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E.C. Manning Park: Backcountry camping

Backcountry camping is permitted only in backcountry camping areas. All backcountry sites have a water source close by. During a long, hot summer some creeks may dry up.  Treatment of water is recommended.

A “Pack it in, Pack it out” policy is in effect. Please practice “No Trace Camping [PDF 1.2MB].” 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.

Many of these camps are located at a high elevation and therefore are not usually accessible until late June or early July. Check the Trail Report for the latest conditions.

Trail Conditions Report [PDF] (December 2, 2022)

Registration and payment

The backcountry camping fee is $5.00/person/night and applies to everyone 6 years of age and older for all locations within E.C. Manning Park. Payments are accepted by cash, credit or debit.

Payment can be made:


Buckhorn backcountry site

Buckhorn Backcountry Site is located at 5 km on the Heather Trail, consists of 24 tent pads, a bear cache, outhouses and a day use shelter. 

This backcountry camp is situated in the sub-alpine meadows. No open fires are permitted. It’s a short, 5 km (1-1.5 hour) hike from the trailhead and this makes it a very popular spot. During the peak alpine bloom (usually late July early August) and on long weekends this site is very busy.

Frosty Mountain backcountry camp

Frosty Mountain backcountry camp is at the 1850 m elevation on the Frosty Mountain Trail. The hike to the camp is a strenuous 7 km from the Lightning Lake Day Use area. 

This 2 or 3 tent camp consists of pit toilet, fire ring and a shelter. During inclement weather this could be a welcome sight but come prepared as it may already be in use. A small creek runs through the campsite; when moving on be sure to fill your water bottles here. 

Approximately 0.5 km further along the trail the larch grove starts and continues on for about 1.5 km. and 3.6 km from camp brings you to the peak of Frosty Mountain.

Grainger Creek backcountry/horse camp

Grainger Creek backcountry/horse camp is on the Hope Pass Trail just past the junction of the Hope Pass/Grainger Creek trail or 7.1 km from Cayuse Flats and 11.5 km from Nicomen Lake camp. The camp has space for 3 tents and consists of a fire pit, pit toilet and Grainger Creek, a good water source.

Kicking Horse backcountry site

Kicking Horse backcountry site located at 13.5 km on the Heather Trail consists of 8 tent pads, bear cache and an outhouse. 

This backcountry camp is situated in the sub-alpine meadows. No fires are permitted. During the peak alpine bloom (usually late July early August) and on long weekends this site is very busy.

Monument 78 backcountry camp

Monument 78 backcountry camp is located at the confluence of the Monument 78 and Pacific Crest Trails, just north of the American border. 

The camp offers the first available camp on Canadian soil for PCT through-hikers, and an alternative backcountry site to those more popular spots closer to the core area of the park. Located beside Castle Creek, the camp offers reliable water, a pit-toilet and numerous designated tent spots.

Mowich backcountry site

Mowich backcountry site is located on the Skyline II Trail, 12.5 km from Strawberry Flats or 6.5 km from the Skyline I and Skyline II junction. 

It is at 1600 m elevation, has a pit toilet, bear cache and a camping area for 4 tents. During a hot and/or dry summer the water is not always readily visible and often drops to a trickle by late summer. This is also a popular place to see black bears and deer.

Nicomen Lake backcountry site

Nicomen Lake backcountry site located at 23 km on the Heather Trail or 17.5 km from Cayuse Flats consists of 6 tent camping areas with 4 tent pads near the lake, a shelter, a fire pit, an outhouse and a bear cache. 

The lake is a cold alpine lake which is a very good fishing lake for those who chose to carry the extra weight on fishing gear. This lake freezes over in the winter and does not usually thaw until early July.

Pacific Crest backcountry camp

Pacific Crest backcountry camp is located on the Pacific Crest Trail, less than 1/2 km from the Pacific Crest trail/Frosty Mountain trail junction or 6.3 km from the PCT/Windy Joe/Frosty Mountain trailhead parking lot. 

While is does not have a shelter, there is a pit toilet, fire ring, space for 4 tents and a good stream for water. Fill up here if necessary as there will be few opportunities further on.

Poland Lake backcountry site

Poland Lake backcountry site is located at the north/west end of Poland Lake. After hiking a fairly strenuous 8 km from Strawberry Flats you arrive at a pristine mountain lake which is very cold but a refreshing site after the hike. Poland Lake freezes over in the winter and does not thaw until early July. 

The site consists of a camping area for 6 tents, bear cache, backcountry shelter, pit toilets, fire pit and a creek which flows into the lake. The spring flower bloom often occurs later here than up in the sub-alpine meadows so it is an opportunity to see spring flowers that are often otherwise missed. Black bears are often seen on the trail that crosses the ski hill area.

This is also a popular destination for winter back country skiing and camping. 

Strike Lake backcountry site

Strike Lake backcountry site is nestled in a protective grove of tall Engelman Spruce trees at the western end of Strike Lake. 

Strike Lake is the third of four lakes on the Lightning Lake Chain Trail. It is a relatively easy 1 – 1.5 hour hike to the camp. The camp consists of pit toilets, bear cache, fire pit and a camping area for 8 tents. As this site is one of the easiest hikes and the first site to be free of snow it is very popular throughout the season.