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Multi-day backpacking trips

Scheduled backpacking trips of various challenges and unique beauty to different locations in Coast Mountains area. Private and custom trips are also available.

Options include:

  • Location – Hanging Lake, Rainbow Lake
  • DifficultyEasy-Moderate
  • Duration/Logistics – Trip: 2 days. 16km return, 850m gain, 4-7hrs hike in. Driving: approx 58km, high clearance preferred.
  • Campsite – Tent at Hanging Lake – Callaghan. Alternate camp Beverly Lake. Activities in the area: Madeley lake, Rainbow Lake/Mtn, Gin Peak

Day 1. Review trip plan and gear list with your Guide and finish packing. Drive approx 58km to trailhead. Starts from the Callaghan Valley, a major drainage near Whistler with a series of pretty alpine lakes, the hike begins on a nice downhill towards Madeley lake. A pleasant undulating trail through a pretty forested area and some talus interspersed with panoramic views of peaked ridgelines of the surrounding mountains including Brandywine, Metal Dome, and the dome-like icefield of Powder Mountain. Hike up switchbacks through the trees traversing the mountainside to gain a ridgecrest and Hanging Lake basin, which absolutely pops out surrounded by colourful meadows, and Rainbow Mountain poking above at the far end. Set up camp on the western shore of the lake and relax.

Day 2. Options for a side trip, with light day-pack, include an exploratory hike to pristine Rainbow Lake and a wander up toward Rainbow Mountain for closer views of the glacier and of Gin Peak, then a hike to Beverly Lake for lunch. Hike back to camp, tare down and depart in late afternoon.

  • Location – Watersprite Lake
  • Difficulty – Easy/Moderate
  • Duration/Logistics – Trip: 2 Days. 18km return, 670m to hut, 6-8hrs hike in. Driving: approx 61km, high clearance, AWD preferred.
  • Campsite – Watersprite Hut – Squamish. Activities in the area: lake swim to islands, Martin Peak, Dreanought Peak

Day 1. Review trip plan and gear list with your Guide and finish packing. Drive approx 61km to trailhead. Starts along logging roads with reasonably easy walking into a pretty valley before wandering uphill through a lush forest. As the trail gets rough, traversing through talus and dense alder the views also start to open up with imposing Mt Garibaldi dominating in the distance. Continue through gorgeous old-growth forest then another small talus slope with a final steep pitch to crest the valley top. Be prepared for the breathtaking spectacle of a glittering blue lake reflecting surrounding pinnacles and tempting little rock islands. Get settled in the quaint new hut and enjoy the vast sights.

Day 2. Relax and investigate the area with a rock hop to the nearby islands for a picnic or scramble toward a nearby summit of Martin Peak (1877m) or Dreadnought Peak (1994m) for rewarding views. Hike back to the hut, cleanup, pack-up and depart in late afternoon.

  • Location – Conflict Lake, Ring Lake
  • DifficultyModerate
  • Duration/Logistics – Trip: 20km return, 504m to camp, 7-10hrs hike in. Driving: approx 64km, high clearance, AWD preferred
  • Campsite – Tent – Callaghan. Remote, wilderness camping. Lake swim, relax. Note: grizzly country.

Day 1. Review trip plan and gear list with your Guide and finish packing. Drive approx 64km to trailhead. Starts off the Callaghan Creek FSR on a jeep track to a log bridge, with pleasant walking through a thick forest over a variety of boardwalks to reach pretty lily ponds. The path climbs from there, interspersed with heather meadows, winding creeks and hidden pockets of lily pad ponds to soon catch a glimpse of the massive Powder Mountain Icefield. Enjoy a rest stop by the Journeyman Lodge (not open in Summer), nearby Conflict Lake before continuing on through wild and beautifully quiet terrain. The next section climbs an open talus field to reach a heather plateau to an incredible vantage point above the shore of Ring Lake. Setup tent and relax in a remote setting of alpine meadows tumbling over turquoise waters.

Day 2. Explore with light day-pack, the truly pristine surroundings with Mount Callaghan towering above and the horseshoe-shaped volcanic dome of Ring Mountain framing the skyline. Hike back to camp, tare down and depart to enjoy lunch near Conflict Lake before returning in the afternoon.

  • Location – Marriott Basin
  • DifficultyModerate-Intermediate
  • Duration/Logistics – Trip: 2 days or 3 days. 9-11km return 1860m to hut. 5-7hrs hike 1-way. Driving: Approx 67km, high clearance, AWD preferred (to upper parking lot)
  • Campsite – Wendy Thompson Hut – Duffy. Activities in the area: Mount Marriott

Day 1. Review trip plan and gear list with your Guide and finish packing. Drive approx 67km to trailhead. Starts after a creek crossing and ascends rigorously over logs and boulders through a rough, sometimes muddy trail. The path continues to climb a steep headwall through the forest, then levels off over a series of scenic switchbacks around small bogs and colourful meadows to an interesting stream crossing over logs. The climb continues to meander over varied rolling alpine terrain toward a grandiose ridgetop that uncovers a very green Marriott Lake. A last focused effort reaches a rocky plateau to a beautiful, comfortable hut. Get settled-in and celebrate a well earned rest.

Day 2-3. There are several great options for a day trip with light day-pack, to explore this spectacular alpine region of picturesque lakes, peaks, ridges and flowered meadows. Either a fantastic scramble toward the summit of Mount Marriott (2-6hrs, approx 2735m gain) or a forested hike to gorgeous Rohr Lake (2-5hrs), before making the return trek.

  • Location – Russet Lake
  • DifficultyIntermediate
  • Duration/Logistics – Trip: 3 days. Day 1: 14km to camp 1220m gain, 4-7hrs. Day 2: highest point 2439m, approx. 2-4hrs. Day 3: 14km return, 3-6hrs. Approx 28-35km total trip. Driving: None. Walk from Village.
  • Campsite – Tent – Garibaldi Park. 1 day lift pass required. Activities in the area: Mt Fissile, Overlord.

Day 1. Review trip plan and gear list with your Guide and finish packing. Walk to Whistler Gondola. Starts off from Top of the World summit on Whistler Mountain following a rugged path that weaves through moderately challenging rolling trails with some steep pitches. Hike along meadows in an impressive diversity of plants, wildflowers, and geological points of interest. The trail continues over the famous Musical Bumps for some incredible views of iconic Black Tusk, the emerald green of the Cheakamus waters and glaciated peaks along the way. Setup tent and relax, nestled in a strikingly colourful and distinctively surreal area of the world.

Day 2. There are two day trip adventure options with varying levels of difficulty leading to amazing views:
Moderate: Explore the valley around Russet Lake, glacier-formed landscape features, snow covered ridges and fun scrambling objectives in the area. 3-5hrs
Advanced: Mt Fissile. Hike talus and a steep scree ramp above a glacier pocket, scrambling a narrow ridge toward the summit. Minor exposure over gullies and loose rock. Ice axe and helmet required. 3-6hrs

Day 3. A last wander following the creek further below into the meadows for additional viewpoints, then pack up and journey back. There are two options back to the village. A similar return over undulating trails, looping back to the Whistler Gondola for a lift down or a longer, yet gentler route descending in the trees on Singing Pass trail.

  • Location – Helm Lake, Garibaldi Park
  • DifficultyIntermediate- Advanced
  • Duration/Logistics – Trip: 3 Days. Day 1: 9km to camp, 960m gain. Day 2: 15-19km Black Tusk return, 1,393m gain, highest point 1986m. Day 3: 20-22km. 7km to Panorama Ridge, 1563m gain, then 15km downhill to Rubble Creek, hike by Garibaldi Lake and lesser lake. Approx 46-50km total trip
    Driving: need transport. Drop off at Cheakamus 15km, high clearance preferred. Pick up from Rubble Creek 28km.
  • Campsite – Tent – Helm Lake, Garibaldi Park. Activities in the area: Black Tusk, Panorama Ridge, Garibaldi Lake

Day 1.Review trip plan and gear list with your Guide and finish packing. This trip is a point-to-point, the drive is approx 15km to trailhead. Starts on an easy path framed by granite outcrops, towering cedars and douglas fir in a beautiful forest skirting a wild river with hidden beaches along the way. After crossing a photo-worthy bridge, the trail ascends at a consistent grade through a series of switchbacks offering multiple viewpoints, meandering through interspersed patches of wildflowers until reaching a striking moonlike plateau of geological delights. Pitch tent in a large, idyllic grassy field ringed by trees next to Helm Creek. Sleep under the likes of the famous Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge as well as Helm Peak, Corrie Peak, Cinder Cone, and Empetrum Peak to name a few.

Day 2. With a light day pack, climb one of the most iconic peaks in the area, the prominent dark thumb of Black Tusk, an extinct stratovolcano alike a black castle atop a massive heap of scree. To reach the true summit requires basic rock climbing manoeuvres up a loose rock chimney to a steep pinnacle over precipitous drops (helmet and ice axe required). Alternately, it is possible to safely ascend a fair portion of this mountain to satisfy various levels of curiosity. 5-7hrs, 1,393m gain or 1,986m to highest point. Return to camp, relax.

Day 3. Pack up early to tag Panorama Ridge, another prominent destinations in the area, or enjoy a gentle morning to linger along a mind-blowing sea of wildflowers. Either option promises to cap this trip as most memorable. Return via the Garibaldi Lake Trail to enjoy endless views along the way, however do save some enthusiasm and your best high-calorie snacks to tackle the final switchback descent back to the trailhead.

  • Location – Mamquam Lake
  • DifficultyAdvanced
  • Duration/Logistics – Trip: 3 Days. Day 1: 10km to camp, 615m gain, 3.5-5hrs. Tent at Elfin Lakes. Day 2: 11km to camp, 73m gain, 4-6hrs. Side trips: highest point 1591m. Tent at Rampart Ponds. Day 3: 21km return 8-10hrs. Approx 42-50km total trip. Driving: 68km, high clearance preferred.
  • Campsite – Tent – Garibaldi Park. Activities in the area: Mamquam Lake, Opal Cone, Gargoyles

Day 1.Review trip plan and gear list with your Guide and finish packing. Drive approx 68km to trailhead. Starts on a gentle, gradual uphill in the forest on a packed gravel path lined with white rhododendron and berry bushes to reach a cute shelter. The trail continues past the shelter upward on a rough path over rolling terrain with stunning views of Mt Atwell, Diamond Head and Garibaldi in the distance. The trail raises to a crest revealing two small lakes in a basin below with the massive icefield of Mamquam Mountain as stunning backdrop. Get settled on a tent pad, either explore the surrounding meadows for an easy evening or jet out for a closer look at the Gargoyles, a pair of distinctive volcanic spires.

Day 2. Pack up and set out to hike across fascinating volcanic landscapes and extinct craters, lush tapestries of wildflowers, crossing creeks, snow fields, and contouring turquoise lakes at the foot of Lava Glacier, with out-of-this-world sprawling views of the Mamquam massif and a multitude of ridgeline peaks. Some parts of the journey will feel as though walking on the moon and other parts as in an impressionistic painting. With an option to tag Opal Cone on the way or to continue on to Rampart Ponds to pitch tent. Explore the nearby surroundings and enjoy the ambiance of this tranquil lake for the eve or venture deeper into the valley for a side trip to Mamquam Lake, the idyllic alpine basing below.

Day 3. Catch a last glimpse of the impressive Pyramid Mountain and Tyee Glacier as the sunrise sometimes brings brilliant splashes of colour over the landscape. Pack up, and continue to be marvelled on the journey back at the amazing flower growth amongst volcanic ash sidehills and dramatic ridgelines. Be prepared for a solid day of hiking on the return journey.

  • Location – Wedgemount Lake
  • DifficultyAdvanced
  • Duration/Logistics – Trip: 3 Days. Day 1: 7km to camp, 1220m gain, 3-6hrs. Day 2: 960m gain, highest point 2835m, 3-6hrs. Day 3: 7km return, 2.5-5hrs. Approx 28-37km total trip. Driving: 12km, high clearance preferred.
  • Campsite – Tent – Garibaldi Park. Activities in the area: Mt Weart or Mt Cook.

Day 1. Review trip plan and gear list with your Guide and finish packing. Drive approx 12km to trailhead. Starts off a minimal incline through a forested trail, crisscrossing Wedge Creek on wooden bridges, eventually passing an impressive rockslide. The trail then steepens through a series of grueling switchbacks to cross several open rockslide fields, offering viewpoints of the valley below and glimpses of the 300 meter Wedgemount Waterfall. The climb continues over boulders and loose rocky paths eventually leading to a spectacular alpine plateau above an aquamarine lake. Set up tent in a surreal setting nestled in a stunning cirque of imposing jagged peaks.

Day 2. There are several day trip adventure options with varying levels of difficulty leading to ridgetop views of endless glaciated peaks:

  • Moderate: Mt Cook. Hike steep heather, juniper, and scree slopes toward a broad summit ridge. 2-3hrs, 2676m
  • Advanced: Mt Weart. Hike along a rocky path, across snowfields of nearby moraines then careful scrambling blocky talus and boulders to a ridgetop. Minor exposure and overhead hazards. Ice axe & helmet required. 4-6hrs, 2835m
  • Expert: Parkhurst Mtn. Manoeuvre over tricky sidehill scree slopes and over steep snow fields, scramble up a rocky band. Minor exposure and overhead hazards. Ice axe, helmet, microspikes/crampons required. 3-4hrs, 2408m

Day 3. A last wander to the Wedgemount glacier moraine for that million dollar view, then pack up and journey back. The descent can be equally as arduous as the climb while negotiating the gnarly terrain, so be prepared for the return trip to take as long as the initial hike up.

(Sources: whistlerhiatus.com, Marc Bourdon, Matt Gunn, John Baldwin and whistlerblackcomb.com)

MSAA