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Best Trails This Week

Whistler & Garibaldi Park Topo Maps

Wedgemount Lake Aerial VideoWedgemount Lake Aerial VideoWhistler Mountain Aerial Video

Wedgemount Lake                                                         Whistler Topo Maps

If you were to search your whole life for an absolutely amazing, astoundingly perfect, alpine hiking paradise, you'd have trouble finding a place as great as Wedgemount Lake in Garibaldi Park. To start with, the lake is breathtaking. Every angle you look at it and every hour of the day it alters its appearance dramatically. From its wonderful turquoise, marble-like appearance reflecting bronze mountains at sunrise and sunset. To its startlingly vivid appearance in the darkness of night. ReflectingWedgemount Lake Topo Map stars are as clear looking down on the lake as they are looking up at the sky.

The massive valley that contains Wedgemount Lake is ringed by impressive mountains and the ever-present Wedgemount Glacier that continuously pulls your attention to it. The trail that leads around the lake to the glacier takes only 20-30 minutes and is quite amazing to explore. Wedgemount Glacier, at its edge, has what is called a glacier window. A huge ice cave, created out of the melting underneath this huge, crushing mass of ice. You can get right up close to this impressive ice cave and have a drink of what was just moments before ice left thousands of years ago before Wedgemount Lake was called Wedgemount Lake...

One of the most spectacular hikes in Garibaldi Park.  Close to Whistler, the trailhead is only about 10-20 minutes away.  Though the hike is hard and steep, it is short.  A fit person can hike the trail in under 1.5 hours (one way).  There are endless mountains, glaciers and hidden trails to explore.  Wonderful and free hut to use with a million dollar view of the lake.  The somewhat difficulty of the hike makes it less used than many other nearby trails.

Meager Slide Aerial Video - Whistler TrailsMadeley Lake Aerial Video - Whistler TrailsTofino Aerial Video of Grice Bay

Black Tusk                                                                     Whistler Topo Maps

Black Tusk is the amazing pinnacle of volcanic rock visible for hundreds of kilometres and located near the centre of Garibaldi ParkBlack Tusk, along with the Chief in Squamish are the most astoundingly noticeable peaks in the Garibaldi Range.  170,000 Black Tusk in Garibaldi Park Topo Mapyears ago the Black Tusk was created when a lava dome formed within a million year old, volcanic cinder cone.  The cinder cone is crumbling away, revealing the starkly black, hardened lava dome within.

Looking at the Black Tusk from a distance, two things seem incredible.  First, that such an unusual thing formed, and second that there is a trail that takes you to its peak.  With a little sketchy and dangerous, though non technical climbing, you can get to the top of Black Tusk.  It is a fairly long dayhike as you cover 27k on the roundtrip hike.  There are three very nice campgrounds in the area allowing for a beautiful, multi-day hiking trip to the area.  Helm Creek one one side of Black Tusk and Taylor Meadows and Garibaldi Lake campgrounds on the other side provide dozens of beautiful places to put up a tent.

The final ascent of Black Tusk is a bit scary and dangerous so be prepared.  You have to climb a narrow, steep and crumbly chute up about 10 metres to reach the top.  Quite a few people don't climb this last part and instead just take in the extraordinary views from the base.  Either way, Black Tusk is unquestionably one of the best of the best hikes in the Whistler area and in Garibaldi Park.

Stanley Park Aerial ViewCallaghan Lake Provincial Park Aerial VideoLost Lake Aerial Video - Whistler Trails

Rainbow Lake Trail                                                     Whistler Topo Maps

The Rainbow Lake trail is a convenient and popular trail near Whistler Village.  It is a consistently uphill and very beautiful trail with several water (bridge) crossings and waterfalls on the way to the picture-perfect lake.  There are a few views of the valley across to Whistler, Blackcomb, and Wedge Mountains.  Few views, though fantastic.  Rainbow lake itself is beautiful and has branching trails that extend further beyond the lake.

Rainbow Lake Trail Hiking Topo MapThere are several highlights along the Rainbow Trail.  Several waterfall and idyllic creek crossings as well as two somewhat elaborate bridges.  Located in such a hostile environment that one of these bridges has to be removed annually before the huge snowfalls come in December.  Rainbow Falls, near the trailhead is easily missed as it requires a short, two minute side trail to find.  It is located about five minutes into the Rainbow Trail and your best bet to find it is to keep bearing right along the first couple trail branches.  Don't worry about getting lost here though as all the trails reconnect further along the trail when you briefly exit the forest at the water treatment building.

Unfortunately, Rainbow Lake is is the water supply for Whistler, so you cannot swim, fish or camp near the lake.  There is decent camping available nearby at Hanging Lake as well as Beverly Lake in the direction of Rainbow Mountain.  Hanging lake is a bit dark and swampy as compared to the spectacular camping at Beverly Lake which is a tough but rewarding hike beyond Rainbow Lake.

Beverly Lake is reached by following the trail toward Rainbow Mountain.  About 40 minutes into this trail the trail markers will stop as it ascends up into an extensive boulder field towards Rainbow Mountain.  To reach Beverly, bear left of the route to Rainbow Mountain and follow the valley.  Beverly Lake is about an hours hike from Rainbow Lake.

Alpha Lake Aerial VideoPanorama Ridge Aerial Video - Whistler TrailsRusset Lake Aerial Video

Joffre Lakes                                                                    Whistler Topo Maps

Joffre Lakes Topo MapJoffre Lakes is one of the most beautiful lakes you are likely to ever see.  There are three lakes and they get progressively more beautiful.  By the third lake the intense blue is breathtaking.  The mighty Matier Glacier rises above the third lake, making the experience even more spectacular.  The trail is rough and tricky in some parts, but not terribly difficult.  The trail is 5k to the third lake so give yourself 1.5 - 2 hours(one way).

At Upper Joffre Lake, there are several nice, though rugged places to camp.  In a hilly, lightly forested section of paradise in between the impossibly turquoise joffre Lake and the abruptly monstrous Matier Glacier descending from Mount Matier beyond.  A waterfall cascades near the camping area.  The campsite has one nice and well maintained outhouse.

There is also a prominent helicopter pad close by as a reminder of how many injuries occur on the trail and the accessible mountains and glaciers around.  There are in fact four distinct glaciers close by, Matier, Anniversary, Stonecrop and Tszil.  Beyond Mount Matier there are two more, Twin One and Hartzell.

The Joffre Lakes trail is surprisingly busy, which is a testament to how extraordinarily beautiful, and relatively easy the hike is.  Unlike Wedgemount Lake, Black Tusk or Cirque Lake, which are to difficult for many hikers, Joffre Lakes is comparatively easy and certainly relaxing.  Many hikes in the nearby Garibaldi Park are not family friendly and easy, but Joffre Lakes is.

Wedgemount Lake Aerial VideoWedgemount Lake Aerial Video - Whistler TrailsMadeley Lake Aerial Video - Whistler Trails

Russet Lake & Singing Pass                        Whistler Hiking Topo Maps

Russet Lake is a fantastic alpine lake that lays at the base of the Fissile.  The Fissile is the strikingly bronze coloured mountain so visible from Whistler Village.  From the Village look into the distance at the Peak to Peak hanging between Whistler and Blackcomb and you will see the Fissile.  Its pyramid shape in the distance perfectly separates the two mountains.Russet Lake Topo Map

Though Russet Lake is not terribly impressive in terms of size or colour, the valley around it is remarkably beautiful.  The colours change from moment to moment in and extraordinary way.  The distinctive colour of the Fissile and the stark grey of the mountains around contrast amazingly with the blue of the lake and green grass in the valley.  So many different factors fill the place with colour.

There are several ways to get to hike Russet Lake.  The Singing Pass Trail from the base of Whistler Mountain near the Whistler Gondola.  The Musical Bumps Trail that begins near the top of the Whistler Gondola.  The High Note Trail that begins at the top of the Peak Chair on Whistler Mountain.  There is an increasingly popular route that begins from Blackcomb Mountain.  And finally, a very infrequently hiked route from Cheakamus Lake that runs along Singing Creek.  The descriptions that follow are of 1. Musical Bumps (direct route and beautiful), 2. High Note Trail (a bit longer but even more beautiful), and the Singing Pass Trail (not as nice as the previous two and constantly uphill, but no expensive gondola charge).

All three routes are have signs and well established trails.  None are very difficult with the exception of being long trails.  Though each can be done in a day, 30 kilometres of hiking in one day is quite a long way.  Russet Lake is a beautiful place to camp.  It has a wonderful hut available to use by anyone.  It is a basic wooden hut with no facilities, but surprisingly comfortable.  It holds up to 12 crowded or 8 comfortable.  There is also an outhouse and a beautiful stream that runs along the massive camping area.  There are no tent platforms but over a dozen tent clearings...

Cheakamus Lake in Garibaldi Park                         Whistler Topo Maps

Cheakamus Lake Topo MapCheakamus Lake is a wonderfully relaxing way to get in the wilderness easily and quickly from Whistler Village at just 16k to the trailhead.

The trail to the lake is in an amazing forest of giant cedars. Running along the beautiful Cheakamus River the hike is short and easy.  The trail runs along the lake, passing some small, wonderful campsites, and very small beaches.  The first 3k of the trail takes you along the beautiful Cheakamus River to the start of Cheakamus Lake and the first campsite area.  There are 10 very nice and hidden tent pads on or near the lake shore.  There is excellent water from several creeks in the area and a bear proof food hang as well as tidy outhouses here.

Another 4k further on the trail takes you to some beautiful viewpoints on the ever increasingly majestic Cheakamus Lake trail.  Huge trees, turquoise lake, snow capped mountains, and even the occasional bear siting make this hike one of Whistler's best and most family and kid friendly hikes around.  The trail is never strenuous and constantly beautiful with the wonderful smells that come with an old growth cedar forest....

Joffre Lakes Aerial Video - Whistler TrailsAncient Cedars Aerial Video - Whistler TrailsBrandywine Falls Aerial Video - Whistler Trails

Cirque, Ring & Conflict Lakes                                   Whistler Topo Maps

Cirque Lake is an unbelievably beautiful paradise high up above Callaghan Lake in the Callaghan Valley.  It requires a canoe to get you to the trailhead at the far end of Callaghan Lake and therefore is seldom hiked.  The trailhead is tricky to find and the 2 kilometre trail is very steep, though surprisingly well marked with flagging tape.  Once at the lake you find yourself in the wind shadow of the cirque and in a world of serenity and calm.  It is an extraordinary thing to have a cirque valley to Cirque Lake Topo Map Showing Hiking Trailsyourself.  Feels like you are standing in a volcano of sorts.  But a giant, tree filled meadow of a volcano with a mesmerisingly still and perfectly reflecting lake at its centre.  A cirque lake is a wonderful thing, and Cirque Lake in Whistler takes you as close to a hiking paradise as a place can get.  And that is just the beginning...

Ring Lake is another gorgeous and wonderfully remote lake similar to Cirque Lake but considerably farther to hike to reach it.  The 10k hike takes you through a beautiful forest of cedars then to a spectacular meadow filled with ponds and ringed with distant, enormous mountains.  5k into the hike you come to Conflict Lake with trails running around it.  Signs at various junctions indicate which trail to take to reach Ring Lake, a further 5k from Conflict.  The trail from Conflict Lake to Ring Lake passes through a huge valley for a couple kilometres, then abruptly ascends on the right side of the valley...

The Helm Creek Trail                                                   Whistler Topo Maps

Helm Creek in Garibaldi Park, Whistler Topo MapHelm Creek is a beautiful, meandering creek that winds its way from beyond Black Tusk, down the valley to the wonderful campground that takes its name. From the Helm Creek Campground it descends further along the Helm Creek Trail, until it joins the Cheakamus River near where it leaves Cheakamus Lake.  The location of Helm Creek Campground has two tremendous advantages. First it is just a great location. About halfway between

Cheakamus Lake and Black Tusk it lays in some amazingly scenic areas. Beautiful, climbable mountains all around. Amazing fields of snow that run all the way to the base of Black Tusk. Rivers, creeks and waterfalls everywhere you turn. And the campground area itself is very nice. A large, grassy field ringed by trees and Helm Creek.

Panorama Ridge                        Whistler & Garibaldi Park Topo Maps

Panorama Ridge Topo MapPanorama Ridge is arguably the most amazing hike in Garibaldi Park.  It certainly is in the top 5 of the best hikes in Whistler.  Usually accessed by the Rubble Creek (Garibaldi Lake) trailhead, just off the Sea to Sky Highway 30 minutes south of Whistler.  The hike to Panorama Ridge is comparatively long at 15k trailhead to ridge, but there is plenty to marvel at along the way.  In the summer this area is flower-filled and beautiful in every direction.  The campsite stares up at the iconic Black Tusk.  The right fork takes you first along the Barrier.  An extraordinary buttress of rock that holds back a potentially devastating debris slide.  You may have noticed the trailhead sign indicating that camping at the parking lot is prohibited as it is directly in the path of a potential debris flow.  Past the Barrier viewpoint you can take a short side-trail to Garibaldi Lake or continue on and eventually the forked trail that led to Taylor Meadows meets with the Garibaldi Lake trail and the single trail continues to Black Tusk and then Panorama Ridge beyond.  The trail(s) from the fork until Panorama Ridge is a continuous marvel of alpine creeks, views of distant mountains, turquoise lake views and rarely boring.  The final hike up Panorama Ridge is fairly steep.  Some scrambling is required to get up the fairly steep, hard-packed, final snow trail..

Panorama Ridge Aerial Video Part 3

Garibaldi Park Map Guide

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