- 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
July 22, 2020
Garibaldi Provincial Park is re-opening on July 27th.
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. Please note that there are height restrictions for the Whistler chairlift and children under the required height will not be allowed to ride on the chairlift for safety reasons. Check with Whistler / Blackcomb for the updated requirements.
From the top of Whistler and after taking in all the views of the stunning mountains, 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.