Hike Panorama Ridge

33 miles 5000 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Emily Haggar

Epic scenery and there's a good reason this is called Panorama Ridge - you'll get exceptional views of Black Tusk, Garibaldi Lake, Mt Garibaldi, Tantalus, Castle Towers and more! Long day hike from Rubble Creek (33km return / 5000ft elevation gain) or shorter hike if you camp at Garibaldi Lake (15km return to the lake / 2000ft elevation gain).

It's pretty much impossible to declare one place around Whistler BC 'the best scenic hike' but this one has got to be in the top five! If you want to get a look at some of the most spectacular and unique landmarks in the Sea to Sky area, hiking to Panorama Ridge would be a way to see them all.

This hike can be done in a long day from Rubble Creek, or you can half the time and elevation by camping at Taylor Meadows or Garibaldi Lake. The camping areas have 90 sites between them, and fill to capacity on summer weekends ($10/person/night). As of 2016, online camping reservations are required for Garibaldi Lake, Cheakamus Lake, Elfin Lakes + Taylor Meadows, instead of the pay at the parking lot way it used to work. Online reservations can be found here.

To reach the Rubble Creek parking area (paved, 2WD), follow HWY99 north from Squamish until you see Provincial Park signs for Black Tusk on your right, about 20 minutes up the highway. The trail is a well worn series of switchbacks, wide enough to hike 2 people across the whole way up.

Once you leave the beautiful old growth forest behind, sub alpine meadows full of wildflowers with views south to the Tantalus Range welcome you into mountain heaven. Alpine lakes, streams, and a rocky ascent up a well marked trail will take you to the summit. There is excellent signage and distance markers all throughout the park, so just follow the signs at the few trail junctions you come to.

The upper sections of the trail would qualify as a more challenging hike for some, due to the exposure and piles of rocks, but it's well worth the effort. Panoramic views await you at the summit, as well as several kilometres of incredible ridge walking if you have leftover time and energy.

Summer is short in the Canadian alpine, so the best times for this hike are late July through late September. I have seen snow here in mid September (and also July + August for that matter!) so be prepared for unpredictable mountain weather. The wild flowers at are their peak at the end of August, and the weather is usually warm and sunny then too.

If you like the backcountry, and have time for only one adventure around Whistler, this would be a good choice. Camp at the lake for a night or two, and you will have had a good dose of West Coast beauty.

Enjoy!

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Tags

Camping
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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🥉Contributor

almost 3 years ago

Stunning.

Hands down the prettiest lake that I've ever seen and the longest distance that I've ever hiked in a day. My friend and I drove up from Seattle and spent Friday night in Squamish then tackled this one as a day hike the next morning. The trails in Canada are always so well maintained so the long distance was a lot more doable due to the smooth path. There are supposed to be a lot of bears in the meadows but we didn't see any (probably because there were a lot of people on the trail as well). The round trip distance is actually about 33km -- which is about 20 miles.

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

about 3 years ago

Top 3

One of the best hikes I have ever done, the view at the top is unbelievable. It's a trek to get to the top, but worth the time and effort. There was still snow pack when we hiked the trail, but luckily that allowed us to slide down on the descent. If you are in this area I definitely recommend adding this hike to your itinerary. If you are able to secure a permit for Garibaldi Lake you can set up camp so you don't have to make this a long day.

🥉Contributor

about 4 years ago

Perfect And Beautiful!

Aug 8, 2014 - Fantastic hike! Perfect weather. Went to Garibaldi Lake the first day, swam in the freezing lake and stayed overnight. Day 2 to enjoyed hiking with just our day pack to Panorama Ridge. Incredible views of Black Tusk along the way! The final view when your at the top of Panorama Ridge is just incredible, its so beautiful! Hiked back to Garibaldi Lake to pick up our packs and headed back down. Unfortunately, my shoes hadn't dried over night and I got awful blisters - pretty much peeled the whole base of my feet and took months to heal, but I still say it was worth it and would do it again for sure! Will just bring my new weird blister proof socks from Australia next time!

over 4 years ago

Iconic PNW hike

I didn't have the foresight to make this into an awesome camping trip so I did the whole 18 miles out and back. We started at 10 AM and got out around 5 PM. It was an amazing trip-- albeit a bit strenous as the longest hike I did before that was 14 miles. I am definitely going back this year to try Black Tusk!

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

almost 5 years ago

What an unforgettable view! I made this hike when there was still several feet of snow on the ground so it was some tough going to reach this point but totally worth it. We started around dawn and had to push the last few kilometers on the way back to make it down before sunset- so make sure you leave plenty of time during the shorter days of fall and winter.

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