In July 2016, I decided to visit Garabaldi. It was a 2-3 hour drive towards Whistler and then it was a 5-6 hour hike, says VancouverTrails.com. It is 37km north of Squamish and 19km south of Whistler. You’re looking at around 1,484 m in surface elevation. The entire return trip to Garabaldi Lake and back is 18km in distance.
Whether it is a glacial scenic lake you want to see, or a weekend of camping, it is the place to go for all your heart’s desires.
It was on my bucket list for 2 years, and I never pursued it…because I didn’t have time and maybe I was subconsciously afraid that I was not fit enough to attempt it.
One day, my friend A and I decided to go for it anyway. It was the time in our both our lives when we wanted to be reckless and we both shared that “just do it” mentality, like Nike advertises.
So dragging along my sister and her boyfriend, we packed some cookies, a few bottles of water (highly recommended), and headed on the road.
I also curled my hair for photos, but the curls didn’t last long in the weather.
So the drive really take 2 – 3 hours, and there is a designated parking lot (Rubble Creek) right at the start of the trail, where we parked. We got there at around 1pm. The entire hike was a steady uphill climb, one that is not too hard, as it wasn’t like the Grouse Grind where it was a lot of inclined steps. There were a lot of switchbacks, but that is perfectly fine if you go at a steady pace.
A and I go to the gym regularly, perhaps 2- 3 times a week, so we had very little breaks, and would only stop at every marker (at each kilometre mark). I had on 3 layers, a jacket, a long sleeve, and a tank top. Even though it is a glacial lake, you do not need to wear that many layers.
It’s actually not that cold.
You’ll see a creek on your way up, and over a rickety old bridge, then you’ll see a crossing which will lead you to either Taylor Meadows or Garabaldi for camping options. You’ll then pass by Lesser Garabaldi Lake and then in a final stretch, you’ll see Garabaldi Lake..and as you make your way around the lake, you’ll hit the campgrounds. There’s also a mini island which you can carefully walk towards on little footholds formed by rocks and stones.
Make sure you keep your balance!
Garabaldi is just like how the photos advertised.
It was as breathtaking as I thought it would be. Near the shore is where you can pull out your snacks for a picnic meal.
Spend a few hours there, have a beer, and continue on to Black Tusk or make your way back down the mountain in due time. Good thing we made it back before dark.
Our team actually completed the hike in a little under 5 hours, and in good time.
Final note, make sure you start earlier. We ended up staying in Pemberton, BC as we got down at 6pm and it was a little late to drive back down the mountain (and way too pooped).