Snowshoeing is a great way to get out and get active with your family. Manning Provincial Park, 45 minutes beyond Hope, provides numerous trails to explore. One weekend this winter, grab your family and friends, cross your fingers for clear skies, and get going!
The first thing you need if you are new to winter sports is a pair of snowshoes. You can rent them for the day from Mt. Waddington’s Outdoors in Chilliwack or from Manning Park Resort. Once you have your snowshoes, head for the hills and explore one of my top three winter trails in Manning Park.
A classic Manning Park trip in both summer and winter is the Lightning Lake Loop. In the summer, the trail meanders 9 kilometres around the lake’s shore. In the winter, you can follow the same track, or you can head out on the lake itself (double check that the ice is solid) and cut down on the mileage. If 9 kilometres is a bit far for you and yours, cut it in half by crossing the lake at the beautiful Rainbow Bridge.
Lightning Lake is a great starter snowshoe option because it is almost entirely flat. When you are done your snowshoeing, you can pop into the Pinewoods Restaurant at Manning Park Resort for a hot drink and a snack, or even a soak in the indoor, heated, salt-water pool at the Loon Lagoon.
Skagit River Trail
Another great Manning Park snowshoe trip is along the Skagit River Trail. The trail extends from Sumallo Grove, near the western border of Manning Park, to 26-Mile Bridge in Skagit Valley Provincial Park. In the summer, the 15 kilometre one-way trail can be done in one very long day, or it makes a great key-exchange trip if you have access to two vehicles and a bigger group.
In the winter, follow the Skagit River Trail as long as you like – just keep in mind that as far as you go is as far as you have to come back. Highlights along the Skagit River Trail include a scenically located bridge crossing the Skagit River shortly after the trail begins, a waterfall around the 1.5 kilometre mark, and the Delacy Wilderness Camp just past the 4 kilometre mark.
Cambie Creek/Fat Dog Trail
My current favourite family-friendly snowshoe trail in Manning Park leaves from Cambie Creek. In recent years, the Cambie Creek loops have been closed due to a broken-down bridge; however, just before Christmas the Friends of Manning Park celebrated the grand opening of a new bridge, breathing life back into this winter recreation paradise.
Cambie Creek offers several snowshoeing options. There is a 2.5 kilometre loop, a 5 kilometre loop, or, for the more adventurous (read: those who like long uphill slogs) you can continue on the Fat Dog trail (15 kilometres round trip), which brings you all the way up to the sub-alpine with great views of the surrounding mountains.
If striking out on your own is not your style, you could join the Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning for one of their free family snowshoes. They also have many registered programs.
No matter which adventure you choose, crisp air and beautiful scenery await in Manning Provincial Park.