• Difficulty Intermediate
  • Time 4 hours
  • One-Way 9.5km
  • Elevation Gain 300 meters
  • Season July - October
  • Camping No
  • From Vancouver 2 hours
  • Public Transit No
  • Dog Friendly No

The High Note Trail offers the most scenic view of Cheakamus Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park. The trail starts from the top of Whistler Mountain and wraps around the backside, offering dozens of incredible, mountaintop views before descending through the alpine area back to the Whistler Gondola.

This trail requires that you take the Whistler Gondola and Peak Chairlift to the trailhead, which begins at the top of Whistler Mountain. After taking in all the views at the top of Whistler, start the trail on the nearby rocky outcrop as it immediately descends while continuing to offer scenic views at different angles looking south. The trail passes under a rope, which marks the boundary to Garibaldi Provincial Park, and continues downward. Watch your step as the dry dirt and lose gravel on the steep sections can cause you to easily lose your footing.

Eventually, the trail crosses a gravel road, used by mountain bikers, and continues on the other side. The next section of trail is relatively flat and clings to the mountainside as you walk high above, with views of the Cheakamus River below and Black Tusk and surrounding mountains across the valley. In early-August, the colourful sea of wild flowers are in bloom but you have to be quick with the timing because they do not last long.

After walking for about 30 minutes and enjoying dozens of views, the trail reaches the Cheakamus Lake Lookout, the first viewpoint of the turquoise coloured lake below. Continue along the trail and a short distance later, you reach the junction with the Half Note Trail. The Half Note offers a shorter, but steep, route back to an access road that returns to the Gondola. Go right and continue your hike along the High Note Trail as it passes through a rocky section before the dirt path passes between the grassy mountainside high above Cheakamus Lake.

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. This should not be a problem for most hikers, however if you are hiking with children or anyone unsure of their footing on this, make sure to help them through this obstacle. After this, the trail continues its way along the mountain and eventually reaches a junction. You will go left at the junction to continue along the High Note Trail back towards the Gondola. The route to the right is known as Singing Pass and continues into Garibaldi Provincial Park towards Russet Lake.

The trail passes through a fairly flat section before descending down an open, rocky area known as Sun Bowl. Nestled at the bottom of the bowl, surrounding by scenic alpine mountains, is the small Symphony Lake. After enjoying the views, continue hiking the trail as it passes alongside a large rock slide and up and over a pass before descending next to viewpoints of Blackcomb in the distance.

The last section of the trail descends quickly as the terrain changes from rocky to the occasional trees. At the Harmony Meadows junction, go right and continue downhill towards Harmony lake. Go left at the junction next to the lake and stay on the boardwalks as you walk around the lake to the far side before starting the uphill section. After several hours of hiking downhill, the leg muscles will be challenged by this final uphill push, however it's relatively short and not too steep before the trail levels next to a snowmaking reservoir. Follow the trail back towards the Gondola as you complete the loop and return to where you began your adventure.


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Video clips of the High Note Trail in Whistler, BC. Music by China Syndrome.

How to get to High Note Trail

Estimated Driving Time from Vancouver
2 hours

The High Note Trail begins at the top of the Whistler Peak Chairlift. This is most easily accessed by driving to Whistler, taking the Whistler Gondola up the mountain, walking a short distance to the chairlift, and then taking the Peak Chair to the top of the mountain.

From Vancouver, make your way to Georgia Street and drive westbound until it turns into the Stanley Park causeway and crosses the Lions Gate Bridge. Stay in the left lane as you exit the bridge and loop around the off-ramp into West Vancouver. At the first set of lights, turn right onto Taylor Way and drive up the steep hill. Look for signs to Highway #1 West and after passing under the overpass, turn left and merge onto the highway.

Continue driving along the Highway and just before Horseshoe Bay, watch for signs, and merge onto the Sea To Sky Highway (Highway #99). Follow this route north as, an hour into your drive, you pass through the town of Squamish and keep going until you reach Whistler. At the main Whistler Village lights, turn right, drive straight for a bit, then make a left onto Blackcomb Way. Turn right into the big parking lot and park your car here (note some sections are pay).

To take the Whistler Gondola, you will need to purchase a ticket at the base of the Gondola. Take the 25-minute Gondola ride to the top. Once at the top of the Gondola, exit the building and look to the right down the hill to where the chairlift to the peak is. Walk down the trail towards the chairlift. Note: Make sure not to walk down the mountain biking trail. Note2: Children must be at least 40" tall, no exceptions, so check with one of the signs if you have a child with you, otherwise you'll have to walk back up the hill after being turned away.

After you've taken the chairlift to the peak of Whistler, walk down the stairs and go right towards the big stone Innukshuk. Enjoy the views down towards the village and across into Garibaldi Provincial Park. Just behind the Innukshuk is a trail that leads down and follows a short path around and up onto an adjacent rocky outcrop. It is on the other side of this rocky outcrop where the official trailhead to the High Note Trail begins.

View a map of Driving directions to High Note Trail.

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Additional Info

Camping at High Note Trail

Camping is not permitted at High Note Trail.

Dogs at High Note Trail

Dogs are not permitted in Garibaldi Provincial Park nor on the gondolas or chairlifts of Whistler Blackcomb.

Toilets at High Note Trail

Toilets are located in the building at the top of the Whistler Gondola. Also, there are toilet facilities at the top of the peak chair lift. There are no toilets or outhouses along the High Note Trail itself.

Dogs, Toilets and Camping

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