high note trail
The High Note Trail offers the best view of Cheakamus Lake in all of Garibaldi Provincial Park. You'll need a summer sightseeing pass to get lift access up the mountain via Whistler Gondola & Peak Chair until you reach the Top of the World. Once you get off Peak Chair, turn right and follow the signs for the High Note Trail, which will take you to the insta-famous Inukshuk. This hike is super mellow, though if you are a beginner and not feeling it, you can bail out back to the Gondola early by taking back Half Note trail. However, I strongly recommend making this mountainside walk and the dozens of viewpoints it offers. It really is one of a kind and a great warm up to introduce you to Whistler hiking.
Looking out over the musical bumps!
Elevation gain: 300m
Car required: No
Camping : No
Checking out the same view in winter.
The trail starts behind the Inukshuk and descents (for once!) down the south aspect of Whistler Mountain. There are a fair few switchbacks down the uneven terrain, but handrails are in place in the tricky sections. That being said, be sure to take care as you descend, it’s pretty easy to lose your footing especially when the ground is super dry. As you continue down you’ll pass under a wire fence and continue to a junction with a road used by mountain bikers. You'll see a sign signalling the entrance to the backcountry, and an emergency road back to the Gondola.
Continue along the signed High Note Trail and you will arrive at a grassy ridge with superb views across the valley into Garibaldi Park. Cheakamus Lake gleams a bright turquoise, and the Black Tusk (the landing place of the Thunderbird) juts out as if reaching for the sky. You can hike to the Black Tusk, but is best saved for an overnight trip, as described here.
There is one tricky section of the trail where you have to pull yourself up onto a rock and then carefully lower yourself onto a metal walkway while holding onto a rope, but most people handle it just fine. After absorbing the stunning views, the trail eventually reaches a junction. Go left, continuing along the High Note Trail back towards the Gondola. The trail to the right is known as Singing Pass and continues into Garibaldi Provincial Park towards Russet Lake (another spectacular hike). You will continue down past first Symphony, then Harmony lakes. At Harmony Lake, stay on the boardwalks as you go around to the far side before starting the last uphill section. After several hours of going downhill, this final uphill push is a thigh-burner. However, it's not too long and not too step, next thing you know the trail levels out and the Roundhouse will appear before you for your download to some happy hour beers.