British Columbia’s Garibaldi Provincial Park offers some of the Canadian province’s greatest scenery. You will find lush forests, wonderful alpine meadows, and majestic glacier mountains here. The park is about 495,000 acres in size and the wilderness is made up of the Coast Mountains and some fascinating wildlife.
It’s an ideal location for everything from short hikes to extended camping adventures. The park consists of 5 main regions. These are Cheakamus Lake, Black Tusk, Diamond Head, Singing Pass, and Wedgemount Lake.
(photo credit: Feffef)
The Wedgemount Lake area sits on Highway 99 between the towns of Pemberton and Whistler. In fact, It’s only about seven miles to the north of the popular skiing town of Whistler. The lake itself is surrounded by the Armchair and Wedgemount glaciers. Wedge Mountain is also located here and it’s known as the park’s highest peak at a height of 9,485 feet.
The hiking trail in the Wedgemount Lake area is about four miles long one way and there’s a campground at the top of it. It talks about 4 hours to complete and the elevation change along the way is about 3,900 feet. The trail is slippery and steep in some sections, but is marked very well. However, you still need to be careful. The top section of the trail is also home to a spectacular waterfall and the view of the glaciers and lake is amazing from here.
In Singing Pass, you’ll find the start of a hiking trail that takes you to Whistler Mountain. It weaves and winds its way through about 20 miles of awesome mountain ranges then finishes at the famous Peak of Whistler Blackcomb, which is where many of the Winter Olympic events were held in 2010. The trails in this region are also well marked, but you might want to get yourself a trail map before exploring them from the visitors’ center since there are so many of them and the mountains are thick.
The trail from Whistler Village over to Singing Pass is about 7 miles long and takes around 3 hours to finish it. It starts at the Whistler Village Bus Loop and then takes you down the Whistler Mountain Access Road. When you hit Singing Pass Road you turn left and continue for about 3.5 miles alongside Fitzsimmons Creek. It also takes you past Melody Creek all the way to Singing Pass. The route follows the Fitzsimmons Mountain Range.
If you head to the park’s Cheakamas Lake area you’ll need to drive about 30 miles up Highway 99 to the north of the city of Squamish. There’s a two mile trail here which is ideal for those who don’t have the time or energy for a longer hike. This trail takes you through some fabulous forest and over to Cheakamas Lake, which is fed by glaciers. It’s a fantastic location for a picnic and you’ll want to take along a camera to capture the splendid scenery on show.
Garibaldi Provincial Park is operated and maintained by the provincial government and there are small fees for campsites and parking. However, it’s well worth the price to witness one of Canada’s most beautiful camping and hiking regions.