Elevation Gain
1,250.00 m (4,101.05 ft)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
27.25 km (16.93 mi)
Warming hut
No
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One of the most iconic summer hikes in British Columbia's Sea-to-Sky, Garibaldi Lake also makes for a superb full-day winter snowshoe or overnight camping trip.

In winter, the first 2 kilometers of the "trail" follow the road to the summer lot. The final segment to the parking lots runs alongside the picturesque Rubble Creek, with views emerging of the imposing barrier that holds back the estimated 1 trillion liters of water in Garibaldi Lake.

The trail from the summer lots to the lake is all singletrack. The first 2 kilometers offer a serene wander through the lush green canopy (even in winter) and across multiple streams and cascades. Then, when you see the sign noting 6.5 kilometers to the lake, the trail kicks up and the serious work of ascending to the elevation of 1,400 meters commences. The trail grinds uphill through a series of switchbacks and often steep terrain. It's not all hard work because the trail passes through subtlely changing forests, and respite comes in the form of a few small meadows. You'll know you're nearing the top of the climb when you walk through a pocket of the forest draped in old man's beard. On a clear day the rich green colors contrast beautifully with the rich blue sky and the white snow under foot.

The final 2.5 kilometers features a stunning view across the barrier and across the valley, and the route then crosses Barrier Lake and skirts around and above Lesser Garibaldi Lake. From the second lake it's a steady uphill climb through the trees until you drop into Rubble Creek and you find yourself looking out at Garibaldi Lake. Leaving Rubble Creek and walking around - or on - the lake opens up spectacular views that stretch from Panorama Ridge in the north across the lake to Castle Towers and the glaciers running toward the eastern side of the lake, then around to Mount Price in the south.

Camping options are available either at the lake toward Battleship Island, where you'll find the year-round shelters and campground, or by returning toward the parking lot and taking the trail to Taylor Meadows (2.5 kilometers from the lake). Both campgrounds require reservations in advance of your visit.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Days

2

Pros

Views. Marked trail. Camping options.

Cons

Snow cover can be limited at lower elevations

Pets allowed

Not Allowed

Trailhead Elevation

836.61 ft (255.00 m)

Highest point

4,855.64 ft (1,480.00 m)

Features

Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Shelters
Big vistas
Geologically significant

Typically multi-day

Yes

Groomed trail

No

Snowmobiles allowed

No

Location

Field Guide

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