Exploring the Wildflowers of Manning Park
Experiencing the splendor of nature on a hike is an exhilarating feeling, made even better with the sight of colourful wildflowers in full bloom. Take a trip to Manning Park and prepare to be dazzled by the vibrant colours and delicate blooms of wildflowers set in a glorious mountain backdrop. Bring your camera, a good pair of hiking boots and your sense of adventure, as you’ll find many hiking trails that wind through lush alpine meadows full of these brilliant beauties.
Manning Park is home to over 100 varieties of alpine and subalpine wildflowers. You’ll be treated to this spectacular sight starting in spring and peaking in July, although some varieties stay colourful into the fall. These are just a few of the varieties you’ll see in great numbers!
See the big, showy blooms of the Pacific Rhododendron in colours from pale pink to vibrant magenta. This moisture-loving shrub with shiny evergreen leaves thrives in the lush moss of the forest floor and can reach staggering heights of up to 8 metres (24 feet).
Blooms late spring
Avalanche lilies are found in open meadows as well as forested areas in higher elevations. As soon as the winter snows melt, the forest floor is awash in these elegant white blooms.
Blooms late June – August
Western Anemones bloom as small white flowers with yellow centers, and as they go to seed, they morph into a very unique, mop-top looking form that you’ll see in great abundance in late summer.
Blooms late June – August
You can’t miss these vibrant scarlet beauties that bloom mid to late summer. What look like red flowers are actually red bracts (small, specialized leaves). This stunning plant can grow up to 60cm tall and populates moist to dry areas, from forests to hillside slopes.
Lupine are one of the most common wildflowers in British Columbia. A member of the pea family, they have tall stalks full of colourful flower clusters, usually in eye-catching shades of purple and blue. The leaves are starburst shaped, smooth on top and hairy underneath (which helps hold moisture). They grow in abundance in open, mid- to sub-alpine areas.
There are an incredible variety of walking and hiking trails throughout Manning Park, offering the opportunity to view a diverse range of wildflowers. With trails ranging anywhere from a 15-minute walk to a 6-day hike, you’ll find a trail to suit every ability level. Here’s our list of some of the best trails for viewing!
About 9 kilometers past the West entrance of the park, you’ll find this natural grove of rhododendrons. This is an easy .5km loop on a beautiful forested trail that takes 10-15 minutes to walk. This rare natural grove is an isolated population at the northern point of their range, and the profusion of pink blooms in a forest setting is an enchanting sight.
A brilliant variety of flora in can be seen in these sub-alpine meadows from late June through to August. Starting at the Blackwall parking lot, the full length of the trail is 21 km (one way) and takes 10-12 hours. Overnight camping stops are available at Buckhorn, Kickinghorse, or Nicomen Lake Wilderness Campsites.
This loop trail, moderate in difficulty, is approximately 1.5 km and will take about 35 minutes. In late spring, the yellows and whites of the spring flowers (such as avalanche lilies and western anemones) are on display, followed by a flush of summer wildflowers from mid-July to mid-August.
Rated as difficult due to some steep elevation gains, the 20km loop of Skyline Trails 1 & 2 offers a rich variety of flora and vegetation that change with the landscape, from green valley floors full of mosses and lichens to subalpine meadows with sweeping panoramic views and wildflowers as far as the eye can see.
POLAND LAKE TRAIL
This is a lovely day hike with a distance of 16 km (return), with a lavish show of wildflowers and gorgeous scenery throughout the route to the lake. Watch for the spreading phlox, that forms carpets of flowers, in colours ranging from pink to lavender.
Take a guided wildflower walk with a knowledgeable interpreter. These walks run five days per week during summer months, Friday – Monday, and Wednesday beginning at 11 am.
Picking of wildflowers in Manning Park is prohibited, so take only photos, and leave only footprints. Let’s keep these delicate beauties around for the enjoyment of generations to come: be sure to stay on marked trails and keep dogs on leash to avoid destruction of plant growth.