- Difficulty Intermediate
- Time 7 hours
- Round-Trip 21.5km
- Elevation Gain 480 meters
- Season July - September
- Camping Yes
- From Vancouver 3 hours
- Public Transit No
- Dog Friendly On-Leash
Three Brothers Mountain is one of the most scenic hikes in Manning Provincial Park. Located on the north side of Highway #3, the trail begins from a parking lot at over 2000-meters in elevation before making its way along the Heather Trail, through scenic meadows and across ridges with incredible views towards the Brothers.
Although the elevation gain is listed at 480 meters, there are several downhill and uphill sections along the trail, so the cumulative elevation gain is over 900 meters. Also, the first 4km of the trail are downhill, which means that when you return to the parking lot at the end of the hike, you will have to hike uphill for the last 4km.
From gravel parking area, follow the trail that heads north as it makes its way up and over a few rocks with views before descending quickly. The trail is easy to follow and continues descending until it reaches a set of wooden stairs, where it quickly drops down to a junction with a trail to the lower parking lot. Go right and continue your hike towards the Three Brothers.
The trail makes its way through an alpine forest, offering little in the way of views, however the easy terrain and gradual downhill mean you can move quickly through this section. There is a small, red marker on a tree at the 4km mark and just a short distance further, you arrive at the Buckhorn Campsite.
Cross the small bridge and continue following the Heather Trail, leaving the campsite as the trail begins to ascend uphill. The route continues in a northward direction as you continue gaining elevation, occasionally passing small open areas but still not offering much in the way of views. Eventually, the trail emerges from the trees to an open grass meadow where the view gets better with each step you take. At this point, you are able to see views across the meadows to ridges in the far distance. At a junction with the Bonnevier Trail, continue straight along the Heather Trail.
The trail continues making its way through the meadow, offering unprecedented views. Follow the gravel path up onto a ridge where there is an incredible view to the east and you can see Three Brothers Mountain up ahead. The trail briefly descends a short, steep section before wrapping around and arriving at a junction to the First Brother.
Leave the Heather Trail by going right and following the trail up the steep hill as you make your way up towards the peak of the First Brother. As you approach the ridge and are able to see over it, you get a wonderful view of the entire region. Follow the narrow trail along the ridge, being careful to watch your step and not venture too close to the edge. The trail reaches another steep section where, this time, you have to scramble up a short section as you make your way to the peak.
From the peak, you are standing on the First Brother and have a full 360-degree view of the entire region. It's interesting to see the different climates as you see drier terrain to the north and several snow-capped mountain peaks to the south, many of which are in the United States and part of the Cascade Range. You can continue walking past the peak to a second point that is slightly lower but also offers an alternate spectacular view of the area.
After enjoying the views, begin descending back downhill as you carefully watch your step back down the steep section and along the ridge. Hike back down the hill to the junction with the Heather Trail and go left, heading back towards Buckhorn Camp and the parking lot. Begin the long hike back, enjoying the scenery and the views of the mountain ranges from a different angle. As you leave the meadows and continue descending towards the campsite, keep in mind that the final 4km after the campsite are all uphill. Follow the trail through the campsite until you reach the junction, then go left to the upper parking lot, up the large set of wooden stairs, before making the final ascent to where you began.