Hike to Helm Lake
Canada › Helm Lake, Garibaldi Provincial Park
Added by Emily Haggar
The uncrowded way to access Garibaldi Park, with gorgeous old growth forest, a beautiful river and lake, plus incredible views of the Black Tusk. It's a decently long hike, so it will definitely take a full day.
Helm Lake is a sparkly body of water tucked into one of the most scenic alpine meadows around. The lake sits on a lava field, just under the Black Tusk, with the unique volcanic remains of Cinder Cone and Helm Peak on the opposite side of the meadow.
The big draw for this hike is that it's far less busy than the Rubble Creek trail on the opposite side of the park. The forest is incredibly beautiful, especially in the early morning sun, and the only sound you'll hear will be your own footsteps. This trail is a great place to find a few hours of solitude in untouched old growth forest.
After leaving the sub alpine forest behind, huge views await you at the top of the trail. A big meadow bursting with wildflowers stretches out before you, with the Black Tusk sitting high above. You're almost sure to see a couple of marmots running around and whistling at each other. The Helm Creek campground is here, just on the edge of the forest. If you continue on up to the trail's high point above the lake, there are panoramic views of the meadows, and the trail continues over to Garibaldi Lake.
To reach the trailhead, take HWY99 south from Whistler and turn left into Cheakamus Crossing (the last set of lights before heading to Squamish). Take the first road on your left, keeping left and following signs to Cheakamus Lake. This hike shares the first few kms with the gorgeous Cheakamus Lake trail, then veers off, crossing the Cheakamus River and heading steeply up to the alpine. 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.
If you have time or extra energy, it's well worth it to go see Cheakamus Lake, just a little ways further past the Helm trail turn off. This area is just stunning, especially early in the day or when the west coast fog is rolling through.
- For a day hike bring minimum 3L of water
- Sturdy hiking boots
- Warm layers (even in summer, mountain weather is unpredictable and it can get very cold in the alpine) And everything you'd normally have in a day pack...
- First aid kit
- Lots of food
- Extra layers
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