We love Manning Park for the abundance of wildlife and plant life it offers. This heavily forested park offers so many hiking and camping opportunities for the whole family and the hiking is spectacular.
Another great hike here is the Windy Joe trail. Named after Joe Hilton who worked in the park from 1947-1975, this trail offers amazing views of the surrounding mountain ranges including the Cascade Range which is the youngest mountain range in the world.
Getting to the start of this trek is about a 3 hour drive from Vancouver and the hike itself is approximately 15 kilometers so it can be done in a day but best if you can camp overnight either at Lightning Lake campsite or at the Manning Park Lodge.
The trail itself begins at the Beaver Pond parking lot not far from the Manning Park Lodge. The hike begins along the Similkammen River which can sometimes flood the trail so check ahead of time in case of a trail washout.
From here it is a steady climb to the top and if you have hiking poles I would highly recommend them, they are great for keeping your balance and keeping some weight off your knee joints as you climb.
Along the trail you may well encounter scat from various wildlife including bear, moose and cougar.
At about the 4 kilometer marker the trail splits and to the south leads to Frosty Mountain and to the left you will continue along the Windy Joe Trail. At the 7 kilometer marker you will be close to the summit which is an impressive 1825 meters.
The vistas are beautiful and breathtaking, especially on a clear day. Bring along your lunch and camera to take a break here and gaze at the surrounding panoramic mountain ranges.
Besides the amazing views and the subalpine meadows that are a feast for the eyes during the summer months, the vastness of pine and spruce trees is impressive.
Once you are ready to head back simply re-trace your steps to take you back to the start of the trail.
Alternatively, you could take the Frosty Mountain Trail at the 4 kilometer junction and follow that trail down to the Frosty Mountain Wilderness Camp to set up your tent and spend the night on the mountain. You will want to re-trace your steps back to the Windy Joe Trail the next day in order to return to your vehicle if you parked at the Beaver Pond parking lot.
Either way you hike this trail it is well worth the effort and the pictures you take will provide a lifetime of memories.