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Located in British Columbia’s southern region, the Garibaldi Provincial Park Destination comprises several nature preserves, lakes, and a few urban areas. Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park, Mehatl Creek Provincial Park, and the destination’s namesake, Garibaldi Provincial Park are some of the nature preserves that constitute a considerable portion of the destination’s geography. The Garibaldi Provincial Park Destination’s diverse topographic formation frequently draws tourists who take interest in outdoor activities. A particularly significant draw for tourism in Whistler—a city in relatively close proximity to Garibaldi Provincial Park—is an outdoor recreation available year-round. During the summer, visitors at Whistler can go hiking, golfing, or ziplining, while the winter provides opportunities for snowshoeing and skiing. As Garibaldi Provincial Park is inhabited by a range of plantlife and animal species, wildlife and landscape viewing are other commonly participated activities. Some of the rarer types of animals that take refuge in the park are grizzly bears, black bears, deer, and mountain goats. For those who plan on doing any of the aforementioned warm-weather activities, June to September generally has moderate temperatures that range from 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The outdoor recreational aspect of Whistler developed from a couple named Myrtle and Alex Philip who purchased 10 acres of land on Alta Lake to establish a resort called the Rainbow Lodge.
The Garibaldi Provincial Park Destination can be found in the southern coastal mainland of British Columbia, Canada. Primarily comprised of mountainous regions, the destination’s namesake, Garibaldi Provincial Park, is situated in the southwestern portion of the destination. The park covers a total area of approximately 753 square miles, extending across the majority of the Garibaldi Range mountains. Reportedly, Garibaldi Provincial Park is a fairly popular place to visit among those who enjoy outdoor recreational activities, as it was recorded that between 2017 and 2018 there were nearly 30,000 overnight campers and over 106,000 day-users who frequented the park. Some of the activities that visitors often undertake involve canoeing, cycling, climbing, fishing, hiking, swimming, and winter recreation such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Garibaldi Lake, Cheakamus Lake, Wedgemount Lake, and Russet Lake are a few of the park’s natural reservoirs that permit visitors to go swimming.
Garibaldi Provincial Park derives its name from its highest peak which is referred to as Mount Garibaldi. The peak reaches a height of 2,678 meters. Aside from the destination’s mountainous topography in the southern, western, and central areas, a few urban districts and towns can be found from the north to the southwestern expanse of the Garibaldi Provincial Park Destination. Such towns include Spences Bridge, Lytton, Lillooet, Pavilion, Whistler, Pemberton, and Boston Bar. The two nearest cities to the destination’s namesake are Squamish and Whistler.
Whistler is a notable city that can be found in the western portion of the Garibaldi Provincial Park Destination. Recreation is available to visitors year-round; however, winter activities in particular tend to draw a relatively high quantity of tourists to the area. Skiing and snowboarding are a couple of the most popular activities that people pursue. For those who are visiting Whistler without recreation equipment such as snowboards or skis, visitors can ride the city’s gondola that takes people above Whistler to view the nearby glaciers, forests, and mountain peaks. Moreover, a glass-bottom gondola is also available to tourists, allowing them to see the landscape from another perspective. A wide range of warm-weather activities can additionally be found throughout Whistler. Golfing, biking, ziplining, hiking, wildlife viewing, and lake recreation are a few of Whistler’s provided summer activities.
Pemberton, a city located about 22 miles away from Garibaldi Provincial Park, is characteristic of a fairly similar climate to Garibaldi Provincial Park. Over the course of the year, Pemberton receives a total of about 15.54 inches of precipitation. The wettest month of the year has been reported to be October as it receives about 2.78 inches of precipitation on average. July tends to be the hottest month with an average daily temperature of around 67 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to being the month with the highest temperatures, July is often the windiest month. Temperatures decrease significantly beginning in October and lasting until March or April as temperatures start to rise again.
Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park and Mehatl Creek Provincial Park are two other notable nature preserves located in the Garibaldi Provincial Park Destination. Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park covers an area of about 264,874 acres with nearly 93 miles of hiking trails that wind through the park. Straddling a climatic transition zone, the Stein Valley is affected partially by dry climate conditions that gradually shift to the wet environment of the Coastal Mountains. Because of this, a diverse range of vegetation, habitats, and wildlife are contained within the park. Over 50 types of mammals live in the Stein Valley, including wolverines, cougars, mountain goats, black bears, and grizzly bears.
Garibaldi Provincial Park is home to several different species of flora and fauna. In lower elevations, western red cedar, western hemlock, and douglas fir can be found growing in the forests of the park, while higher elevations commonly contain yellow cedar, mountain hemlock, alpine fir, and whitebark pine. During the spring and summer seasons, an abundance of wildflowers may be found in the alpine meadows of the park, namely Indian paintbrush, lupine, snow lily, and arnica. Wildlife inhabits the park as well with some of the rarer species being grizzly bears, black bears, mountain goats, and deer. Chances of spotting squirrels, chipmunks, Canada blue jays, and marmots in Garibaldi Provincial Park are more likely than the previously listed species. A considerable number of tourists visit the park to view about 3,000 bald eagles feeding on salmon in the Squamish River. Some of the types of salmon that attract these bald eagles are chinook salmon, coho salmon, chum salmon, and pink salmon. Apart from bald eagles, over 200 species of other birds reside in Garibaldi Provincial Park, one of which is the endangered trumpeter swan.
Concerning Garibaldi Provincial Park’s landscape, prominent features include steep mountains, coastal forests, and alpine lakes. The highest peak in Garibaldi Provincial Park is Wedge Mountain, which reaches an elevation of 9,485 feet. Volcanic activity from nearly 13,000 years ago—which involved the eruption of Mount Garibaldi—contributes to the park’s present topographic structure. Another contributing factor was the alpine glaciation. Over 150 glaciers can be found within the park together with icefields such as Garibaldi Névé and Mamquam. In 2007, the Department of Earth Sciences conducted research on the glacial recession of Garibaldi Provincial Park, which took place at Simon Fraser University. The results of the study showed that glacial coverage in the Garibaldi Provincial Park had decreased by about 49% from the early 18th century to 2005. The researchers attributed the decrease to global temperature changes.
Garibaldi Provincial Park was named in reference to its highest peak, Mount Garibaldi. Prior to the Europeans’ arrival, the Squamish people called Mount Garibaldi “Nch’Kay,” which translates to English as “dirty place” or “grimy one.” This former name derived from the Cheekye River and its muddy water. The encompassing land of what is now currently known as Garibaldi Provincial Park was utilized by the Squamish for foraging, hunting, and obsidian collecting. According to Squamish mythology, people tied their canoes to Nch’Kay (Mount Garibaldi) to avoid being washed away by the Great Flood. Several years later, the Nch’Kay peak received its name in 1860 when Captain George Henry named the mountain after a highly esteemed Italian general and politician known as general Giuseppe Garibaldi. In the early 1900s, shortly after the peak was named, Lake Garibaldi received its name as well. It wasn’t until the 1920s that Garibaldi Provincial Park officially became a nature preserve.
In the early 20th century, the territory that is now known as Whistler was inhabited by trappers and prospectors that established small camps in the area. After the arrival of two individuals known as Myrtle and Alex Philip who purchased 10 acres of land on Alta Lake, the settlement started to gain more recognition. In 1914, the couple established the Rainbow Lodge on their acreage. This resort, plus other tourist resorts that were dependent on the railway system, was then known collectively as Alta Lake. In 1975, Alta Lake became part of British Columbia’s first Resort Municipality. The completion of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway provided easier access from Vancouver to Whistler, which increased the popularity of the Rainbow Lodge. Thus, outdoor recreation progressively became a prominent aspect of Whistler.