7 - 8
FATMAP difficulty grade
Garibaldi park is one of the most popular backpacking hikes near Vancouver.
The trail climbs from up through old forests up into sprawling alpine meadows that are covered in wildflowers.
It's an alpine paradise.
Many trips include detours to the Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge, before dropping down through wide glacial plains to Helm Creek campsite.
If you want to add an additional day, you can take a detour to the Cheakamus Lake Campsite. Most people do the trail starting in Rubble Creek, though campsite availability may be the determining factor in which direction you go.
From here the trail climbs a wide trail that switchbacks before evening out.
It's a fairly easy trail, so most parties take 3-5 hours to get to the first trail fork, where you go to either Taylor Meadows, with it's alpine meadows, or to the lake with the spectacular vista of the surrounding glaciated peaks.
The main trail climbs up the north edge of the lake into the alpine meadows where you walk with the Tusk in full view.
After about 30min to an hour and half the trail passes the fork to the Black Tusk itself.
It's a steep, but spectacular hike to the base.
Be warned as this area can get socked in quickly, and the cairns that mark the trail may become hard to find.
The actual scramble to the summit is up a very loose gulley on the South West end of peak.
There is one tricky 4th class move at the base, and then it is 3rd class climbing to easier walking.
However the constant falling rock makes it unwise to do without a helmet, and route finding can be tricky.
Back on the main trail it takes a further 30min to an hour to get to the Panorama ridge trail which branches South East.
This side hike is shorter, but also incredibly beautiful.
The main trail descends fro the turn off to a curious flat plain of black sand know as cinder flats.
From here the trail gently descend the meadows, into more and more spaced trees to the Helm Creek Campsite.
The descent from the campsite down to Cheakamus creek starts gentle, then quickly gets steeper and steeper, and can be a bit jaring.
Eventually you reach valley bottom, and a suspension bridge.
A gentle 30 minute hike on soft ground brings you to the Cheakamus Trailhead, and the end.
Some folks choose to return from Helm to Rubble Creek to avoid shuttling cars.
Other continue onwards up Whistler peak and over the musical bumps for another big day.
The whole trail is in the Garabaldi Provincial Park.
Camping is allowed only at dedicated sites at Taylor Meadows, Battleship Island ( Garabaldi Lake, and Helm Creek)Book campsites online at:https://bcparks.ca/reserve/garibaldi/ .
Camping is carefully controlled because the area is a fragile alpine ecosystem.
It is important to Leave No Trace, keep all food and smelly items in a bear proof container, or bear hang located at the campsites.