Even though hiking to Garibaldi Lake is a must-do experience that will provide you with lifelong memories and a sense of achievement, seeing Garibaldi from the air is something that will simply take your breath away! This blog will give you a good sense of what you will see when you fly over Garibaldi Provincial Park.
Photo Credit: Sweeping views of Garibaldi Lake and Black Tusk with Sea to Sky Air
Garibaldi Provincial Park ("Garibaldi") has a lot to offer and can arguably be considered to be one of the crown jewels of British Columbia. Formed during the last ice age when active volcanoes erupted into the vast ice fields that once dominated the landscape, Garibaldi is an enormous mountain wilderness park stretching from Pemberton to Squamish in British Columbia. Located a mere 70km north of Vancouver, east of the Sea to Sky Highway, Garibaldi is characterized by dense British Columbia coastal rainforest, snow-capped mountains, glaciers and the jewel in the crown - Garibaldi Lake.
About Garibaldi Lake
Photo: The sun rises over Garibaldi Provincial Park
The most common way to access Garibaldi is by foot from one of five entrance points to the park. Even though hiking to Garibaldi Lake
is a must-do experience that will provide you with lifelong memories and a sense of achievement, seeing Garibaldi from the air is something that will simply take your breath away! By foot, it is challenging to get a true sense of everything that Garibaldi has to offer - Garibaldi Lake, the Black Tusk, the Barrier, the Spinx and Sentinel glaciers and so much more.
Fortunately, Squamish-based Sea to Sky Air
provides a unique way to explore the abundant natural beauty of the area on board the "Whistler Backcountry Air Safari". This affordable and quick excursion will let you soar through the breathtaking mountains, glaciers and alpine vistas. You will fly deep into Garibaldi Provincial Park, to the boundary layer between ancient glacial flows and volcanism. Flying shoulder to shoulder with iconic landmarks including Garibaldi Lake and Black Tusk with provide you with a magical experience.
Garibaldi Lake, with its turquoise waters, wild volcanic structures, Battleship Islands, and wildflower meadows is breathtaking no matter how many times you experience it. The lake was formed over 9,000 years ago when lava from nearby volcanoes blocked the valley. When glaciers and winter snow starts to melt, the water flows into Garibaldi lake and creates a turquoise colour. It is the "glacial flour" in the melt water from the glaciers that is responsible for the lake's stunning turquoise colour.
The lake is surrounded by volcanoes along its north and south sides, and it was lava flows from Clinker Peak that created the 2.1km long dam known as The Barrier. This ancient formation now holds back Garibaldi Lake and prevent it from flooding the nearby town of Squamish.
Photo: Garibaldi Lake, with its mesmerizing turquoise water, is nestled between mountains, old volcanoes and glaciers. Credit: Sea to Sky Air
Other spectacular sights that you will see on your flight include:
The Battleship Islands in Garibaldi Lake is a series of lava outcrops along the northwestern shore of the lake. Several of these have been connected to the shore by simple man-made stone causeways that provide a lot of entertainment for those who choose to hike to and explore Garibaldi Lake..
Photo: The Battleship Islands in Garibaldi Lake
The Table a.k.a. Table Mountain
The Table is part of the Garibaldi volcanic field that includes a group of nine small andesitic stratovolcanoes and basaltic andesite vents. These form part of the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt and of the Cascade Volcanic Arc that runs from southwestern British Columbia to northern California.
The Black Tusk
The Black Tusk is considered to be the remnant of an extinct andesitic stratovolcano which formed between about 1.1 and 1.3 million years ago. At 2,319m above sea level, the upper spire is visible from a great distance in all directions including when driving between Vancouver and Whistler.
Photo: Black Tusk as seen from the ground level
The Barrier is a lava dam retaining the Garibaldi Lake system. It is over 300 m (980 ft) thick and about 2.4 km (1.5 mi) long where it impounds the lake. The lava flows that make up The Barrier are brittle and broken, creating constant rockfalls that vary in size. There have been multiple landslides in the area, giving Rubble Creek at the base of the “barrier” its name. In 1981, The British Columbia Government spent $14 million dollars to buyout the property of the town of Garibaldi which was located here and relocate to a safer place.
Photo: The Barrier is keeping Garibaldi Lake from draining
Scheduled flights are operated by Sea to Sky Air from the airport at Squamish. The flight takes about 50 minutes. Sea to Sky Air is operated by experienced, local pilots who have been living, skiing, hiking and flying in the region for more than 20 years.
Whether you choose to hike to Garibaldi Lake this summer or choose the more convenient option of flying over Garibaldi Park, you will not be disappointed with the breathtaking diverse scenery of Garibaldi.
Learn more about getting from Vancouver to Garibaldi Provincial Park by bus
Contact us to find out more about flying over Garibaldi Provincial Park.
Photo Credit: Taking off from the Sea to Sky Air base in Squamish
Photo Credit: Flying in the planes gives one a 360 degree view - Sea to Sky Air.
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