With this hike I finally completed the entire Skyline Trail which links Skagit Valley Provincial Park with Manning Provincial Park. The previous link offers the west end of the trail, this one is the east end of the trail.
To reach the trailhead drive east on Highway 5 past Hope. Take exit 177 onto Highway 3, which you follow for 67 km (42 mi) to Manning Park Lodge. Turn right onto Gibson Pass Road and drive 8 km (5 mi) to the Strawberry Flats parking area (don't forget to pay the $3 parking fee)
From the parking lot, go west before branching left (south) and head for the ridge while the Three Falls Trail continues straight ahead. The first 4 km (2.5 mi) is a big wide track.
1. Strawberry Flats
2. Take left branch (south)
3. Leaving the wide track and reaching the meadows
For this hike I had a guest, Victor, one of my friends in the office.
At the 5 km sign we had views of today's objectives. Snow Camp and Lone Goat Mountains, as well as views of Red and Hozomeen Mountains.
Established in 1941 the park was named in memory of E. C. Manning, Chief Forester of British Columbia from 1936 - 1941. Mr. Manning was killed in an airplane accident in 1941. During his time as Chief Forester he was very instrumental in developing the idea of setting land aside for future generations to enjoy.
JUAN: Victor, on your left there is Snow Camp Mountain, on the middle is Lone Goat Mountain and on the right is Red Mountain. We are going to the top of Lone Goat Mountain
On the ridge, just before the 6 km sign is the junction with the Skyline I Trail from Spruce Bay. You need to go right and start your descent to Despair Pass.
Historic trails in the park include the Dewdney Trail, Hope Pass, Whatcom Trail, Engineers Road, Skyline Trail and the provincially significant Blackeye’s Trail. Historic buildings include the remains of ranches, trapping cabins, mining shafts, Buckhorn mining camp and historic fire lookout buildings at Windy Joe and Monument 83.
Junction with Skyline Trail via Spruce Bay. Go right down to Despair Pass
Before you start your descent to Despair Pass, you can admire the formidable black towers of the Hozomeen Mountain which can be clearly seen from almost any highpoint in Manning Park. Although from the east, the formidable black tower of the south summit may appear to be higher, the north summit is actually higher.
Hozomeen Mountain 2459 m (8068 ft)
On Despair Pass the trail gets narrower and, in places, growing with heather and blueberries but still very easy to follow. You will start to go uphill towards Snow Camp Mountain, the trail goes on the south side of the mountain. You can easily reach the summit at 1980 m (6497 ft).
The geologic history of Manning Park is one of deposition, uplift and erosion. The present landforms are the result of marine sedimentation and volcanic activities during Paleozoic and Mesozoic times (500 to 100 million years ago).
1. Despair Pass
2. Going uphill on the sout side of Snow Camp Mountain
3. View of Despair Pass from Snow Camp Mountain
Making honor to its name, you will be practically walking on a skyline. One of the many views includes Thunder Lake, the last lake of Lightning Lakes Trail and probably the best rainbow trout fishing spot in the park due to its remoteness (just fit fisherman can reach the lake) and isolation from major water stream which guarantees hungry fish jumping out of the water.
My research shows the last fish enhancement done in this lake was a survey in 1992. Thunder Lake is a good example of a mesotrophic lake. These are lakes with an intermediate level of productivity, greater than oligotrophic lakes, but less than eutrophic lakes. These lakes are commonly clear water lakes and ponds with beds of submerged aquatic plants and medium levels of nutrients.
Thunder Lake and Hozoomem Mountain
After leaving Snow Camp Mountain the trail starts to descend into the saddle between Snow Camp and Lone Goat. If you put attention, you may see a track at 90 degrees of the trail that seems to be a regular wildlife corridor.
A wildlife corridor is a strip of habitat connecting wildlife populations separated by human activities (such as roads, development, or logging). This allows an exchange of individuals between populations, lowering inbreeding within populations and facilitating re-establishment of populations that have been decimated or eliminated due to random events.
Lone Goat Mountain
Then the trail goes uphill on the south side of Lone Goat Mountain. This area offers a fine example of sub-alpine vegetation. Trees in subalpine zone often become krummholtz (stunted and twisted)
Snow Camp Mountain
After passing the 10 km sign on the south-east slopes of Lone Goat the trail will continue to Mowich Campsite and then eventually reach the Skagit Valley. At this stage, you will see a faint trail going uphill to the summit of Lone Goat Mountain, the high point for the day.
During the last part of the hike, Hozoomen will be looking at you. The peak was first attempted in 1859 by Henry Custer. In the survey notes, it was noted that the Indians called it "Hozameen" (with an "a"). However the survey spelled it Hozomeen (with an 0). Today, the Canadian topo maps spell the adjoining ridge "Hozameen Range", but the American topo maps and most guidebooks spell it as Hozomeen.
Hozomeen Mountain 2459 m (8068 ft)
The final shape of the park was given during the last glacial age, resulting in deposits or mantels of colluvium
Colluvium is the name for loose bodies of sediment that have been deposited or built up at the bottom of a low grade slope or against a barrier on that slope, transported by gravity. Colluvium normally forms humps at the base of mountains or fan-shaped deposits similar in shape to alluvial fans that cover former ground surfaces. This process is an important phenomenon in the fields of archaeology and soil science.
Thunder Lake and Victor
Once you reach the summit you will have 360 degrees views. Please allow me a quick description starting north and going clock-wise.
Gibson Pass Resorts Inc. owns the ski hill, lodge facilities, a community of staff accommodation and infrastructure including maintenance buildings and self-contained water, sewer and electrical utilities. In 1984 the resort was issued a fifty-year park use permit for the parkland occupied by these facilities which has a 50 year renewal option. There are two areas of parkland under permit, the ski hill and an area on the north and south side of the highway where the lodge complex (south side) and ‘community’ (north side) are located.
Ski hill and Snow Camp Mountain
Frosty Mountain is the highest summit in Manning Provincial Park. The peak has two summits: the lower east summit (2410m/7900') and less than 1 km away, a higher west summit (7950'. From the east summit, a loose and steep climb leads to the higher west summit about 60 minutes further on.
Frosty Mountain and Thunder Lake
I have more about Hozoomen Mountain. Hozomeen North Peak (the main summit) was first climbed in 1904 by Sledge Tatum and George E. Loudon, Jr. of the Boundary Survey, from the northeast. Other routes exist on the South Ridge and Southwest Buttress. Hozomeen South Peak, elevation 8,003 feet (2,439 m), 1 mile southeast of the higher North Peak was first climbed on May 30, 1947 by Fred Beckey, Melvin Marcus, Jerry O'Neil, Ken Prestrud, Herb Staley, and Charles Welsh, via the Southwest Route.
Hozomeen Mountain 2459 m (8068 ft)
And finally Red Mountain which is named for the colour of its exposed iron ore deposits.
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1. 49.0966 - 120.8848 Elev 1358m - Trailhead
2. 49.0387 - 120.9195 Elev 1797m - Junction with trail from Spruce Bay, go right
2. 49.0314 - 120.9695 Elev 1869m - Leave main trail, go right
2. 49.0345 - 120.9674 Elev 1996m - Lone Goat Mountain
Roundtrip length: 25.7 km (16 miles)
Allow 5 hours
Elevation gain: 638 m (2093 ft) / Total Elevation gain: 1050 m (3444 ft)
Driving distance from Vancouver: 220 km (137.5 miles)