Girls in front of Garibaldi Lake, BC

Panorama Ridge and Garibaldi Lake

A few weeks ago, when my friend Steph was visiting from the UK, I knew I had to tick off the BC rite of passage and take her for a hike. Having hiked Joffre Lakes last year (and bloody loved it), I set my sights on another equally as beautiful hike. Although it didn’t turn out quite as planned (read on and you’ll see), it was still an awesome day out, full of beautiful Canadian scenery.

Forest in Garibaldi Provincial Park, BC

If you’ve heard of the Panorama Ridge hike, you’ll know it’s no mean feat. I’d heard from friends and co-workers it’s a full day of walking, and that if we didn’t set off by 6am, we’d be stuck in the dark walking back. With the promise of bears nearby, we certainly didn’t fancy that! Instead, we got up bright and early and drove to Garibaldi Provincial Park in search of the splendour of snowy mountains and sparkly blue lakes.

The first couple of hours is pretty hard going up to Garibaldi Lake – a pretty unrelenting set of uphill switchbacks through forest. When you nail it, you’re greeted by some companions whilst you enjoy a much needed rest!

Feeding the birds near Garibaldi Lake

A chipmunk near Garibaldi Lake

Both are pretty friendly fellas, and I’d highly recommend taking trail mix, as both will get up close and personal at the promise of nuts. After a little rest and a much needed pep talk to conquer the rest of the way to the peak of Panorama Ridge, we headed off past some gorgeous scenery.

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Although we didn’t like the look of the looming fog, we continued in the hopes of clear views from the top.

Gloomy scenery near Garibaldi Lake

It didn’t even really feel like we were in Canada any more – this section looked almost like a scene from The Sound of Music in Switzerland.

Beautiful mountain scenery in BC

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Streams and scenery

Misty trees and snowy mountains

After walking past several fields of beautiful coloured wild flowers, misty scenery, and snowy mountains, we turned the corner and came across a beautiful lake, sparkling in the sunshine through the mist.

A beautiful lake under misty clouds

The scenery was truly spectacular, so we stayed and watched for a little, snacking on trail mix whilst we caught our energy back.

A beautiful lake near Panorama Ridge, Vancouver

Relaxing at the lake near Panorama Ridge, Vancouver

Girls near Panorama Ridge, Vancouver

After our pitstop, we headed on further up, feeling determined and as though the finish line wasn’t too far away. Well, it wasn’t that close…

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We trudged and scaled rocks, and even had to slide across a glacier at one point. The scenery was looking pretty misty and as though the fog wasn’t going to give up.

A glacier at Panorama Ridge, Garibaldi Provincial Park

Scaling a glacier in Garibaldi Provincial Park

Finally, at 5,000 feet, we’d reached the top (that’s 3 x the height of the CN Tower)! And perhaps now you’ll see what I mean about the disappointing views…

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Girls at the mountain peak

After we’d stopped for a celebratory cider at the top and laughed enough in irony about the Instagram vs reality shot at the top, we had another tough job now: getting back down.

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Misty views at Panorama Ridge

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Fog and mountains in Vancouver, BC

Beautiful views in Garibaldi Provincial Park

You could say it’s even more difficult getting down than it is going up! But we made sure to stop for a few snaps of the amazing views.

Posing for the camera on the Panorama Ridge hike

The beautiful lake on the Panorama Ridge hike

Whilst we could have gone down the way we came up, we decided to take a diversion via beautiful Garibaldi Lake which none of us had seen before. Although I’d seen pictures of the beautiful turquoise waters before, it was even more incredible in the flesh.

The blue waters of Garibaldi Lake, British Columbia

Garibaldi Lake, Vancouver

A babbling stream at Garibaldi Lake, BC

The blue waters of Garibaldi Lake

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Posing next to Garibaldi Lake, BC

Looking out at the mountains across Garibaldi Lake

Looking out at Garibaldi Lake, BC

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Reflections across the lake and mountains after the hike

Posing on a log at Garibaldi Lake, BC

Girls in front of Garibaldi Lake, BC

Smoke from the forest fires in BC across the lake

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It still took an impressive few hours from Garibaldi Lake to get back to the car, but there were some gorgeous views to enjoy as we hiked down.

Passing blue lakes and forests on our descent

Reflections across the lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park, BC

Smoke from the forest fires across the sun

At last – after a full 10 hours of hiking we managed to make it back to car park, all whilst the sun began to set. Feeling exhausted and very hungry, we stopped off for food in Squamish, feeling very smug about the 400 floors climbed and 40,000 steps completed that day.

For anyone in the Vancouver or BC area and looking for a good workout with some even more awesome views, I’d highly recommend this hike!

 


 

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