Important: Because of the steep and challenging terrain, pets are not allowed and the trail is not recommended for small children. If you want to know why, simply look up from the trailhead sign. Yes, the trail scales the face of that rocky knob directly in front of you. In any conditions, the trail can be treacherous, due to snow, ice, or loose gravel. Make sure you have appropriate footwear and exercise due caution. Acrophobes will not appreciate this trail.
From the northwest corner of the large parking lot at Artist Point, start out on the upper trail, Table Mountain.
The trail begins as a rock-lined gravel path and soon encounters its first switchback. It winds through interesting rock formations on its way to the rock that is Table Mountain, then begins ascending in earnest. When you have gained 400 feet to achieve the top of the rock, there is a short side trail to the right that provides an outstanding view overlooking Heather Meadows and its scenic lakes.
Continue along the south side of the relatively level “table” top. There are numerous branches of trails, but the main trail generally follows the south rim, providing views steeply down on the Chain Lakes Trail and the Swift Creek drainage. At 1.2 miles, reach the east side of the Table for views of Mount Baker, Ptarmigan Ridge, and the Chain Lakes Trail, 400 to 800 feet below.
The trail continues north to a point 1.3 miles from the trailhead, where two small tarns provide a scenic foreground for views of Mount Shuksan. The trail heading northward from the tarns is just a scramble trail that allows a sketchy descent onto the Table Mountain Glacier, then drops steeply to connect with the Chain Lakes trail over 700 feet below. Skip it. From the tarns, return the way you came.
Note: There is no camping allowed on this trail between May 15 and November 14.