Frosty Mountain Hike: Between 2000 Years Old Larch Trees in the Cascades

Larch, larch, larch...can you believe that they are 2000 years old? Frosty Mountain

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Frosty Mountain is one of the various hiking options for the whole family close to Vancouver, and without doubt, our second favorite place besides Wedgemount glacier. E.C Manning Provincial Park has several different difficulty level hiking trails. Some of them surround beautiful lakes, while others lead to spectacular peaks and stunning views. We have taken the easy hike around the Lightning Lakes, and a more demanding one to peak of Frosty Mountain through thousands year old larches.

If you are specifically interested in the Frosty Mountain hike, you can jump to that sections here.

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The E. C. Manning Provincial Park

The E. C. Manning Provincial Park lies in the North (or also called Canadian) Cascades, just right next to the US border. It has several peaks over 2000 meters, many lakes in the valley and a larch forest too. We started wondering who Manning was, was he a famous guy? Kind of. At least in forestry. He was the Chief Forester of British Columbia between 1936 and 1941. And his achievement was the idea of setting aside lands for future generations, which can be considered as sustainability in forest management.

A quite steep car road was crossing the park and letting tourists approach the area. We have seen several cars broken down on the roadside. All of them seemed to have engine problems. We have even seen a burned out one! The people were just explaining to the police that they just removed as many items they could before it lit up on fire. We only have seen the firefighters trying to put it out, but nothing left from the car except the frame. It seems like you have to be careful when you approach this place.


Lightning Lake. The starting point of both trails.
Lightning Lake. The starting point of both trails.

Day trip to the Lightning Lakes

Are you looking for a spectacular but easy trail? Do you prefer to have a walk while your family (or part of it) conquer some of the peaks? This day trip is perfect for you! It is as flat as you were walking in one of the parks in Vancouver.

Hiking Info on Lightning Lakes Hike

Transportation time from Vancouver: 2 hours
Distance: up to 24 km
Elevation gain: 100 m
Average hiking time: 2-6 hours
Difficulty: Easy

The Lightning Lakes trail

Before I tell you more about the trail, I must admit, we enjoyed not only the views on this hike but the naming of the mountains, valleys, lakes. They were all related to the weather or nature elements. We had a lovely 20+ km walk around the Lightning Lakes Chain Trail. More precisely, along with Lightning, Flash, Strike, and Thunder Lakes. Red Mountain, Grassy Mountain, and Frosty Mountain are just next to them. The walk is easy, with basically no elevation differences. You can do it even if it’s raining the whole day and you feel terrible – I can tell you that.

Lightning Lake bridge.
Bridges between the lakes.

The views are not very special, especially that the clouds blocked the view to the peaks most of the day. The lakes and the little bridges are cute. It’s an ideal hiking destination for families with small kids.

Other Activities

We were planning to do a bit of canoeing too, but the weather disagreed with our plan. During the only hour of sunshine, we were the furthest possible from the rental place.

Instead of the water adventure, we accidentally explored and walked around in one of the car camping. Four-wheel-drive cars and campers parked everywhere. Each camping spot had its own parking place, a table, and benches. Mostly the huge family tents were set up, few smaller ones too for kids. And it was widespread to have a roof and mosquito net covering the table, the dining areas.

 Frosty Mountain Hike BC

On our second day, I felt better, so we decided to conquer the Frosty Mountain (2408 m). It is a relatively long trail with an elevation gain of 1200 meters. The weather was almost perfect for hiking. The temperature was around 10°C, and the drizzling didn’t bother much in the beginning. The road during the first 6 km serpentines slowly up in the forest without any views.

Info – Hiking to Frosty Mountain

Transportation time from Vancouver: 2 hours
Distance: 24 km
Elevation gain: 1200 m
Average hiking time: 7-10 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

The Frosty Mountain Hiking Trail

Bear warning signs at Manning Provincial Park, near the Lightning Lakes trail.
Bear warning signs.

We passed a backcountry camping place where few tents were standing. This area is also “bear country,” so the food cache was separately marked in the camping area far from the camping places and benches. This time, we had our own bear spray, unlike during our previous hike. And we were not the only ones. Better be on the safer side.

Trail near the Lightning Lakes
Trail near the lakes.
The only viewpoint from the forest Frosty Mountain
The only viewpoint from the forest.

After a short walk, we found ourselves on a larch meadow with the 2000-year-old trees! Of course, due to the elevation and the climate didn’t let them grow huge, but the view is still breathtaking. Even in sleet. In the background, we could see all the other peaks, some of them with snow, some without.

Larch meadows on the way to Frosty Mtn
Larch meadows on the way to Mt. Frosty.
Larch and view. We are approaching the peak of Frosty Mountain.
Larch and view. We are approaching the peak.
Larch, larch, larch...can you believe that they are 2000 years old? Frosty Mountain
Larch forest on the way to Mount Frosty

The last steeper climb on rocky terrain waited for us to reach the point where our trail merged with another ascending path. The last few hundred meters of the trail led on the ridge, slowly gaining elevation. The Canadian-US border just on your left-hand side. The straight cuts in the forest are well visible.

And the fun starts: sleet
And the fun starts sleet.
Some more view near Mount frosty peak
After leaving the larch trees behind.

And as a bonus, the snow started to fall! The sleet earlier was already a nice surprise, but we had a proper snowfall while approaching the peak. The background had a huge rainbow, as well. After 15 minutes of walk, we were finally on the peak! On 2408 meters. In a snowfall. Watching a rainbow. Like in the fairy tales.

Snow and rainbow fairytale.
Snow and rainbow fairytale.
Mount frosty peak - Frosty Mountain Manning Park
That is our Frosty friend. – Frosty Mountain Manning Park
View from the ridge
The bottom of the ridge.
Some more view near the peak
Some more view near the peak.
On the peak of Mount Frosty
Not every picture works out if you use timing (aka on the peak).

After we spent some time taking pictures and enjoying the view, we started our descent. 12 kilometers are ahead, and the rain clouds were closer and closer. On the way back we met few totally unprepared hikers…or should I say, tourists?! Climbing over 2000 meters in shorts and a t-shirt, in rain and snow and wind? Not to mention how scared they were descending on the rocks. I am not surprised that they warn people in the news to prepare for your hikes, take warm clothes and enough food. Kind of every week, few people were rescued from hiking areas after they got lost and didn’t have anything with them. The last hour of our hike, we soaked totally and walked in muddy water all the time. But we would do it again, anytime!

Accommodation in E. C Manning Provincial Park

For those who seek a more relaxing time in the park, the Manning Park Resort is an excellent accommodation choice. It is located right in the middle of the mountains so you can avoid long driving times.

Frosty Mountain Hiking Guide - E.C. Manning Park - The best hiking destinations near Vancouver, BC, Canada


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4 thoughts on “Frosty Mountain Hike: Between 2000 Years Old Larch Trees in the Cascades”

  1. Céline CLudik

    I’ve never been there but would love to. I’m a truly nature lover and E. C. Manning Provincial Park is a place that is known for beautiful, pristine lakes, shores, rivers, and forests that can be easily accessed. Thanks for sharing your hike experience 🙂

  2. Kalilah Hayward

    I’m from Oregon, so Vancouver is the closest Canadian city to me! I went twice last year, but I didn’t get to do any hiking! Thanks for all the great recommendations! I’ll have to make it out this summer

  3. CurlyCurlyK

    This looks like such a magical experience. Gorgeous photos. Really love our writing style as well 🙂

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