Heather Trail to Nicomen Lake Backpacking Trail

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This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
43.8 km
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
1,531 m
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Directions to Trailhead

The Heather Trail to Nicomen Lake is a beautifully scenic multi-day hike that climbs through the alpine meadows of E.C. Manning Provincial Park on the way to the pristine waters of Nicomen Lake. This backpacking trail is fairly long at 43.8 km, but the terrain isn’t overly difficult/technical and there are several campsites located along the route. This makes for a flexible backcountry journey that you can customize to fit your schedule.

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Route Description for Heather Trail to Nicomen Lake Backpacking Trail

The Heather Trail to Nicomen Lake is an extensive hiking route that stretches from the end of Blackwall Road all the way up to Nicomen Lake Camp in the backcountry of E.C. Manning Provincial Park. In order to traverse the 43.8 km trail, hikers should ensure that they wear proper hiking footwear and bring all of the necessary supplies for a multi-day trek. Additionally, long stretches of the trail offer no shade, so be sure to bring sunscreen and adequate protective clothing to guard yourself from the elements. As with most British Columbia hiking trails, make sure to travel in groups and/or bring bear spray to avoid any potentially dangerous encounters with bears or other wildlife.

While this hike may be long, the stunning scenery along the route is absolutely worth the effort. As you make your way up through the beautiful alpine meadows, wou will be surrounded by rugged mountain peaks, scenic woodland forests, and delicate fields of wildflowers. There are three campsites along the trail - Buckhorn, Kicking Horse, and Nicomen Lake - allowing hikers to have the flexibility of choosing where they would like to set up camp along the route. This means that you can plan for a two, three, or four day hike without having to significantly alter the route. Arriving at the pristine waters of Nicomen Lake, you will be able to take a refreshing swim while surrounded by a peaceful woodland atmosphere. The Heather Trail to Nicomen Lake is one of the top hiking routes to add to your list if you are thinking of visiting E.C. Manning Provincial Park.

Setting out from the lower parking lot on Blackwall Road, follow the trail as it passes through the sparse tree cover in a northerly direction. After passing through the Bighorn Campground, the trail will open up into a beautiful alpine meadow and take you past Big Buck and Three Brothers mountains. From here, the trail will veer to the northwest as you pass by the Kicking Horse Campground and make your way along a ridge toward Nicomen Lake. The descent to the lake is fairly steep and technical, but once you make your way down you will be able to set up camp and enjoy the natural beauty of the lakeside setting. After spending the night, say goodbye to the calming waters of Nicomen Lake and head back along the Heather Trail to return to the parking lot on Blackwall Road.

Sample Itinerary:

Although this trek can also be planned to include an overnight stay along the trail at Kicking Horse Campground, this sample itinerary instead opts for a longer day of hiking straight to the campsite next to Nicomen Lake.

  • Day 1
    Trailhead to Nicomen Lake
    Distance: 21.9 km
    Elevation gain: 689 m
    Campground: Nicomen Lake Camp
  • Day 2
    Nicomen Lake to trailhead
    Distance: 21.9 km
    Elevation gain: 842 m
    Campground: None

Getting to the Heather Trail to Nicomen Lake Backpacking Trail Trailhead

To reach the lower parking lot for the Heather Trail to Nicomen Lake from Hope, head east on BC-3 E for 60.0 km and turn left onto Owl Way. From there you will make another left to get onto Blackwell Road, following it for 14.2 km to get to the parking area and the trailhead.

Route Information

  • When to do


  • Backcountry Campsites

    Nicomen Lake Camp, Kicking Horse Campground, Buckhorn Campsite

  • Pets allowed


  • Family friendly


  • Route Signage


  • Crowd Levels


  • Route Type

    Out and back

Heather Trail to Nicomen Lake Backpacking Trail Elevation Graph

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