On November 20th, 2023, Erik Smeets, Area Supervisor, Garibaldi South, BC Parks, confirmed arrangements will be in place for Miller Capilano to plow the Daisy Lake Road and about 70 parking stalls to provide winter access to the Rubble Creek trailhead this winter season. This will be fourth consecutive winter season that the popular Rubble Creek trailhead will be accessible to hikers, snowshoers and ski tourers.
Importance of Garibaldi Park to the non-motorized recreation community
Garibaldi Park is important to the non-motorized recreation community (hikers, snowshoers and backcountry skiers) in southwest BC because it offers exceptional terrain and is free of snowmobiles. Rubble Creek is also the only reasonable access route to Varsity Outdoor Club’s Roland Burton (aka Sphinx) hut, built in 1969 on the east side of Garibaldi Lake. Garibaldi Park’s non-motorized designation (with the exception of the permitted heli-ski operation in the Spearhead Range) played a significant role in limiting the non-motorized recreation areas outside of Garibaldi Park in the Sea to Sky Land Resource Management Plan. While it may appear that self-propelled recreationists have “all of Garibaldi Park” to recreate in, the reality is that winter access is extremely limited, consisting of Diamond Head, Rubble Creek and some terrain adjacent to and accessible from Whistler/Blackcomb.
BC Parks secured funding to plow the road and upper parking lot at Rubble Creek
In August 2020, BC Parks staff secured funding to plow the road to the trailhead and upper parking lot at Rubble Creek for future winters. This was after many years of concerted advocacy work by the FMCBC, Varsity Outdoor Club, ACC-Whistler, Friends of Garibaldi Park Society and allies. This winter, there was concern that due to staffing issues, BC Parks would not have the resources to arrange for plowing. However, BC Parks’ staff came through. BC Parks’ commitment to ensuring plowing services will be in place this winter is welcome news!
Important information to ensure safe access during the 2023/2024 winter season
The road to the Rubble Creek trailhead will be plowed intermittently. During storm cycles, do not assume the road is or will be plowed. At all times, Miller Capilano’s first priority is to maintain highways and primary roads.
Even if plowed on your way to the trailhead, the road may be snowed in on your return. Be prepared for ice and snow. There will be narrow sections to navigate, with oncoming vehicles. Vehicles should be equipped with winter tires and chains and should have good clearance. Visitors should ensure their chains fit their vehicle tires and know how to use them.
Please keep the turn-off to the Sea to Sky Retreat Centre clear. The Retreat Centre is open year-round, so please do not obstruct their road entrance.
Call protocol in the event of issues affecting road safety:
1. For urgent issues affecting road safety, please contact Miller Capilano directly at 604.892.1010. Please keep in mind that during winter storms Miller Capilano’s first priority is to maintain highways and primary roads.
2. For non-urgent issues, please contact BC Parks staff as noted below, and BC Parks will connect with Miller Capilano as soon as possible:
Erik Smeets, Area Supervisor Garibaldi South
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 778-266-1273
Andrea Zemanek, Senior Park Ranger Garibaldi South Area
Email: email@example.com, Phone: 604-815-8535
Dylan Eyers, A/PPA Section Head sea to sky section
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 604-741-7302
Please let the advocacy team know about your experience accessing the trailhead – good or bad – and share any suggestions for improvement. Let us know the date of the trip and send us photos of the road conditions. Reports can be forwarded to the Garibaldi@fmcbc.groups.io