Friday, February 5, 2016

The Most Epic Hike We`ve Done: Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge

This blog is sponsored by VITCHELO Outdoor Gear

If you`re looking for the ultimate hiking adventure in the Whistler region this summer, have we ever got a recommendation for you.

Whistler is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts like myself, with lots of great trail options. In my opinion, one particular trail stands out far above the rest the Whistler and Garibaldi Park region; Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge.

Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge are two separate hiking trails that share 65% of the same trail, making it appealing to accomplish both hikes while in the region.

Depending on your fitness level, you can actually accomplish both trails in the same day, but most people don’t do so, and here’s why:

Black Tusk – Considered a difficult trail
Time: 11 hours roundtrip
Distance: 18 miles (29 kms)
Elevation Gain: 1740 meters

Panorama Ridge – Considered a difficult trail
Time: 11 hours roundtrip
Distance: 18.6 miles (30 kms)
Elevation Gain: 1520 meters

If your choose to conquer both trails in 1 day, you’re looking at around 25-28 miles (40-45 kms) roundtrip from the parking lot – the ultimate challenge for any outdoor hiking enthusiast.

Camping at Garibaldi Lake

Because of the length of the trail, most people opt to do the 5.6 mile (9 km) hike to Garibaldi Lake and camp overnight before continuing on with the trail. Garibaldi Lake is around the halfway point, and offers stunning views of a glacier fed lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Be warned that during the summer months Garibaldi Lake can get quite busy, so you will want to arrive early to set up camp before you miss out.

Learn more about camping at Garibaldi Lake here.

About the trails

The trail leading up to Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge offers various terrain and some spectacular views. Starting from the parking lot, the first part of the trail winds uphill on a well-maintained intermediate trail. Once you reach Taylor Meadows, it’s a short walk through the meadows before you reach the Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge trailheads. During the late summer months, Taylor Meadows is bursting with beautiful wildflowers, making for a gorgeous walk along an easy trail. Once you reach the trailhead for Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge, the trail splits and you either go right or left.

Black Tusk offers a challenging scramble up loose shale rocks, before reaching the base of the tusk.

Panorama Ridge offers a bit more of a meadow hike, passing along mini waterfalls and fresh water streams along the side of the trail, before your uphill scramble to the top of the ridge.

Which trail is better?

This is a question I get asked quite frequently, and it’s a hard one to answer. Both trails offer something unique and different, both with stunning views of the Garibaldi Park region. If I had to choose, I would say both.

Last summer we trekked up to Garibaldi Lake on a Friday afternoon, camped overnight, and then hit the trail Saturday morning for our hike up Black Tusk. We camped at the lake again overnight, and enjoyed some much needed rest time before hitting the trail again the following morning. On Sunday, we hiked up Panorama Ridge, spent the early afternoon at the top enjoying the views, and then made our way back to the lake to pack up camp and head back to our car. This is a very common schedule for many people attempting to hike Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge during a weekend stay. Giving the popularity of this trail, the campsites can fill up quick, so make sure to arrive at camp early so you can get a campsite.

Important things to pack

Aside from the usual camping gear, there are a few other things you should bring with you. Bug spray is high on the list of recommended items to bring with you as mosquitoes and other bugs are bad on this trail.

Bear spray is another important item to pack for your hiking/camping trip. The Garibaldi Park region has a high concentration of black bears in this area, so it is recommended that you bring bear spray with you. 

Another important item to bring on the trail with you is a flashlight or headlamp. There is of course no lights on the trail. If you plan on doing just a day trip, remember that the trail takes about 11 hours to complete round trip, bringing you down into the mountain as the sun is beginning to set. The Garibaldi Lake trail can get quite dark in the early afternoon as the sun wrapped behind the mountain and the large canopy of trees block the last bit of sunlight.

If you’re looking for a bright headlamp for your hiking adventures, we recommend trying Vitchelo’s V800 Plus LED Headlamp. It’s a nice bright headlamp that works well on the dark trails. Learn more about Vitchelo's products here.

For the more advance hikers, Mt Price is just off to the right of Garibaldi Lake, offering similar views and stats as Panorama Ridge, but with less people. If you`re a real go-getting, you can do all 3 peaks in one weekend.

You may also like:

Our Biggest Mistake While Hiking Mt St Helens  
Hiking Mt Solmar in Cabo San Lucas
Road Trip to Pemberton: Joffre Lakes  

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