you're looking for a getaway less than three hours' drive from Vancouver, Manning
Provincial Park is it. Named for E. C. Manning, chief forester of British Columbia
from 1935 to 1940, the park has rain forests on its west side and grassland slopes
on its east side. Between the two extremes lies a land of wild rivers, crystal
lakes, towering peaks, and alpine meadows that is brimming with recreational opportunities
Welcome to Manning
Provincial Park features tremendously diverse landscapes and plentiful flora and
fauna. Hiking trails are its chief draw, but the park also offers horseback riding,
swimming, canoeing, fishing, mountain biking, and, in winter, cross-country and
Lying between the moist coast and the dry interior, Manning contains examples
of 5 of British Columbia's 14 biogeoclimatic zones. Lush coastal growth gives
way to dryland stands of pine and, near the timberline, stands of alpine larch.
One of the most spectacular is on Mount Frosty's eastern shoulder, where some
of the trees are nearly a yard (1 metre) in diameter. Conifers such as Douglas
fir, western red cedar, western hemlock, subalpine fir, Englemann spruce, and
lodgepole pine may be seen in the park, as well as aspen and cottonwood.
The park is perhaps best
known for its magnificent midsummer displays of subalpine flowers, but there are
other flora worth watching for. Rhododendron Flats, near the park's western entrance,
has a substantial colony of pinkish-red rhododendrons, a protected indigenous
species that blooms early to mid-June. The California or red rhododendron is rarely
found as far north as British Columbia. Strawberry Flats boasts a profusion of
wild strawberries and rich variety of plant species. Orchids and other bog flora
can be viewed June through July along the Rein Orchid Nature Trail.
Manning Provincial Park
makes nature's wonders available to everyone. Short self-guided nature trails
allow visitors to experience the fascinating world of the subalpine zone or view
magnificent stands of western red cedar and Douglas fir in a half-hour or less.
Almost all of the park's important features are easily reached from Highway 3.
Small wonder, then, that Manning is the third most popular park in the province.
Among the best times to visit are in May, once the snow has left the ground and
before the biting insects become aggressive, and in September, when the first
frosts trigger autumn colours here where the Cascade and Coast Mountains meet.
No matter what the season, magic always freshens the mountain peaks at sunrise
Park boasts numerous trails to suit both novice and experienced hikers. North
of Highway 3, the Blackwall Peak and Three Brothers Mountain area
offers Canada's finest and most extensive example of subalpine meadows accessible
by vehicle. A partly paved, partly gravel road winds up the mountain to the parking
area just below the 6,768-foot (2,063-metre) Blackwall Peak. At this level, the
snow stays until late June and returns in September; as a result, all kinds of
plants rush into flower. The magnificent floral displays peak from late July to
mid-August, when the meadows provide a kaleidoscope of colours.
short Paintbrush Trail (easy; less than 1 mile/1.6 km) beginning at the
naturalist hut introduces visitors to the fascinating world of the subalpine zone.
To experience more extensive floral displays and better views of the mountain
peaks, hike along part or all of the Heather Trail (moderate; 26 miles/42
km return) to Nicomen Ridge. In places, the carpets of flowers spread 3 miles
wide; in others, they condense into massive mats of arctic lupines speckled with
Indian paintbrushes and subalpine daisies.
3 cuts through Manning Park
park booklet helps with flower identification en route. Plants, of course, should
never be damaged or removed, and hikers must not venture off the trail. Wilderness
camping areas are located along the Kicking Horse Trail at Kicking Horse,
at about 8 miles (13.5 km), and Nicomen Lake, at just over 14 miles (23
km). This area has a permanent ban on open fires, so backpacking stoves should
be used for all cooking. Overnighters can return the same way or, with the use
of two vehicles, along Grainger Creek Trail and Hope Pass Trail
(moderate; 7.5 miles/12 km), coming out on Highway 3 at Cayuse Flats, about
15 miles (24 km) west of Manning Provincial Park headquarters.
Shorter trails in the park include one to the top of Windy Joe Mountain
(moderate to difficult; 9.3 miles/15 km return), where an old fire lookout with
interpretive panels identifies the surrounding mountains. Frosty Mountain Loop
(difficult; 17 or 18 miles/28 or 29 km return, depending on route) is most colourful
in the fall, when its beautiful larch forest is on fire with autumnal shades.
The highest peak in the park at 7,900 feet (2,408 metres), Frosty offers fabulous
views of the North Cascades.
Awe-inspiring peaks and wildflower meadows can be experienced along the Skyline
I Trail (difficult; 12.7-mile/20-km loop) and Skyline II Trail (difficult;
7.8 miles/12.5 km to Mowich Camp), which heads west towards the Skagit Valley
Provincial Park. Manning Provincial Park also contains a section of the Canada-wide
National Trail, which enters the park in its southeast corner as Monument 83 Trail
from Cathedral Provincial Park. For real long-distance hiking buffs, Manning is
the start of the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs for 2,480 miles (4,000
km) to Mexico.
There are four summer
drive-in campgrounds with a total of 355 sites and two areas set aside for winter
camping (usually the day after Canada Thanksgiving to mid-May).
Campground (99 vehicle/tent sites) - the camping fee at this campground includes
the following services: pit toilets, firewood, tap water. The sites at this campground
are larger, farther apart and because it is not on a water source is the least
used campground in the park. The normal operating season for this campground is
June to September.
Deer Campground (49 vehicle/tent sites) - several sites are located on the
river and approximately half the sites are fairly open. The camping fee at this
campground includes the following services: pit/flush toilets, firewood and tap
water. This is the first campground to open in the spring. The usual operating
season is April to October.
Pond, Manning Provincial Park
Coldspring Campground (64 vehicle/tent
sites) - a few sites overlook the Similkameen River. The camping fee at this campground
includes the following services: pit toilets, fire wood and hand pumps for water.
Operating season is usually May to September.
Lightning Lake Campground
(143 vehicle/tent sites) - this campground is especially popular during the summer
months; reservations (recommended) for any site can be made by calling (800) 689-9025.
Prior to May and October all sites are first come first serve. There are several
hiking/walking trails that commence from this campground. Lightning Lake is a
popular swimming and fishing lake. The Amphitheatre is also within a very short
walk from all campsites. Since this campground receives the most amount of snow
during the winter it is the last campground to open in the spring.
Winter camping for
self-contained units is available at the Lightning Lake day-use area, and for
tenters there is the Lone Duck winter camping area. The extensive trail system
of the Cascade Provincial Recreation Area, which is accessed from Highway 3 in
Manning Provincial Park, provides the opportunity for ski touring, but no huts
or shelters are available.
Wilderness, backcountry or walk-in camping
is allowed. Limited facilities are provided at 10 wilderness campgrounds with
a total of 55 sites.
Buckhorn wilderness site located at 5 km on the
Heather Trail, consists of 10 tent pads, bear cache and outhouses.
Mountain wilderness camp is at the 1850 m elevation on the Frosty Mountain
Trail. The hike to the camp is a strenuous 7 km from the Lightning Lake Day Use
area. This 2 or 3 tent camp consists of pit toilet, fire ring and a shelter.
Grainger Creek wilderness/horse camp is on the Hope Pass Trail just past
the junction of the Hope Pass/Grainger Creek trail or 6 km from Cayuse Flats and
11.5 km from Nicomen Lake camp. The camp has space for 3 tents and consists of
a fire pit, pit toilet and a good water source from Grainger Creek.
Horse wilderness site locate at 13.5 km on the Heather Trail consists of 8
tent pads and an outhouse. This wilderness camp is situated in the sub-alpine
Monument 78 wilderness/horse camp is located 11.5 km from
the Monument 78 trailhead or .5 km before the Canada/US border. The camp has space
for 4 tents and consists of a pit toilet, fire ring, horse corral and a good water
source from Castle Creek.
Mowich wilderness site is located on the
Skyline II Trail, 12.5 km from Strawberry Flats or 6.5 km from the Skyline I and
Skyline II junction. It is at the 1600 m elevation, has a wilderness shelter,
pit toilet, bear cache and a camping area for 4 tents.
wilderness site located at 23 km on the Heather Trail or 17.5 km from Cayuse Flats
consists of an open 6 tent camping area near the lake, shelter and outhouse.
Pacific Crest wilderness camp is located on the Pacific Crest Trail, less
than 1/2 km from the Pacific Crest Trail/Frosty Mountain Trail junction or 6.3
km from the PCT/Windy Joe/Frosty Mountain trailhead parking lot. While this camp
does not have a shelter, there is a pit toilet, fire ring, space for 4 tents and
a good stream for water.
Poland Lake wilderness site is located at
the north/west end of Poland Lake. After hiking a fairly strenuous 8 km from Strawberry
Flats you arrive at Poland Lake, the site consists of a camping area for 6 tents,
bear cache, wilderness shelter, pit toilets.
Strike Lake wilderness
site is nestled in a protective grove of tall Engelmann Spruce trees at the western
end of Strike Lake. Strike Lake is the third of four lakes on the Lightning Lake
Chain Trail. It is a relatively easy 1 - 1.5 hour hike to the camp. The camp consists
of pit toilets, bear cache and a camping area for 8 tents. As this site is one
of the easiest hikes and the first site to be free of snow it is very popular
throughout the season.
park has a day-use/picnic area at 7 locations as follows: West Gate Portal; Sumallo
Grove; Coldspring campsite; Lightning Lake Day Use area; Spruce Bay; Sub-Alpine
Meadows and Blowdown. As Manning Park is located in the Cascade Mountains the
camping season is dependent on snow levels. Just outside the east entrance to
the park is a service station, convenience store, restaurant, liquor outlet, postal
service and Greyhound bus service.
Grove, Manning Provincial Park, BC
Horse use has been traditional on the historic trails in
Manning Provincial Park. Horses are allowed on designated trails only, these include:
Monument 78/83; Dewdney; Hope Pass; Poland Lake; Pacific Crest; Windy Joe; Skagit
Bluffs Similkameen East and West, North Gibson and Little Muddy.Trail riders can
camp overnight at Monument 78; Dewdney and Hope Pass trails. Manning Park Stable
and Tours operates a horse rental concession during the summer months. This includes
hourly horse and pony rentals as well as overnight tours.
Manning Provincial Park provides excellent wildlife-viewing opportunities. Small
mammals, including marmots, beavers, and chipmunks, share the wilderness areas
with black bears, mule deer, and coyotes. Beavers, elk, and moose reside in the
park but are seldom seen. Birdlife is abundant, especially in summer, with 206
species to watch for. Early morning is the best time for observing birds and mammals.
As always in wilderness areas, hikers and campers should be alert for wild animals,
especially bears, and take the necessary safety precautions.
Manning Provincial Park offers more than 62 miles (100 km)
of ungroomed beginner, intermediate, and advanced cross-country ski trails,
as well as snowshoeing opportunities. For downhill skiers and snowboarders,
the Gibson Pass Ski Area, a private operation located in the park, offers
a variety of slopes and runs with its two chairlifts, T-bar and beginners' handle
tow. It also features a ski school, groomed and track-set cross-country ski trails,
equipment rentals, a day lodge, and day care. Total vertical drop here is 1,417
feet (431 metres).
Half a dozen trails in Manning Provincial Park are open to mountain
bikers, as are the designated vehicle roadways.
Manning Provincial Park, BC
shortest is the Lone Duck Trail (easy; less than 1 mile/1.6 km one way),
between the Lightning Lake campground and 20 Minute Lake. There are also three
2-mile-long (one way) trails beside Lightning Lake for intermediate to advanced
riders. For the more advanced rider, there is the 9.3-mile (15-km) return ride
on the Windy Joe Trail from the Beaver Pond over the top of Windy Joe Mountain.
For a full list of mountain-bike trails, cyclists should obtain a park brochure
and map from the visitors centre.
A chain of lakes flows southwest from Manning Provincial Park's Lightning Lake,
the biggest in the series, where there is an unpatrolled beach and swimming area.
Visitors are urged to mind their water safety: Never swim alone and be vigilant
when children are near or in the water. Pets must be leashed at all times and
are not allowed in beach and picnic areas. Lightning Lake also provides good canoeing
(there is a launch ramp at the day-use area), but powerboats are prohibited in
Fly-fishing for rainbow trout in Lightning and Strike Lakes is usually
good though the trout in these cold, nutrient-poor waters rarely exceed 2 pounds
(1 kg). The Similkameen and Sumallo Rivers have dolly varden, and
rainbow and cutthroat trout. Watch for good casting spots as Highway 3 runs beside
both rivers on its journey through the park. You will need a British Columbia
angling licence if you plan to fish in Manning Provincial Park.
The Manning Provincial Park Visitors Centre, situated just over 0.6 mile (1 km)
east of the Manning Provincial Park Resort on Highway 3 it's open June to September,
and has displays depicting the natural and human history of the region. During
the summer months, interpreters offer a variety of special programs ranging from
nature walks to evening slide shows.
Manning Provincial Park straddles Highway 3 between Hope and Princeton. The park's
western entrance is 16 miles (26 km) east of Hope, its eastern entrance 30 miles
(48 km) southwest of Princeton. Allison Pass, at an elevation of 4,403 feet (1,342
metres), is the high point of Highway 3 as it traverses the park.
at Manning Provincial Park Campsite
at Manning Provincial Park
River in Manning Park Sumallo
Grove in Manning Park