I think I’ve found my new favourite hiking trail near Whistler, BC. It used to be the Garibaldi Lake hike but now say hello to the Panorama Ridge trail in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The Panorama Ridge hike is a long one, it’s steep and will probably leave you aching the following few days, but it’s one of those Whistler hiking trails that has amazing views along the way as well as at the summit.
If you’re looking for a new hike to do in Vancouver then definitely consider hiking to Panorama Ridge.
About the Panorama Ridge hike
Panorama Ridge is in Garibaldi Provincial Park near Whistler. Whilst I still have a lot of hiking to do I’d say that this is one of the best hikes in Whistler. The Panorama trail can be done from two directions but the most popular is from the Rubble Creek Parking Lot since most hikers come from Vancouver and this parking lot is closest to the city.
The hike starts the same way as the Garibaldi Lake trail. Over the course of the trail you’ll climb up a series of switchbacks through the forest, cross the beautiful, mostly flat Taylor Meadows and then take on the final climb up to the ridge.
At the ridge there are beautiful panoramic views of Garibaldi Provincial Park. You can see Black Tusk, Garibaldi Lake, Mount Garibaldi and the glacier that feeds into the lakes below.
Panorama Ridge stats
My Panorama Ridge trip report
I did the Panorama Ridge hike over Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in early October. While some people choose to camp at either the Garibaldi Lake campground or the Taylor Meadows campground, we did the hike in one day.
Hiking Panorama Ridge in one day is definitely doable but you’re looking at at least 8 hours of hiking so make sure you’ve got enough daylight or a very good head torch (with spare batteries) before you set off.
We set off from Vancouver at 6am and arrived at the Rubble Creek trailhead for Garibaldi Lake just before 8am. At this time there was still plenty of parking but when I hike Garibaldi Lake beforehand we ended up parking about 2km away from the trailhead which is another thing to consider.
The morning was cold but we quickly warmed up as we began hiking up through the forest. The sun shone through leaving beautiful rays on the trail and there were only a few other people around.
The switchbacks are fairly relentless but if you’ve a good level of fitness then you’ll be absolutely fine. They weren’t as bad as I remembered them from the previous year!
Soon enough we were out in Taylor Meadows. These meadows are absolutely gorgeous and even if you’re only hiking to Garibaldi Lake then I’d recommend taking a detour to these meadows.
When we hiked through Taylor Meadows there was a dusting of snow, the puddles were iced over and there was some frost on the grass. To our backs the snow capped mountains looked incredible. As you walk through the open meadows you can see Black Tusk, and the ridge you’ll eventually summit. There are a few water sources here but you will need to purify the water either through boiling or through drops/tablets.
Along the way we saw a black bear which is fairly common in Garibaldi Park. For this reason you should always have bear spray with you.
Taylor Meadows is relatively flat which gives you time to recuperate after the switchbacks and before your final climb. The climb is fairly steep but the views of Helm Lake to your left will take your mind off it. Take your time and before you know it you’ll be at the top of Panorama Ridge and have these beautiful views.
After taking in the views and enjoying lunch and/or snacks you can choose to head back the way you came or take the turn off to Garibaldi Lake just before the Taylor Meadows campsite. This is pretty well signposted so don’t worry too much about missing it!
Extend your Panorama Ridge hike
There are so many hiking trails in Garibaldi Provincial Park and it’s super easy to extend your hike, there are lots of campsites as well as backcountry camping available too.
The most popular alternative hikes in Garibaldi Park are the Garibaldi Lake hike and the Black Tusk hike. These are some of our favourite local hikes.
Things to consider before hiking Panorama Ridge
To make sure you have a fun and safe hike there are a few things you should consider before going. This isn’t a hike you can just decide to do on the day, it involves some planning!
- Before hiking the Panorama Ridge trail make sure to check the Garibaldi Lake Hike conditions as well as the Panorama Ridge conditions. You can find the trail conditions by checking recent reviews on AllTrails or Vancouver Trails, looking at recent Instagram photos or asking in Vancouver hiking Facebook groups.
- Always check the Garibaldi weather too! Just because it’s forecast to be sunny downtown that doesn’t mean it’ll be the same up there.
- Bears are in the area, know how to avoid bear interactions and what to do if you see one. Check out this bear safety post for more information.
- LEAVE NO TRACE I saw some Starbucks coffee cups along the way. DO NOT leave them on the trail. This is not only just ruining the natural surroundings but it puts both other hikers and bears in danger. If bears get used to human food they become more of a risk to us and put themselves at risk of being killed.
- This is a HARD hike. Just because you’ve seen a lot of photos on Instagram that doesn’t mean it’s an easy hike. You need appropriate footwear and a good level of fitness to really enjoy this hike.
What to pack for the Panorama Ridge hike
Make sure you’ve packed properly for the Panorama Ridge hike. This means packing the following in your daypack:
- A headlamp in case you’re out longer than planned
- An emergency shelter
- A first aid kit
- Bear spray & a bear bell for all Garibaldi Provincial park hiking
- The rest of your 10 essentials (read here for a reminder of what they are!)
- Plenty of water. At least 2 litres, you’ll need more than this if you’re hiking Panorama Ridge in summer
- Lunch and snacks. It’s always a good idea to have more than you think you’ll need
- Hiking poles are useful coming downhill, especially if there’s snow
What to wear when hiking Panorama Ridge
Whenever you’re out hiking it’s best to go with layers. I had a thermal top, a t-shirt and then my coat which I took off while hiking but needed once we got to the top.
Even if the weather doesn’t look as though it’ll be rainy it’s best to pack your waterproofs. The weather chances a lot around these parts, especially in the mountains. I had waterproof trousers/pants in my pack as well as an extra jacket and a hat.
I wear hiking shoes rather than hiking boots. As long as you have something with a good, thick sole and grip then you’ll be good to go.
Camping in Garibaldi Provincial Park
If you want to make a weekend of it then try camping in Garibaldi. There are several options for campsites and you can also do some backcountry camping (but remember to buy your permit).
If you want to do the Garibaldi hike or Black Tusk hike as well as Panorama Ridge you’ll want to camp. There’s a few options such as the Garibaldi Lake camping and the Taylor Meadows campsite. Both of these must be booked in advance on Discover Camping during the summer.
I’d advise setting up camp before climbing Black Tusk or Panorama Ridge. Not only does this secure your spot but you’ll appreciate hiking with a lighter pack!
How to get from Vancouver to Garibaldi Lake & Panorama Ridge
The drive from downtown Vancouver to the Rubble Creek car park and Panorama Ridge trailhead takes about 1 hour 45 minutes.
The hike to Garibaldi Lake starts at Rubble Creek Trailhead. You could also hike from Helm Creek but this will be a longer hike.
The Rubble Creek trailhead is 36.5km north of Squamish and just under 28km south of Whistler along BC’s Hwy 99.
It’s well signposted from both sides and the road is called Daisy Lake Road.
Want more Vancouver hikes?
See all the Vancouver hikes I’ve done so far here.