Garibaldi Provincial Park / Vancouver Coast & Mountains
Alice Lake Park, PO Box 220, Brackendale, B.C., V0N 1H0
Phone: 604-898-3678 / Fax: 604-898-4171
*Map of Vancouver Coast & Mountains*
 
Garibaldi comprises 194,650 hectares within the coast mountains, and is perhaps Canada's most accessible and spectacular wilderness. Raw and uncompromised backcountry, alpine meadows and glaciated heights. This scenically breathtaking area has endless outdoor opportunities, all within an hour of one of Canada's major urban centers.
(360 Degree View of Garibaldi VR)
 
Garibaldi
 

 

The park is located 13 km north of Squamish, 97 km north of Vancouver along Hwy 99 on the road to Whistler. The park has five separate access points. Just north of Squamish is Diamond Head (you'll need chains in the winter), followed by Black Tusk/Garibaldi Lake, Cheakamus Lake, Singing Pass and then Wedgemont Lake, between Whistler and Pemberton. (See Map)
 
A mountain view from the Diamond Head access route
  There are five backcountry areas within the park: Diamond Head - Black tusk/Garibaldi Lake - Cheakamus Lake - Singing Pass and Wedgemont Lake which corresponds to the access points.

Diamond Head parking lot is 16km from the highway turn off. From the parking lot, it's 11km (600m elevation change) into Elfin Lakes.

 
The park has several tall peaks which rise out of the alpine valleys including: Price Mountain, Cider Cone, the well known Black Tusk and of course, Mount Garibaldi, the parks namesake. Lakes in the alpine include Cheakamus, Wedgemont and Garibaldi Lake which are all accessible by trail.

Amazingly enough the park is also the back drop of the Whistler/Blackcomb ski resort area which offers an excellent opportunity to access the park from their summits.

Backpacking: There are 196 wilderness sites available, along with a number of huts. See Camping & Huts

 
 
A mountain goat is a rare but beautiful site in Garibaldi
  Black tusk/Garibaldi Lake / Level of Difficulty: Intermediate

Description: From the Rubble Creek parking lot there are two trails which lead to designated campsites - the Garibaldi Lake trail and the Taylor Meadows Trial. The trial to Taylor Meadows begins 6km from the parking lot along the Garibaldi Lake trail. To get to Taylor Lake, it will take you about 3 or 4 hours. The trail has an elevation change of just less than a 1000 meters.

 
The Garibaldi Lake trail is probably the most popular and the most beautiful. The trail moves through 800 meters of climbs and should take about 3 or 4 hours one way. From either campsite there are a number of other trails which can be hiked or joined together to extend your backpacking trip. There are pit toilets at the campsites. Regulations require the use of a cookstove in the camping area.
Length of Trail: Taylor Meadows7.5km, Garibaldi Lake 9km

Diamond Head

Level of Difficulty: Novice, Intermediate

Description: From the parking lot at the top of Mamqam Road, the trail climbs 600 meters over 11 km. The trail follows a ridge, allowing for some excellent overviews of the area. The Elfin Lake hut at the end of the trail will accommodate 34 people, there is a fee for over nighting. From Elfin lake you can take a day hike along the trail to the edge of Garibaldi Glacier. This is a great place to introduce a novice to backpacking since the hut lets you lighten the load.
Length of Trail: 22km return

National Topographic Series Maps, Scale, 1:50,000, sheets 92J2, 3, 14, 15 and 16 cover the park.

 
Hiking: This park is a spectacular 194,650 hectare wilderness. Within the five areas of the park; Diamond Head - Black tusk/Garibaldi Lake - Cheakamus Lake - Singing Pass and Wedgemount Lake, there are approximately 105 km of trails.  
A view of the Park from outside Squamish
 
Singing Pass

Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

Description: There are 2 major trail in this area of Garibaldi Provincial Park. From the parking lot to Singing Pass the trail is 7.5 km long and has an elevation change of 600 meters. Singing Pass to Russet Lake Trail is 2 km long and should take about 2 hours to complete with elevation changes of 250 meters. The views along the trail include Overlord Glacier and the surrounding peaks. Length of Trail: 9.5 km in all

Cheakamus Lake Area

Moderate to Difficult

Description: There are 2 major trails in this area of Garibaldi Provincial Park. The Cheakamus Lake Trail works its way through old growth forest along its 3 km and takes about 45 min. to complete. Cheakamus Lake to Black Tusk Meadows is a 14.5 km trail that heads down to the Cheakamus River where you have to take a cable car crossing to get onto the other side of the river. On the far bank you'll be climbing the switchbacks up to Upper Lakes. It should take you about 6 to 7 hours to complete. Length of Trail: 17.5 km in all.

Black tusk/Garibaldi Lake Area

Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

There are 5 major trails in this area of Garibaldi Provincial Park. Garibaldi Lake, at 9 km, takes roughly 3 to 4 hours to complete. Taylor Meadows, at 7.5 km, takes roughly 3 to 4 hours to complete. Garibaldi Lake to Panorama Ridge, at 5 km, takes roughly 2 hours one way to complete. Taylor Meadows or Garibaldi Lake to Black Tusk, at 7 km, takes roughly 2 to 3 hours to complete. Taylor Meadows to Upper Lakes, at 4 km, takes roughly 2 hours to complete, one way. Length of Trail: 35.5 km in all

Diamond Head Area

Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

Description: There are 4 major trails in this area of Garibaldi Provincial Park. Elfin Lakes Trail, at 11 km, follows Paul Ridge with spectacular views. Once you reach Elfin Lakes you have a great view of Columnar Peak, The Gargoyles, Opal Cone and Mamquam Icefield. This trail should take about 3 to 5 hours to complete, the elevation change is 600 meters. Elfin Lakes to Little Diamond Head Trail, 7 km and 625 meters elevation change. Elfin Lakes to the Opal Cone Trail, is 6.5 km in length with 250 meters of elevation change. While climbing to the top of Opal Cone, you can see Garibaldi Neve and Mamquam Lake, the trail should take about 2 to 3 hours. Elfin Lakes to Mamquam Lake Trail is 11 km and approximately a 1/2 day hike, one way, with an elevation change of 570 meters.

Wedgemount Lake

Level of Difficulty: Difficult

Description: There is only one major trail in this area of Garibaldi. The Wedgemount Lake Trail takes you to Wedgemount Creek as it turns into a water fall that descends almost 300 meters. The trail is 7 km long and should take you about 4 to 6 hours to complete. The elevation change of 1,200 meters is significant.

Garibaldi/Sunshine Coast District Mailing Address: Alice Lake Park, P.O. Box 220, 13 km N of Squamish off Highway 99, Brackendale, BC, V0N 1H0, Phone: (604) 898-3678 / Fax: (604) 898-4171

You can get maps from National Topographic Series Maps, Scale, 1:50,000. Sheets 92J2, 3, 14, 15 and 16 cover the area.

 
  Huts:
  • Black Tusk- Garibaldi, Black Tusk Trail / Capacity: Sleeps 10
  • Burton Hut- Garibaldi, Garibaldi Lake / Capacity: Sleeps 10 Features: Utensils
  • Diamond Head- Garibaldi, Elfin Lakes / Conditions: Fee Capacity: Sleeps 30 Features: Stove
  • Flavelle Hut- East of Garibaldi, North of Anniversary Glacier / Contact Squamish Rockclimbing Club, Capacity: Sleeps 15-20
  • Himmelsbach Hut- Garibaldi, Russet Lake / British Columbia Mountaineering Club / Capacity: Sleeps 12
  • Lizzie Creek Cabin- East of Garibaldi, Lizzie Lake / Capacity: Sleeps 8
  • Sentinel Glacier Huts- Garibaldi, Black Tusk Meadows / Contact: Department of the Environment, Glaciology Division, Capacity: Sleeps 4
  • Elfin Lake
  • Russet Lake
  • Wedgemont Lake

Camping: The park has no front country sites (nearby Alice Lake has front country sites) but has excellent backcountry camping along its trails as well as backcountry huts. The backcountry campsites are as follows:

 
  • Diamond Head
  • Red Heather Campground
  • Elfin Lakes Campground
  • Black Tusk/Garibaldi Lake
  • Taylor Meadows
  • Garibaldi Lake
  • Cheakamus Lake
 
  • West End
  • Singing Creek
  • Castle Tower
  • Singing Pass
  • Northwest End Russet Lake
  • Wedgemont Lake
  • Northwest End Wedgemont Lake
 
Climbing: Black Tusk is a popular climb in the park, there is more great climbing just to the south in Squamish

Mountain Biking: The park has a trail between Elfin Lakes and the access parking lot and another to Cheakamus Lake (with a turn around point at singing pass - the cable car). While this may not be enough to entice you to ride the area don't overlook it, particularly since there are literally thousands of kilometres of mountain biking trails in the immediate area and scenically it's spectacular.

 
  Flora and Fauna: The parks alpine meadows are awesome when in bloom (mid to late summer). Below at an elevation of 1,500 meters, Douglas fir, western red cedar and western hemlock cover the mountain slopes of the Black Tusk area. In the lower areas, you'll find heather and thousands of beautiful wild flowers, including western anemone, lupine and snow lily's, to name just a few.
 
On the rare occasion, you might see one of the parks large animals. It's home to Grizzly Bear and Black Bear, Mountain Goats and Deer. The park is large and you won't find the concentration of large animals that you might in parks like Banff (Banff Wildlife). Of course there are many smaller animals to see, such as Marmots, Squirrels and Chipmunks.  
Canada Jay
 
Keep your eyes and ears open for the ever present Canada Jay who's not a bit shy. They have been know to help themselves to your supper if your attention shifts. These precocious birds look like over-grown chickadees and are just about as tame. Ptarmigans something unexpectedly come fluttering at you from trail side. They can kick up quite a fuss when startled. If you train your gaze skyward you just might catch a glimpse of a golden eagle, which are often spotted in the park.
 
  Backcountry Skiing: The park is famous for its backcountry skiing. Diamond Head (you'll need chains to reach the parking lot) to Elfin lake is a challenging half day ridge run with spectacular vistas. The Wedgemont Lake area can be accessed from the back of Blackcomb or from the Wedgemont parking lot. This is the best area for expert skiers looking for some untracked slopes and extended touring.
 
Garibaldi Lake Intermediate

This is a good place to learn in the company of more advanced skiers. The trail head has very easy access but the road may be snow covered. You can ski for one to several days. You'll find a Vancouver Outdoor Club cabin along the trail.

Whistler Blackcomb Expert

There is access to the backcountry at the top of the ski lift. From Whistler Mountain you can reach singing pass. It's very easy access but the area is for expert backcountry skiers. Tours can be several hours to days long.

Black Tusk Intermediate

This is another popular destination for backcountry skiers in the park. There is a lot of touring in this area. There is easy access but the roads may be snow covered. The trail starts off with a healthy climb. You can ski several hours to several days.

 
McBride Range Expert

There are some extreme areas at McBride Range, with steep mountains and an extended traverse. This area can be access from Singing Pass. The area has the potential for tours of as long as ten days.

Singing Pass Intermediate

There is some great ski touring here with a lot of possibilities. There are huts available for someone looking to do a few days out. This area has very easy access from whistler mountain. There is a marked trail to the pass.

 
 
Garibaldi Traverse Expert

This hut-to-hut tour of over 45km is for the true back country skier. The area is easily accessed and includes includes spectacular views. It is a one way traverse which can be combined with several other park traverses to make up a trip of several weeks.

Diamond Head Intermediate

This is a very popular area. It's a good place for a skier to learn from someone more advanced. Again the access is easy but deep snow may provide a problem. A trip of one to several days is possible, there is a hut for over night excursions.

Note: Avalanches are an ever present danger in the park during the winter. Skiers shouldn't consider this area if they don't have the equipment and the skills. Contact the park regarding the routes and be sure to have an up-to-date report before your departure.

Links for Garibaldi:

Outfitters: Nature Treks - Guides Garibaldi

Literature: Contact BC Parks for a brochure which also includes a basic map of the park and its trails.Garibaldi Provincial Park / Vancouver Coast & Mountains
Alice Lake Park, PO Box 220, Brackendale, B.C., V0N 1H0
Phone: 604-898-3678 / Fax: 604-898-4171

Maps: An online Map is now available from the official Garibaldi website online from BC Parks.

Topographical Maps: National Topographic Series Maps, Scale, 1:50,000, sheets 92J2, 92J3, 92J14, 92J15 and 92J16 cover the area.

Additional Information: Contact the park or visit the official Garibaldi website online from BC Parks.

 

 

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