler, stay at The Pinnacle Hotel Whistler (unless there is a fantastic offer somewhere else).

Pinnacle Hotel official website screenshot

The hotel, which is in the center of Whistler Top Village, has a restaurant, fitness center, hot tub, and pool. Additionally, the chairlifts are only 500 meters away.

You obviously will adore the Four Seasons Resort Whistler for luxury visitors, but the Pan Pacific Whistler Town Centre is a bit more affordable alternative. Given that the closest chairlift or gondola is only 250 meters away, its position is ideal for upscale tourists.

Additionally, it features all the luxurious amenities you’d anticipate, including a heated outdoor pool, two hot tubs with majestic mountains, a fitness center, a spa, and a salon.

2.2 Squamish

Here seem to be three of everyone’s favorites out of the many hotels in Squamish that are available.

The Sandman Hotel & Suites, which has big rooms, a gym, as well as a swimming pool, is located two miles from the center of Squamish. The hotel offers breakfast, but there isn’t a place to have lunch or dinner. This motel welcomes pets as well. The cost of a nightly room here starts at $175 CAD.

Sandman Hotel website screenshot

The Crash Hotel in downtown Squamish is a terrific low-cost choice, with rooms starting at about $80 CAD per night. Although this hotel doesn’t seem like a lot from the exterior, it has a beautiful, comfortable interior, and The Goat Pub bar and restaurant are right there.

The Executive Suites Hotel & Resort, which features a sizable outdoor pool and wonderful mountain views, is at the upper end of your price range. The rooms in this hotel are opulent and roomy and include a little kitchen. The 5-minute trip to Squamish’s downtown is noteworthy. The nightly rate for a studio starts at $210 CAD here.

3. Hiking Distance of Garibaldi Lake

The roundtrip distance of the 18 km (11 mi) journey to Garibaldi Lake takes most hikers 5 to 7 hours to accomplish. Start your journey to the lake from the parking lot at Rubble Creek by finding the wooden steps across the top of the lot.

The trail starts upward right away & climbs quite gradually for around 6.5 kilometers. It is properly marked (4 miles).

Image by Luke Lawreszuk from Pixabay

You’ll then reach the Taylor Meadows Junction, where you’ll need to select a choice. At the fork in the trail, you can either continue hiking through Taylor Meadows or continue straight to Garibaldi Lake.

Take the easier path right here if you truly want to see the lake. If you have a little more time & can extend your trip by a few kilometers, turn left.

If you turn right at the fork in the trail, you’ll continue on past Barrier Lake & Lesser Garibaldi Lake until coming to another fork close to the lake. As you approach the scene you came for—turquoise blue waters with a glacier mountain backdrop—turn right and proceed down a hill, along a bridge, & then stroll along the lakefront.

At the Taylor Meadows Junction, turn left to enter Taylor Meadows, which is particularly lovely in the late summer when the wildflowers are in bloom.

Turn right at the fork before Black Tusk after passing through the meadows, and the trail will descend steeply to Garibaldi Lake. This is especially sensible if you intend to trek up to Panorama Ridge and Black Tusk.

4. Is it Possible to Hike to Garibaldi Lake & Return in a Single Day?

Yes! A fit hiker may typically finish the journey to Garibaldi Lake in a single day. It is advisable to leave earlier in the day so you can complete it before the heat of the day sets in. It’s still a challenging hike to complete the trail in one day, so bring plenty of water and food with you.

You wouldn’t trek the trail in a single day, in our opinion. Only seasoned hikers should try the 18 kilometers (11.2 miles), which takes most of the day.

You can easily make this trip an overnight excursion if you wish to take breaks or undertake a longer hike nearby. Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake campground are where you must camp.

5. Is the Trek to Garibaldi Lake Challenging?

Given that the Garibaldi Lake trail is classified as intermediate, it is a challenge and calls for some endurance. The trail is indeed not flat, and until right before the lake, it is nearly entirely uphill, so I definitely wouldn’t call this an “easy hike.”

Given that this is where the terrain is steepest, the first few kilometers are the most difficult. The steepest section of the climb is gone by the time you reach the Taylor Meadows Junction, but there are still several exhausting switchbacks along the way that are not as steep.

Image by Catherine Aird from Pixabay

You will gain 820 meters in elevation throughout the trek. Be ready for the uphill character of this because, in my opinion, an uphill trail is only challenging because of the elevation rise. With that said, the descent will be simpler to walk!

The trail is already wide and well-maintained the entire way there. For this, though, you’ll still need sturdy hiking boots, particularly if it has just rained. It will help you keep your feet dry and protected.

The vista is pleasant as you make your way through the forest of Douglas Fir & Western Red Cedar trees, even though, at times, it seems as though the trail will never end. We can assure you that it’s all worthwhile once you can see the lake in the distance.

6. At Garibaldi Lake, is Camping Allowed?

Near one of the two campgrounds at Garibaldi Lake—Garibaldi Lake Campground or Taylor Meadows Campground—camping is permitted. Between the two campgrounds, there are 94 campsites available, as well as outhouses and day shelters for cooking. You must pack up & transport whatever you want because there are no rubbish facilities here, which is a bummer.

With a reservation, you can camp here any time of year, but the summer is when it’s busiest. If there are still available sites on the day of arrival before 5 pm, you can reserve a spot as early as two months before your arrival.

If you wish to camp here, we strongly advise you to make your reservation exactly two months before the day you choose; otherwise, you run the risk of missing out. This is particularly true in July and August on the weekends.

Every tent pad is 10 feet by 10 feet in size, and it can support up to two tents. A tent pad will be provided if you make an online reservation, but its location is not guaranteed. When you reach the campground, the sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Make sure to carry two copies of the backcountry camping registration confirmation to Garibaldi Provincial Park. One must be carried with you at all times, and the other must be secured to your campsite’s post inside a little sealed bag.

7. Additional Hikes You May Take from Garibaldi Lake

If you want to climb farther or take in various sights, there are a few more hiking options. Black Tusk & Panorama Ridge are the two most popular hikes.

Although either of these long hikes can be finished in a single day if you start from the Rubble Creek Parking lot, it is preferable to spread them out over many days and start from the Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake Campgrounds.

7.1 Black Tusk

You’ll reach the foot of one of these Alps’ most recognizable mountains on the walk to Black Tusk. It is renowned for its rough, dark granite, which is thought to be the residue of thousands of years of volcanic activity in the area.

The roundtrip distance of the trail from the Rubble Creek Car Park is 27 kilometers (16.8 miles), and it would require 11 hours to hike it.

Image by chulmin park from Pixabay

The majority of people decide to overnight in Taylor Meadows or Garibaldi Lake Campground & do this as a day excursion from there because it is a long day. It is roughly 10 kilometers (6.4 miles) roundtrip from both campgrounds and takes six hours.

This trek is considered challenging since it climbs steeply and becomes rocky with loose shale at the end. The best part is the ridge near Black Tusk’s base, from where you can see Garibaldi Lake and the surrounding area in breathtaking detail.

7.2 Skyline Ridge

Skyline Peak is a long enough hike to take more than one day to accomplish. Even though the hike is challenging, the breathtaking panoramas of Garibaldi Lake and Helm Lake make it all worthwhile.

From the Rubble Creek Parking Lot, the trek is 30 kilometers (18 miles) roundtrip, and the hike would take slightly over 11 hours.

It is roughly 13.5 kilometers (8.4 miles) round out of Garibaldi Lake Campground and Taylor Meadows Campground and takes around 4.5 hours. Due to the elevation rise and the fact that the trail ends in steep rocks that you’ll need to scramble up, this trek is rated as strenuous.

8. What Time of the Year is Ideal for Visiting Garibaldi Lake?

The public has year-round access to Garibaldi Provincial Park, which is never entirely closed. The hiking routes will, however, be covered with snow throughout the winter, and the majority of access roads won’t be plowed.

It’s not advisable to hike in this park during the colder months unless you are experienced and have the necessary equipment because there are additional avalanches and glacier hazards.

The trail to Garibaldi Lake may usually be accessed from May through October, but late July or early August are the ideal times to go. At this time, Taylor Meadows’ wildflowers are at their peak of bloom. It appears like a postcard when you gaze at the vibrant picture with all of the wildflowers spread out in front of you!

Although summer is the perfect season to travel, it is also the busiest. If at all possible, schedule this hike for the middle of the week and leave early (before 7 am). If you’re not an early riser, you can begin the climb after many of the visitors that came for the day have already left.

To enjoy the late afternoon & sunset before it gets dark, start your journey at 2 or 3 o’clock. Even so, you should return to the parking lot as soon as possible because the trail might become more difficult to follow as the sun sets. Just in chance, the hike back takes a little longer than anticipated, bring a light with you.

9. Is the Garibaldi Provincial Park Dog-Friendly?

Unfortunately, Garibaldi Provincial Park does not allow dogs or any other domestic animals. This park is one of many in British Columbia that strictly prohibits pets.

The foliage & flora in this mountainous setting can be very susceptible. Thus there were worries about dogs there. Additionally, there are bears here all through the summer and into the fall, which can be dangerous.

There are still a tonne of other sites nearby where dogs are permitted (on-leash), including Shannon Falls, if you’re traveling with your dog & want to enjoy the outdoors of British Columbia with them.

10. Swim at Garibaldi Lake

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Garibaldi Lake does allow swimming, but dress warmly for the weather! Since the lake is fed by glaciers, the water is extremely chilly all year round, even in the height of summer. Swimming is ideal in July & August since if you arrive in May; the lake ice is typically just beginning to break up.

If you dare to swim, you can enjoy the breathtaking scenery. The mountains’ reflection in the crystal-clear water is simply stunning. You can swim from a dock that you’ll find if you stroll along the lakeshore. If you don’t want to jump in, you can sit here and only dabble your toes in the water.

To swim here, you must be a confident swimmer, so keep that in mind. In some spots, the lake is about 850 feet deep. At Garibaldi Lake, there are no lifeguards & no mobile service.

11. Garibaldi Lake: Is it Congested?

Yes, but it also depends on your travel date. Annually, about 80,000 people go to Garibaldi Provincial Park, many of them hikers who wish to see the lake. The peak hiking seasons are in July & August when there are the most visitors.

Starting early in the morning will help you avoid the throng. You could hike here in the winter when the tourists are less of an issue for a more peaceful experience. But remember that you must be a competent hiker with all the required safety gear, including snowshoes.

You’ll need the nearest entrance point for this walk out of the park’s five available entry sites. Go for the Black Tusk access point to find this trail to the lake.

Right after you pass the Rubble Creek Bridge, you must turn off the Sea to Sky Highway. The Rubble Creek Entrance at Garibaldi Lake is then reached after 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) of traveling on a paved road.

During the summer, this parking lot gets very crowded, especially on weekends. Arrive early in the morning, before 8 am on the weekends, and then before 9 am throughout the week, to have the best chance of getting a seat here.

To entirely avoid parking problems, you may also reserve a ride through Parkbus from Vancouver. They provide day trips in Vancouver that depart at 7:30 am & return at 8 evenings. You can stay the day here until the bus takes you back after the hike after they drop people at the Rubble Creek parking lot.

It costs $63 CAD for a roundtrip ticket. But watch out for the bus back to Vancouver; if you miss it, you’ll have to hire a cab.

12. How Far Away are Whistler and Vancouver from Garibaldi Lake?

Garibaldi Provincial Park is a little under 30 kilometers (18.5 miles) away from Whistler if you travel south just on Sea to Sky Highway. You should be able to get to the trailhead just at the Rubble Creek parking space in less than 30 minutes.

To reach the trailhead from Vancouver, it takes 1.5 hours to travel 98 kilometers (61 miles) along Sea to Sky Highway. Don’t rush the drive; this section of road is among Canada’s most gorgeous. Even so, you might want to stop a few times to take in the breathtaking vistas of this region of the world.

13. Garibaldi Provincial Park Bears Safety

Garibaldi Lake’s environs are home to both black & grizzly bears. Because grizzly bears are uncommon and in short supply, black bears are much more prevalent. The grizzly bears in this area are typically found in the remote, underdeveloped eastern region of the provincial park.

You’re unlikely to spot any bears if you’re just there to hike to Garibaldi Lake. Bears dislike throngs of people, & they are just as reluctant to meet you as you are to meet them.

However, you should always have bear spray on you and be familiar with how to use it. Naturally, you should never attempt to feed or approach a bear, and you should also take care not to leave any trash or food behind while hiking.

You must exercise particular caution if you plan to camp here. Pack and keep the bear spray on hand. Make sure to store any food and “smelly” things like toothpaste and deodorant securely.

Additionally, there are no trash facilities in this area, so you must take whatever you bring with you. The campgrounds include bear hangers, so make use of those as well as the cooking shelters.

Keep your cool and stay away from the bear if you spot one. You found this bear safety information to be very useful in getting ready for trips & camping in the bar area.

14. Is a Pass Required to Enter Garibaldi Lake?

Garibaldi Lake is currently accessible without a day-use pass. However, a test day-use permit program was started in 2021. For the five busiest parks in British Columbia, including Garibaldi Provincial Park, all visitors had to reserve a free day-use pass online.

The intention was to minimize any environmental damage while limiting visitation to avoid crowded pathways and parking lots.

If a day permit is necessary for the future, be careful to verify the Garibaldi Provincial Park website before you visit for the most recent information.

15. A Trip to Garibaldi Lake

If you want a knowledgeable tour leader, there are a few fantastic options for trips to Garibaldi Lake. This is also a practical method for handling transportation. Consequently, you won’t have to stress about finding a parking space, which is like locating a needle in the heat of summer.

You are picked up in Vancouver & taken to the beginning of the Garibaldi Lake route on an all-day excursion. Then, together with your knowledgeable hiking and skilled photographic guide, you’ll head out towards the lake!

He will shoot photos for you, let you rent a DSLR device to take your images, and assist you in getting great shots of both the lake on the camera or phone. Six persons is the maximum allowed on the excursion, making it a pleasant small team for the climb.

Take to the sky in a helicopter & soar over Garibaldi Lake for a once-in-a-lifetime experience! You may see amazing sights, including Garibaldi Lake, the Black Tusk, & Cheakamus Glacier, to mention a few, during this personal helicopter tour of the park.

If the weather is good, your pilot will bring the helicopter down directly on a glacier so you can see it on Rainbow Mountain! One of your trip’s highlights will undoubtedly be experiencing life as a movie star!

16. Car Rental in British Columbia

You can’t stress enough how much renting a rental car is recommended if you’re flying into British Columbia. Due to the size of British Columbia, getting from one of the best BC attractions to another involves transportation.

Even if there are times when you’re able to use public transportation, doing so means that your trip will take more time and require more preparation.

In Canada, renting a car is not too expensive, especially if you select an inexpensive vehicle. The least expensive car that can be picked up and dropped off at several locations is about $70 CAD each day. However, the cost varies according to the season.

Renting a campervan or motorhome is a different popular choice. Using Motorhome Republic, anyone can compare hundreds of offers from various businesses to choose the best vehicle at the lowest cost.

The best way to visit Canada is in a campervan, and you can frequently stay for free or very little in the most breathtaking locations by using crown land & campsites.

Final Note

The arduous journey to Garibaldi Lake Hike in the BC wilderness is worthwhile because it is a spectacular location. You may need a breather after that hike, but you will feel as though you deserve those breathtaking views.

Image by Luke Lawreszuk from Pixabay

We hope that this Garibaldi Lake Hike guide has provided you with all the details you require for your forthcoming excursion, making you prepared to take on the challenging hike to Garibaldi Lake.



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