BC Interior Snowshoeing Vancouver Area

Where to Go Snowshoeing in Manning Park, BC

I know it’s a bold statement, but I think Manning Park is the best place to snowshoe in southwestern BC. Here’s why snowshoeing in Manning Park is so awesome:

  • Easy drive from Greater Vancouver on a plowed and sanded highway.
  • Usually low avalanche risk. 
  • Better weather and fluffier snow than the coast. 
  • No stupidly steep climbs. Gorgeous mountain views.
  • TONS of trails ranging from super flat beginner routes to all-day epics in the backcountry that climb mountains.

I mean, what else do  you need? In this guide I’ll give you all the details you need to choose the right trail for snowshoeing in Manning Park, plus tips to keep you safe on the trail.

Psst! Looking for even more places to snowshoe in British Columbia? Check out these Vancouver-area snowshoe guides:

Hey there: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase. Thanks for supporting my website! -Taryn

But First… Be Prepared

  • Make a trip plan: While these trails may be steps from busy ski areas, they access serious wilderness. Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. Use the great trip planning tools from Adventure Smart.
  • Check the weather, trail conditions, and avalanche forecast: If the weather and trail conditions don’t look good, don’t go. Check the avalanche forecast for the South Coast Inland zone. Unless you have taken an avalanche safety course, you probably shouldn’t go out unless the forecast is rated “Low” or “Moderate”. 
  • Wear winter clothing and pack the essentials: Prepare for emergencies by packing the 10 essentials. Read my recommendations for what to wear snowshoeing and tips for winter hiking and snowshoeing.
  • Use safe snowshoeing techniques: Snowshoes keep you from sinking into deep snow, but they aren’t great for walking sideways or downhill – it’s easy to slip and injure yourself. Read up on snowshoeing safety and check out my guide to choosing snowshoes.) They also have crampons and other traction aids underfoot to help grip icy snow.
  • Take an avalanche safety course: If you plan to stray from flat terrain, you need avalanche safety training. great FREE online beginner tutorial on Avalanche.ca. You should also take a 2.5 day AST1 course with avalanche Canada.

READ NEXT: Snowshoeing Safety: 14 Ways to Get into Trouble and How to Prevent Them

Where to Rent Snowshoes in Manning Park

If you’re looking for advice on how to choose snowshoes, I’ve got a snowshoe buying guide for you. I like to wear MSR snowshoes which are better for steep and icy trails.

If you want to save some money, rent your snowshoes in town before you arrive in Manning Park. Sunny weekends and holidays can be really busy for rentals, so try to reserve a pair ahead of time if possible.

  • On the way to Manning Park rent at Mount Waddington’s Outdoors in Chilliwack
  • Manning Park Resort rents snowshoes. The rental price includes a pass to the resort trails. There are also cheaper rental options if you only want to go snowshoeing for a few hours.

Snowshoeing in Manning Park Quick Reference Guide

TrailRatingTime NeededCostDogs
Skagit River TrailEasy3-4 hoursFREEYes, on leash
Cambie Creek LoopEasy1.5-2 hoursFREEYes, on leash
Fat Dog TrailChallenging6-8 hoursFREEYes, on leash
Manning Park Lodge TrailsSuper Easy1-1.5 hours$10Yes, on leash
Steamboat TrailsEasy/Moderate2-3 hours$10Yes, on leash
Canyon Nature TrailEasy1-1.5 hoursFREEYes, on leash
Windy Joe MountainChallenging5-7 hoursFREEYes, on leash
Lightning Lakes LoopModerate3-4 hoursFREEYes, on leash
Poland LakeModerate/ Challenging4-7 hoursFREENo
Shadow Lake
Easy1-2 hours$10Yes, on leash

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Snowshoeing on the Skagit River Trail at Sumallo Grove

Distance: Up to 9km return

Time Needed: 3-4 hours

Elevation Gain: None

Rating: Easy

The Trail: The Skagit River trail runs 15km down the banks of the… you guessed it: Skagit River. In winter Delacey camp at the 4km mark makes a good place to turn around. Along the way you’ll pass through the large old growth trees of Sumallo Grove. Be sure to take the side trail around the 2km mark to visit an old abandoned mining truck.

Since the access road is gated in the winter you’ll add an extra 0.5km each way to walk in to the summer parking lot. 

Note that this trail is at a much lower elevation than the rest of the snowshoeing trails in Manning Park (only 650m) so it will not receive as much snow and may be snow-free in warmer weather.

Avalanche Danger and Hazards: Watch for open creeks and narrow snow-covered bridges along the trail. There is no immediate avalanche danger on the trail, but there are some substantial avalanche slopes up the hill from the trail. If the avalanche forecast is above moderate, it may not be smart to be down in this valley.

Trail Map/Guide: You can find info on the Manning Provincial Park website.

Permits/Fees: None.

Dogs: Permitted on leash.

Driving Directions: From Hope drive 30 minutes to the Sumallo Grove picnic area turn off on your right. Click here for driving directions. The gate to the parking lot is locked in the winter so you’ll have to park on the shoulder of the highway and walk in. There is space for a few cars outside the gate.

Snowshoeing Cambie Creek Loop

Snowshoeing past the Similkameen River on the Cambie Creek Loop in Manning Park. Read about how to snowshoe here in the Ultimate Guide to Snowshoeing in Manning Park near Vancouver, BC, Canada
Photo Credit: “Similkameen River” by Dru! on Flickr. Used under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Distance: 2.5-5km

Time Needed: 1.-5-2 hours

Elevation Gain: Up to 100m

Rating: Easy

The Trail: There are two interconnected cross country ski loop trails along the banks of the of the Similkameen River, collectively known as the Cambie Creek Loop. The trails are relatively flat and make a great snowshoe trip for beginners. The trails are un-groomed, but be prepared to share the trail with cross country skiers – don’t walk in their ski tracks.

Avalanche Danger and Hazards: For many years one of the bridges on this trail was washed out and you couldn’t complete the loop. However, it was replaced in 2016, so that is no longer a problem. The trail is down in the valley bottom and there are a few very steep slopes immediately uphill of the trail. Use caution and check the avalanche forecast before you go.

Trail Map/Guide: Surprisingly there is very little information online about this trail. There is a good map posted at trailhead.

Permits/Fees: None.

Dogs: Allowed on leash.

Driving Directions: From Hope drive 45 minutes to the Cambie Creek Winter Group Campsite turn off on your left. Click here for driving directions. There is a large plowed parking area.

Snowshoeing the Fat Dog Trail

Trailhead for the Fat Dog Snowshoe Trail in Manning Park. Read about how to snowshoe here in the Ultimate Guide to Snowshoeing in Manning Park near Vancouver, BC, Canada
Cambie Creek trailhead. Photo credit: “2012-02-04 Scout winter camp Manning Park” by Chris Hutchcroft on Flickr. Used under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Distance: 15km

Time Needed: 6-8 hours

Elevation Gain: 700m

Rating: Challenging

The Trail: This trail climbs up high into the alpine and on a clear day you can get some great views. Despite all the elevation gain, the trail is on an old road so it never gets too steep. The trail is also popular with backcountry skiers so be sure to walk outside their ski tracks. The Fat Dog Trail doesn’t have a definite end point – it peters out in the high alpine meadows so turn around when ever you’ve had enough of the views.

Avalanche Danger and Hazards: The first few kilometres of the trail are down in the valley bottom and there are a few very steep slopes immediately uphill of the trail. Use caution and check the avalanche forecast before you go. The remainder of the trail is in much more mellow terrain. Be careful of cornices along the ridge at the top.

Trail Map/Guide: There’s a map and information on Live Trails.

Permits/Fees: None.

Dogs: Allowed on leash.

Driving Directions: From Hope drive 45 minutes to the Cambie Creek Winter Group Campsite turn off on your left. Click here for driving directions. There is a large plowed parking area.

Lodge Area Snowshoe Trails

Snowshoeing on the Lodge Trails in Manning Park. Read about how to snowshoe here in the Ultimate Guide to Snowshoeing in Manning Park near Vancouver, BC, Canada
Lodge Trails. Photo Credit: “Snowshoeing at Manning Park” by Rebecca Bollwitt on Flickr. Used under CC BY-NC 2.0.

Distance: Up to 3.5km return

Time Needed: 1-1.5 hours

Elevation Gain: Up to 50m

Rating: Super easy

The Trail: Manning Park Resort maintains a small network of snowshoe trails right next to their cabins. If you stay there you can snowshoe right out your front door. The trails are flat and well marked.  Various loops are possible and there’s even a small lookout.

Avalanche Danger and Hazards: None.

Trail Map/Guide: There’s info on Manning Park Resort’s website and they will also give you a map when you buy your trail pass.

Permits/Fees: You need a Manning Park Resort Snowshoe Trail pass for these trails. A day pass costs $10 and you can buy one at the Nordic Centre near the Lodge.

Dogs: Allowed on leash.

Driving Directions: From Hope drive 50 minutes to the Manning Park Lodge turn off on your right. Click here for driving directions. There is a large plowed parking area at the Lodge.

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Steamboat Snowshoe Trails

Distance: Up to 6km return

Time Needed: 2-3 hours

Elevation Gain: Up to 75m

Rating: Easy/Moderate

The Trail: If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous than the easy Lodge trails, but you aren’t ready for full-on winter navigation, check out the Steamboat Trails. These three well-marked interconnected trails run along the north side of the Gibson Pass road.

Some sections are totally flat but there are some hilly parts too. You can pick up the trail in a few places from along Gibson Pass Road, or do it as an out and back from one end or the other.

Avalanche Danger and Hazards: None.

Trail Map/Guide: There’s info on Manning Park Resort’s website and they will also give you a map when you buy your trail pass.

Permits/Fees: You need a Manning Park Resort Snowshoe Trail pass for this trail. A day pass costs $10 and you can buy one at the Nordic Centre near the Lodge.

Dogs: Allowed on leash.

Driving Directions: From Hope drive 50 minutes to the Manning Park Lodge turn off on your right. Head in to the Nordic Centre to get your pass, then head a couple minutes down Gibson Pass Road. Immediately after crossing a bridge you’ll see the trailhead on your right. Click here for driving directions. There is a small plowed pull out on the side of the road.

Snowshoeing the Canyon Nature Trail

Distance: 2km loop

Time Needed: 1-1.5 hours

Elevation Gain: 50m

Rating: Easy

The Trail: This short nature trail follows the banks of the Similkameen River as it winds through a mini-canyon. You’ll walk up one side of the river to a bridge near the Coldspring Campground, cross it and come back down the other side of the river.

Avalanche Danger and Hazards: In some areas the trail gets close to the river bank. Use caution. This trail doesn’t have winter markings so it could be difficult to follow if no one has walked there recently. However, the trail stays down in the canyon so it shouldn’t be too hard to stay on track.

Trail Map/Guide: There’s trail information and a map on the Manning Provincial Park website.

Permits/Fees: None. While this trail starts next to Manning Park Resort’s Steamboat Trails, which do require a paid trail pass, this trail is strictly within BC Park’s jurisdiction and is free to use.

Dogs: Allowed on leash.

Driving Directions: From Hope drive 50 minutes to the Manning Park Lodge turn off on your right. Turn down Gibson Road and follow it for a couple minutes. Immediately after crossing a bridge you’ll see the trailhead on your right. Click here for driving directions. There is a small plowed pull out on the side of the road.

Snowshoeing to Windy Joe Mountain

Distance: 16km round trip

Time Needed: 5-7 hours

Elevation Gain: 500m

Rating: Challenging

The Trail: This trail climbs Windy Joe Mountain on an old road. Thankfully the grade is never too steep. At the top you can explore an old fire lookout tower, last used in the 1960s. Be sure to climb up into the loft where a sign helps you identify all the peaks you are looking at.

Distance: 16km round trip

Avalanche Danger and Hazards: The trail traverses mostly mild terrain, but there it does cross a steep slope on the first switchback so use caution in this area and check the avalanche forecast before you go.

Trail Map/Guide: There’s a good trail guide on the Manning Provincial Park website. There’s a map as well.

Permits/Fees: None.

Dogs: Allowed on leash.

Driving Directions: From Hope drive 50 minutes to the Manning Park Lodge turn off on your right. Turn down Gibson Road and follow it for a couple minutes. Immediately after crossing a bridge you’ll see the trailhead on your left. Click here for driving directions. There is a small plowed pull out on the side of the road.

Snowshoeing the Lightning Lakes Loop

Snowshoeing to the Rainbow Bridge on the Lightning Lake Loop in Manning Park. Read about how to snowshoe here in the Ultimate Guide to Snowshoeing in Manning Park near Vancouver, BC, Canada
Snowshoeing towards Rainbow Bridge on Lightning Lake. Photo Credit: “Rainbow Bridge” by Erin on Flickr. Used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Distance: 9km

Time Needed: 3-4 hours

Elevation Gain: 50m

Rating: Moderate

The Trail: In the summer the Lightning Lakes trail is THE hike in Manning Park. So of course in winter this is THE place to go snowshoeing in Manning Park. The loop around Lightning Lake is a wonderful mellow trail, and if you want to make it even flatter, you can walk on the lake itself. The highlight is visiting the Rainbow Bridge when it’s all covered in snow.

Avalanche Danger and Hazards: There is no major avalanche danger on the trail. If the lake is sufficiently frozen you can take a shortcut on the ice across the mouth of Lone Duck Bay. Be careful and don’t try this late or early in the season. If you can’t take the shortcut across the ice, you’ll have to go around the long way on the Lone Duck Trail. The Lone Duck trail is technically a cross country ski trail in the winter. Stay well to the side of the trail and don’t walk in the ski tracks.

Trail Map/Guide: You can find trail info and a map on the Manning Provincial Park website.

Permits/Fees: None.

Dogs: Allowed on leash.

Driving Directions: From Hope drive 50 minutes to the Manning Park Lodge turn off on your right. Turn down Gibson Road and follow it for 5 minutes. Take the signed turn off to the left for the Lightning Lakes Day Use Area. Click here for driving directions. There is a large plowed parking lot at the end of the road.

Snowshoeing to Poland Lake

Distance: 12-16km return

Time Needed: 4-7 hours

Elevation Gain: 450m

Rating: Challenging

The Trail: Poland Lake is one of the less visited areas in Manning Park in both summer and winter, despite the fact that it’s only a short drive from the lodge. The trail starts with a big climb up the side of the Horseshoe ski run to the top of the ridge. It then follows an undulating ridge all the way to pretty little Poland Lake.

Avalanche Danger and Hazards: The trail has no avalanche danger. You will encounter skiers and snowboarders in the first part of the hike. Stay well to the left side of the run and always watch to see who is coming down.

Trail Map/Guide: There’s a guide to the summer trail and a map on the Manning Provincial Park website. You can find info on the winter route on the Manning Park Resort website. You may also want to bring a map of the ski area.

Permits/Fees: Free. (Manning Park used to offer a $10 lift ticket for snowshoers to get to the top of the lift but they cancelled that in March 2021.)

Dogs: Dogs are not allowed on the lift or in the ski area.

Driving Directions: From Hope drive 50 minutes to the Manning Park Lodge turn off on your right. Turn down Gibson Road and follow it for 15 minutes to its end at the ski area. Click here for driving directions. There is a large plowed parking lot at the end of the road.

Snowshoeing to Shadow Lake

Distance: 4km return

Time Needed: 1-2 hours

Elevation Gain: None

Rating: Easy

The Trail: This easy trail leads along an old fire road to Shadow Lake. From there you can take a trail over to the downhill ski area. The trail starts at the Strawberry Flats Cross Country Ski trailhead so watch for skiers at the beginning of the trail and don’t walk on the ski tracks.

Avalanche Danger and Hazards: None

Trail Map/Guide: There’s a trail guide for the summer route and a map on the Manning Provincial Park website.  There’s also some trail information on the Manning Park Resort website.

Permits/Fees: You need a Manning Park Resort Snowshoe Trail pass for this trail. A day pass costs $10 and you can buy one at the Nordic Centre near the Lodge.

Dogs: Allowed on leash.

Driving Directions: From Hope drive 50 minutes to the Manning Park Lodge turn off on your right. Turn down Gibson Road and follow it for 15 minutes. Look for the Strawberry Flats Cross Country ski area trailhead on your left. If you go all the way to the ski area at the end of the road, you’ve gone too far. Click here for driving directions. There is a large plowed pull out on the side of the road.

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How many of these Manning Park trails have you snowshoed? Have questions about snowshoeing in Manning Park? Hit me up in the comments.

READ NEXT:

More Snowshoeing Guides:

Snowshoeing and Winter Hiking Advice

10 Comments

  • Reply
    Kathleen
    January 26, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    I’ve never been snowshoeing but it looks like fun and work. I’m not a cold weather person, but I imagine you work up a pretty good sweat and stay warm. Lovely photos.

  • Reply
    Josy A
    January 26, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Yay! You have such helpful snowshoeing tips! We don’t have a car yet, so I didn’t get to explore Manning Park. I can’t waaait to try some of these trails though. I might just have to hire a car to visit!

  • Reply
    Valerie
    January 27, 2018 at 8:26 am

    I love your blog!! I am Canadian also , raised in Vancouver area…I think I was here years ago…so beautiful. I think I found a place I need to go explore! Thanks for sharing, beautiful pictures!

    VAlerie

  • Reply
    A speck in time
    January 27, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    I want to try snowshoeing someday soon, and do lots of snow photography. Your post is a great resource for first timers like me. Thank you so much for putting so much details.

  • Reply
    patrick mooney
    January 7, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    I love everything you’ve shared in this article and others, I too live in the City, but my heart and soul are in the mountains and surrounded by nature. Wishing you all the best and thanks for helping others explore and find beautiful places in BC

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      January 7, 2019 at 11:20 pm

      Thanks for your kind words Patrick. It’s always so nice to hear from others who find happiness in nature.

  • Reply
    Cal Francis
    January 9, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    Excellent page. I think you should add MT Kelly in Manning park to this page.

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      January 10, 2019 at 12:38 pm

      That’s a great idea. I haven’t hiked or snowshoed Mount Kelly yet but I’ll put it on the list.

  • Reply
    Rodney Thiessen
    February 20, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    Just to update: You CANNOT snowshoe from Shadow Lake through to the Three Falls trail. Snowshoeing to Shadow Lake is permitted with a pass but you cannot use the groomed trail through to the Three Falls Trail (according to Park staff). To access the Three Falls trail in winter you must start at the ski hill.

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      February 21, 2021 at 7:38 am

      Thanks for the update Rodney. I think that’s a newer change this year as in previous years the resort didn’t include Shadow Lake as part of their groomed trails. I’ll update the post.

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