Poland Lake (Winter Route)

March 08, 2008

To reach the trailhead follow Highway #3 (Hope-Princeton Highway) 67 km east of Hope to the intersection with a flashing amber light just past the Manning Park Lodge. Turn right onto the road and follow it until you reach Gibsons Pass ski area. On your way to the parking lot, ensure that you take the fork on the road leading right and not the one that goes to the Lightning Lake day use area. In the summer, the road will be gated at the Strawberry Flats parking lot.

Doing this hike in winter will cut 6 kms out of your hike. This is why I think winter is the best time to visit this place. Due to liability issues snowshoers are not permitted on the sky lift.

Start your hike on the right side of the alpine/rental shop, you must follow Horseshoe Trail (10 and then 5) in the alpine area.

On your way up you can have good views of Snow Camp, Lone Goat, Red Mountain and Hozameen mountains.

Lone Goat Mountain can be traversed just south of the summit along the Skyline Trail which runs between Lightning Lakes and the Silver-Skagit Road. The area makes for a nice summer hiking objective and can be used to gain access to the south toward Mount Hozomeen.

Once you cross over the ski run you leave the ski hill area. There is an area map signposted here.

Top: Snow Camp, Lone Goat and Red Mountains
Bottom: Poland Lake Trailhead

The trail at this point can be a little confusing, after five minutes do a slight right turn, eventually you will reach a fire access road and then you will resume you west approach gradually making your way across the shoulder of Bojo Mountain. After 15 minutes you will reach a flat area, if you look north you will be seeing the Subalpine Meadow area and First Brother Mountain.

For cross country skiers and snow-shoers, Manning is a true paradise. The extensive network of self-guiding nature trails, from the 500 meter (one-third of a mile) Beaver Pond Trail to the 66 kilometer (41 miles) Cathedral Provincial Park Trail, that host hikers, backpackers and horse riders in the summer, becomes the domain of cross-country skiers when winter's confetti weds these hills to niveous tranquility.

The road/trail continues loosely following the ridge, but eventually crosses back over the ridge to the west side and begins a gradual decent to the lake.

In summer there is a meadow area with a nice display of alpine wildflowers. On a clear day you can catch great views of Red Mountain with the Cascade Mountain Range in the background. Lone Goat Mountain is also clearly defined - look for the cirque. The distinctive shape of Mt. Hozameen won't be missed as it sits between Red and Lonegoat Mountains.

Once you reach the lake, you can go either right or left. The trail to the left, around the south side of the lake, is the fisherman's route. This tends to be wet and marshy early in the season and usually has a few windfalls. The route to the right, on the north side, is the regular path and is usually fairly dry but you can come across wet sections once you reach the far end of the lake.

Poland Lake

A wilderness shelter and a set of pit toilets are located at the far end of the lake along with a creek which flows into the lake. Poland Lake does not thaw out until early July. The spring flower bloom often occurs later here than up in the subalpine meadows so it is an opportunity to see spring flowers that are often otherwise missed.

Although this trail primarily skirts along side the mountains and not through large meadow areas, in summer there are incredible floral displays throughout the route. The spreading phlox is especially outstanding.

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1. N 49.0692 W 120.9167 Elev: 1402m Alpine Store
2. N 49.0806 W 120.9188 Elev: 1702m Leaving ski hill area
3. N 49.0867 W 120.9542 Elev: 1739m Poland Lake

Roundtrip length: 10.13 km (6.29 mi)
Time: 5.0 hours
Elevation gain: 440 m (1443 ft)

Download route in GTM format Free software download at www.gpstm.com
Download route in plain text

Driving distance from Vancouver: 233 km (145 mi)

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