E.C. Manning Park is located in the heart of the Cascade Mountains, within a three-hour drive of both the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan. The diversity of Manning Park’s landscape, its ease of access, and a wealth of recreational opportunities combine to draw visitors from across British Columbia, and beyond. With so many scenic, historic, natural, and recreational attractions within easy reach, this is one of the province’s most popular parks.
Four summer drive-in campgrounds offer vehicle-accessible camping and there are also opportunities for backcountry camping. To learn more, see camping, below.
The park has a large variety of trails, which range from 15-minute walks to six-day backcountry hikes. These provide access to unique floral displays and scenic views.
The diversity within this park is what makes it so spectacular and there is sure to be something to meet everyone’s needs.
When hiking or walking in E.C. Manning Park, for your own safety, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails.
Reservations are accepted at Lightning Lake, Skyview, Coldspring, Mule Deer, and Hampton campgrounds. All reservations must be made through the BC Parks reservation service. Reservations can now be booked four months in advance of your planned arrival. Reservations can be made up to two days before your arrival. When reservations are not available, all campsites are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
|Lightning Lake||100% reservable|
|Coldspring||Approximately 50% reservable and 50% first come, first served|
|Mule Deer||Approximately 50% reservable and 50% first come, first served|
|Hampton||80% reservable and 20% first-come, first-served|
To learn more about booking a camping reservation, visit the frontcountry camping page.
There are three group campsites available at this park. Check the dates of operation for reservable dates. Groupsites can be booked through the reservation service. To learn more about booking a groupsite, visit the group camping page.
Hike-in camping is available at 10 backcountry campgrounds in E.C. Manning Park. There are 55 sites in total, with limited facilities.
Many of these campgrounds are located at a high elevation and are not usually accessible until late June or early July.
Backcountry camping during snow-free season is allowed only at designated campgrounds. Winter backcountry camping is allowed either at designated campgrounds or elsewhere, provided Leave No Trace ethics are practiced.
Each designated backcountry campground is close to a water source. Treatment of water is recommended. All designated backcountry campsites have at least one pit toilet.
A backcountry permit is required year-round. To learn more, see the backcountry permit registration page.
Please practice Leave No Trace ethics. If you pack it in, pack it out. Open fires are not permitted in Buckhorn and Kicking Horse backcountry sites. In the rest of the backcountry, open fires are not encouraged and fire bans may be implemented during extreme hot weather conditions. Be prepared to bring portable stoves for cooking.
Payment can be made online before your arrival, through our backcountry permit registration service or at the visitor centre, Manning Park Lodge, Skyview gatehouse, or Lightning Lake gatehouse. Payments can be made via cash, debit, or credit card. An ATM is located at Manning Park Resort.
There are no public cabin rentals in E.C. Manning Park. For information on private cabin rentals, contact Manning Park Lodge at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some backcountry campsites, including Frosty Creek, Nicomen Lake, and Poland Lake, have shelters for emergency use. These should not be considered for use instead of a tent. Buckhorn Camp has a large, non-reservable public shelter for cooking.
Group campsites are available at E.C. Manning Park.
Lone Duck I and Lone Duck II groupsites are available for summer camping. The sites are open from May to October (although these dates are subject to change depending on weather conditions). Each groupsite includes a shelter complete with picnic tables and wood stove. Both sites overlook Lightning Lake’s Lone Duck Bay. They are located 4km off highway three on Gibson Pass Road. There are several trails close to this campground and it is a very short walk to the Lightning Lake Amphitheater.
Cambie Creek groupsite is available for large group reservations. It includes a pit toilet, parking lot, and a large walk-in camping area to set up tents. No fires are permitted. This site has no running water or picnic tables.
Lone Duck II groupsite is also available for smaller groups. This site includes a cooking shelter with a wood stove as well as tables, toilets, a fire pit, and a number of locations to set up tents.
Youth group camping fees per night are $1 per person, with a $50 minimum and $150 maximum. Children under six camp for free.
Regular group camping fees per night are $20 per groupsite plus $5 per adult (16 years of age or older) and $1 per child (six to 15 years). There is a minimum charge equivalent to the fees for 15 adults. Children under six camp for free.
To learn more about groupsites and youth group camping, see the group camping page.
Quiet hours are from 10pm to 7am. Music, generators, and other sources of noise must be shut off completely between these hours. Generators can only be used from 9am to 11am and 6pm to 8pm. Because the campsites are close together, please keep noise to a minimum at all times, so that other visitors can experience the sounds of nature.
The following areas are set aside for winter camping:
Walk–in winter camping parties can camp at the Lone Duck I winter camping area, which is located 4km off highway three on the Gibson Pass Ski Hill Road. This campsite includes a picnic shelter, a wood stove, pit toilets, a parking area, and a large walk-in camping area to set up your tent. You can bring your own firewood or purchase it from Manning Park Resort. Campers can stop in the Gatehouse of the Skyview campground to pay cash, card or debit.
This walk-in site is available by reservation only and consists of a shelter complete with picnic tables, a wood stove, a fire pit, pit toilets, a parking lot, and a large walk-in camping area to set up your tents or dig-in. Please check in at the Gatehouse at Skyview Campground. You can bring your own firewood or purchase it from Manning Park Resort. To learn more about groupsites, see the group camping page.
Self-contained units can camp in the Lightning Lake day-use area parking lot located 3.7km off highway three on the Gibson Pass Ski Hill Road. The pit toilets are open, no fires are permitted, and no potable water or picnic tables are available. Tenting is prohibited in this location.
Located approximately 5km west of Manning Park Resort, this area is available for reservations and consists of a parking lot, a pit toilet, and a large walk-in camping area to set up your tent. No fires are permitted. To learn more about groupsites, see the group camping page.
Winter camping is permitted in the backcountry provided Leave No Trace ethics are practiced. ‘Backcountry’ is defined as any area at least one kilometre away from maintained roadways, parking lots, or developed winter facilities. A backcountry permit is required year-round.
Accessibility information is available for these areas of the park:
All backcountry sites have water sources close by, although some creeks may dry up during a hot summer. Always carry water with you. Treatment of water is recommended. Water taps or hand pumps are located throughout the frontcountry drive-in campgrounds and the day-use area.
A playground is located beside site 15 and the Spruce Bay Beach access trail in Lighting Lake campground. There are also playgrounds in Hampton campground, Mule Deer campground, and Skyview campground.
A hand-launch is available next to the boat rental building at the Lightning Lake day-use area.
No motorized boats are permitted on the parks lakes, including those with electric motors.
A sani-station is available during the summer season. It is located one kilometre east of Manning Park Lodge, at the visitor centre. Opening and closing dates are subject to change depending on weather conditions.
Open fires are not permitted in Buckhorn and Kicking Horse wilderness sites. In the rest of the backcountry, open fires are not encouraged. Bring a portable stove for cooking.
Firewood can be purchased in the park for use at frontcountry drive-in campgrounds. Alternatively, you may bring your own.
To preserve vegetation and ground cover, do not gather firewood from the area around your campsite or from anywhere in the park. Dead wood is an important habitat element for many plants and animals and it adds organic matter to the soil.
Conserve firewood and air quality by keeping your campfire small. Limited burning hours or campfire bans may be implemented. Be prepared and bring a portable stove for cooking.
This park has picnic areas at eight locations: West Gate Portal, Sumallo Grove, Coldspring Campground, Lightning Lake day-use area, Spruce Bay, Sub-Alpine Meadows, Blowdown, and the visitor centre.
Backcountry campsites have pit toilets only. Frontcountry campgrounds have both pit and flush toilets (refer to the individual campground information for details).
Showers are available for campers staying at the Lightning Lake Campground, Lone Duck groupsites, Skyview Campground, and Hampton Campground.
E.C. Manning Park is in the Cascade Mountains and the hiking season is dependent on snow levels. Most high-elevation trails are not snow-free until late June or early July. During the winter season, hiking trails are under snow.
Below is a list of trails in the park. Trail conditions can change quickly due to weather conditions.
Lighting Lake is a great spot for a dip, but often remains cool well into the summer.
There are no lifeguards on duty in BC Parks.
There are canoeing and kayaking opportunities on Lightning Lake. Canoe, kayak, and paddle board rentals are seasonally available at Lightning Lake day-use area.
Lightning Lakes chain offers easily accessible fishing opportunities for rainbow trout. For the hardy hiker, Poland Lake and Nicomen Lake also offer good fishing for rainbow trout. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.
Motorized boats, including boats with electric motors, are not permitted on any lakes within the park.
Interpretive programs at E.C. Manning Park run from late June through early September at Lightning Lake Amphitheatre. Interpretive nature walks are also available at the Alpine Meadows, Rein Orchid Trail, and other locations. There are also periodic special events including the Lightning Lake Lantern Festival, special guest speakers, and programs in conjunction with Jerry’s Rangers. Programs run rain or shine. Dress appropriately.
Visit the Manning Park Resort website, email email@example.com, or call the visitor centre (summer only) at 604-668-5953 for program themes and locations.
Join the park naturalist on an interpretive tour of one of Manning’s many trails. Themes will vary, so be sure to dress appropriately. Suitable for all ages. Everyone is welcome.
A summer program for kids and families. Get an official Jerry’s Rangers certificate and earn stickers, pins, or badges after completing these programs.
The naturalist presents and evening of fun and education at the Lightning Lake Amphitheatre. Appropriate for all ages. Everyone is welcome. Parking is available at the Spruce Bay Beach parking lot.
There are excellent opportunities to view a variety of wildlife in E.C. Manning Park. The animal life includes squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, pika, coyotes, beaver, muskrat, deer, bears, and moose. More than 200 bird species have been spotted here.
Good locations for wildlife viewing include Beaver Pond, Rein Orchid, Lightning Lake day-use area, and the Similkameen Trail, especially in the early morning.
Domestic animals must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in beach areas or in park buildings, unless designated. You are responsible for your pets’ behaviour and must dispose of their excrement.
Part of Lightning Lake day-use area is set aside for pets. This is located at the east end of the lake and it includes a picnic area and beach. There is also a designated pet area on the east side of the restaurant at Manning Park Resort.
Mountain bikes are permitted on roadways and the following trails: Monument 83, Windy Joe, Poland Lake, East Similkameen, West Similkameen, Lone Duck, North Gibson, and South Gibson. Cyclists must yield to hikers and horses.
For details on e-biking within E.C. Manning Park, see the e-biking section.
Bicycle helmets are mandatory in British Columbia.
Bicycles are allowed on signed or designated trails within E.C. Manning Park. Bikes with electric assist motors (e-bikes) are allowed on these trails if they meet the criteria for e-bike use outlined on the cycling page.
Horses are allowed on designated trails only. These include:
Skagit Bluffs Trail is closed to horses.
Riders should camp only in designated areas. Horse camping is available at the Headwaters Corral located at Manning Park Resort. Backcountry horse camps are available on the Dewdney and Hope Pass trails. Carry backpacking stoves and avoid having campfires. Unless otherwise noted on the trail description, all horse camps include a toilet, fire ring, water, a hitching rail, and grazing.
Hunting at E.C. Manning Park is only allowed in the MU 2-17 portion of the park (the former Cascade Recreation Area). This area is only open to the discharge of firearms, bows, and crossbows from September 10 to June 15, during lawful game hunting season. Please check the fishing and hunting guide for more information.
There are backcountry trails for ski-touring and snowshoeing, as well as groomed cross-country ski trails. For more information, download the trail conditions report [PDF].
Bisected by highway three, the park stretches for 58km from portal to portal. The western portal, marked by the carving of a marmot, is 26km east of Hope. The eastern portal, marked by a carving of a bear, is 52km west of Princeton. The core area of the park is located 68km east of Hope and 68km west of Princeton.
The weather forecast for E.C. Manning Park can be found through the Weather Network.
For a detailed digital (Avenza) or hardcopy of E.C. Manning Park, please visit Clark Geomatics.
Any maps provided on this page are for information only. They may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
The E.C. Manning Park visitor centre provides a bathroom, picnic area, sani-station, maps, and retail, as well as information on camping and other activities. It is located one kilometre east of Manning Park Lodge.
E.C. Manning Park’s wilderness campgrounds and backcountry trail system are maintained by BC Parks.
E.C. Manning Park’s frontcountry campgrounds and day-use areas, as well as Buckhorn wilderness site and the visitor centre are operated by Sunshine Valley Recreation Inc.
For information on skiing and related activities, please visit the Manning Park Resort website.
Established in 1941, the park was named in memory of Ernest C. Manning, chief forester of British Columbia from 1936 to 1941. Mr. Manning was killed in an airplane accident in 1941. During his time as chief forester, he was instrumental in developing the idea of setting land aside for future generations to enjoy.
Prior to the park as we know it today being established, the Three Brothers Preserve was established in 1931, to save the alpine meadows from overgrazing by sheep. This was a 6,440-hectare area that is part of what we now know as Sub-Alpine Meadow. The preserve was doubled in size in 1936 and the Three Brothers Wildlife Reserve was formed. Since 1941, when the class-A park was established, there have been several revisions to the boundaries. The most recent was in October 1999, increasing the size to 70,844 hectares.
In 1949. the Hope Princeton Highway was completed, making the park accessible to motor vehicles. In 1957, Manning Park boasted construction of the first nature house in the province.
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 features include the remains of ranches, trapping cabins, mining shafts, Buckhorn mining camp, and historic fire lookout buildings at Windy Joe and Monument 83.
E. C. Manning Park, Skagit Valley Park to the east, and the Cascade Recreation Area to the north form a significant protected area unit in the southern interior of British Columbia. Bordered to the south by the North Cascades National Park in Washington, US, Manning is at the centre of an internationally significant tract of protected lands.
In addition to the recreational opportunities it offers, Manning features significant ecological values. These stem, in part, from its location at the transition between the wet coastal ranges and the dry interior plateau.
The geography and ecology of E.C. Manning Park are as varied as they are dramatic. The park features snow-capped peaks, alpine meadows filled with wildflowers in the early summer, a chain of small lakes, and broad, flowing riverbeds along the valley floors.
Manning Park is characterized by a wide diversity of plants, animals, soils, and landforms. Many rare and endangered species depend upon the large areas of protected habitat within the park. Manning is one of British Columbia’s major recreation and tourism destinations. But, equally importantly, it is a protected area for the conservation of British Columbia’s unique natural heritage.
E.C. Manning Park is home to a wide variety of birds and animals. There are 206 separate species of birds and 63 species of mammals within the park. Many of these are quite common species, such as the Columbian ground squirrel and the common pika. Also found in Manning are the less common mountain beaver, wolverine, and the Cascade golden-mantled ground squirrel. Manning Park and the Cascade Recreation Area are also central in efforts to recover the threatened grizzly bear population of the North Cascades, forming part of the core habitat area for the conservation of this small but significant population.
Rare spotted owls are known to occur within Manning Park and a management plan to conserve them in the Manning and Skagit Valley areas is underway. They are at risk in British Columbia, because much of their preferred habitat has been adversely affected by logging or lost due to land development.
BC Parks honours Indigenous Peoples’ connection to the land and respects the importance of their diverse teachings, traditions, and practices within these territories. This park webpage may not adequately represent the full history of this park and the connection of Indigenous Peoples to this land. We are working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to update our websites so that they better reflect the history and cultures of these special places.