High Note Trail
Save your legs and get whisked to the peak of Whistler Mountain by the gondola and the Peak Chairlift to embark on the High Note Trail. This wonderful walk has stunning views of Garibaldi Provincial Park and Cheakamus Lake and makes for a very memorable hike.
From Whistler Village go to the main gondola station and buy the hiking ticket for use of the Whistler Gondola. Exit the gondola station and take the trail leading down to the right, towards the Peak Chairlift and head up. This chairlift goes to the very summit of Whistler Mountain.
|When to do|
June through September
From the “Top of the World”, as its sometimes called, turn right and follow the signs for the High Note Trail. This will take you to the famous large Inukshuk that appears in all photos taken from Whistler’s Summit. From this vantage point you will have 360 degree views of hundreds of snow covered peaks. Take a moment here, even if there are crowds, to soak in the monumental beauty of the Coast Mountains. Black Tusk will be quite noticeable on the skyline, as the sharp rectangle that is its peak is easily distinguishable from any other mountain.
The trail starts behind the Inukshuk and leads down off the south aspect of Whistler Mountain. Although it switchbacks down rocky terrain, chain link handrails have been installed to help with the steepest descents. Take care as you descend, it’s especially easy to lose your footing. As you continue down you’ll pass under a wire fence in place for the skiing season; pay it no mind. Keep following the small green plaques with the outline of a hiker on them.
You will come to a junction with a road. A sign will tell you that you are entering the backcountry, and that you can return to the chairlift via the road if you want to turn around. Keep going along the signed High Note Trail and enter the truly magnificent part of the hike.
This section is the core of the High Note Trail. You will be hiking along a grassy ridge with superb views across the valley into Garibaldi Park. Again, Black Tusk will stick out like a sore thumb, as will Helm Peak, Castle Towers and Mount Davidson. Down below, you will see the massive blue Cheakamus Lake, a wonderful hike and one of the 10 Best around Whistler.
The ridge continues for several kilometers, and you will have the option to cut the hike short by taking the “Half Note Trail” back to the chair lift. We advise getting the most out of this ridge and the beautiful views that go alongside it, and continuing along the ridge until the end of the High Note Trail. You will finally reach a junction and turn left, crossing over a wide pass to reenter the official Whistler area.
You will descend through grassy ski runs and past two lakes. Several short but steep ascents bring you back to back to the Roundhouse and the two gondola stations. This section of the hike is permeated with views across the Blackcomb Mountain and back towards the glaciers and peaks of the Spearhead Range.
From here you can take the Peak to Peak chair for free, getting a truly magnificent 360-degree view of the Spearhead Range before descending to Blackcomb Village. You could also stop for a meal in the Roundhouse itself, complete with unbelievable views down to Whistler Village and the full extent of the Coast Mountains that lie behind it.
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