Rampart Ponds is a campground within Garibaldi Provincial Park. It’s 11km further from the ever-popular Elfin Lakes Campground and offers amazing views of Mt Garibaldi. If you’re unable to get reservations at Elfin Lakes, or simply wish to spend multiple nights camping in Garibaldi Provincial Park, the Rampart Ponds campground is a great destination! In this guide to the Rampart Ponds campsite, you’ll find information for camping at Rampart Ponds and hiking to Elfin Lakes and Mamquam Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park, Squamish.
Rampart Ponds Campground & Mamquam Lake hike
The Rampart Ponds campground is the closest campsite to Mamquam Lake which is the end of the designated trails from the Diamond Head area of Garibaldi Provincial Park. It’s a small, remote campground with beautiful views and is best done as an overnight hike (unless you fancy a 40km round trip from the parking lot).
We’d been camping at Elfin Lakes before in spring and I’d been keen to go back to hike out to Mamquam Lake ever since. When the camping reservations for BC Parks went online, I managed to snap up a camping reservation for Elfin Lakes campground and Mamquam Lakes to enjoy a 2-night backpacking trip in Garibaldi Provincial Park.
Getting to Rampart Ponds Campground
Rampart Ponds is accessed from the Diamond Head trailhead for Garibaldi Provincial Park. The trailhead is located just outside of Squamish and is easy to get to in all vehicles even though you’ll go along a dirt road.
If you’re planning to visit Garibaldi Provincial Park you’ll need either camping reservations or a day pass during the summer months. Both of these can be reserved through DiscoverCamping.ca.
To get to Rampart Ponds Campground it’s one long trail that’ll take you past Elfin Lakes and the Elfin Lakes shelter and campground, along the feet of The Gargoyles and Opal Cone, and through the valley at the bottom of Mt Garibaldi before the final climb to the Rampart Ponds campground.
The first part of the hike follows the Elfin Lakes trail which you can read more about here. There’s a slightly different route depending on whether you’re hiking in summer or winter, but both are well marked.
Hike to Rampart Ponds Campground
The Rampart Ponds campsite is 25km from the trailhead and it’s classed as moderate since there’s no scrambling or super steep sections. For the majority of the way you’ll be walking on a pretty wide path and once you’ve reached the Red Heather hut, you’ll have great views of the valley and surrounding mountains.
From the Elfin Lakes shelter, follow signs towards Mamquam Lake as you descend slightly and into the forest. The trail crosses a couple of smaller streams as it winds around and then heads down towards Mamquam River. Make sure you follow the trail markers clearly as there’s one section where the trail has collapsed into the river below and trying to hike it will likely see you also fall into the river! There’s a much safer route that involves taking some stairs down to the river and then using the bridge to cross over it.
From here you’ll walk alongside the river; keep your eye open for marmots as this is where we saw some! The views here are beautiful as you look up and down the valley carved out by the Mamquam River.
After a few kilometres, you’ll begin heading uphill towards the turn-off for Opal Cone. It’s not too steep, but there are a fair few switchbacks as you crest the bank of the valley.
Opal Cone to Mamquam Lake
We paused to grab lunch and then hike Opal Cone before continuing on to Rampart Ponds. As we descended from the Opal Cone turnoff, we came across snow! Despite being the middle of July, there was still plenty of snow from this point onwards and lots at the campsite too.
We crossed over the snowfield, taking care to stick to the path as best as possible and not fall into the lake which we knew was somewhere around there.
There’s just one more climb from this point before you reach Rampart Ponds! On this climb, you cross over plenty of streams (great place to refill your water if you’ve run out! We use a Sawyer Squeeze.), including where a glacial one and a non-glacial river meet and combine into one.
Rampart Ponds Campground Facilities
Though small, the Rampart Ponds campground has basic tent pads (wooden and dirt), bear caches, and a pit toilet. The door was broken when we were there! BC Parks has stopped stocking the bathrooms with toilet paper. Remember to pack your own when you go backpacking in Garibaldi Provincial Park.