1) Lightning Lakes:
Go past the Manning Park Lodge and turn right after the lodge. Follow the road and when you see a fork, stay left. Park at the parking lot. There are pit toilets here. Cross the dam bridge and you'll see, Frosty Mountain sign. Go right and follow the lower trail...save Frosty for a nice summer day or a fall hike to see the Golden Larches (see that hike under, My Hikes).
This can be a loop trail that follows the lake along. You are in the trees. Soon you come to a bridge named, Rainbow Bridge. You can go across the bridge and go to your right to loop back to the parking lot. You can also carry on to the neighboring lakes, Strike and Thunder. However, this will make your SS a lot longer (14 km's). Today we were breaking trail so we decided to make it a shorter loop. That's the great thing about this as a SS...you can turn around at any point.
The trail is easy to find in the summer but with fresh snow we lost the trail a few times and ended up on the cross country skiing road. They can be a little nasty so we quickly found the trail again and got off the road, LL Day Use (see picture). We followed this unbroken snow trail down a path and along the lake. Soon the parking lot was in our view. Today we did 10 km's with an elevation gain of 160 meters. Scaredy Cat says you won't loose any of your nine lives. Happy & safe snowshoeing.
2) Strawberry Flats & Three Falls
Drive to Manning Park Lodge and turn right. Follow the road until it forks and go right about 3 km's to the Strawberry Flats parking area. Park your car and go to the left down a little hill. There's a pit toilet here. A big sign says, Snow Shoe Trail or if you prefer you can walk along the cross country ski trail. If you choose this route, proper etiquette says stay off the cross country skiing tracks and not in the middle of the road. Stay to the side.
Keep walking on the wide road and soon you'll come to fork in the road. Either way it's a Strawberry Flats Road loop. After a short time you'll see a Three Falls sign on your right. You can go up here or across the ski run. Just stay out of the way.
If you choose the Snowshoeing Trail you'll walk in the forest, which is a groomed trail that has beauty at every turn. Keep walking along for 2 km's to the edge of the ski run. To change it up you can go on the way along the road and on the way back through the forest...
To get to Three Falls...Go up the hill and to your left is this side trail, it's un-marked.
Now your in the woods as you walk along a skinny trail. Sometimes it pops into the open and sometimes it's back in the trees as you make your way to Shadow Falls at 3.1 km's, your first of three falls. Just a little descent into a lookout and you'll see Shadow Falls far below. This is a perfect spot for a snack or to return later for lunch. Carry on along the trail and soon you'll come to Nepopekum Falls, at 3.2 km, and the descent to Derek Falls, at 4.5 km's. The third of the Three Falls is the prettiest. The trail here is a skinny trail that's open on one side. Not my favorite trail but most wouldn't bat an eye at it. To return back to your car you go back the same way.
It is a 9 km SS. I don't think you'd loose any of your nine lives...however be careful when at Derek Falls. It's quite steep here.
3) Fat Dog Winter Trail
Fat Dog & Cambie Creek-700 meters & 15 Km's
(Winter route only...closed in the summer months)
Directions: drive on Highway 1 to Manning Park. Fat Dog is east of Allison Pass. If you get to Manning Park Lodge, you've gone too far. The parking lot is on the left side. There's a pit toilet here and a big parking lot. There is a loop along the route, this is Cambie Creek. We didn't try this but walked past it. It seemed un-touched and said closed. We followed the Fat Dog trail sign post.
Trail Key: M~2~KF~DF~ST~H~V~PT
2015~Start at the sign post and follow the trail along the snow covered trees and long flat path.
Go right at fork, with the sounds of a rushing creek on your right side. Cross a bridge with the cascading river now under you. Keep going, now the switches to your left side. The sound is a blessing to your ears.
Follow the 5 Km's sign post to the right. It gets a little hilly now as you leave the trickling sounds of rushing water.
Next sign post says left Cambie Creek and right Fat Dog...go right. There are no more sign posts after this one but the trail is easy to follow.
First steep up hill grunt but it's short. A short flat spot and downhill as the trail winds around. Little hill then a short flat spot and cross over a small creek.
Then another uphill grunt that goes on forever then it finally flattens out.
Then you come to a short grunt up. Then it is flat again for sometime. The last few Km's climb uphill gradually as the trees get thinner and thinner. Soon you are in an open area and on a clear day you'll see Three Brothers, The North Cascades and Frosty Mountain.
There is nothing scary about this winter trail. It has many beautiful views. Scaredy Cat says you won't loose any of your nine lives on this in-out trail.
4) Windy Joe
Drive past the Manning Resort and not too far along the road, just after the bridge and before the parking lot is a pull out to park on your right. There’s a big Manning Park sign and a Windy Joe Lookout sign post. This mark’s the start of your hike. It's 16 km’s return/654 meters.
Right from the start there is dead fall but it’s easy to navigate. For the beginning of the hike it’s flat in old growth forest. This goes on for about 2 km’s.
The trail forks/junction: stay right & follow sign to Windy Joe Lookout Trail. If you go left it’s the Pacific Crest Trail (that’s the trail that takes you through the USA and ends in Mexico.) Or this also goes to Frosty Mountain. Today it’s Windy Joe… Here it starts to climb gradually up a wide, rocky road.
Just before 5 Km's there’s another junction (stay left) going right takes you to Pacific Crest Trail & Frosty Mtn. After about 5 minutes you'll see a 5 Km's Windy Joe trail marker high in the trees…3 km’s to go!
Keep going as the trail snakes around with gradual elevation
Soon a lookout of Frosty appears on your left, it's not far now.
The pit toilet will be your first sign that you are steps away from The Windy Joe Hut. There's a picnic table and vistas everywhere your eyes can see. Don’t let anyone tell you the trees cover the views. It is spectacular! You have arrived, your summit for today. Check out the hut. Upstairs there are pictures of all the mountain ranges. It’s a piece of history…Scaredy Cat says you won’t loose any of your nine lives. This could very well be one of my most favorite hikes. It’s a great workout and nothing scary.
Windy Joe Fire Tower: The original ranger station was here and only a tent. It was here where in the 1948 rangers used this lookout for spotting fires. In 1950 this hut was built and for the next 13 summer’s rangers used this tower to spot fires. Now-a-days fires are spotted by planes and a ranger is still at Monument 83 (a larger tower built in 1963) during high fire season. This tower is left as a reminder of our history. This lookout was named after Joe Hilton, who worked in the park from 1946-1975 and who is responsible for laying out many of the hiking trails we enjoy today.
Pacific Crest Trail: I just started reading the book, Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. It’s about her quest to complete this hike solo after loosing herself. It’s quite the read...The Pacific Crest Trail, PCT, is a long-distance hiking trail. It passes through the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges. The trail starts in Mexico and ends in Canada’s, Manning Park. The Pacific Crest Trail is 4,286 km long and ranges in elevation from just above sea level at the Oregon–Washington border to 4,009 meters. The route passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks. It was completed in 1993. It is estimated that 300 people complete the trail each year. On average, the trail takes 5 months to complete.
Happy & safe snowshoeing.
Lori aka Scaredy Cat