Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: Garibaldi Volcanic BeltThe Garibaldi Volcanic Belt is a line of mostly dormant stratovolcanoes and subglacial volcanoes largely centred around Whistler and extending through much of the Coast Mountains. Divided into sections with the Mount Garibaldi Area at the southern end and the Mount Cayley area southwest of Whistler.   The Mount Meager Area is west of Pemberton and the Bridge River Cones Area northwest of the Meager Area.   

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Whistler Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyFlank Trail  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJane Lakes  Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Whistler Hiking Trail HardNewt Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Sproatt East  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerSproatt West  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

  Winter Hiking WhistlerJanuary  Winter Hiking WhistlerFebruary  Spring Hiking WhistlerMarch  Spring Hiking WhistlerApril  Spring Hiking WhistlerMay  Summer Hiking WhistlerJune  Summer Hiking WhistlerJuly  Summer Hiking WhistlerAugust  Fall Hiking WhistlerSeptember  Fall Hiking WhistlerOctober  Fall Hiking WhistlerNovember  Winter Hiking WhistlerDecember

And finally the Silverthrone Caldera Area which is a couple hundred kilometres northwest of Whistler.  The Garibaldi Volcanic Belt makes up the northern section of the Cascade Volcanic Arc which includes Mount St. Helens, which had a major eruption in 1980. The Garibaldi Volcanic Belt is potentially active from several locations.  Mount Garibaldi, Mount Price and many of the mountains in the area were tremendously active during the last ice age less than ten thousand year ago.  Mount Price produced a lava flow that formed The Barrier and allowed Garibaldi Lake to form.  Mount Meager had several massive eruptions in the last 2 million years, with the most recent one just 2360 years ago!  This makes Mount Meager the most recent volcanic eruption in Canada.  The Garibaldi Volcanic Belt is caused by the Juan de Fuca Plate and the North American Plate colliding together along the coast of British Columbia.  The Juan de Fuca Plate is subducting under the North American Plate.  It is estimated that these plates build up stress for centuries before slipping and producing a massive earthquake.  The most recent mega-earthquake, the Cascadia earthquake occurred on January 26th, 1700.  It is estimated that this megathrust earthquake ran from the centre of Vancouver Island down to northern California and produced a tsunami powerful enough to hit Japan.  Similarly large earthquakes have occurred along this fault in 1310, 810, 400, 170BC and 600BC.

The Garibaldi Volcanic Belt was very active during the last major ice age and some interesting interactions took place between fire and ice.  The Barrier at Garibaldi Lake was a lava flow that pushed against a massive glacier.  The result of lava piling up against the wall of ice was the creation of The Barrier as well as filling the valley at one end, allowing Garibaldi Lake to form.  The Barrier is comprised of unpredictably unstable rock that is dangerous enough to necessitate the evacuation of a small settlement at Rubble Creek a few decades ago.  Rubble Creek is named from the rubble debris from The Barrier's last major collapse in 1856.  Today it is the main trailhead for Garibaldi Provincial Park if you want to hike to Garibaldi Lake, Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge.

The Barrier in Garibaldi Park

Garibaldi Volcanic Belt The Barrier

Garibaldi Volcanic Belt Southern Section

Mount Garibaldi was active in the last 300,000 years, with its most recent eruption just 9300 years ago.  This eruption occurred during the last big ice age and lava erupted onto the Cordilleran Ice SheetMount Garibaldi has had three detectable seismic events since 1985.  Mount Price was a similarly active volcano during the same time Mount Garibaldi was, forming The Barrier and Garibaldi Lake.  Cinder Cone lays on the north side of Garibaldi Lake and was quite active in the last 11,000 years.  Lava flows from Cinder Cone down the valley along the flank of Black TuskBlack Tusk is a stunning geological wonder formed in the last million years during two periods of volcanic activity.  The original, much larger than today, volcano dome was eroded, exposing the roots of the cone.  Further eruptions pushed against the surrounding glacier forming the distinctly tusk shaped pinnacle of black rock.

Black Tusk in Garibaldi Provincial Park

Black Tusk View

Black Tusk in Garibaldi Park

Black Tusk Map v18

Garibaldi Volcanic Belt Central Section

The Mount Cayley Volcanic Field is another region of fairly recent volcanic activity.  Mount Cayley began erupting about four million years ago and was active until just a couple hundred thousand years ago.  Pali Dome, just north of Mount Cayley erupted several times in the last 25,000 years, and as recently as during the last ice age, 10,000 years ago.  Nearby Cauldron Dome was similarly active during this period as well.  Slag Hill, at the norther end of the Mount Cayley volcanic field appears to have been active less than 10,000 years ago.  The Mount Cayley Volcanic Field has had four detectable seismic events since 1985.  Ring Mountain appears to have been active as recently as the last ice age.  Ring Lake is a nice hike in the Callaghan Valley with its trailhead just steps from the Callaghan Lake Provincial Park campsites and parking area.  The Ring Lake trail ends at the lake with beautiful views across to Ring Mountain.  A much quieter hiking trail than other Whistler and Garibaldi Park hiking trails.  Callaghan Lake Provincial Park is a very beautiful mountain paradise with a pretty drivable access road that takes you right to the lake.  Callaghan Lake and Cirque Lake are very beautiful and comparatively serene and untouched.

Cirque Lake in Callaghan Lake Provincial Park

Cirque Lake Trail View of Callaghan Lake

Cirque Lake Map v7

Garibaldi Volcanic Belt Northern Section

The northern segment of the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt has the Mount Meager massif.  Mount Meager was the most recently active volcano in the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt.  About 2350 years ago it had a major eruption with an ash column 20 kilometres high and spread ash as far as Alberta.  Since 1985 the Mount Meager massif has had seventeen detectable seismic events.  The Bridge River Cones are a series of stratovolcanoes, volcanic plugs and lava flows just a few kilometres north of the Meager massif.  It appears that some of the lava flows in this area are less than 1500 year old.  Further north, the Franklin Glacier complex and the Silverthrone Caldera are two large caldera complexes in the northern Garibaldi Volcanic Belt.  Formed in the last million years, these two complexes have indications of volcanic activity as recently as 1000 years ago.

Mount Meager in the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt

Meager Slide Debris Field

Meager Slide Debris Field Two Years Later

Meager Hot Springs

Meager Hot Springs Access Bridges Before and After

Meager Hot Springs Map v7

Books About Geology in BC

In Search of Ancient British ColumbiaRoadside GeologyHere are two excellent books on the Geology of British Columbia.  In Search of Ancient British Columbia by Barbara Huck is one of our favourites.  It focuses on southern BC and covers each individual region separately.  The Lower Mainland chapter explains the geology, paleontology and archaeology of the region stretching from Vancouver, Sea to Sky, Garibaldi Park and north to Mount Meager and Meager Hot Springs.  Quite a lot of the book is devoted to how the last ice age shaped the land and inhabitants of southern BC.  The chapters on Vancouver Island are particularly good as the geological history was particularly chaotic and the history of glaciation around present day Victoria is very interesting.  Roadside Geology of Southern British Columbia by Bill Mathews and JWH Monger is a wonderful geologic history of BC and covers some great features along the Sea to Sky Highway.

**We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and earn a small commission on purchases we link through to Amazon at no extra cost to you.  We only link to books and products we love and highly recommend.  Thanks for your support!**

Western redcedar is a very large tree commonly found in the Pacific Northwest. Frequently growing up to 70 metres and with a trunk diameter of 7 metres, ...
Read more
Hoary Marmots are the cute, pudgy, twenty plus pound ground squirrels that have evolved to live quite happily in the hostile alpine areas around Whistler.  ...
Read more
The Peak 2 Peak Gondola connects Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain at a dizzying height of 436 metres(1427 feet).  It runs all winter and in the ...
Read more
Paper birch, also known as white birch is a type of birch tree that grows in northern North America. Named for its paper-like, white or cream coloured ...
Read more
Bench: a flat section in steep terrain.  Characteristically narrow, flat or gently sloping with steep or vertical slopes on either side.  A bench can be ...
Read more
When hiking to Parkhurst Ghost Town, the first area you will encounter after you cross the disintegrating bridge over Wedge Creek is the wye.  In railroad ...
Read more
If you make it to the summit of Wedge Mountain you will notice off in the distance a beautifully symmetrical mountain that stands out among the rest.  ...
Read more
Inosculation is the technical name for two or more trees that have fused together into a single bizarre looking tree. They are colloquially known as ...
Read more

December hiking in Whistler is mainly done on snowshoes, though if it hasn't snowed for a few days, trails to Whistler Train Wreck and Rainbow Falls can ...
Read more
There are plenty of beautiful and free snowshoe trails in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.  From the surreal paintings of Whistler Train Wreck to ...
Read more
February is a great month for snowshoeing in Whistler and Garibaldi Park.  The days slowly get longer, but the temperatures stay consistently cold.  Expect ...
Read more
In the(usually) deep March snow of Whistler you have an amazing array of snowshoeing options.  If you have not been to the Whistler Train Wreck, you have ...
Read more

Whistler and Garibaldi Park Hiking Gear Rental

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerAlexander Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyAncient Cedars  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerBlack Tusk  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerBlackcomb Mountain  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerBrandywine Falls  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrandywine Meadows  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyBrew Lake  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerCallaghan Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerCheakamus Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyCheakamus River  Whistler Hiking Trail HardCirque Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyFlank Trail  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerGaribaldi Park  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerHelm Creek  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyJane Lakes  Joffre Lakes Hike in Whistler in SeptemberJoffre Lakes  Moderate Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyKeyhole Hot Springs  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyLogger’s Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyMadeley Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyMeager Hot Springs Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerNairn Falls  Whistler Hiking Trail HardNewt Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerPanorama Ridge  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyParkhurst Ghost Town  Hiking Trail Hard Dog FriendlyRainbow Falls  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRainbow Lake  Moderate/Hard Hiking Trail Whistler Dog FriendlyRing Lake  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerRusset Lake  Whistler Hiking Trail EasySea to Sky Trail  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSkookumchuck Hot Springs  Easy Hiking Trail WhistlerSloquet Hot Springs  Sproatt East  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerSproatt West  Moderate Hiking Trail WhistlerTaylor Meadows  Whistler Hiking Trail EasyTrain Wreck  Hiking Trail Hard - Whistler TrailsWedgemount Lake  Pay Use Hiking Trail WhistlerWhistler Mountain

  Winter Hiking WhistlerJanuary  Winter Hiking WhistlerFebruary  Spring Hiking WhistlerMarch  Spring Hiking WhistlerApril  Spring Hiking WhistlerMay  Summer Hiking WhistlerJune  Summer Hiking WhistlerJuly  Summer Hiking WhistlerAugust  Fall Hiking WhistlerSeptember  Fall Hiking WhistlerOctober  Fall Hiking WhistlerNovember  Winter Hiking WhistlerDecember

Callaghan Lake Provincial Park is a relatively untouched wilderness of rugged mountainous terrain. The valley walls were formed by relatively recent glaciation. Evidence of this can be seen in the ...
Read more
Madeley Lake is a beautiful, remote mountain lake hidden high up in the Callaghan Valley.  From Whistler Village expect to take 40 minutes to drive there.  You can drive directly to the lake, however the ...
Read more
Meager Hot Springs(aka: Meager Creek Hot Springs) is located 93 kilometres northwest of Whistler, was beautifully developed into gorgeous pools, with a caretaker and usage charge.  At its height of ...
Read more
The trail to Whistler Train Wreck is an easy, yet varied route through deep forest, across a great suspension bridge over Cheakamus River, to a stunning array of wrecked train cars. The trail from your car to ...
Read more