Garibaldi Lake

October 29, 2006

Rubble Creek Parking Lot

From the parking lot you can see a geological formation known as "The Barrier". This is a natural dam formed about 12,000 years ago when lava pouring from an erupting Mount Price encountered a big glacier.

The Barrier

The trail is wide and it goes through a forest of Douglas fir and hemlock. After 25 minutes you will start to see cedars and very soon you will cross a small creek -- the only source of water before the lakes --.


After 6 kms you will arrive to the junction where most of the vertical gain ends. To the left is Taylor Meadows and Black Tusk Meadows, from here is only 3 kms to Garibaldi Lake.


The trail leads to more views of The Barrier and the shores of Barrier Lake. Next will be Lesser Garibaldi Lake.

When The Barrier was formed, an estimate 45 million tonnes of rock snaked down one slope of Rubble Creek then up the other, knocking out huge swathes of forest, leaving behind an occasional boulder and sweeping as far as the Cheakamus River, 5 kilometres distant, before coming to a dusty rest. This is how the nearby Daisy Lake was created.

Barrier Lake

After 2.5 hours of hiking you will crossed the bridge over the creek coming from Garibaldi Lake to Lesser Garibaldi.


There are many glaciers sorrounding Garibaldi Lake but the most noticeable is Sphinx Glacier. This glacier has two parallel lobed tongues which descend to Sphinx Bay. From the bay these lobes appear to form the paws of the Sphinx while the summit resembles the head of the mythical beast.

The Bookworms and the Sphinx on the right

You can have your lunch in one of shelters. Just in case, camping is not allowed in them.


Looking to the west you can see Black Tusk. The Black Tusk is considered to be the remnant of a stratovolcano.

According to Natural Resources Canada, the Black Tusk was "perhaps the conduit for lava within a cinder-rich volcano. The loose cinder has eroded, leaving only the hard lava core." The exposed lava rock of the core is loose and friable. It is also black, giving the mountain its name and character.

Black Tusk

Garibaldi is the most used wilderness park in British Columbia. It became a provincial park in 1920, and has never failed to draw visitors from near and far.


During the summer months Garibaldi Provincial Park is a backpackers haven, with short day hikes and lengthy difficult hiking trails. Come winter, cross country skiing and snowshoeing becomes the big activities in the region, with countless trails, zigzagging the park.


On the rare occasion, you might see one of the parks large animals. Garibaldi is home to Grizzly Bear and Black Bear, Mountain Goats and Deer.

The park is large and you won't find the concentration of large animals that you might in parks like Banff. Of course there are many smaller animals to see, such as Marmots, Squirrels and Chipmunks.

Battleship Island

You can do a short loop around Battleship Island. The name is given because of its shape.

Garibaldi Park was named after its 2678 m (8787 ft) Mount Garibaldi. This mountain was named after Giuseppe Garibaldi, the 19th century Italian guerilla, general, and statesman, by a Royal Navy captain who surveyed the area in 1860.

Battleship Island

Garibaldi was designated a provincial park on April 29, 1920, only the second park established by the BC government. In these early days BC Parks was not given a budget to manage the park, and they proposed that the park should be logged in order to provide revenues to manage it.


Individuals who loved the park, like botanist Bert Brink, raised a great deal of opposition to this and insisted that Garibaldi should have its own management budget. While funds were not delegated to manage the park until after the Second World War, it did escape being logged. But even though today parks are seen as vital resources, conservationists still have to respond to proposals to log and mine in BC's provincial parks.

If you want to have closer views of Black Tusk, you can do a little loop to Taylor Meadows (yellow line).

Hiking Trip Statistics


Region: Howe Sound / Squamish
Difficulty: Advanced
Time: 9 hours
Distance: 18 km (12 miles)
Elevation Gain: 900 meters (2952 ft)
Hiking Season: August - October
Camping: Yes
Dog Friendly: No
Public Transit: No

1. Elev: 571m N49'57.456" W123'07.210" Km+0 Trailhead
2. Elev: 954m N49'57.433" W123'06.729" Km+3
3. Elev:1345m N49'56.876" W123'05.284" Km+6 Junction
4. Elev:1445m N49'56.736" W123'03.486" KM+9 Garibaldi Lake
5. Elev:1495m N49'57.079" W123'04.539" Heather Meadows Campground

How to get there


To get to the trailhead, drive north on Highway 99 and 35 kilometres from Squamish, watch for the BC parks sign, turn right immediately after passing Rubble Creek and drive 3 kilometres to the parking lot.

Driving distance from Vancouver: 96 km (60 mi)
Driving time from Vancouver: Approx. 1 hour 45 minutes


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