hike

Garibaldi Lake Hike near WHISTLER, BC

Garibaldi Lake hike is an outstanding day hike to a breathtaking turquoise lake ringed by showy glaciers, alpine meadows and snow-capped mountains. It is hard to beat this all-star line up of natural wonders.

Distance: 18 km return*

The Classic hike into Garibaldi Lake is 9 km one way, so higher math gets you to 18 km return.

If you want to switch it up a bit, a scenic detour through Taylor Meadows (either on the way up or down) will set you up with a return trip of 9.6 km (worth it in my opinion...)

Difficulty: Moderate

Conditions to expect:

  • well established and maintained trail
  • good signage
  • steep sections with switchbacks

Garibaldi Lake Trail Image

Time: 5-6 hrs return

It is an approximately 5-6 hour round trip from Rubble Creek Parking lot to Garibaldi Lake campground.

If you decide to take a detour through Taylor Meadows as part of your routing, you're only adding about 600 m extra distance, so you're still looking at 5-6 hours.

It is stunning by the Lake, so you might want to plan a bit of extra time to soak up the views.

Elevation Change: 900m

The overall elevation change (from lowest point to highest point) is approximately 900 m

The elevation gain (one way) (the cumulative ups and downs over the course of the trail) is approximately 1025 m

The maximum slope you will encounter is approximately 55%.

The average slope is about 12%.

High Point: 1496 m

The high point of 1496 m is just before you reach the lake. You drop down slightly to the Lake at 1470 m.

If you just decide to do a detour through Taylor Meadows, you gain a tiny bit of elevation with a high point of 1536 m.

Season: July - October

This trail is typically accessible from July - October. 

Other notes: dogs, camping etc...

Dogs

  • are not permitted in Garibaldi Park.

Camping

Garibaldi Lake campground  (9 km from parking lot) has 50 tent sites, pit toilets, food hang facilities, 4 day-use shelters with wash sinks, cooking counters and picnic tables.
 
Taylor Meadows campground (7.5 km from the parking lot) has 40 tent platforms, pit toilets, food hang facilities and 2 day-use cooking shelters.
 
Campers need to make reservations through the Discover Camping Reservation Service year-round and must be able produce proof of reservation when asked. Reservations can be made online up to 4 months in advance.
 

Topographical Map

  • Cheakamus River 92-G-14 & 15

Trail Head Coordinates

  • UTM NAD 83 Z10 491349E 5533903N
  • Lat: 49.957 Long: -123.121

Garibaldi Lake Hike

on Google Maps (click image below)

Trail Map to Garibaldi Lake near Whistler, BC

Garibaldi Lake Hike Map

Garibaldi Lake Hike

near Whislter, BC

 
The Garibaldi Lake hike near Whistler, BC is one of the most popular hikes in the Whistler/Squamish area.
 
This 18km return hike takes you to the glacial-fed, turquoise-blue Garibaldi Lake. The lake alone is worth the trip, but there are numerous added attractions which make this destination truly spectacular.
 
Bonus natural attractions include; Black Tusk, Panorama Ridge, Helm Glacier, the Sphinx, Sphinx Glacier, Castle Towers and alpine meadows. It is hard to beat this all-star lineup of natural wonders.
 
Garibaldi Lake

Hike Statistics

Distance: 18km return
Difficulty: Moderate
Time needed: 5-6 hours return
Trailhead: Rubble Creek parking lot (more on this below)
Elevation change: 900 m
High point: 1496m (just before dropping to the lake at 1470m)
Max slope: 55%
Average slope: 12%
 
Image of the Sphinx Glacier on the opposite side of turquoise blue Garibaldi Lake

Sphinx Glacier at Garibaldi Lake

Getting There

To get to Rubble Creek parking and trailhead, head north from Squamish on Highway 99 for about 33km. There is good signage on the highway for Garibaldi Park. Just past Rubble Creek turn right.
 
Parking lot and trailhead are about 2.5 km up this road.
 
 
This hike can be insanely popular and parking can be brutal.
 
If you are coming from Vancouver, consider checking out Parkbus which operates scheduled shuttles from Vancouver to Rubble Creek trailhead.
 
This parking lot is a popular spot for thieves and break-ins have been reported. You’d be wise to not leave anything of value in your vehicle.
 
Rubble Creek Parking Lot

What you can expect on the trail

Expect a well travelled and well-maintained trail.
 
There will be steep sections and switchbacks.
 
There will be rocks and roots and mud in sections.
 
This trail has great signage and distance markers.
 
Expect crowds. This is an insanely popular hike so expect to have company - particularly in July and August.
 

Garibaldi Lake Trail Image

Highlights you’ll remember

Stunning scenery including:
 
Garibaldi Lake
Sphinx glacier
Black Tusk
Alpine meadows (if you decide to go through Taylor Meadows) - showy alpine flowers blooming in late summer
 
The Barrier
 
The Barrier is a lava dam that contains the Garibaldi Lake system. It is over 300 m thick and about 2.4 km long.
 
About 9000 years ago, lava flowing from Clinker Peak on Mount Price was stopped by a wall of glacial ice. The lava cooled and the ice eventually melted leaving “The Barrier” with the dramatic cliff face that can be seen from the trail. Over time, water ponded behind the lava dam forming the Garibaldi Lake system.
 
Picture of The Barrier. A lava dam containing the Garibaldi Lake System

The Barrier is a lava dam that contains the Garibaldi Lake system. It is over 300 m thick and about 2.4 km long

Dogs

  • are not permitted in Garibaldi Park.

CAMPING

Camping is permitted in designated areas with valid permits.

Garibaldi Lake campground  (9 km from the parking lot) has 50 tent sites, pit toilets, food hang facilities, 4 day-use shelters with wash sinks, cooking counters and picnic tables.
 
Taylor Meadows campground (7.5 km from the parking lot) has 40 tent platforms, pit toilets, food hang facilities and 2 day-use cooking shelters.
 
Campers need to make reservations through the Discover Camping Reservation Service year-round and must be able produce proof of reservation when asked. Reservations can be made online up to 4 months in advance.
 
 
Tent camping site at Garibaldi Lake campground

Campsite at Garibaldi Lake Campground

 
 
 
 

Directions to Garibaldi Lake Trailhead

(Rubble Creek Parking Lot)

Click map below to get Google Maps directions from your location


Directions to Garibaldi Lake Trailhead (Rubble Creek)

Rubble Creek Trailhead

Rubble Creek Parking Lot

Parkbus also offers scheduled bus service from Vancouver to Rubble Creek trailhead.

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Garibaldi Lake Hike - at a glance

Garibaldi Lake hike is an outstanding day hike to a breathtaking turquoise lake ringed by showy glaciers, alpine meadows and snow-capped mountains.

Basic Hike Stats

18 km round trip
moderate difficulty
5-6 hours
900 m elevation change

What to Expect

well maintained trail
good signage
popular/busy hike
spectacular scenery

Trailhead

RUBBLE CREEK
See "Directions" Tab above

Link to google map directions here

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Disclaimer:  All information presented on this website is for informational purposes only. Outdoor Therapy does not bear any liability for the information presented here. All outdoor activities involve a certain element of risk and weather, and other forces may change trail routing and/or other conditions. The information presented here is meant to serve as a guide only. It is the ultimate and sole responsibility of the user of this information to determine which activities are appropriate to her skills and fitness levels and it is the ultimate and sole responsibility of the user to be aware of changes and hazards that may have occurred since the posting of the material.