Magnificent icy peaks and turquoise glacier waters, the vast mountains in the region of British Columbia in Canada are spectacular formations. East of the lower mainland of Southern BC is the EC Manning Provincial Park in the Cascade Mountain ranges that extend south towards Northern California.
Although the park was named after Ernest Callaway Manning, a Chief Forestor of BC during the early 20th century, the region of Similkameen Valley within the Cascade Mountains was the original home of Indigenous peoples long before European settlers. The Manning Park region was traditionally a meeting area for the Stó:lō and Similkameen Aboriginals. During these gatherings they would fish and hunt, or trade.
There are numerous hiking trails in Manning Park, including Frosty Mountain, Lightning Lake Loop, Lightning Lakes Chain Trail, and Three Brothers Mountain. Our journey led us to the summit of the Three Brothers.
In the early morning hours before sunrise, roads empty and dark except for the yellow street lights, we departed for our long three-hour drive to Manning Park from Vancouver. Google Maps signalled that we had arrived, but the gravel-road rising along the mountainous region directed us towards another 40-minute drive until we reached the parking lot to Heather Trail.
The Three Brothers summit stands at 2,272 metres above sea level. It can be reached via the Heather Trail which eventually breaks off towards the summit.
The hike began with a breezy descent, deceptively boosting our confidence. Walking along narrow dusty paths we stepped over peeking tree roots, and encountered meadows full of wildflowers sloping off the hillsides.
Clearings overlooked rocky cliff faces where whiskey jack birds flew, and grey sandy hills camouflaged curious marmots.
During the last hour of the hike we climbed a steep path while the powerful heat of the sun slowed us down, our faces dripping with sweat. The climb led us to a dip in between peaks, the path 1.2 metres wide with sharp drop-offs on either side. Finally, another short steep climb where we had to use our hands to grip the rocks, led us to the heights of the summit.
In the blazing summer heat, the winds were furious at the peak of the summit, but the view was breathtaking. Layers of mountains surrounded us, rising and falling. Frosted mountain peaks reflected the sunlight, and below us, wide logging trails followed deforested areas.
The return trip was grueling. After a long hike with painfully steep areas, our desire to return to the parking lot was strong. However, three hours later and a final climb (where we once started the hike by descending), we reached the parking lot.
|Distance||21.5 km round trip|
|Average Time of Hike||7 hours (but it took us close to 6 hours)|
|Difficulty||Medium to Hard|
|Best Time to Go||July to September when there is no snow and it’s dry|
How to Get to Manning Park
By car, the drive is 2-3 hours from Vancouver to Manning Park. There is an additional drive of approximately 40 minutes along gravel terrain leading to the trail heads.
Buses are also available through services offered by Mountain Mikes. They charge $60/person for one way from Vancouver to Manning Park during the summer season.
Where to Stay
We completed this hike in a single day, but it required a very early wake-up call. If you want to relax and enjoy a slow exploration of Manning Park, then consider booking a room at one of Manning’s resorts. Whether you decide to go in the summer for long hikes, horseback riding, and biking, or in the winter for skiing, snowshoeing, and snowboarding, you can book your stay in a rustic cabin with Manning Park Resort.
In addition, BC’s Phase 3 of COVID-19 reopenings that began in June means camping areas of parks are also open to the public. There are five family camping sites available in the Similkameen River basin that can be booked for the summer season. You can also reserve parking for your RV’s. Here you can find more details.
What to Bring
As you hike, you will be annoyingly joined by numerous bees, large black flies, and mosquitoes. In addition, the sun will stay beating on your head, and the hike will be extensive. Therefore, make sure to bring the following with you:
|Lots of water||Mosquito repellent|
|Sunscreen||A light, long-sleeved shirt|
|Snacks and lunch||Flashlight (if you finish the hike late)|
|Toilet paper||A bell or rattle to keep bears away|
|A reusable cloth-bag for your garbage, so bears are not attracted to a banana peel you throw away||Camera or phone for beautiful photo ops|
Canada Travel Guides
A historical site of the Pacific Northwest region, a trip to Vancouver, BC is incomplete without a visit to Steveston Fishing Village. Browse the fish markets, peruse the galleries, and dive into the history of the village through the museums. Read our guide on visiting Steveston.
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