As a breathtaking display of nature, Giribaldi lake is a gem of Canada that not a lot of locals know about. A 9 km uphill hike through lush woods and a total of 18 km (11.2 miles) round trip, Giribaldi lake is one of the most beautiful pieces of natural scenery within the western part of Canada.
When my friend (coincidently a Vancouver native) and I decided to go hike it, I was half expecting something like this:
This looked absolutely stunning. I had to go.
What I was expecting based on the pictures and and what I got didn’t exactly align. My experience was a little different as something like this:
As you can see, we hit hard snowfall by the top of the mountain, and at the point of the lake we were barely able to see a few hundred meters across.
That being said, the experience was absolutely amazing and I highly recommend.
Giribaldi lake is around a 1.5 hr drive away from the heart of Vancouver. My friend and I left around 7 A.M for an early start.
We made it to the Rubble Creek trailhead around 8:30 A.M and ended back at the base at ~2:30 pm. The hike itself was relatively steep. During the hike up we experienced an elevation gain of nearly 810m to ~1450m of elevation. Around the 4K mark we started getting into the snow.
The average terrain was relatively steep and there was not a lot of flats to take a quick breather. I had just bought new shoes, and by the 1K mark they had already dug into my skin, giving me some nice blisters to give me company throughout the hike.
By 5K it was a few feet of snow. At the 6K mark, there’s a cool frozen over lake that you will pass by. As it was the first time I had seen a frozen lake (#socalproblems), I ended up throwing a few rocks into the frozen lake to see how sturdy the ice was. Consensus: Not thick enough to walk over.
At the summit:
When you get to top, there’s a nice shelter to provide barrier against the cold winds. That being said, the hardest it was snowing was at the top of the mountain and the view was really blocked by the barrage of snow. Luckily, the shelter provided a quick opportunity to get a quick snack and fill up before heading back down.
The trek up took around 3 to 3.5 hours. With it mostly an uphill journey the first half, the trek down sped up considerably with around a 2 hour brisk walk/jog down. At the base, we finished weary but generally happy with the hike.
It was different than what I was expecting, but nonetheless an amazing hike. If you ever go to Vancouver and have a hiking buddy, I highly recommend trying this mountain. It would have been great to visit this hike again in the spring with clearer skies at the top.