5 Hiking Trails in Manning Park to Visit

Written by: Nicole van Zanten

Manning Park is a Provincial Park east of Hope, BC, approximately a 2.5 – 3 hour drive from Downtown Vancouver (dependent on traffic, of course). It is home to a beautiful resort that has capacity of about one thousand, offering cabins and camping sites for a beautiful stay outdoors. The resort is open year-round, providing access to the hiking trails in the summer and snowshoe and cross-country ski routes in the winter.

I’ve stayed in Manning Park for multi-night trips (note: there is no cell service) and it is truly a remarkable part of British Columbia to be.

Hiking in the area is equally is remarkable. For your next trip to Manning Park, here are the 5 hiking trails you need to visit.

Lighting Lake Loop

The Lighting Lake Loop is a 8.5 km round trip with minimal elevation gain, and is a popular destination for people visiting Manning Park. It’s a great way to see the beauty of the area, without a strenuous day ahead of you.

The Rainbow Bridge crossing Lightning Lake

The Rainbow Bridge along the Lightning Lake Loop Trail in Manning Park.

This hike loops around Lightning Lake, as the name so says. Going on a clockwise direction, the trail offers a great opportunity to move through viewpoints, like Rainbow Bridge.

Castle Creek Trail

This trail starts 3.5 km east of Manning Park Lodge, and is a 24 km return hike with an elevation gain of 200 m. This trail, starting at the Monument 78/83 parking lot, moves through views of Windy Joe Mountain, Frosty Mountain and Mount Winthrop, located in the United States.

One of the greatest parts I love about the Castle Creek Trail is that you can reach monuments indicating the Canada and United States boundary. From here, the Pacific Crest Trail continues through the US to the Mexican border. It’s a historic and very interesting path to travel, though it is important to note that hikers cannot enter the United States from Canada on the PCT, so do not attempt to move from the Castle Creek to the PCT. You can enter from the United States to Canada but an entry permit must be obtained prior to entry.

Fun fact – the Pacific Crest Trail was featured in the movie “Wild”, which was based on a true story.

Lightning Lakes Chain Trail

The Lightning Lakes Chain Trail is a 19 km round trip adventure in Manning Park, with very minimal elevation gain. You can even camp at the Strike Lake Campsite. Passing through each of the weather-related lakes – Lighting Lake, Flash Lake, Strike Lake and Thunder Lake – this is an easy, though long trail to experience.

Thunder Lake at the end of the Lightning Lakes Chain Trail

Thunder Lake at the end of the Lightning Lakes Chain Trail in Manning Park.

The beauty of this trail is passing these lakes and enjoying the beautiful scenery that the aforementioned lakes have to offer. It is a great option for a long day in the woods, without the strenuous addition of elevation.

Heather Trail

The Heather Trail in Manning Park is a nearly perfect backpacking experience, with amazing views, tough terrain and great facilities to use. Beautiful arrays of wildflowers pop up in the July time frame, though hiking in September still allows for incredible views to be had.

There is relatively little effort to be had when hiking this trail, although it is important to note that the duration is long – it’s about 10-12 hours one-way, and is advised to be an overnight trip for two to three nights.

A popular day-hike along the Heather Trail is to the Three Brothers Mountain, a 21.5km roundtrip hike.

The Three Brothers Mountain Trail in Manning Park

The Three Brothers Mountain route along the Heather Trail.

Frosty Mountain

Frosty Mountain is a difficult, challenging climb in Manning Park that will take about 8 hours for the average hiker. A 22 km round trip hike, Frosty Mountain offers spectacular views of surrounding Coastal Mountain ranges. The trail is certainly a climb and a scramble at times, though views on a clear day are some of the vest in the park.

It is worthy to note that the markers on the trail are few, while on your way back, so be sure to follow this guide along every step of the way.

Frosty Mountain

The view of Mount Frosty along the trail to the top.

Manning Park is a beautiful area to visit for the weekend, or an extended stay during the week. Make the most of it with these hiking trails on your next adventure.

Nicole van Zanten

As a born and raised Vancouverite, Nicole grew up on the most popular of trails, exploring Greater Vancouver, Whistler and the Sunshine Coast on weekend hikes as a child. Her love of the outdoors led her to become a trail runner, recently completing her second 50KM ultra marathon in our own backyard of the North Shore mountains. You can spot her adventuring with her trail runners and dogs on warm, sunny days, finding the next best gem to share with Vancouver Trails.

3 responses to “5 Hiking Trails in Manning Park to Visit”

  1. This is a picturesque 9-kilometer (5.6-mile) loop trail that encircles Lightning Lake, offering stunning views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. It’s a relatively easy hike with minimal elevation gain, making it suitable for families and hikers of all skill levels. You can extend the hike by exploring some of the smaller trails that branch off from the loop.

  2. Gordon says:

    Thanks- looks great. Hope to do a number of hikes there. Plan on visiting prior to the end of June.

  3. francesco cosi says:

    I would love to go here after reading your post. Thanks for some great tips on where to go

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