If there’s one hike in Canada that should be on every adventurers bucket list, it’s Panorama Ridge hike in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The views from Panorama Ridge are out of this world with the turquoise-hued glacier fed Garibaldi Lake below and the snow capped Garibaldi ranges towering above. It’s a postcard perfect view and will leave you in awe of how beautiful nature is. With 30km (19.5 miles) out and back and an elevation gain of 1,611 m (4,995 ft) Panorama Ridge trail is a gruelling, tough hike. But it’s totally worth it! You can either do Panorama Ridge as a day hike, like we did. Or camp overnight at Garibaldi Lake. In our complete guide you’ll find all you need to know before hiking Panorama Ridge and of course our personal experience of this epic hike in Canada British Columbia.
About Panorama Ridge hike
Some of the most beautiful hikes in British Columbia, and probably even in Canada, is Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The 30 km out and back trail takes through old pine forest, along stunning alpine meadows and up to the ridge from where you’ll have the most amazing views. The spectacular glacier fed turquoise Garibaldi Lake is surrounded by snow capped volcanic remnants peaks of the Garibaldi range. And along the trail you will get incredible views of the Black Tusk. A bucket list adventure for every outdoor lover!
Where to start Panorama Ridge hike
Panorama Ridge is located in Garibaldi Provincial Park British Columbia. The hike starts at Rubble Creek trailhead which is a 30 minute drive from Whistler and a 1.5 hour drive from Vancouver. We stayed on the beautiful camp ground in Whistler called ‘Whistler RV Park and Campground’ with our Truck Camper. I highly recommend booking this campground if you are traveling through Canada with an RV like we did!
Where to park for Panorama Ridge hike
The parking for Panorama Ridge trail is located at the end of Daisy Lake Road. The name is Rubble Creek parking or Rubble Creek trailhead on Google Maps. There is plenty of space, also if you have an RV. Just make sure to store your valuables and bring the most important documents and valuables with you, or leave them at home.
Panorama Ridge hike statistics
There are two different routes going to Panorama Ridge. One route is passing along the shores of Garibaldi Lake, the other route goes via Taylor Meadows camp ground up the ridge. You can decide for yourself if you hike out and back via Taylor Meadows trail which makes the total hike 28,5 km. Or hike via Garibaldi Lake on the way in and back via Taylor Meadows which makes the total hike 30 km.
Here are the statistics and different routes to get to Panorama Ridge.
Rubble Creek parking to Garibaldi Lake
Distance: 9 km / 5.6 miles return
Time: 2,5 – 3 hours
Elevation gain: 820 m / 2,690 ft
Garibaldi Lake to Panorama Ridge
Distance: 6.7 km / 4.2 miles
Time: 2,5 hours
Elevation: 705 m / 2,313 ft
Rubble Creek parking to Taylor Meadows
Distance: 7.5 km / 4.7 miles
Time: 2,5 – 3 hours
Elevation: 1,050m / 3,445 ft
Taylor Meadows to Panorama Ridge
Distance: 6.8 km / 4.2 miles
Time: 2,5 hours
Elevation: 687m / 2,253 ft
There are toilets at the trailhead, camp grounds and one along the trail. Please remember to pack in what you pack out and follow the Leave No Trace principles to keep beautiful British Columbia clean.
How long does it take to hike Panorama Ridge trail?
The total, out and back hiking time for Panorama Ridge is anywhere between 9 and 11 hours, depending on your pace. We hiked a total time of 8 hours and 50 minutes and spend some time at Garibaldi Lake for a lunch break and at the ridge to take some photos. So we were in total about 10,5 hours on the trail including the breaks we took.
No time to hike Panorama Ridge?
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Can you hike Panorama Ridge in one day?
Yes, you can hike Panorama Ridge in one day, but it’s going to be a long, tough and gruelling day hike. We hiked Panorama Ridge in one day out and back, just like many other people we met along the trail. It took us 8 hours and 50 minutes hiking time in total. And I’ll be honest with you, I was almost crying while hobbling the last km’s through the forest back to the car park. My hiking boots were hurting so much, I was even considering going barefoot for the last part. The next day I bought new trail runners and never put my hiking boots back on.
If you consider hiking Panorama Ridge in one day then the most important thing you have to ask yourself is if you are fit enough to complete 30 km (19.5 miles) with 1,611 m (4,995 ft) incline in one day. Secondly, but just as important, is the weather forecast. With this hike you want clear skies and no rain or snow along the trail. That would make the circumstances even harder as there is no place to shelter as soon as you’re in the alpine meadow.
How hard is Panorama Ridge hike?
Panorama Ridge hike is hard, very hard! Especially if you plan on doing it as a day hike. It would be much easier if you can split up the hike over 2 days when camping at one of the camp grounds. More about that later in this article.
Hiking Panorama Ridge is challenging and exhausting but with a HUGE reward. That’s definitely what will keep you going! The first part feels like never ending switchbacks through the forest before you reach Garibaldi Lake. This is a great stop and lunch break on a day hike adventure. From here on the climb continues gradually until you reach the final ascent to Panorama Ridge which is definitely a bit more technical over scree and loose shale. Therefore I highly recommend bringing a pair of hiking poles to support you throughout the strenuous hike.
How long is the Panorama Ridge trail?
The total length of Panorama Ridge trail is 30km (19.5 miles) out and back.
There are two different routes going to Panorama Ridge. One route is passing by the shores of Garibaldi Lake, which is 9 km from the the parking lot. From Garibaldi Lake it takes another 6.5 km to get to Panorama Ridge. If you camp at Garibaldi Lake, this is obviously the route you have to take.
The other route goes from the parking lot via Taylor Meadows campground to Panorama Ridge. This trail is a little bit shorter with 7.5 km from the car park to Taylor Meadows, and another 6.5 km from the campground at Taylor Meadows to Panorama Ridge.
We choose to visit the shores of Lake Garibaldi on our way to Panorama Ridge to have a lunch break and took the shorter route via Taylor Meadows back to the car park. To be really honest with you, I personally think that it’s NOT a must to visit Garibaldi lakeshore when you’re doing Panorama Ridge as a day hike. From the trail you don’t have the best views of the lake. You will then need to follow the lakeshore over a rocky path for another kilometre until you get to the official picnic area and Garibaldi Lake campground. Unless you’re really eager to explore the lakeshore, I would say that the views from Panorama Ridge are so, so much better. But please do your own research and decide for yourself.
Panorama Ridge trail description
The Panorama Ridge trail can be basically broken up into three sections. First the switchbacks in the forest that last for 7 (a bit boring) kilometres. Then the Taylor Meadows section which is a beautiful, open area with great views of Black Tusk mountain and the Tantalus Mountain range on the other side. And the last part is the most technical going up Panorama Ridge. This part of the mountain consists of loose shale which might feel a bit slippery. Here you will be very happy with hiking poles!
Part 1: Forest switchbacks & Garibaldi Lake
The first 7 kilometres of Panorama Ridge trail are gradually steep switchbacks through old pine forest. While this isn’t the most exciting part of the trail, you have to bite through it. The advantage of the forest is that you have plenty of shade from the sun on a hot summer day.
A little further halfway up into the forest you will get to a sign saying ‘Barrier viewpoint 100m’. It’s absolutely worth it do do this short detour, I mean, what is 200 meter on a 30 km hike?
Getting back on the main trail, the switchbacks continue until you get to an intersection with information signs. Here the path splits to Garibaldi Lake trail or towards Taylor Meadows trail. Remember what I shared previously in this guide, the trail going directly to Taylor Meadows is a little bit shorter than going via Garibaldi lakeshore. So decide for yourself if you think it’s worth it to check out Garibaldi lakeshore.
We decided to hike along Garibaldi Lake on our way to Panorama Ridge. This part of the trail first passes the incredibly beautiful Barrier Lake, surrounded by pine trees. Then the trail winds around the lake until you get to the extremely turquoise Lesser Garibaldi Lake. Don’t be mistaken, this is not the Garibaldi Lake yet! But the Gatorade color is super intense and warms you up for what’s coming at the ridge.
Passing along Lesser Garibaldi Lake you will cross a bridge over a stream and eventually see the sign pointing towards the big Garibaldi Lake. This is a great spot for a break before you continue to the alpine meadows and the final scramble of the hike.
Part 2: Taylor Meadows trail
From Garibaldi lake the trail continues with some switchbacks until the path opens up to a beautiful alpine meadow. This is the first part of Panorama Ridge hike where you will have a bit more open views. The meadows are in particular very colourful in as well Spring and Autumn. During the spring months, the meadows are covered with colourful wildflowers while during the peak autumn month the fall foliage will turn the shrubs into beautiful red, orange and yellow colors. Because we hiked Panorama Ridge in autumn, we enjoyed the stunning fall foliage in the meadows.
While you continue hiking through the meadows the views are getting better and better. And on another note, you can finally enjoy a bit of flat trail here. It’s a great way to get a bit of rest before the final climb up Panorama Ridge.
Part 3: Scramble up Panorama Ridge
As if you weren’t already tired enough from the 14 km, the last kilometre going up Panorama Ridge is brutal. As soon as you come out of the last part of the tree section, the trail will only go up. The normal path changes into loose rocks and no clear signage makes it a bit of struggle to find the right trail. But eventually you will find your way up. There is a well trodden path to follow, or at least that was in our case in the autumn season.
Don’t forget to look behind you, because the view on Black Tusk lake and mountain are absolutely breathtaking from here!
There is this expression ‘the last mile is the hardest ‘, and that certainly applies for Panorama Ridge hike. But once you’re on the ridge you know the struggle was totally worth it. These are the views that come straight out of a dream! We enjoyed our time at the ridge, taking in all the incredible vistas. Of course we couldn’t leave without immortalise the two of us at this epic spot!
Is a day pass needed to hike Panorama Ridge?
Yes, to hike Panorama Ridge you will need a FREE day use pass from June until September. Before June and after October, day use passes are not required because this is outside of high (and hiking) season. These day use passes are used to monitor the amount of visitors because the trails in Garibaldi Provincial Park are very popular. You can get your day pass two days before your visit, starting at 7 AM. Check the website of BC Parks for all details and to book your day pass. Make sure to set an alarm to get your day pass, because they will go fast in peak season!
How high is Panorama Ridge?
Panorama Ridge stands at an elevation of approximately 2,133 meters (6,998 feet) above sea level. Because you start at a higher elevation than sea level, the total incline of the hike is about 1,600 meter.
Wildlife in Garibaldi Provincial Park
While Panorama Ridge trail is a popular hike in British Columbia, there is always the chance of encountering a bear. Therefore you should be bear aware and always carry bear spray with you on hikes in BC and Alberta. Educate yourself on how to use bear spray and of course do your own research on what to do in case of a bear encounter.
While bears are mostly in a calm state of mind, they will feel easier threatened by humans in case they have cubs around. Or when a human comes too close, either to their food source or accidentally startles them. Therefore you should be very aware of your surroundings during the hike and make noise so bears, and any other animal can hear you coming.
Can you camp at Panorama Ridge trail?
Yes it is possible to camp along the trail at the designated camp spots but not at Panorama Ridge itself. There are three campgrounds in the near area. Two of them are located at about 6.5 km away from Panorama Ridge. The other option is Helm Creek campground, but that’s only a logical option if you’re coming from the Cheakamus Lake parking. The other two are the best ones coming from the Rubble Creek parking. Keep in mind that you have to secure your camp spot months in advance via the BC Parks website as this is a very popular hike in British Columbia!
Garibaldi Lake campground
Garibaldi Lake campground is 6.7 km away from Panorama Ridge and has great facilities. There are a total of 50 spots to camp, pit toilets, and a nearby shelter where you can cook your meals and store your food. The advantage of Garibaldi Lake campground is that you can swim in the lake to cool off after the hike. To get to Garibaldi Lake camp ground you have to hike 9km (5.6 miles) with 820 meters (2690 feet) elevation gain from Rubble Creek parking.
Taylor Meadows campground
Taylor Meadows campground is also 6.7 km away from Panorama Ridge and has great views on the impressive Black Tusk. From here you can explore the other nearby trail going up Black Tusk as well. The camp ground acts as an overflow campsite once spaces runout at Garibaldi Lake. Therefore it can often be a quieter camp spot compared to Garibaldi lake, which has its advantages. The campsite in Taylor Meadows is open all year (unless it’s closed due to bear activity which was the case when we hiked here). There are 40 spots to camp in total with pit toilets and a hut to eat and store your food. To get to Taylor Meadows campground you have to hike 7.5km (4.66 miles) with 705 meters (2,313 ft) elevation gain from Rubble Creek parking.
How to prepare for Panorama Ridge?
Whether you hike Panorama Ridge as day hike or overnight backpacking trip, you need to be well prepared before setting off on this epic adventure. Therefore I share some essential things you need to bring or prepare for a day hike. Because we didn’t camp overnight I can’t advice you what to prepare for camping along Panorama Ridge trail. But these are the most important things to bring and prepare.
- Download the offline map for this particular hike. We use AllTrails and it’s mostly very accurate. There is no cell service in the Park.
- Carry bear spray and know how to use it. Educate yourself on what to do and how to act in case of a bear encounter. Behaviour of black bears and grizzly bears can differ, so please educate yourself and know what to do!
- Bring enough water, food and snacks. It’s going to be a long day.
- Wear layered clothing. While it can be hot and windless during the hike up, at Panorama Ridge it can be VERY windy. So bring a puffer jacket or something that will keep you warm once you’re at the ridge. A hoodie and gloves would be a good idea as well in either spring and autumn.
- Pack in what you pack out. Practice the Leave No Trace principles. There are toilets at the trailhead and camp grounds.
- Check the Panorama Ridge trail conditions on the AllTrails app to see what other hikers say. This is in particular good to know if there were recent bear sightings.
Can you do Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge in one day?
If you are a very fit and experienced hiker and climber, you might be able to complete both Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge in one day. However, it will be an incredibly hard day and not much enjoyable because you don’t have much time at both summits. Besides that, the scramble to Black Tusk’s summit is technical and very challenging. You will need some climbing experience as you will use your hands and feet while climbing on the steep and loose volcanic rock.
It will be far more enjoyable to split both hikes up while camping at Taylor Meadows. The trail to Black Tusk starts at the end of the Taylor Meadows trail where you turn off to the left, while Panorama Ridge trail continues to the right.
More Canada travel inspiration
I hope you enjoyed this complete guide about Panorama Ridge hike in Garibaldi Provincial Park. For more travel inspiration of British Columbia and Alberta, head over to our other Canada travel guides.