Black Tusk Hike
The trail up to the base of Black Tusk takes you to an iconic mountain in the Whistler region. The hike is a long one, but rewarding, with incredible views into Garibaldi Provincial Park and down to Garibaldi Lake.
To get to the Black Tusk trailhead, drive south along the Sea to Sky Highway for 15.5mi. Turn left onto Daisy Lake Road, with a sign for the Black Tusk turnoff for Garibaldi Provincial Park. This narrow road leads up nearly 1.9mi to the trailhead. There is limited parking, especially on weekends. Cars can be backed up nearly all the way down this road, so make sure you get here early!
|When to do|
June through September
Trailhead & Backcountry campgrounds
Out and back
Black Tusk Hike
Black Tusk Hike Route Description
The first 4.3mi of the Black Tusk hike is a climb through the forest. This wide, extremely well-marked path gains nearly 3281ft, passing along a series of switchbacks all the way up. You will approach a junction, showing the Taylor Meadows campground to the left and the trail to the Garibaldi Lake campground to the right. We advise going through the Taylor Meadows campground, as the grassy meadows yield fantastic views up to Black Tusk. From here on out the trail remains quite level for several kilometers.
Hang a left at all the next junctions and follow the signs towards Black Tusk. You will meander through a stunning alpine meadow, with views over to Panorama Ridge, a gurgling stream, and lush wildflowers. Trees are scattered, so remember the sunscreen!
You will reach a junction that takes you left towards Black Tusk. Now the second climb begins. This trail quickly leaves all trees behind as it climbs up towards the famous and beautiful Black Tusk Mountain. You will be granted fantastic views across the grassy plain to Panorama Ridge and Garibaldi Lake (other hikes in the region). In the distance behind them are the famously beautiful Coast Mountains, with the huge Sphinx Glacier sitting placidly on top.
Soon you will reach a sign that marks the end of the official trail. From here there will be awesome views. Some people climb to the Black Tusk Summit, however that is extremely dangerous. Loose rock and difficult climbing make it inadvisable. You can continue a short way up to get closer to the tusk, however the views of Garibaldi Park remain primarily the same.
Take extreme care returning as the trail is very steep and you will be very tired.
Hiking Trail Highlights
Black Tusk Mountain
Black Tusk Mountain, so named for the tower of volcanic rock that marks its summit, is one of the most iconic peaks in Garibaldi Provincial Park. With its dramatic, distinctive outline, the Black Tusk dominates the skyline from the Sea to Sky Highway and the region around Whistler. For the indigenous Squamish people, the mountain is known as the ‘Landing Place of the Thunderbird’, and was originally formed by the lighting strike of this legendary beast. This dark peak has long exercised a powerful hold over the imaginations of all who walk in its shadow.
The mountain is part of the remnants of an extinct stratovolcano which formed more than 1.1 million years ago. It supports two large glaciers, but these are largely covered in fallen rock from the crumbling summit. This spectacular mountain is an extremely popular destination for hikers and adventure seekers, offering breathtaking views over the surrounding landscape, taking in the magnificent still waters of Garibaldi Lake and the dominant outline of Panorama Ridge.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Black Tusk
How long does it take to hike Black Tusk?
The full hike from the Black Tusk trailhead is a long one, and is likely to take most hikers between 9 and 12 hours. This is a full day hike and you’ll need to be fit to complete the full loop. However, it can be broken into a shorter backpacking trip with an overnight stay at Taylor Meadows campground.
Can you hike Black Tusk in a day?
It is definitely possible to hike to Black Tusk in a day, but at 26km, it’s a long, strenuous day hike. Make sure to start early and leave the summit with plenty of time to return to the trailhead. If you’re looking for a more relaxed hike, split the route over two days and stay the night at the beautiful Taylor Meadows.
Do not be convinced by others to climb the tusk – it's dangerous and should only be attempted by experienced climbers with suitable equipment.
A great option is to backpack and camp at Taylor Meadows. This lets you hike on a 2-day trip or extend a few days and also see Panorama Ridge and Garibaldi Lake.
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