Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: The BarrierThe Barrier formed as a result of huge lava flows from Clinker Peak on the west shoulder of Mount Price during the last ice age.  About thirteen thousand years ago, the Cheakamus River valley was filled by an enormous glacier, part of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet.  Lava flowed from Clinker Peak and pressed up against the massive glacier.  The lava ponded and formed what geologists call an ice-marginal lava flow.  

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

An ice-marginal lava flow is interesting because it causes the lava flow that pools against the glacier to cool relatively quickly forming a solid, rock barrier.  Behind this barrier of rock, a lava pool forms.  As the glacier retreats as it did after the last ice age, this barrier remains and is characterized as large, steep and unstable.  The Barrier was formed in this way from this massive lava flow from Clinker Peak.  The lava flow has been studied in detail and four “lobes” have been identified.  The First Lobe, closest to Clinker Peak pushes into Garibaldi Lake separating Price Bay from the Garibaldi Lake campground.  The Second Lobe covers the area separating Garibaldi Lake from Lesser Garibaldi Lake and is the lobe that created Garibaldi Lake.  The Third Lobe formed The Barrier and created Lesser Garibaldi Lake.  The Fourth Lobe extends from The Barrier and can be seen today as the very abrupt cliffs along the opposite side of the Rubble Creek valley.

In the spring of 1856 more than 25 million cubic metres of rock from The Barrier crashed down the valley of what is today called Rubble Creek.  The incredible torrent of volcanic rock boulders crashed down the valley more than 6 kilometres at a speed of more than 30 metres per second.  The vertical distance of the debris flow was over 1000 metres measured from the top of The Barrier to the end of the debris field where Rubble Creek meets Cheakamus River.

The Barrier in Garibaldi Park

The Barrier in Garibaldi Park

The exact cause of the 1856 Rubble Creek landslide is difficult to know for sure.  There are a couple of likely possibilities geologists have come up with.  Water from Garibaldi Lake ends up passing through The Barrier via a subsurface drainage system that comes out the other side as springs far below.  Groundwater pressure  may have increased due to some sort of blockage resulting in pressures that triggered the slide.  Another theory is that an earthquake could have ruptured The Barrier, causing the massive release of rock down the valley.  There is a record of an earthquake in the area in 1853, however no record of an earthquake in the years that follow, before or after the 1856 Rubble Creek slide.  It is difficult to confirm that an earthquake did not occur in 1856 owing to the distance to populated areas at the time.  The abrupt shape of The Barrier and its interesting origin not only explain how it formed into such and unusual way, but why it will continue to threaten another collapse.

Mount Price Clinker Peak

Garibaldi Lake from Panorama Ridge

The Barrier is easy to see at a few good vantage points.  You can see it, though not terribly impressively from the Rubble Creek trailhead to Garibaldi Provincial Park.  The best way to see it on foot is from the wonderful Barrier viewpoint along the trail to Garibaldi Lake.  About 30 minutes before you get to the Garibaldi Lake campground on the Rubble Creek trail you will see the very short side trail to The Barrier viewpoint.  It is located almost directly across from the ominously gigantic wall that looks to be crumbling before your eyes.  Quite a sight to behold, and the viewpoint is quite nice with its large boulders to take a seat on and robust trees clinging to life on the edge of the enormous chasm The Barrier will once again collapse into.

The Barrier in Garibaldi Park

Garibaldi Lake Map v19a

More Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking A to Z!

Alpine Zone or Alpine Tundra is the area above the treeline, often characterized by stunted, sparse forests of krummholz and pristine, turquoise lakes.  Mount ...
Read more
The Cloudraker Skybridge and the Raven’s Eye Cliff Walk are new additions to the summit of Whistler Mountain.  The Cloudraker Skybridge stretches 130 ...
Read more
Accumulation Zone: the area where snow accumulations exceeds melt, located above the firn line.  Snowfall accumulates faster than melting, evaporation and ...
Read more
Bergschrund or abbreviated schrund: a crevasse that forms from the separation of moving glacier ice from the stagnant ice above. Characterized by a deep ...
Read more
The pale green shub-like growths hanging from trees in the forests around Whistler is called usnea.  These bushy, coral-like fruticose lichens anchor to bark ...
Read more
Col: a ridge between two higher peaks, a mountain pass or saddle.  More specifically is the lowest point on a mountain ridge between two peaks.  Sometimes ...
Read more
Russet Lake sits in a wide, glacier carved valley at the base of The Fissile.  In the direction opposite The Fissile, up on a plateau less than a ...
Read more
Whistler, the surrounding mountains, and Garibaldi Provincial Park are home to two types of bears.  Black bears and grizzly bears.  Black bears are ...
Read more

Best West Coast Trail Guide

The Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking Trails!

Nairn Falls is a wonderful, crashing and chaotic waterfall that surrounds you from the deluxe viewing platform that allows you to safely watch it from above.  The beautiful, green water rushes through the ...
Read more
Garibaldi Lake is the centre and base for much of the hiking in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The Garibaldi Lake campsite is located on the amazing, turquoise shores of this massive and mostly still wild ...
Read more
Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is a gorgeous park with extraordinarily coloured lakes, waterfalls, stunning mountain peaks and ominous glaciers pouring into the valley.  Joffre Lakes is one of those incredible ...
Read more
Alexander Falls is a very impressive 43 metre/141 foot waterfall just 30 to 40 minutes south of Whistler in the Callaghan Valley. Open year-round and located just before Whistler Olympic Park where several ...
Read more

Whistler & Garibaldi Park Best Hiking by Month!

July is a wonderful time to hike in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.  The weather is beautiful and the snow on high elevation hiking trails is long ...
Read more
August hiking in Whistler definitely has the most consistently great, hot weather.  You can feel the rare pleasure of walking across a glacier shirtless and ...
Read more
September hiking in Whistler is possibly the best month of all.  The snow has melted far up to the mountain tops, yet the temperatures are still quite high.  ...
Read more
Hiking in Whistler in October is often unexpectedly stunning.  The days are much shorter and colder but the mountains are alive with colour from the fall ...
Read more

Free Camping Gear Delivery to Garibaldi Park

Explore BC Hiking Destinations!

Whistler Hiking Trails

Hiking in Whistler is spectacular and wonderfully varied. Looking at a map of Whistler you see an extraordinary spider web of hiking trails that are unbelievably numerous. Easy trails, moderate trails and challenging hiking trails are all available. Another marvellous ...
Read more

Squamish Hiking Trails

Squamish is located in the midst of a staggering array of amazing hiking trails. Garibaldi Provincial Park sprawls alongside Squamish and up and beyond Whistler. Tantalus Provincial Park lays across the valley to the west and the wonderfully remote Callaghan Valley ...
Read more

Vancouver Hiking Trails

Vancouver is surrounded by seemingly endless hiking trails and mountains to explore.  Massive parks line up one after another.  Mount Seymour Provincial Park, Lynn Canyon Park, Grouse Mountain, Cypress Park and the enormous Garibaldi Park all contribute to Vancouver ...
Read more

Clayoquot Hiking Trails

Clayoquot Sound has a staggering array of hiking trails within it.  Between Tofino and Ucluelet, Pacific Rim Park has several wilderness and beach trails, each one radically different from the last.  The islands in the area are often Provincial parks on their own with ...
Read more

Victoria Hiking Trails

Victoria has a seemingly endless number of amazing hiking trails.  Most take you to wild and beautiful Pacific Ocean views and others take you to tranquil lakes in beautiful BC Coastal Rainforest wilderness.  Regional Parks and Provincial Parks are everywhere you turn in ...
Read more

The West Coast Trail

The West Coast Trail was created after decades of brutal and costly shipwrecks occurred along the West Coast of Vancouver Island.  One shipwreck in particular was so horrific, tragic and unbelievable that it forced the creation of a trail along the coast, which ...
Read more