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Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,040.00 m (3,412.07 ft)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
18.14 km (11.27 mi)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Garabaldi Lake is a spectacular vista and makes it's way into nearly all the top 10 hiking lists for near-Vancouver trails. The trail weaves through the woods before topping out at the edge of Garabaldi Lake. It's a very popular trail because it isn't too long. The trail itself is very well maintained and a great route for newer hikers looking for a big day out. It can take from four to six hours total to hike depending on your fitness. While the distance sounds long, the downhill goes by really quickly. 

Those without vehicle access can use the Parkbus, a service offered in partnership with BC Parks. Otherwise, parking starts at Rubble Creek. Heading north on Highway 99 toward Whistler, look for the sign to Garabaldi Provincial Park just past Cheakamus Canyon. If you drive past the hydro dam, you've gone too far. The road winds for a couple of kilometeres up before getting to the parking lot. On a weekend, expected the lot to be full by 8 a.m. By 9 a.m., huge lines will be spilling down the access road. It's not unsusal to see more than a kilometer of cars parked alongside the road on a summer weekend morning. 

The trail starts flat enough before rapidly heading uphill. It's a doubletrack trail, so there is plenty of room for all paces. You will no doubt start encountering loads of folks with big backpacks heading up for overnight trips. The trail switches back and forth 15 times before evening out to less steep terrain. 

You will pass a couple of pretty lakes first before the river suddenly widens and the massive Garabaldi Lake spreads out before you. Most folks cross the bridge here and head for Battleship Island. The bugs tend to not be too bad out here, and there is also a cook shelter to take your lunch in if the weather is bad. Battleship Island makes a lovely spot to stop and have a rest before heading back down. 

This is a big day out, so it's worth considering taking the 10 Essentials. The long descent will make trekking poles greatly appreciated, too.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

National or state forest pass

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Great trail for newer hikers looking to push their distance. Amazing views.

Cons

Crowded. A lot of Bluetooth speakers. Mostly in the trees.

Trailhead Elevation

1,870.08 ft (570.00 m)

Highest point

4,888.45 ft (1,490.00 m)

Features

Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Glacier
Backcountry camping
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Shelters

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

03/15/2019
Parkbus runs excursions here, so if you don't have a car it's great option.

https://www.parkbus.ca/garibaldi
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