In the last day of summer in 2009, I did the longest hike so far, over 40km in total in one day. Garibaldi Provincial Park is definitely the best place to visit near Vancouver. With a blue sky day, it worths to explore Diamond Head Area, located just northeast of Squamish, in southern Garibaldi Provincial Park. Although this area is not as famous as Garibaldi Lake / Black Tusk, the trails offer absolutely equal-quality-views.
The trail head is a bit far away from the highway, and the approaching road is not paved for the last part. BAD! From the parking lot, it’s 5km to Red Heather, and then another 6km to Elfin Lakes. This 6km trail from Red Heather to Elfin Lakes is above tree line, so we got great views of Tantalus Ridge, Mt. Garibaldi, and Mamquam Mountains. From Elfin Lakes, there is still 6.5km to Opal Cone, an extinct volcano with a crater, but with only 250 elevation change. There are some hands on scrambling sections, but no real difficulty. The view from Opal Cone is magnificant, and we took a loop on the cone, to soke in the views. To west, it’s Mt. Garibaldi and Garibaldi Neve. To north, Garibaldi Glacier shows up, which is a perfect winter backcountry ski destination. To east, the view to Mamquam Mountains and it’s glacier is better than from Elfin Lakes. To southwest, it’s The Gargoyles, our next objective in this day. See next trip report.