As summer draws closer we are therefore approaching wedding season and the precursor bachelor(ette) parties. With the girls heading to Kelowna for a Bachelorette Party we decided to follow up our epic hike to Assiniboine with an overnight trip to the famous Garibaldi Lake. The lake is VERY popular, especially in the summer months so we reserved our spot 4 months in advance as soon as the dates became available.
Garibaldi Provincial Park, named after its towering 2,678 metre peak, Mount Garibaldi, was designated as a provincial park in 1927. In honour of the 19th century Italian patriot, Giuseppe Garibaldi, the park is known for its natural beauty and its endless hiking opportunities. Garibaldi Provincial Park’s rich geological history, diverse vegetation, snow-capped mountain, iridescent waters, abundant wildlife and scenic vistas all contribute to the immense beauty. The park is located in the heart of the Coast Mountains just 70 km north of Vancouver.
Originally planned for 5 of us. Girlfriends and dodgy ankles whittled that number to 3. Navid, Roffy and I.
We started early on Saturday. Navid picked us up at 5.30 am and we arrived at the Rubble Creek Trailhead (after a pitstop at McDonalds for much needed calories) just after 7.30am. Our idea was to hike early to get a good spot AND to give ourselves time to do a day hike once we got to the top.
lol so yeah we didn’t read the sign.
The hike is HARD. Totalling just above 9km to the top with an elevation close to 1000m. That is an average incline of around 10% which is significant. The first 2.5km is a steady increase before 3.5km of grueling switchbacks. Carrying a 45lb bag (filled with luxuries such as camping chairs, IPAs and a bottle of Rum) it almost broke me. After about 3 hours we reached the 6km mark where the gradient significantly dropped off. After a quick pit stop we carried on the undulating 3km to the camp.
Our first views of the lake and its green water was a sight for sore eyes and well worth the previous effort. The last 3km was partially snow covered especially the 0.5km leading up to camp. The wooden walkways were under 3m of snow so we had to scramble over the rocks closer to the lake which isn’t easy.
Garibaldi Lake Campground
The campground hugs the south side of the island. In the summer there is 50 tent pads. In the winter these are under snow so you kind of forge your own path. Arriving early we found a great spot as close to the water as physically possible. Whilst Navid and I set up camp. Roffy aka thunder thighs aka the machine got to work clearing a spot next to a bench (which was under snow) to put our camp chairs. I know we could of sat on the bench but YOLO, we brought the chairs…. the bench became a good snack table.
With camp set up, lunch eaten we saw a couple of hikers return to camp mentioning that Panorama Ridge (the day hike we had planned) was pretty snowy and treacherous. With the gorgeous sunshine only going to cause more issues (slushy snow is not fun) we decided to try the hike another day and chill by the lake.
And chill we did. (in hindsight we were all burnt to a crisp with a double whammy of solar irradiance from the reflection of the water / snow.
The snow was actually very useful for chilling our drinks.
After hanging out all day and eating all the snacks we carried up we hit the hay at about 10pm.
The next morning I woke up early (sans eye mask so everything was so bright) and pottered about for a few hours whilst the sleeping beauties woke up later. With a important basketball game on at 5pm we hit the trail by 10am. 2 hours later after descending 10km (thats pretty damn quick) we arrived back at the car.
Sore, sunburnt and slightly hungover but my god were the views worth it.
Until we meet again Garibaldi.