Trip 031 - September 22, 2010 (Wednesday)

Black Tusk Trail Hike

Garibaldi Provincial Park near Squamish BC


Distance From Vancouver:
98 km via Highway 1 West and Highway 99 North. Turn to the right 33 km past the Squamish Welcome Centre. Then drive 3 km to the parking lots and the Black Tusk / Panorama Ridge / Garibaldi Lake trailhead near Rubble Creek.

Liked: Great views and a fairly easy trail (aside from the last approach to Black Tusk).

Of note: The trail is very popular and is likely packed on Summer weekends. You can get away without wearing hiking boots, unless you plan on getting to the base of Black Tusk, which is about 40 minutes away from the last information stand. Also, have a windbreaker and gloves, as the final approach to Black Task from the last information stand is wide-open to the wind, and it can be very cold. Trekking poles are highly recommended. Due to an increased altitude, expect a minor oxygen starvation past Taylor Meadows (you would be very tired and would be forced to slow down). The first 6 km of the trail is through a rather boring forest. If you plan on camping and leave your vehicle at the parking lot, the fee is $10 per day, including parking. Don't know if you need to pay for camping, if you don't bring a vehicle. UPDATE: Day parking is now free in BC Parks.

Vancouver, Coast & Mountains Backroad Mapbook (2010 edition) Coordinates: Page 22 (Squamish) C1-D1-E1. The latest edition of Backroad Mapbook for this and other regions, as well as GPS maps, are available at BackroadMapbooks.com.

103 Hikes in Southwestern British Columbia (2008 edition): hike #20. The latest edition is available at Chapters.ca.

Related Website: Garibaldi Provincial Park - BC Parks Official Site.

Other Trips in Squamish Area: Squamish River Forest Service Road Washout, Mamquam Lake Trail Hike, Squamish River FSR Ashlu Main Hike (second trip), Second Trip to Crooked Falls, Crooked Falls / Sigurd Creek Trail Hike, Squamish River FSR A-Main Branch (first trip), Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, The Squamish Spit, Squamish River Forest Service Road E-Main Branch, Shannon Falls, Squamish River Forest Service Road, Squamish Valley Road, Railway Heritage Park, Downtown Squamish BC, Stawamus Chief Trail Hike.

Garibaldi Provincial Park has several entrances, and we used the entrance located on Highway 99 (Sea-to-Sky), 33 km North of Squamish Adventure Centre. That trailhead leads to several destination, including Black Tusk, Panorama Ridge, and Garibaldi Lake. If you are in good shape and start early enough, it is possible to hit all three destinations in one day, especially because there is a loop trail available (see the map below). We visited Black Tusk today, and the views were simply grand. There were a lot of people on the trail, and we have seen around seventy hikers in total during our trip, including several groups of 20+ high school students and their teachers. How many people go there on a warm Summer weekend one can only imagine. But, then again, help would likely be quite close, if you would ever need it.

1. We are driving on Highway 99 past Squamish Adventure Centre. You would turn right 33.4 km later. Our trip to Squamish is here.


BC Highway 99 (Sea-to-Sky) in Squamish

2. Note your odometer at the Squamish Adventure Centre, and also watch the signs on the road. Two kilometers before the turn off, a small blue sign would advise "Garibaldi Lake. Black Tusk Trailhead -->" If you drive past the turn, the U-Turn is 4 km further. Once you turn right, drive straight for 3-4 km, and arrive to the parking lot. There appears to be only two parking lots in the area, with a capacity for about a hundred vehicles in total. Parking along the access road is prohibited due to unstable shoulder. If the parking lots are full, your only choice would be to park along Highway 99, and walk those 3-4 km to the trailhead. At the parking lot, we have met a chipmunk who was training to be a dog. Sit! Good chipmunk!


Photo of a chipmunk on a parking lot of Garibaldi Provincial Park - Black Tusk Trailhead

3. Before you play, you have to pay. Three dollars buys you a day worth of parking. If you want to camp, that's $10 per night, parking included. We paid for parking with a credit card (the machine in the middle), and the machine on the left had a bunch of envelopes for the campers to drop their cash. UPDATE: Day parking is now free in BC Parks.


Garibaldi Provincial Park Pay Stations for Parking and
Camping

4. The trailhead is just behind the pay stations. The sign by the trailhead indicates: Garibaldi Lake - 9 km, Black Tusk Viewpoint - 14 km, Elevation Gain - 800 metres. And then you walk through a mostly featureless forest for 6 km. That's what it looks like pretty much all the way to Taylor Meadows.


Garibaldi Provincial Park Black Tusk Trail British Columbia Canada

5. These roots is one of the few interesting sights along the way.


Garibaldi Provincial Park Black Tusk Trail near Highway 99 BC Canada

6. After 6 km, you come to a junction with a map. There will be four or five more junctions, so follow the signs to Black Tusk, and you won't miss your turn. Here is a map. Our parking lot (P) is on the left middle side (not the top P, which is for Chekamus Lake hiking trail).


Garibaldi Provincial Park Map

7. A close up of our hiking trail. As you can see, you need to stay left all the time to get to the Black Tusk. The Ranger Station (shown by letter R) is located by Garibaldi Lake. If you have time and desire, you can then proceed to Panorama Ridge, and walk by Garibaldi Lakes on the way back (we did neither).


Map of Garibaldi Provincial Park Black Task Trail, Panorama Ridge Trail, Garibaldi Lake, Taylor Meadows Campground

8. The forest behind us, we then walked for a while through Taylor Meadows, which also has a campground somewhere out there. That's the first time we saw the Black Tusk.


Taylor Meadows Garibaldi Provincial Park Black Tusk Trail British Columbia Canada

9. Zooming in, we see the Black Tusk in more detail. We would be approaching this mountain from the right side, and it would look quite different by the time we get very close.


Black Tusk Mountain

10. Once you start walking through Taylor Meadows, the mountain views get better and better.


Mountain Seen from Taylor Meadows Garibaldi Provincial Park Black Tusk Trail BC  Canada

11. There are many interesting mountains in that place.


Garibaldi Provincial Park Black Tusk Trail British Columbia Canada

12. In the meanwhile, the Black Tusk is getting closer. And we were getting quite tired due to slight oxygen deprivation related to the increased altitude.


Black Tusk Mountain Garibaldi Provincial Park British Columbia Canada

13. Once you reach this last information stand, you have a decision to make. The final approach to the Black Tusk (about 40-45 minutes) is very challenging, and it is much colder there too due to blistering wind. So, if you feel well and have a windbreaker, gloves, hiking boots and trekking poles, you may want to proceed. Lacking one or more of the above would make the trip to the base of the Black Tusk unpleasant, if not dangerous. Sunglasses would be very helpful too, as you are above the tree line at this point. The information stand talks about the history of the area. If you decide to stop here, the views of Garibaldi Lake and the surrounding mountains are very fine from this point too.


Information Stand Garibaldi Provincial Park Black Tusk Trail British Columbia Canada

14. The Black Tusk in full glory. For size comparison, take a look at the hikers on the right side of the photo.


The Black Tusk

15. And this is what makes the final approach so difficult - the terrain is dirt/sand mixed with rock, and is steep too.


Final Approach to The Black Tusk Garibaldi Provincial Park Province of BC Canada

16. The views of Garibaldi Lake and the mountains from the base of the Black Tusk speak for themselves, and they say: "we are beautiful!"


Garibaldi Lake seen from the Base of The Black Tusk

17. Just a bit to the left there was a bowl of unspoiled snow.


Snow Bowl seen from the Base of The Black Tusk Garibaldi Provincial Park Black Tusk Trail British Columbia Canada

18. And more to the left, right by the Black Tusk, wonderful rock formations.


Rock Views from the Base of The Black Tusk - BC Canada

Here is our video of the views from near the base of Black Tusk:

A Complete List of Our Videos.

Round trip hike to Black Tusk would take about eight hours. This remains our favourite hike due to fantastic views and a relatively easy trail.


<--- Squamish River FSR E-Main    Simon Fraser University Visit --->


   

ihikebc.com -> 031 Black Tusk Trail Hike (Garibaldi Provincial Park)