Frosty Mountain, Manning Park, BC

Frosty Mountain is the highest peak in Manning Park and is an excellent hike with fantastic views south into Washington. If you go in autumn, there is the added attraction of larch trees turning golden. It can be done either as a day hike or as an overnighter at the Frosty Creek backcountry campsite, which is about halfway up the trail. The summit is high (2423m) and exposed to the elements, so come equipped for any weather conditions. Even if the weather is nice and sunny down at Lightning Lake, it can be a lot colder up on the summit.

Fees / Permits

Parking is free. There is no fee for day hiking but it’s $5/person/night for backcountry camping. There are also several frontcountry campsites (car camping) in the park. For reservations and prices, check the park website:

http://bcparks.ca/explore/parkpgs/ecmanning/

Getting There

Drive to EC Manning Park on Highway 3 (Crowsnest Hwy), about 45 minutes east of Hope or 45 minutes west of Princeton. At the Manning Park Resort, turn onto Gibson Pass Road and drive 3.5 km to the Lightning Lake parking lot. Walk around the east side of the lake (your left side if you are looking across the lake from the parking lot), where you’ll find the signed trailhead.

The Trail

  • 11 km (one way) / 22 km (round trip)
  • 1160 m elevation gain
  • ~4 hours up to summit (one way), ~3 hours down / 7-8 hours (round trip)

The trailhead is on the southeast corner of Lightning Lake and immediately begins ascending through the forest on well graded and maintained switchbacks, which make the trail easier than the elevation gain suggests. After about 1hr 45 min, reach Frosty Creek backcountry campsite, where there is a creek to get water. The camping sites are in forest with no views. Top up your water here because there isn’t too much farther up. Shortly after leaving the campsite behind, the trail begins to open with some decent views and enters a stand of larch trees (2hr 15 min), where there is an interpretive sign explaining how awesome larch trees are and making you want to come back in October. From here, the terrain is much more open, with a nice views and Mt Frosty looming ahead. Once out of the larches, the trail climbs steeply up through boulders to reach the ridge (3hr 25min) that connects to the summit. Once on the ridge, the views to the south explode. On a clear day, a huge swath of the Cascade Mountains in Washington will be visible. Continue along the ridge until you reach the summit, where makeshift walls of rocks form a windbreak (3hr 45min). This is the end of the trail, so retrace your steps back to the parking lot.

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