trip report by site editor Rick McCharles
Over two million people visit Whistler annually, primarily for alpine skiing and snowboarding and, in summer, mountain biking …
Very few of those 2 million visitors climb up to one of the most iconic Canadian peaks, Black Tusk.
The Black Tusk is a stratovolcano and a pinnacle of volcanic rock in Garibaldi Provincial Park of British Columbia, Canada. At 2,319 m (7,608 ft) above sea level, the upper spire is visible from a great distance in all directions. It is particularly noticeable from the Sea-to-Sky Highway just south of Whistler …
Locals advised me to avoid the crowded trailhead off the highway, and hike via the Helm Creek Trail instead. That’s the Cheakamus Lake trailhead, closer to Whistler.
I bought my $10 / person / night camping permit online from BC Parks. You can pay cash at a machine only at the Diamond Head and Garibaldi Lake parking lots, not at the Cheakamus Lake parking lot.
Why doesn’t BC Parks have an office somewhere near Whistler?
Cheakamus Lake to Black Tusk Meadows via Helm Creek:
• Length, 14.5 km; suggested time, 6 to 7 hours one way;
• elevation change, 600 metres.
• 1.5 km along the Cheakamus Lake trail, drop down to a bridge across the Cheakamus River.
After weighing my options (I was carrying a head lamp) I finally decided to wander the meadows, instead.
Next morning I turned my back on Black Tusk and headed back down to my car.
I had time for a sidetrip to pretty Cheakamus Lake via lush temperate rain forest.
All in all, a wonderful 2-day hike.
If I had one more day I would have done the 34km route Helm Creek, Panorama Ridge and Black Tusk shoulder detailed in this 9min video.
Click PLAY or watch Summer hiking featuring Helm Creek, Panorama Ridge and Black Tusk on YouTube.
I might even exit from there to the highway. It’s still possible to hitchhike near Whistler. 🙂
more photos from my hike
related – BC Parks – Garibaldi Provincial Park