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Panorama Ridge Hike in Garibaldi Provincial Park

A mixture of snow and rock on the way up Panorama Ridge
A mixture of snow and rock on the way up Panorama Ridge
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A few years ago my friend, Sarah and I backpacked into Garibaldi Lake, spent the night and the next day did the Panorama Ridge hike. That’s the civilized way to hike it though it can be done as a long day hike.

The Panorama Ridge hike is 6.5 km one way from Garibaldi Lake. Note that the lake itself is 9 km one way from the parking lot. It’s possible to do it as a long day hike though in total you’d have to hike 31 km and climb over 1,500 m. Both Garibaldi Lake and Panorama Ridge are worth taking the time to explore and enjoy. 

The view from Garibaldi Lake at sunset
The view from Garibaldi Lake at sunset

The route up to Garibaldi Lake is less than inspiring

It’s a slog for most of the way up to Garibaldi Lake. Fortunately you switchback up the mountain so the route never feels too steep. And the reward is worth it for the awe-inspiring scenery around the lake. I can only imagine how magical the place would be without another soul in sight. But even when the campground is full, the glaciers and lake are completely spectacular in the evening light.

Panorama Ridge hike from Garibaldi Lake

The route from Garibaldi Lake to Panorama Ridge is very straightforward. Turn north at the fork at Garibaldi Lake, cross a bridge and head up into the forest. Fortunately that section is short and in no time you’re in the meadows – flower filled if the season is right and you get wonderful views of the Black Tusk.

Lots of wildflowers along the trail
Lots of wildflowers along the trail
Beautiful lupins on the Panorama Ridge hike
Beautiful lupins

The hike up Panorama Ridge

When the trail reaches the intersection in the sign noted below turn right and head down through heather filled meadows.

Then begin the climb up to the ridge. In no time you’re on rocky slopes with the odd patch of snow around. Continue on the windswept ridge and follow the cairns to the top of the first ridge. The rock is loose as you head for the second ridge but it’s a short distance away.

The views from the Panorama Ridge are exactly that – panoramic in scope. Enjoy your time on top.

The trails are well signed along the way
The trails are well signed along the way
In some years you might want gaiters
In some years you might want gaiters
Lots of snow on nearby ridges
Lots of snow on nearby ridges
A mixture of snow and rock on the way up Panorama Ridge
A mixture of snow and rock on the way up Panorama Ridge
The view over to the Black Tusk
The view over to the Black Tusk

Camping the night before at Garibaldi Lake (so you can hike Panorama Ridge)

Reservations are required year-round for Garibaldi Lake. There are 50 reservable sites and in summer they go fast. Reservations can be made up to 4 months ahead of the date of your arrival.

Reserve through the Discover Camping website.

Fees can be paid ahead of time.

Dogs are not allowed. Nor are open fires.

Camping the night before at Garibaldi Lake is an option
Camping the night before at Garibaldi Lake is an option – as is fishing for rainbow trout (with a license)

Getting to the Garibaldi Lake Trailhead 

Turn right off of Highway 99 if you’re heading north towards Whistler. The trail is signed for the Black Tusk Recreation Area. It’s a only a few kilometres to the parking lot on a good road. 

Looking at Garibaldi Lake from Panorama Ridge
Looking at Garibaldi Lake from Panorama Ridge – Photo credit: Lesly Derksen from Unsplash

A few things to take on the hike

Always pack the 10 hiking essentials.

Carry a can of bear spray that is quickly accessible – and not buried deep in your pack.

Be sure to dress in layers and carry rain gear. 

I like something comfortable to sit on at lunch time. It can be your mitts on a warm spring day but in summer I swear by my almost weightless seat cushion.

The older I get the more I like using hiking poles. Invest in a good pair that are collapsible, preferably made of carbon because of their weightless quality.

I don’t pack gaiters on every trip, but at some point on most hikes I usually wish I had them. In summer half gaiters are ideal for keeping pebbles and sand out of your shoes

Location map of the Panorama Ridge hike

                   

Further reading on nearby hikes

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

The fabulous Panorama Ridge hike in Garibaldi Provincial Park, BC

 

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