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Vancouver Hiking

Located east of Hope B.C. on Hwy #3

Windy Joe Trail

Windy Joe Trail -Distance : 16km ( round trip ) Elevation Gain : 510m. Elevation : 1825 m. Time : 4- 5 hours
The trail starts out at the Gibsonís Pass / Lightning Lake Road . The trail is a very nice gravel path from where you park . The first thing that hit me was the smell of the pine needles . This is a bit different than your typical wet west coast forest .
The path wanders by the Similkameen River then carves itís way into the forest . In 1/2 ( 2 km ) hr or so you come to a junction in the trail . Take the right turn up the hill . From here on in you will be on a wide jeep road and expect to encounter horses & mountain bikes . The grade is steady with few switchbacks . It seems to average out at 10-15 % so it will give you legs a good workout . At the 1 1/2 ( 5 1/2 km ) hour mark you come to another junction . This is where you branch off for Mt. Frosty and it is also the official start of the Pacific Crest Trail . From Manning to Mexico , time required 6 months .
Now that would be a trip , Iíll have to speak with my boss ! Mount Frosty is the highest peak in Manning Park elevation is 2408 m ( 7,900 ft ) , itís interesting to note that during the last ice age . Only the last 200m was sticking out of the ice shield that covered this area . Just before you make the summit of Windy Joe , on the left side of the trail is a huge chunk of rock . This is called conglomerate rock and is a remnant of the retreating glaciers . Youíll notice it by itís black color and the texture . The best I can describe it is a huge piece of black concrete . When you reach the summit you will see an old Forest Service lookout tower . This was last used in 1965 and is now an interpretive site . Once inside you get a 360 degree view of the area .
You will also find an outhouse at the top if you need it . * hint * bring your own T.P.
Rating 2 - 2+ View 2

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Three Brothers Mountain

Three Brothers Mountain

Distance; Round Trip 21 km (13 miles) Time; 7 hours

High Point; 2273 m (7,453 ft)

Elevation gain; 320m (1050 ft)

 

This trail starts at the Blackwall Mt. parking lot. I suggest to save time go, to the upper lot near the microwave tower. If you are coming from Vancouver, turn left once you get to the Lodge and main buildings at Manning Park. Off the highway, turn left again, and follow the road past the cabins. Its paved most of the way and has a very good gravel road the last few km.

Take the Heather Trail, one of the most popular in the park, to get to the Three Brothers Peak. I suggest doing this trip from mid July to late August as the alpine meadows are full of flowers. Add to this the surrounding mountain ranges and you are in for some spectacular views. The Heather Trail takes you over three gentle rolling hills that people of all ages can enjoy. While I was there I met people that were in their 70s to young families with their munchkins. The first 45 minutes or about 5 kms should bring you to the Buckhorn campsite. This is a small campground set in one of the valleys with a small stream running through it. They do have two outhouses there and a couple of small picnic tables. From here the trails goes up Big Buck Mountain and into the meadows. There are not any water sources after Buckhorn other than maybe some snow melt near the top of Three Brothers so I suggest you bring enough water with you or fill up at Buckhorn. You cross two meadows and can see the Peak of the 1st Brother just ahead of you. A good place to stop and have a water break is just at the base .Here youll also see the sign post for Kicking Horse campground which is 3.5kms away. They also have outhouses and a creek for water there if you decide to push on and spend the night.

The final push up the hill side brings you to a rocky ridge with the rock cairn in sight. Extreme care should be used here and although the trail at this point is wide enough to walk on a slip could be fatal. That being said if you take your time and be sure of your footing you wont have any trouble. Remember to bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen as the sun at this altitude and on an exposed ridge can be brutal.

To the east the interior of B.C. is at your feet as far as the eye can see. To the south and west you will be surrounded by mountain ranges. This is truly one of the most inspiring sights in the park. "Of course Thats why you're here, right ! " 

The only drawback that I found on the trail, apart from the bloodsuckers when the wind died down, was the staircase leading down from the parking lot.  After doing 21 kms this was a killer for me. The only thing that kept me going was I knew the air conditioner in my car was waiting to be turned on.  After 7 hours in 28 degree weather it would be a welcome relief.

 

Rating  2   view 3 +

 

The start of the Heather Trail
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Sign Post along the trail
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Alpine meadow along the way.
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Alpine Flowers
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Nearing the summit of Brother Pk.
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The summit of 1st. Brother
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View from the top
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Looking back at the ridge to the peak
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Vancouver Hiking