The alpine hiking trails on Whistler Mountain are the ultimate in luxurious hiking. Little hiking effort gets you amazing views of turquoise lakes, snowy mountain, valleys of flowers, waterfalls and spectacular glaciers. In the summer months, Whistler Mountain is somewhat divided in two. The lower half of the mountain is for biking and the upper half is for hiking, sightseeing, trail running, eating and drinking. There are a few directions you can start hiking from the Roundhouse Lodge, however, taking the Peak Express(quad chairlift) up to the summit of Whistler Mountain is an amazing place to start. The Peak Express is an exhilarating ride that takes you to the start of Whistler Mountain's best hiking trails. The Half Note Trail, High Note Trail and Mathew's Traverse start here. The High Note Trail in turn leads to the Musical Bumps Trail to Russet Lake and Singing Pass in Garibaldi Provincial Park.
The summit of Whistler Mountain is also a destination of its own. Spectacular views all around from this rocky, alpine summit visible from almost everywhere in Whistler. Black Tusk comes into view as you exit the Peak Express. This amazingly distinct pinnacle of jet-black rock is a local icon and remnant of a not too distant history of volcanism in the area. As you admire its absurdly vertical form, remind yourself that there is almost certainly a few hikers looking back at you from its summit. Looking right as you get off the Peak Express you will see an enormous inuksuk. A remnant of the 2010 Olympic Games and now a fixture in thousands of photos. This beautiful stacking of huge rocks is a take-away from the Inuit tradition of marking routes in an otherwise stark landscape with a human form. The inuksuk is part of the Whistler Summit Interpretive Walk. This 1.6 kilometre(1 mile), trail takes you along an excellent route around the summit of Whistler to one amazing viewpoint after another.
Branching off of the Whistler Summit Interpretive Walk you will see the High Note Trail extend toward the rocky cliffs. The High Note Trail is a beautiful trail that skirts the edge of Whistler Mountain for several kilometres before bending back around Whistler to the Roundhouse Lodge. A total of 9.4 kilometres(6 miles), the High Note Trail is a must-see trail on Whistler. For much of the trail you have Cheakamus Lake down the valley on your right. This huge lake fills the valley below with an extraordinarily vivid turquoise colour. This amazing colour caused by glacial meltwater filling the lake with suspended particles of rock which in turn reflect the light in a strikingly beautiful way.
The High Note Trail takes about 3 hours for most to hike and returns you to the Roundhouse Lodge where you began before walking down to the Peak Express and riding it up to the trailhead at the summit of Whistler. If you prefer a shorter route you can veer off from the High Note Trail, part way and take the Half Note Trail back. The Half Note Trail takes a couple kilometres off of the High Note Trail, though doesn't cut it in half as the name suggests. The Half Note Trail connects you to Pika's Traverse, which is an access road that runs from Whistler's summit down to the Roundhouse. Though it is a dusty road, it still has beautiful views for most of the way.
If you take the High Note Trail and continue further along the ridge of Whistler, you will get more stunning views of Cheakamus Lake before it bends left and in the direction of the Roundhouse Lodge. At this bend you will come to the trail junction for the Musical Bumps Trail that continues toward Russet Lake and Singing Pass. This is Piccolo Summit which leads to Flute Summit and then Oboe Summit. These summits, long ago, became known as the Musical Bumps and inevitably the Musical Bumps Trail.
The Musical Bumps Trail takes you to Russet Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park. This wonderful little lake lays in a brutally hostile looking valley dominated by The Fissile. The Fissile is the strikingly triangular shaped, reddish orange mountain visible from Whistler Village. If you walk along Northlands Boulevard in the Village and see Blackcomb Mountain and Whistler Mountain with the Peak to Peak Gondola running between them, then you will have seen The Fissile. It lays directly behind and seems to want to pierce the suspended 4 kilometre long gondola lines.
The Fissile is climbable by the brave, but Russet Lake is a popular hiking destination for weekend hikers in Garibaldi Park. It can be hiked in a day, however, at 28 kilometres roundtrip, it is a brutally long day. The Singing Pass Trail which begins in Whistler Village(near the taxi and bus loop up the stairs from the Dubh Linn Gate Pub), takes you to Russet Lake as well. This makes for a long 28k trail that can be done in reverse for free as you can hike from the Village all the way to the summit of Whistler and ride the gondola back down.