18km Garibaldi Lake hike – check. A couple years late but my love for hiking has finally kicked in. Guess I can officially call myself a Vancouvrite now!
First and foremost, I am not one of those incredibly fit gym junkies, although I do make the effort to drag my lazy ass to the gym 4-5 times a week (with the occasional way too many rest days in a row). That said, the hike honestly wasn’t as hard as all my friends made it out to be. Going up took 2hr19min with the last 3.5km just me being distracted by the gorgeous views and stopping ever so frequently to take pictures. The trip back down took 1hr44min. Downhill slopes make my granny knees go weak so I took my time. Overall hike took around 4 hours for the entire 18km.
The hike is accessible from Rubble Creek parking lot, which is almost a 2-hour drive from Vancouver. It’s close to Whistler, but not quite. Additional driving instructions can be found here. There are signs for Garibaldi Lake, but they are very small and you’ll most definitely miss them. Just be on the lookout for a red bridge. After you pass that, prepare to turn right onto Daisy Lake Road. If you are unable to pinpoint Rubble Creek parking lot on Google Maps, try Rubble Creek Trailhead.
We came on a sunny weekend so parking was extremely hard to find. We ended up having to park on the side of the road and walking ~10min to the official start of the hike – which is the wooden steps along the top section of the parking lot.
The main reason I rarely go on hikes is because I’m impatient. I cannot stand the idea of having to walk for hours and hours just to get a glimpse at something you could easily see at home on a computer screen. Having said that, the first 5-6km simply drove me crazy. There were nothing but trees and more trees. You see one or two mini waterfalls along the way but the trails eventually start zig zagging up and you basically just stare at the same terrain for hours.
Follow signs for Garibaldi Lake Campground.
After 6km or so, you will soon arrive at a junction. If you’re only attempting the shorter hike, continue straight in the direction of the Garibaldi Lake Campground. If you’re up for the challenge, by all means, take a left and head on over to Black Tusk for an even more spectacular view of the lake.
Like I said, nothing but trees the first 6km. I was completely bored out of my mind but once I made it past that, I could see the lake peeking through the woods and it was astonishingly beautiful. There is also a little indent on the side that takes you to sort of the mouth of the lake(?). Quite the lovely place to make a rest stop.
By this time, I’d already gone through two 600ml water bottles and was very tempted to just drink the lake water. You’re advised not to, but I’ve heard people who have and they didn’t experience diarrhea or anything. It’s up to you if you wanna take that risk but either way, bring lots of water with you.
0.5km, almost there!
The lake view up top was obviously even more bedazzling and made the hike so worthwhile. Going up I barely stopped because the first two times I did, flies surrounded me instantly and attacked me from all directions. Definitely, definitely, definitely bring bug spray. The lake atop is especially infested with evil mosquitoes that give you bites the size of a quarter. I couldn’t find my handy dandy Off! and I wore a tank top so my arms got absolutely destroyed I tell ya,
I packed lunch with me and enjoyed a nice picnic by the lake. I was originally also going to bring a swimsuit and swim in the glacier water but thank goodness I forgot because the water was freezing cold. I dipped my feet in for a few seconds and they went numb right away. I did see a lot of people swimming and one guy even went for the big plunge. Props to them! 👏🏼
Technically I did go with my parents but they were too slow so I kinda… ditched… them………. oops… Now my dad is actually quite fit, even more fit than me I would say, and he goes on all kinds of crazy hikes where you have to bring your own ropes and legit climb mountains. My mom, on the other hand, the most workout she gets is carrying groceries from the back of the car to the kitchen so my dad stayed behind with her. Going up alone took them almost 6 hours and back down was 2 (incredibly fast for two 60-year-olds by the way). That said, it’s not a competition about how fast you can finish this hike. Just go at a pace you are comfortable with and you’ll be so glad you came.
Overall hike 4hrs3min.
I would say this is a medium-level hike. It wasn’t mission impossible but yes, I did pant pretty much half the way up. To be honest, I’d been wanting to do this hike since last year and I bailed twice on going just because of how difficult it seemed. I’m super glad I finally mustered up the courage to do so because the view is phenomenal. For sure the most beautiful hike I’ve ever gone on. If this trail wasn’t so far of a drive to reach, I’d most certainly be up to do this on a weekly basis. Again, bring lots of water, some snacks and a lunch, and get outdoors and explore!
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