Saturday, 25 August 2012

Manning Park - Poland Lake Trail

The Poland Lake Trail in Manning Park gives some very nice views of the Cascade Mountains, without the strenuous climbs that some of the other trails in the park has (plus its only 8 km each way).  My motivation for doing the hike was to find a ski that I had lost that winter (the trail crosses a ski hill), but I did end up enjoying the hike quite a bit.  As my photographs will show, the weather I had when I went wasn't very ideal, limiting how far in the distance I could see.  In addition to the rain and clouds, it was also very smoky when I did this hike.  Manning Park has many forest fires during the summer due to the frequent lightning storms, and I believe there were five or six fires when I was on the trail.  However, having spent a lot of time at the ski hill during the winter, I know that on a clear day, the views are spectacular.

The trail starts at Strawberry Flats and slowly climbs to the Gibson Pass Ski Hill.  It connects to the "Fool Hen" run, which it follows up to a central area under the orange chair lift.  Having grown up skiing at this resort, I was very excited to see what it looked like without snow.  It was like an entirely new area!

At this point the trail splits with one route reserved for hikers, and the other intended for cyclists and horses.  If I had more time I would have liked to have explored both, but I did want to spend some time looking for my ski, which I lost in an area right next to the hiking route.  I searched for a good hour but I never found my ski, so I returned to the trail, slightly dejected (it was an excuse to get new skis though).

Snow Camp, Hozameen, Lone Goat, and Red Mountain
After the two trails join back up, they leave the ski area and head to Poland Lake.  It took a little longer than I expected to get to Poland Lake (the map is a little deceptive), but I still got there with enough time to sit by the lake for quite a while (I think I actually enjoy watching lakes more than I enjoy watching TV).  Due to the weather I didn't see too much wildlife, but there was still some interesting alpine vegetation.

I sort of lucked out on the way back to Strawberry Flats, as the rain never got too heavy.  However, once I was at the parking lot, it really started to pour.  Sometimes these things have such perfect timing!

Overall, I think this is a really nice hike.  It isn't overly long or strenuous, and it does have some nice views.  For a shorter hike, one could take the cyclist/horse route to the top of the ski hill, where the nicest views are.  Regardless, it's worth hiking around this area (though I'd recommend going in better weather).

You can find more information about the hike here.

You can read a more recent post on this trail here.

Poland Lake

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