It’s nearing peak bloom in our wildflower season at Manning Park, and guests are flooding our sub-alpine meadows to see the flowers in all their glory.
While these meadows are stunning, overnight campsites along the Heather Trail (Buckhorn and Kicking Horse) are overwhelmed, and the parking lots are full daily. It is getting harder to find parking and you are not permitted to park outside of designated areas.
We encourage you to check out some of the following lesser known spots for wilderness camping in Manning Park to view wildflowers, where they are just as breathtaking.
8km one way / 2.5-3 hours / elevation change: 435m. Begins at Strawberry Flats parking lot.
This hike to the pristine alpine Poland Lake crosses the ski hill area, and is covered with wildflowers during peak bloom. One interesting feature is that the flowers bloom a bit later here than up in the sub-alpine meadows, so it offers a longer opportunity to see the flowers.
Monument 78/PCT Trailhead
12km one way / 3.5hours / elevation change: 200m. Begins at Monument 78/83 parking lot.
Monument 78 is the first camp on Canadian soil for hikers of the Pacific Crest Trail. This is a great alternative to more popular sites at Manning Park, and the camp is located right beside Castle Creek. You will be rewarded with countless wildflowers along your hike, including the above chocolate lily.
16km one way / 5 hours / elevation change: 850m. Begins at Monument 78/83 parking lot.
Monument 83 takes you to the Canadian/U.S Border, and includes 2 fire lookout towers and a mysterious rock-covered grave of “Pasayten Pete, shot by L.E. Lael, 26.8.61”. Does the grave contain the body of a loyal horse, a drunken rum runner, or a two-faced prospector? Nobody knows…
29.3km or 27.7km depending on route / 9-11 hours / elevation change: 1150m. Begins just past dam on the eastern end of Lightning Lake.
Frosty Mountain wilderness camp is high up in the Alpine and provides stunning views of the Cascade Mountains. Due to the elevation gain, wildflowers are blooming along almost the entire trail. Rumour has it, you might even run into a Mountain Goat! Make sure to visit the alpine lake, which is just 8km from the campsite.
20km return / 6-7 hours / little elevation change. Start from Spruce Bay Beach parking lot.
Strike Lake is the third of four lakes on the Lightning Lakes Chain Trail. Although this hike is not in the alpine, beautiful wildflowers grow along this trail due to the amount of water in the area. Keep an eye out for the monkshood as tall as your shoulder!
Looking for a Day Hike?
16km return / 4.5-5.5 hours / elevation change: 525m. Begins at Windy Joe / Pacific Crest parking lot on the Gibson Pass Road.
If you’re just out for the day, Windy Joe offers stunning wildflowers along the entire second half of the trail. At the summit, you’ll find a variety of wildflowers, an old Forest Service fire lookout tower, and beautiful views of Frosty Mountain and the surrounding area.
Please remember to keep the flowers safe by staying on the trail. What doesn’t look like much now, could be a thing of beauty in the future.