If you’re an avid hiker looking for an exhilarating challenge, visit Squamish to conquer the world-famous Black Tusk Hiking Trail. This challenging hike will require a vertical ascent of more than 1,740 meters, along with nerves of steel in order to reach the summit. If you’re planning on hiking in Squamish along Black Tusk, here are some things you should know.
Photo By Dominic Gauthier
Black Tusk has been uniquely formed so that it is almost completely vertical on all sides. This makes for an extremely challenging hike on a narrow trail along the ledge of a scree slope containing broken rock fragments. As such, maneuvering along the trail can be a rather slow process, since you must constantly be aware of your footing.
What keeps people going is the fact that the view becomes more breathtaking the higher you ascend. Scenic views of alpine meadows and the crystal clear Garibaldi Lake are abundant, as is the number of wildlife species you may encounter. Depending upon the season, you may see bear, eagle, and marmot, which are actually very large squirrels.
Many people stop just before reaching the exposed rock chimney that leads to the upper summit. Climbing this chimney is not for the fainthearted, as it does require some rock-climbing skills to maneuver.
Reaching the true summit of Black Tusk, which is only about a yard higher than the top of the upper summit, is even more challenging. Doing so requires you to rappel downward slightly to get into a position where you may then reascend. This feat is so challenging that park officials caution strongly against it.
Black Tusk Hiking Trail Location
The Black Tusk Hiking Trail is located inside Garibaldi Provincial Park between the towns of Squamish and Whistler. It consists of a 17.4 Kilometer loop that takes you up the side of the famous Black Tusk peak, which is actually molten lava that has been hardened into an enormous rock. This mountain is easily identifiable by its unique black terrain, and is visible for quite some distance in all directions.
Black Tusk Camping
Most people who attempt the Black Tusk Trail plan two days for completing it. While the 11-hour trek can be accomplished in one day, you could miss out on a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some prime camping locations in Squamish by completing it all at once.
You may want to stop for the night once you reach Garibaldi Lake. During the summer, you may even swim or go fishing in this lake. Camping is also available at Taylor Meadows. Both locations have tent pads, pit toilets and cooking shelters.
Be advised that the weather can change quickly any time of year, so be sure to dress in layers and wear the right footwear to keep your toes warm in case the temperature does drop. You should also plan on carrying a heavy sleeping bag and an extra blanket.
When you first begin your ascent from the summit, it may be difficult to tell where the trail actually is. You’ll have to look carefully to ensure you stay on the worn path that other hikers before you have blazed. As you come further down Black Tusk, you’ll begin noticing a more developed path along with increased vegetation. When you run into British Columbia Park signs that will let you know you are continuing in the right direction.
Hiking Black Tusk is something you may want to put on your bucket list as one of the top things to do in Squamish. If so, we’d love to be a part of your experience, and invite you to contact us for help in planning your trip.
If you’re not feeling adventurous enough to tackle the Black Tusk head on, be sure to check out: 51 Things to do in Squamish for more great ideas!