With glacier-covered mountain peaks, turquoise-hued alpine lakes, and unimpeded views in every direction, words simply cannot do justice to the Panorama Ridge hike. As our tired, sore legs took the last few steps up the steep, rocky ridge and the views of Garibaldi Lake, Garibaldi Peak, and Mount Carr slowly came into view, we looked at each other and instantaneously agreed: Panorama Ridge was easily one of the best views we’d ever seen. In this article, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about this 17.6/28.2 km hike in Garibaldi Provincial Park in southern British Columbia!

A backpacker stands on a ledge overlooking Garibaldi Lake on the Panorama Ridge hike

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About the Panorama Ridge Hike

When we first saw pictures of Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial Park and learned that it could be reached by a 17.6-mile hike, it immediately shot to the top of our hiking “bucket list.” The pictures almost seemed too good to be true.

Glaciers, majestic mountains, and a huge alpine lake… a place this beautiful can’t be real, right!? 

Knowing that we’d be spending the summer in nearby Seattle, we had to find out if all the hype about Panorama Ridge was worth it. And let me say right off the bat, it’s better than you could ever imagine! We both agreed that the view from Panorama Ridge is one of the best views we’ve seen anywhere in the world. 

Sure, hiking to Panorama Ridge and back in one day is a long, grueling journey, but all the pain, sweat, and exhaustion are well worth the views.

In this article, we’ve provided all the information you need to complete one of British Columbia’s best hikes, including our recommended hiking itinerary. 

Keep on reading to learn more about this epic adventure! 

A hiker walking across a ridge with a bright blue lake and glacier covered mountains in the background at Panorama Ridge
Bright teal lake and glacier covered peaks from the Panorama Ridge viewpoint in Garibaldi Provincial Park

Panorama ridge hike overview

  • Distance | 17.6 miles/ 28.2 kilometers (including the detour to Garibaldi Lake)
  • Elevation | 5,282 feet/ 1610 meters (including the detour to Garibaldi Lake)
  • Difficulty | Very difficult (only experienced and fit hikers should attempt to reach Panorama Ridge in one day) 
  • Dogs allowed | No
  • Permits | Day-use permits are required to enter Garibaldi Provincial Park.

Find this hike on AllTrails | Panorama Ridge

Where is the Panorama Ridge hike? 

Panorama Ridge is located within Garibaldi Provincial Park, which encompasses the Garibaldi Range of the Coast Mountains in British Columbia, Canada. The park is about 90 minutes north of Vancouver, just off the iconic Sea-to-Summit Highway. 

Garibaldi Provincial Park is best known as a hub for outdoor adventures, as it is home to seemingly endless hiking trails, mountains, lakes, and stunning forests. The tallest point in the park is Wedge Mountain (9,485 feet/2,891 meters). 

There are approximately 150 glaciers within the park, although recent studies have estimated that the glaciers are the smallest they have been in thousands of years.

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  • Probably the best mountain view we’ve ever seen anywhere in the world! 
  • Do we need to say anything else!? Seriously, the views from Panorama Ridge


  • Trail to reach Panorama Ridge is long and steep. Be prepared for a long, exhausting day, sore feet, and tired legs. 
  • Trail is very popular so expect some crowds along the way.
  • The first 4ish miles are a slog up seemingly endless switchbacks with limited mountain views, although this section of the trail is heavily forested and shade covered, which is nice
  • The final mile or so climbs up a rocky ridge and the trail can be difficult to follow at times

Panorama ridge packing list

The Panorama Ridge hike is a long and challenging adventure! Make sure you’re prepared with appropriate gear before you hike:

Essentials for everyone

  • Bear Spray (Counter Assault)| Black bears are common in Garibaldi Provincial Park (while Grizzly bears are very rare), so carrying bear spray with you is always a good idea.
  • GPS Device (Garmin InReach Mini) | The Panorama Ridge hike is pretty easy to follow, so you shouldn’t have trouble staying on the trail. That being said, we always carry our Garmin for peace of mind just in case of an emergency.
  • Bug Spray | The mosquitos here are brutal! Especially if you plan to hang out by Garibaldi Lake, you don’t want to forget bug spray.
  • Microspikes | If you’re hiking Panorama Ridge early in the summer, you’re likely to encounter snow on the trail near the top. Since the trail gets pretty steep, we recommend packing microspikes to stay safe in possible snowy or icy conditions. Always check recent trail conditions before you set out.

His & Hers

  • Hiking poles (Hers: Black Diamond Distance Z poles, His: Black Diamond Distance FLZ poles ) | We both hike with Black Diamond poles and can’t imagine hiking without them!
  • Backpack with bladder (Hers: CamelBak Helena 20L, His: Camelback Rim Runner 22L) | We both use a similar Camelback backpack for day hiking (Sarah has the women’s version, Matt’s is unisex) – they’re comfortable, lightweight and just big enough to hold the essentials without weighing you down. Plus they both come with a 2L bladder.
  • Hiking boots (Hers: Danner Mountain 600s, His: Salomon Ultra 4 Mid GTX) | The final push to Panorama Ridge is steep and rocky. We’d highly recommend wearing hiking boots for better traction and foot support.
  • Hiking pants (Hers: Athleta Headlands pants, His: PrAna Stretch Zion Pants) | These Athleta pants are Sarah’s absolute favorite! They’re comfortable and durable for hiking, and all the pockets make them more stylish, so they can double as normal pants.
  • Pullovers (Hers: Smartwool Merino Quarter Zip, His: Smartwool Merino Quarter Zip) | These Smartwool quarter zips are so warm and comfortable – perfect to help you stay warm on the windy summit of Panorama Ridge.
  • Down Jacket (Hers: Arc’teryx Cerium LT Hoody Women’s Down Hoodie, His: Cotopaxi Fuego) | If you hate being cold (like me), the Arc’teryx Down Hoodie is the jacket for you! With 850 fill down, it’s incredibly lightweight, high quality and totally worth the extra warmth. The Cotopaxi Fuego is also a great option – at 800 fill down, it’s not quite as warm but comes in at a lower price point.
The beginning of sunset over Garibaldi Lake on Panorama Ridge

How difficult is the Panorama Ridge Hike? 

To be clear, the hike to Panorama Ridge is very challenging and should only be attempted in one day if you are a fit and an experienced hiker. Not only is the trail very long (17 miles/28 kilometers), but it is also extremely steep, covering almost exactly a mile in elevation gain (5,282 feet/1,610 meters). 

You can cut out some of the distance and elevation gain by bypassing Garibaldi Lake. However, even without this detour, you’re looking at 10-12 hours on the trail. 

There’s no way around it: if you’re attempting to reach Panorama Ridge as a day hike, you need to start early and be prepared for a long, exhausting day. 

We are experienced hikers and backpackers, having done countless multi-day treks and run numerous marathons, and the hike to Panorama Ridge absolutely kicked our butts!

When is the best time to hike to Panorama Ridge?

The best time to hike to Panorama Ridge is in late July through early October. Snow will linger on the upper parts of the trail well into July.

You can certainly hike to Panorama Ridge earlier in the season, just make sure you review current trail conditions and be prepared with microspikes or other snow gear, such as an ice axe or crampons as needed. 

We hiked to Panorama Ridge on August 1 and conditions were perfect. The trail was snow free and wild flowers were popping throughout the alpine meadows.

During the day, the temperature was in the mid 70s F (low 20s C) at lower elevations, while the temperatures dropped a bit and the winds picked up at higher elevations. 

Regardless of when you choose to hike to Panorama Ridge, make sure to check current trail and weather conditions before you depart and be prepared for quickly changing conditions.

Remember that you’ll be in an alpine environment with limited tree protection, so always use your best judgment. 

A hiker stands atop Panorama Ridge, a long and challenging day hike in Garibaldi Provincial Park

Day use passes for Garibaldi Provincial Park

Day use passes are required to enter the Rubble Creek Trailhead in Garibaldi Provincial Park from early June to early October (exact dates vary each year). 

Below are a few important details about Garibaldi Provincial Park day use passes:

  • You can reserve a pass two days before your visit at 7:00am PT on BC Parks.
  • Passes tend to sell out quickly, so we highly recommend being online and ready to book your day-use pass right at 7:00am.
  • Passes are free
  • Your pass will be e-mailed to you and a park ranger will ask to see your pass before entering the parking lot for the Rubble Creek trailhead. There is limited cell service at the trailhead so make sure you download, screenshot, or print your pass before you arrive. 
  • Each vehicle is required to have a day-use pass and each vehicle can have up to 8 people. Passes cannot be transferred to another person or date.
  • If you have a reservation for overnight camping, you do not need a day use pass. Just be sure to have your overnight camping permit with you at all times. 

You can read more about day-use passes in BC Provincial parks here on BC Parks

The Sphinx Glacier surrounded by tree-covered mountains and a small alpine lake at the base of the mountain

Where to stay before the Panorama Ridge Hike?

The trailhead for Panorama Ridge is located between the town of Squamish, BC about 30 minutes to the south and Whistler, BC about 25 minutes to the north. With these two popular mountain towns close by, there are plenty of lodging options near the Panorama Ridge hike. 

Below are a few specific recommendations.

Alice Lake Campground 

The closest frontcountry campground to the Panorama Ridge trailhead is located at Alice Lake Park, just 22 minutes from the Rubble Creek Trailhead.

The Alice Creek Campground has 110 reservable frontcountry campsites, each costing $35 CAD per night. Fifty-five of the sites have full electrical hook-ups and there is drinking water, flush toilets, and shower facilities available.

Reservations are released at 7:00am PT up to four months in advance of your arrival date and sell out very quickly. We stayed at the Alice Lake Campground prior to our Panorama Ridge hike and it worked out perfectly. Highly recommend! 

Howe Sound Brewery and Inn

Howe Sound Brewery and Inn is an inn located above a brewery in downtown Squamish with views of the towering Stawamus Chief…sign us up! Rooms at the Howe Sound Brewery and Inn start at $179 CAD and feature all of the standard hotel amenities. 

Crystal Lodge

Crystal Lodge is located in the heart of Whistler, The Crystal Lodge has been a staple of the Whistler lodging scene for over 30 years.

Featuring a variety of rooms from budget single beds starting at $129 to luxury lofts that can accommodate up to 6 people, the Crystal Lodge is perfect for folks looking for something more on the fancier side. 

Panorama Ridge as an overnight backpacking trip

Bags hanging from the bear cache at Garibaldi Lake campground in the backcountry

If 17 miles/28 kilometers and 5,200 feet/1600 meters in elevation gain sounds like too much to tackle in one day, Panorama Ridge can be completed as part of a one or twonight backpacking trip. 

We actually hiked to Panorama Ridge as part of an overnight backpacking trip and highly recommend it! 

While you can’t camp up near Panorama Ridge, there are two campgrounds along the trail at lower elevation – one at Garibaldi Lake and one at Taylor Meadows – that would allow you to split up the hike into more manageable distances. 

We’ve written a whole article about tackling Panorama Ridge as part of an overnight backpacking trip here! (coming soon)

Important Note | Permits are required to camp at either Taylor Meadows or Garibaldi Lake. Camping is not permitted anywhere outside of these two designated backcountry campgrounds. Please follow the rules to help preserve this beautiful area. We saw a couple groups camping illegally – don’t be those people!

A hiker stands at the summit of Panorama Ridge, overlooking the bright teal waters of Garibaldi Lake

Panorama Ridge Hike Overview

There are a few different ways you could approach the Panorama Ridge hike, depending on how much you want to hike in one day. In the sections below, we’ve outlined our recommended route for the Panorama Ridge hike.

We will also cover some information about potential alterations to this route for your consideration. 

In summary, our recommended route: Rubble Creek Trailhead to Taylor Meadows to Panorama Ridge to Garibaldi Lake (if you have time/energy) and then back to the Rubble Creek Trailhead. We’ll jump into the details of this route below.

Snow covered peaks and glaciers on Mount Garibaldi and surrounding mountains from Panorama Ridge

Parking & Getting to the trailhead for Panorama Ridge

The trailhead for Panorama Ridge is called Rubble Creek Trailhead. It is located just off the Sea to Sky Highway, between Squamish and Whistler. 

From Squamish, you will head north on Highway 99 (Sea to Sky Highway) for about 20 miles (33 kilometers) before turning left on Daisy Lake Road. From Whistler, you’ll head south on Highway 99 for about 15 miles (15 kilometers) and take a left onto Daisy Lake Road.

Rubble Creek Trailhead is about 30 minutes from Squamish and about 25 minutes from Whistler. 

The closest major city is Vancouver, which is about 62 miles/100 kilometers and 90 minutes to the south. 

Rubble Creek Trailhead to Garibaldi Lake/Taylor Meadows Junction

Snowy peaks seen from the first half of the trail up to Panorama Ridge
Mountain views through the trees on the hike up to Panorama Ridge

Switchbacks, switchbacks, and more switchbacks!

There is no way to sugarcoat it, the first 3.6 miles/5.8 km of the Panorama Ridge hike is a relentless uphill slog. Covering over 2,500 feet/762 meters of elevation gain and nearly 20 switchbacks, the trail cuts through dense forest as you slowly but surely make your way up the mountain. 

There are limited views of the surrounding mountains in this section of the hike. However, the towering trees provide some nice shade and the wide trail makes the relentless elevation gain somewhat bearable. 

This is definitely the most boring section of the hike so just keep pushing through the switchbacks. Soon enough you’ll be rewarded with ever-improving views. 

Garibaldi Lake and Taylor Meadows Junction

After 3.6 miles, you’ll reach a junction in the trail. Here one trail leads to Garibaldi Lake and the other leads to Taylor Meadows. While either trail will eventually lead you to Panorama Ridge, the trail through Taylor Meadows is the more direct route to Panorama Ridge. 

Therefore, we recommend taking the trail towards Taylor Meadows on the way out. You can tack on the detour to Garibaldi Lake on the return journey if you still have the time and energy. 

Taylor Meadows Junction to Black Tusk Junction

A dark and pointy rock formation known as the Black Tusk, as seen from Panorama Ridge
The Black Tusk, as seen from Panorama Ridge

Continuing towards Taylor Meadows, the trail will begin to open as the trees thin out and the path cuts through open meadows of low shrubs, thick green grass, and colorful wildflowers. You’ll be treated to more and more views of the surrounding mountains as you continue to gain elevation through Taylor Meadows. 

After about 2.3 miles/3.7 km, you’ll reach another junction in the trail, this one leading to the Black Tusk, a prominent mountain peak that is well-known for its unique size and color, resembling, of course, a black tusk.

Some people will add on the spur trail to Black Tusk as part of their hike to Panorama Ridge. This will add about 3 miles/5 km and 2,000 feet/609 meters in elevation gain to your hike. 

Because the hike to Panorama Ridge alone is already so long and steep we do not recommend adding Black Tusk to your day-hiking itinerary (and did not do it ourselves).

Black Tusk Junction to Black Tusk Lake

Black Tusk Lake, a small alpine lake that sits at the base of Panorama Ridge
Black Tusk Lake sits at the base of Panorama Ridge

After passing the junction with the spur trail up to Black Tusk Junction, you will continue hiking through the open meadow for about one more mile. During this stretch, Panorama Ridge will come into view off to your right.

Keep an eye out for tiny people hiking along the ridge like ants in the distance! 

After one mile, you will reach another junction in the trail and the trees will all but disappear as you begin to enter a rocky alpine environment. You’ll see a handful of small lakes. To the left, the trail continues to Helm Lake and Helm Creek campground. 

You will need to stick to the right, heading directly towards Panorama Ridge. The trail will descend briefly to the small but picturesque Black Tusk Lake on the right, making a perfect spot to take a quick rest before the final push up to Panorama Ridge. 

Black Tusk Lake to Panorama Ridge

The trail leading up to Panorama Ridge is rocky and requires a bit of scrambling
Hiking down from Panorama Ridge just after sunset

After Black Tusk Lake, it’s just 1.5 miles until Panorama Ridge. However, this last 1.5 miles is the steepest and most difficult part of the entire hike! 

Up until this point, the trail is wide, well-marked, and easy to follow. However, for the final push, the trail becomes very rocky and while there are still plenty of trail markers, it definitely becomes a bit more challenging to follow as you climb and scramble up the final ridgeline. 

Make sure to keep an eye out for the next cairn or trail marker and take extra caution with each step as some rocks can be loose and the gravel can be slick.

Panorama Ridge

A hiking walking along Panorama Ridge with the Sphinx Glacier, Garibaldi Lake, and Garibaldi Peak in the background
Finally arriving at Panorama Ridge!
Bright teal waters of Garibaldi Lake from Panorama Ridge hike
We couldn’t believe how blue the water really is in real life!
Soaking in the view from Panorama Ridge with the Sphinx Glacier, Garibaldi Lake, and Garibaldi Peak in the background
The views from Panorama Ridge are some of the best we’ve ever seen on a hike!
Two hikers standing on a ridge adjacent to Panorama Ridge, with mountain views in every direction
Two hikers standing at the first Panorama Ridge Viewpoint

By the time we reached Panorama Ridge, our legs were sore, tired, and shaking – the hike completely kicked our butts! 

But the unimpeded views of Garibaldi Peak, Garibaldi Lake, Black Tusk, and the Sphinx Glacier make all the pain absolutely worth it! Towering above the bright blue lake, surrounded by glacier covered-peaks, you’ll quickly see why Panorama Ridge has become one of the most popular hikes in British Columbia. 

Almost instantly, we both agreed that the view from Panorama Ridge was one of the best views we’d ever seen in our entire lives. It’s truly, truly breathtaking! 

When you finish the scrambling section, there is a little bit of a false summit as you arrive at the first flat area. Technically, the Panorama Ridge trail continues less than a quarter-mile further to the official Panorama Ridge viewpoint, which can be seen from the initial summit.

Nonetheless, the views from both spots are amazing and worth checking out.

Tip | Panorama Ridge is exposed so make sure to pack a few extra layers as it can get quite cold and windy up there.

Panorama Ridge to Garibaldi Lake (optional)

A trail winds through grassy meadows with tree-speckled mountains in the background
Meadows on the trail between Panorama Ridge and Garibaldi Lake
A bright teal lake through a forest of pine trees on the trail between Panorama Ridge and Garibaldi Lake
A small glimpse of Garibaldi Lake through the trees

After you’ve soaked up all the views from the top of Panorama Ridge, it’s time to start the long journey back to the trailhead.

While you certainly can return the same way you came passing through Taylor Meadows, we recommend making a quick stop at Garibaldi Lake along the way back to the trailhead. 

To reach Garibaldi Lake on your return hike, follow the same trail down past Black Tusk Lake and the junction with the Black Tusk Trail. After 2.8 miles, you’ll reach a junction with a trail going off the to left, leading to Garibaldi Lake. 

Garibaldi Lake

glacier covered peaks reflecting over Garibaldi Lake
Garibaldi Lake is certainly worth the short detour!
A rocky shoreline with bright teal waters of Garibaldi Lake and mountains in the distance
The bright teal waters of Garibaldi Lake

The trail will descend for about 1 mile until you reach the banks of Garibaldi Lake. Here, you will find the Garibaldi Lake campground, which includes a few picnic tables, pit toilets, and shelters. 

From the shores of Garibaldi Lake, you’ll be able to look up and see Panorama Ridge to your left and the Sphinx Glacier and Mount Carr across the turquoise water. This is a great spot to rest before the final push back to the trailhead! 

The slight detour to Garibaldi Lake adds about .75 mile/1.2 km to your overall distance but doesn’t add any additional elevation gain and is definitely worth the slight increase in overall distance. 

Garibaldi Lake to Rubble Creek Trailhead

Rubble Creek viewpoint, a short detour on the return hike from Garibaldi Lake

From Garibaldi Lake back to Rubble Creek Trailhead, it’s about 5.2 miles, almost entirely downhill. There is a short detour to the Rubble Creek Viewpoint that you can tack on. Frankly, by this point, you will have already seen far superior views so it’s likely not worth it.

You’ll descend the 20 same 20 switchbacks you climbed up on the way in and soon enough, you’ll be back at your care after a long, exhausting, pain-inducing but epic and unforgettable day.

Other things to know about the Panorama Ridge Hike

In the sections below, we’ll cover other important details to know about the Panorama Ridge hike.

Is water available on the trail?

There are plenty of places to filter water along the trail to Panorama Ridge, including through Taylor Meadows, Black Tusk Lake, and Garibaldi Lake.

We always bring our reliable Sawyer Squeeze with us on long day hikes so we can fill up on water in the backcountry and never have to worry about running out! 

Are there bathrooms at the trailhead/on the trail?

There are bathrooms at Rubble Creek Trailhead, although they were in very rough shape when we hiked.

There are also pit toilets available at the Taylor Meadows Campground and Garibaldi Lake Campground. You will need to bring your own toilet paper if you use one of the restrooms on the trail.

CAn I hike Panorama Ridge for Sunrise/Sunset?

Sunset on the trail down from Panorama Ridge
Sunset over Black Tusk Lake coming down from Panorama Ridge
Sunset over the Black Tusk in Garibaldi Provincial Park

We hiked to Panorama Ridge as part of an overnight backpacking trip, camping at Garibaldi Lake. This allowed us to stay at Panorama Ridge until just a few minutes before sunset, get down the rock scramble section at dusk, and then hike the remaining 3 miles back to our campsite in the dark.

If you are tackling Panorama Ridge as a day hike, we wouldn’t recommend trying to catch the sunrise or sunset. You would need to hike about nearly 9 miles in the dark, over terrain that is quite steep in sections.

Can I bring my dog?

Dogs are not allowed on the trail to Panorama Ridge. 

How crowded is the Panorama Ridge hike?

Panorama Ridge is a very popular hike and you should not expect to have the summit to yourself. The new day passes required to enter into Garibaldi Provincial Park help limit some of the crowds, but we still felt like the trail to Panorama Ridge was one of the busier trails we’ve hiked in Canada.

That being said, it isn’t too busy (this isn’t Lake Louise or Moraine Lake in Banff after all), and we would not let the popularity of the hike dissuade you. Usually crowded hikes are busy for a reason!  

Are there bears in the area?

The Panorama Ridge hike passes through bear territory so extra precautions are needed. While grizzly bears are very, very rare, black bears are much more prevalent.

Make sure to bring bear spray (and know how to use it!) and make plenty of noise while hiking, so as not to surprise an unsuspecting bear. 

Golden hour at Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial Park

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