Hikes in E.C. Manning Provincial Park
Established in 1941 following the death of Ernest Callaway Manning, E.C. Manning Provincial Park offers 83,671 hectares of pristine British Columbia wilderness that just begs to be explored by outdoor enthusiasts of all varieties. Within a three hour drive of the Okanagan Valley and the Lower Mainland, the park is easily accessible, yet remote enough to let you leave the chaos of everyday life behind and reconnect with nature.
Located in the heart of the Cascade Mountains near the Canada-United States border, there is no shortage of beautiful landscapes and breathtaking views that can be experienced within E.C. Manning Provincial Park. With a four season approach to accessibility and a number of highlights that range from historic sites to wildlife viewing opportunities and gorgeous vistas, there is no reason to put off a trip to E.C. Manning Provincial Park.
The Greatest Hikes in E.C. Manning Provincial Park
In terms of hiking trails, E.C. Manning Provincial Park has it all. Whether you are looking for a 15-minute walk from the parking lot, a scenic lakeside stroll with the family, or a multi-day adventure through the backcountry; you had better believe that there is a trail in the park with your name on it. Rugged mountain peaks, picturesque alpine meadows, and crystal clear lakes all await in this outdoor lover’s paradise that is nestled along the southern edge of British Columbia. If you are thinking of planning your next big hiking excursion in BC, check out this list that we’ve put together of some of the best routes that can be found in E.C. Manning Provincial Park:
- Fat Dog Trail: This 14.8 km trail is open for winter access only, but don’t let that stop you from getting out on the trails to explore the wintery landscape and surrounding mountain peaks.
- Frosty Mountain Trail: This route is a bit on the long side; however, it will expose you to an amazing variety of terrain that includes calm forest, gorgeous meadows, and rugged peaks. One of the best hikes in the park, the Frosty Mountain Trail will provide some amazing views over the Canada-United States border.
- Three Brothers Mountain Trail: This trail is another beautifully scenic route that will take you uphill through charming alpine meadows for some amazing summit views. A sea of wildflowers is the perfect accompaniment to the panoramic views you’ll receive at the top of this stunning trail.
- Lightning Lake Loop: This charming forest hike is a great family-friendly option if you want a trail that isn’t too difficult, but still has some gorgeous views. Be prepared to walk through beautiful stretches of woodland terrain and a scenic lakeside setting.
- Poland Lake Trail: Climbing uphill through meadows and forests, the Poland Lake Trail will take you to a campsite surrounded by some stunning views. As an added bonus, you can jump into the lake to cool off at the midway point of your journey, or set up camp for a fun weekend spent outdoors.
- Lone Goat and Snow Camp Mountain Trail: This route is another lengthy trail; however, the views from the summit vantage points atop these peaks will be sure to take your breath away. With relatively easy to navigate terrain, this hike is perfect for beginner/casual hikers that are up for a long distance challenge.
- Mount Kelly Trail: Although not as long as other hikes on this list, the Mount Kelly Trail is a fun adventure that will lead you uphill for a commanding view of the park. Here, you will enjoy a sightline overlooking the rugged peaks, dense woodlands, and stunning meadows that characterize the landscape.
- East Skyline Trail: This lengthy hike near Lightning Lake will take you uphill along a ridge for some beautiful views of the park. Parts of the trail can be a bit demanding, but you will forget about any exhaustion after taking in the natural beauty of the surrounding terrain.
- The Three Falls Trail: At 9.3 km, this moderate length route is great for beginner/casual hikers that want to experience some amazing highlights without too much trouble. Along the trail, you will visit three different waterfalls and take in some awesome views of the surrounding forest landscape.
When is the Best Time to Hike in E.C. Manning Provincial Park?
While E.C. Manning Provincial Park is open to the public year-round, its trails are best explored during the summer months when conditions are most favourable. Due to the remote nature of the park, many people will also spend a few days camping in the area to fully appreciate the natural beauty of the park. Whether you are looking for a simple day hike or a multi-day backcountry journey, you will find that the best time to hit the trails in E.C. Manning Provincial Park is in the May-October window.
Other Outdoor Activities in E.C. Manning Provincial Park
As an all-season paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, E.C. Manning Provincial Park provides access to several different activities that will get you out exploring the beautiful landscapes within the park. During the summertime, the most popular activities in the park include hiking its many trails, wildlife viewing, swimming, canoeing, cycling, and horseback riding. For those adventurers looking to explore the area in the winter, you will find multiple opportunities to trek across the landscape via snowshoes or cross-country skis. No matter the time of year, there will always be an exciting adventure waiting around the corner in E.C. Manning Provincial Park.
Frequently Asked Questions About E.C. Manning Provincial Park
What does E.C. Manning stand for?
The park is named after Ernest Callaway Manning, who served as the Chief Forester of British Columbia from 1936-1941. His work was instrumental in establishing a number of parks that include E.C. Manning, Tweedsmuir, Hamber, and Wells Gray.
How many campsites does E.C. Manning Provincial Park have?
During the summer, the park features 357 campsites that are spread between the Lightning Lake, Coldspring, Hampton, and Mule Deer campgrounds.
Best Hikes in E.C. Manning Provincial Park
Fat Dog Trail
The Fat Dog Trail is a 14.8 km out-and-back route in E.C. Manning Provincial Park that is open for winter access only, operating from December-March. Because of this, the route is popular with snowshoers and cross country skiers, but can also be utilized by hikers depending on trail conditions. This amazing trail is a great option to get out into the scenic winter landscape of the park and enjoy majestic views of nearby mountains.
Frosty Mountain Trail
The Frosty Mountain Trail is a scenic 21.2 km out-and-back hiking route in E.C. Manning Provincial Park that will take you through picturesque forests and alpine meadows on a course leading to the summit of Frosty Mountain. Along the trail, you will be able to see the natural beauty of the landscape, including wildflowers, golden larches, and awesome mountain views overlooking the Canada-United States border. This hike is definitely a contender for the best route in the area.
Three Brothers Mountain Trail
The Three Brothers Mountain Trail is a 20.4 km out-and-back route that climbs gradually through a scenic alpine meadow on the way to its namesake mountain peak. Along the trail, hikers will see amazing wildflowers within the picturesque valley before making the final ascent along the ridgeline. Here, you will experience 360° panoramic views over the mountains that straddle the Canada-United States border. If you are looking for a fairly easy hike with amazing alpine views, then the Three Brothers Mountain Trail should certainly be at the top of your list.
Lightning Lake Loop
The Lightning Lake Loop is a scenic woodland hike in E.C. Manning Provincial Park that takes a waterside route to some nice viewpoints over the lake. This 8.5 km loop trail has some easy terrain and small changes in elevation, making it a great day hike option for families to get out and enjoy nature. This trail is the perfect way to take in the beauty of the park without tackling one of its tougher climbs.
Poland Lake Trail
The Poland Lake Trail is a 14.5 km out-and-back hiking route in E.C. Manning Provincial Park that takes you on a steady uphill climb through meadows and woodlands to a scenic lakeside spot. Along the trail you will see beautiful wildflowers and rugged mountain peaks and have the opportunity to swim in the refreshing waters of the lake. Hikers will also be able to take advantage of the campsite beside Poland Lake for a great weekend of outdoor living in the backcountry.
East Skyline Trail
The East Skyline Trail is a 19.8 km out-and-back hiking route through the forests west of Lightning Lake that will take you on an uphill climb to traverse a ridgeline with amazing views. From here, you will be able to look out over the mountains of E.C. Manning Provincial Park as you traverse the exposed length of the ridge. The initial stretch of this trail is a bit of a grind that can easily be forgotten once you experience the scenic views of the surrounding area.
Lone Goat and Snow Camp Mountain Trail
The Lone Goat and Snow Camp Mountain Trail is a 19.8 km out-and-back hiking route within E.C. Manning Provincial Park that climbs along the Skyline Trail to reach these two amazing mountain peaks. Climbing along the ridgeline, you will have spectacular views of the surrounding area and depending on the time of year, it may be populated with beautiful wildflowers. This long route traverses some relatively easy terrain, making it a great option for some fun weekend exploring.
Mount Kelly Trail
The Mount Kelly Trail is a beautifully scenic 7.4 km out-and-back hiking route that climbs along the undulating ridges of E.C. Manning Provincial Park to summit Mount Kelly at 1,908 m. From here, hikers will have commanding views of the entire region, enabling them to gaze out over the surrounding mountains and woodland valleys. With a moderate elevation gain and fairly easy to navigate terrain, this hike is a perfect option for experiencing the beauty of the park without the long grind of some other nearby routes.
Three Falls Trail
The Three Falls Trail is an awesome 3.9 km out-and-back hiking route in E.C. Manning Provincial Park that takes hikers on a fun trek to see three unique waterfalls. Scenic forest views, relatively easy terrain, and of course, the picturesque waterfalls all make this trail a great option for hikers of all skill levels. Time your hike for late July and you’ll be able to snack on the wild strawberries that grow along the trail- just make sure to keep an eye out for any bears that might not want to share them!
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