Trailblazing 2019: High Note Trail (Whistler Gondola)

Difficulty: Intermediate

Estimated Time: 4 hours

One Way Distance: 9.5km

Elevation Gain: 300m

Season: July - October

Car Travelling Time from Vancouver: 2 hours

Public Transit: No

Credits: https://www.vancouvertrails.com/trails/high-note-trail/

Tips:

  • Do not cross the skybridge to locate the trailhead. There are many trails in the area, so access the clearly marked trailhead.

  • Getting to the trailhead requires you to purchase the $69 gondola ticket You can save $5 by purchasing online 2+ days in advance.

  • Bring bugspray/mosquito spray as there are many insects in the area.

  • Wear lots of sunscreen as it is a very exposed and technical hike.

  • Check timings for the Peak to Peak Gondola.

  • Be prepared for vastly changing terrain.

  • 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.

  • Early August is the best season to go as the iridescent sea of wildflowers are in full bloom.

Useful Link:

After a 25 minute gondola ride followed by a Peak Chairlift, we reached the top of Whistler Mountain which was stunning and offers plenty of photo opportunities.

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Amazing views from the Cloudraker Skybridge

Amazing views from the Cloudraker Skybridge

The High Note Trail offers the most picturesque views of Cheakamus Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park from various angles. The beginning was rather technical, involving ropes and chains to navigate. It was an oversensory experience for me, as there was so much beautiful and varied alpine scenery.

The trail begins on the nearby rocky outcrop as it immediately descends while continuing to provide scenic views at different angles. The trail passes under a rope, which marks the boundary to Garibaldi Provincial Park, and continues its dip.

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Protruding black tusk was a sight to behold

Protruding black tusk was a sight to behold

The subsequent section of trail is relatively flat and hugs the mountainside as you walk high above, with soaring views of the Cheakamus River, protruding Black Tusk and surrounding mountain vistas across the valley.

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After walking for about 30 minutes and soaking up the views, the trail reaches the Cheakamus Lake Lookout, the first viewpoint of the turquoise coloured lake.

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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.

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There is one challenging segment 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. 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.

Nestled at the bottom of the bowl, surrounding by scenic alpine mountains, is the small Symphony Lake.

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.

Follow the trail back towards the Gondola as you complete the loop and return to where you began your adventure :)

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