I don’t think I will ever be able to say or write enough great things about Manning Park in B.C. and all the views, hiking trails and opportunities for exploring that it provides. Manning Park is one of those destination places that is worth going back to over and over, year after year to see and explore.
And that brings on another great hike in this park along the same trail as Frosty Mountain but doesn’t quite reach the same ending.
The Larch Plateau is a hike done for the vistas and for viewing the alpine larch stands in their magnificent glory.
This hike is best done in September or October when the larches have turned a gorgeous golden colour. It can also be done in a day but I highly recommend overnighting it at the Frosty Mountain Wilderness Campground part way up the mountain. This just makes the hike more enjoyable and leisurely if you have the time. The total trip for this hike is approximately 18 kilometers.
Start your hike from the day use area at Lightning Lake near the far east end of the lake. The start of the trail is made of narrow switchbacks that are fairly steep for the first few kilometers. As you are hiking you will notice the meadows begin and it doesn’t take long before you reach the first point where the views of both Lightning and Flash Lakes are clearly visible. The surrounding mountains provide an amazing view worth stopping to admire.
Heading up the trail you will see an abundance of wild flowers including red columbines, yellow arnica and beautiful blue lupines. The trail almost appears to be cut in the middle of the subalpine meadows.
As you pass through the Wilderness Campsite area which hosts an old log cabin you then cross the Frosty Creek and after another few minutes will come across another gorgeous viewpoint. Here is where you take the trail to the left instead of heading to the top of Frosty Mountain. You will soon come across the 8 kilometer marker and shortly after that you will come across an open plateau of the alpine larches. This is home to the largest number of alpine larches in south western B.C. and some of the oldest trees, some of which are over 2000 years old.
Viewing the alpine larches is best done in late September or October when they turn a beautiful golden colour.
The Larch Plateau hike can be done as a day hike but for a more leisurely and enjoyable hike I highly recommend taking the time to camp at the Frosty Mountain Wilderness Campsite and spend more time exploring and enjoying the views and larches.
This is a gorgeous hike that doesn’t involve reaching the highest peak but does provide magnificent views and a hike through the golden larches of Manning Park. Well worth the effort.