Pre-Winter Panorama Ridge Hike

A gallery recording the trip to Panorama Ridge.

Recorded on Strava, the entire trip covered 20.5 miles with a 5,500 ft elevation gain and took 7h 30min of moving time. We departed from the Rubble Creek Trailhead, took a detour to the Garibaldi Lake Campground, summited the iconic Panorama Ridge, and returned via the Taylor Meadows Trail.

By the end of October, permits were no longer needed. The parking lot was mostly empty at night since fewer people chose to spend the night there. The temperature was only a couple of degrees above freezing, but there was no wind. I camped there and had a sound sleep with the sound of Rubble Creek rumbling all night long.

We set out at around 5 AM, but the sun didn’t rise until after 7 AM, when we had already passed the Garibaldi Lake Campground. The moon was still high in the sky, and the lake water was tranquil.

Along the trail, many small ponds had already frozen over. However, after doing some research on Garibaldi Lake, it seems that the lake does not always freeze over during winter.

Once above the treeline, the hike began to reveal its true beauty. The landscape was a frozen tableau, with frost and snow partially covering the ground, leaving patches of bushes, dirt, and streams exposed. The distant mountain ranges were already capped with snow — some peaks were home to glaciers.

And then, the Black Tusk appeared. So distinctive and identifiable is this monumental rock that one simply cannot tear their gaze away from it. This was the first time I had been so close to it — normally, I would admire it from a distance, from the top of the Peak Express at Whistler Blackcomb.

It is said that the original name T’ákt’akmúten tl’a In’inyáxa7n means “Landing Place of the Thunderbird“. I could imagine how the native people would regard this with the utmost respect.

Eventually, after hiking up an exposed rock trail, the entirety of Garibaldi Lake unfolded before us. Until this point, the entire trail was a very typical Pacific Northwest hike, with most sections winding through forests, and finally emerging above the treeline. However, to observe a lake so vast and so vividly green, encircled by glaciers, is truly astounding. Just after summer, the glaciers were though at their smallest size.

Here are the surrounding peaks: The Sphinx, Guard Mountain, Glacier Pikes, Mount Garibaldi, The Table, Mount Price, Clinker Peak.

The overall hiking experience reminded me of our famous Enchantments Thru-Hike. Although this trail surpasses The Enchantments in both length and elevation gain, it is so well-maintained and designed that it feels much less strenuous. Even the final section proved to be far less challenging than the climb up Aasgard Pass. Nevertheless, I must admit that The Enchantment Lakes remain at the pinnacle of my Pacific Northwest list as an alpine wonderland.

Mount Tantalus rises like a colossal wall, with Garibaldi Lake sprawling in the foreground.

Here are some photos of myself and our cherished group. This is my first hiking trip in the Vancouver area, and it’s definitely been a great one. Now, I’m beginning to mark more and more destinations for future trips.