The trail to Panorama Ridge from Rubble Creek is not so much difficult as it is long. 30 kilometres makes for a long 8-10 hour roundtrip hike. Staying overnight, therefore is a great idea. There are several excellent options for camping in the valleys around Panorama Ridge. The beautiful though often crowded Garibaldi Lake campsite, the less crowded and also beautiful Taylor Meadows campsite, the seldom crowded and serene Helm Creek campsite (located on the side of Black Tusk).
The more adventurous bivouac on the far end of Panorama Ridge itself. As you hike along the spine of Panorama Ridge, it leads to quite a large, flat and level grassy area with breathtaking views. Perfectly south facing, this beautiful, grassy slope is always sunny, seldom hiked as it lays at the far end of Panorama Ridge, and beautifully insect free. The ridge is often windy and flying insects cannot cope and remain in the valleys below.
Panorama Ridge stretches for 1.5k, then drops into an expansive meadow down to Garibaldi Lake and access to the Burton Hut at the far end of the lake. The hut is little used in the summer due to its remoteness. This route, via Panorama Ridge, is the best way to reach this difficult to reach hut in the summer.
The main trailhead for Panorama Ridge is at Rubble Creek, 25 kilometres south of Whistler Village on the Sea to Sky Highway you will see a Garibaldi Park sign indicating the turnoff. From the highway a paved road runs for 2 kilometres to the Rubble Creek trailhead and parking area.
This is the most popular and close trailhead for Garibaldi Lake, Taylor Meadows and Black Tusk as well as Panorama Ridge. Parking is free however keep in mind that overnight camping requires payment. The BC Parks website says that cash only payment can be made at all Garibaldi Park trailheads. This is true at Rubble Creek and the Diamond Head trailheads, but don't count on it as BC Parks is moving to the more efficient, online payment method found on their site. Other popular Garibaldi Park trailheads such as Cheakamus Lake, Singing Pass and Wedgemount Lake don't have trailhead payment facilities.
The fees are $10 per person per night and $5 for kids (6-15 years). You will quickly find these fees well worth it, especially at the campsites around Panorama Ridge. Very clean and tidy, well organized and still somehow retaining a remote and wilderness feel. You will likely spot a park ranger while at one of the campsites at Taylor Meadows or Rubble Creek as they are staffed for most of the summer to provide maintenance, security and friendly help. The more remote campsites like Helm Creek, Wedgemount Lake and Russet Lake are far less busy and you will not often spot BC Parks staff, yet somehow they are kept well maintained.
Kennedy Lake, the largest lake on Vancouver Island is enormous and surrounded by a fantastic tangle of rainforest. One positive legacy of the forestry that existed here is the spider web of logging roads and bridges that allow for access to the otherwise inaccessible parts of this wonderful lake. There are several access points to the lake, but 13k from the highway, at the enormous and disintegrating Kennedy Lake bridge is the most beautiful. A great way to escape the crowds in Tofino and Ucluelet over 45 minutes away.
At this dead end in the logging road (as the bridge is barricaded by boulders as it's unsafe to drive on), there is a fantastic array of outdoor recreation possibilities. First off the Kennedy Lake bridge is the gateway to the amazing Clayoquot Arm Provincial Park. You can launch your boats here, park and/or camp to begin your paddling journey into this 12k paddling route into the wilderness of .
Another canoeing/kayaking option is Kennedy Lake. Leaving from the same boat launch area at the Kennedy Lake bridge you can paddle in the opposite direction to Clayoquot Arm. That is paddling into the massive Kennedy Lake. Within five minutes you are in a serene wilderness setting with frequent small, sandy pocket beaches very suitable for a tent and campfire. Though the shore looks impenetrably thick with greenery most of the time, in fact there are gaps everywhere and natural clearings all along the shore that you can hike through for hours. Plenty of driftwood from this massive lake litter the shoreline everywhere you go as well making an interesting hike.
Another great reason why this area is amazing is the wonderful, sandy beach that stretches for quite a distance. The sandy beach next to the Kennedy Lake bridge is called Redneck Beach. That name derived from the often large gatherings that take place at this convenient, yet far from civilization beach. You can actually drive along the beach to where you want to camp despite the sand. There is room for over a dozen vehicles before this large campsite starts to look busy, it's that big.
This is an unmaintained, backcountry camping area and therefore free to use, but also has to facilities other than a couple pit toilets. Excellent fresh drinking water exists in Kennedy Lake.