The Diamond Head area in the southwestern portion of the park includes Mount Garibaldi, 2,678 metres, Atwell Peak (a volcanic pinnacle), Opal Cone, Garibaldi Neve, and Mamquam Lake. The area abounds with heather. In summer, its dainty white and pink bell shaped flowers flourish everywhere.
Before every park visit, check the main Garibaldi park page for up-to-date alerts and advisories.
Trail report [PDF] (March 16, 2023)
In September and October there is high black bear activity in the Diamond Head area, especially around Red Heather. Use caution while travelling and respect their environment. Stay on the trail and never approach or feed the wildlife. Remember, a fed bear is a dead bear.
To learn more about bear safety, visit our wildlife safety page
If the road is bare, you are still required to have appropriate and properly fitting chains available in your vehicle.
Snow removal is periodic and conditions may change during your visit. Use the parking lot or pull out areas. Parking on the road edges blocks the snow clearing equipment, causing hazardous conditions.
Be well prepared, equipped and informed before entering the backcountry. The winter climate can be severe and unforgiving and weather conditions can change quickly. Expect heavy snow and poor weather.
You should be able to navigate through varying terrain using competent map and compass skills. Be prepared to camp overnight in case of injury, accident or extreme weather.
Anyone venturing into a backcountry ski area does so at their own risk. Visitors must be familiar with recognition and avoidance of avalanche terrain and conditions. Visitors should be appropriately equipped with avalanche transceivers, probes, snow shovels, first-aid kits and have adequate knowledge of avalanche assessment skills and avalanche rescue procedures.
If you need assistance while in the area and the park rangers are unavailable, the nearest emergency help is the R.C.M.P. in Squamish (call 911). Cell phone coverage is available from most west facing locations along Paul Ridge to Elfin Lakes.
Reservations are required for all overnight stays year-round. There is no option to pay with cash. Pre-pay online or through the call-centre by credit card only.
All reservations must be made through the BC Parks reservation service. You can make a reservation online at camping.bcparks.ca or by calling 1-800-689-9025 (1-519-858-6161 internationally).
Camping is permitted in designated campsites only. There are no garbage facilities so always pack out what you pack in.
Located 5km from the parking lot, the Red Heather area offers a day use shelter equipped with two picnic tables, a propane hot plate, a wash sink, a cooking counter, a wood stove (winter use only), and pit toilet facilities. Please keep woodstove fires small to ensure that wood supplies last through the winter season. Camping is not permitted in the shelter. On-snow camping is permitted during the winter season only from December 1 to April 30.
Elfin Lakes campground, located 11km from the parking lot, offers 35 tent platforms, a day-use shelter with four picnic tables inside and two picnic tables outside, pit toilet facilities, and food hang storage facilities.
For information on Elfin Lake Shelter, see the Cabins and huts section.
Located 10km north east of the Elfin Lakes shelter. Rampart Ponds Campground offers 12 tent platforms, pit toilet facilities and food storage facilities.
Mamquam Lake campground is permanently closed for overnight use. Use the Rampart Ponds campground located 1.5km before Mamquam Lake.
The shelter offers overnight use, equipped with bunks for 33 people (11 double bunks, 11 single bunks), four picnic tables, four propane burners, counters with two wash sinks, a propane heater, solar powered lights and pit toilet facilities. The propane is supplied by BC Parks. There are no garbage facilities, pack out what you pack in. Store all food on the hangers provided. Leave facilities as you found them or cleaner.
$15 per adult per night (16+)
$10 per child per night (6 to 15)
Free for children under 6
Reservations are required year-round. For information about reservations, see the Garibaldi reservations page.
Trail Report [PDF] (March 16, 2023)
Winter camping is allowed by reservation in Garibaldi backcountry campgrounds and huts. Be aware of the extreme winter conditions that can occur at this park. Check the trail report before heading out.
For details on winter camping options, see the Backcountry camping and Cabins and huts sections.
For more details on reservations, visit the Garibaldi reservations page.
Water is available in lakes and streams. All drinking water must be filtered, boiled or otherwise treated before consumption. Wash all dishes and conduct personal hygiene at least 30 metres from the water source. Dispose of waste water in the shelter sink or in campground pit toilets.
Red Heather day-use shelter offers two picnic tables, counters with a wash sink, two propane burners, a wood stove (winter only), and pit toilet facilities. Elfin Lakes offers two outdoor picnic tables, a day-use shelter with two picnic tables, counters with two wash sinks, and pit toilet facilities.
Pit toilets are located at all designated camping areas, day-use sites and trailheads. Bring your own toilet paper.
Do not place garbage in the toilets. There are no garbage facilities so pack out what you pack in.
Trail report [PDF] (March 16, 2023)
The trail follows Paul Ridge and provides beautiful vistas. At Elfin Lakes, Columnar Peak, the Gargoyles, Opal Cone, and Mamquam Icefield come into view.
This is a fairly arduous hike past the Gargoyles (strange visages sculptured by nature in lava) to 2,100 meter Little Diamond Head.
Trail leads down to Ring Creek then climbs the Opal Cone, an extinct volcano with a crater. Garibaldi Neve and Mamquam Lake can be seen from the top.
A strenuous hike that follows the route to the Opal Cone and then continues eastward past the Rampart Ponds. The trail descends to the lake from here. Overnight camping is not permitted.
Bicycles must keep to designated roadways and trails. Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.
Cycling is permitted from the parking lot to the Elfin Lakes shelter. Bicycles are not permitted beyond this point and must stay on the main trail. Rock and gravel trail surface.
For details on e-biking within Garibaldi Provincial Park, see the e-biking section.
Class 1 e-bikes (pedal assist only) are permitted in Garibaldi Park in areas where bicycles are permitted. For trail details see the Cycling section. Bikes with electric assist motors in other classes are not permitted on the trails within Garibaldi Park. These other e-bikes are restricted to park roads and areas where motorized use is permitted as outlined in the Biking in BC Parks guidelines. The only exception is authorized and identified trail maintenance bikes conducting work on behalf of BC Parks.
Topographical Map 92-G-14 & 15 1:50,000
Diamond Head is an intermediate to advanced backcountry ski touring area. The ski season is generally from mid-November to April or May. The winter route is marked by orange snow poles from Red Heather to Elfin Lakes.
Leave the snow poles for the rangers to adjust. Attempting to remove the poles by pulling or pushing can break them, rendering them useless. Whiteouts make route finding along the open ridge very difficult and potentially dangerous when the poles are not in place.
Most skiers use telemark or alpine touring skis. Light cross-country equipment is not suitable for the terrain and ski conditions encountered. Snowshoeing and snowboarding are also popular in this area.
Turn east off Hwy 99 onto Mamquam Road 4km north of downtown Squamish (not Mamquam FSR). Follow the paved road alongside the Squamish Golf and Country Club. Turn North onto Highland Way S, turn East at the roundabout and head up and through Quest University. Turn left or Northeast onto Mamquam Road. which becomes Garibaldi Park Road. Follow this road until you arrive at the parking lot. It is 16km from the highway to the parking lot, located at 914m elevation.
Topographical map 92-G-14 & 15. 1:50,000