Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Manning Park - Three Falls Trail

The Three Falls Trail in Manning Park is one of the nicest short trails in the park (it is 4.5 km each way).  The trail goes from Strawberry Flats and offers views of three waterfalls.  The trail is fairly easy, with very minimal elevation change.

The first part of the hike in Strawberry Flats has some nice wildflowers (depending on the time of year), and if you are lucky, wild strawberries.  This area can get kind of busy, as it leads to a couple of trail heads, and is a pretty popular walk on its own.  After a few minutes the trail reaches the ski resort's bunny hill, which has a t-bar that I have fallen off of many times (I've never had any incident on a chairlift or rope tow, but for some reason I completely fail at t-bars).

The Bunny Hill and T-Bar

From the ski hill the trail goes into the woods.  I've noticed that often, the only sound for this part of the trail is the creaking of the trees, which is kind of creepy for some reason (maybe I'm scared that ents might be real, who knows?).  It doesn't take to long to get to Shadow Falls, where there is a nice open viewing area.

Shadow Falls

After the viewing area, the trail begins to gradually descend.  It doesn't take too long to reach Nepopekum Falls, which is the biggest waterfall of the three.  It is across the valley, and you have to be paying attention, or else you could miss it (there is a sign that signifies you can see it, but it kind of blends in with the tree it's on).  If you go at a time of year when there is a decent water flow, it is a very neat waterfall, but if you go later in the year, you could easily not notice it.

Nepopekum Falls

After Nepopekum Falls, the trail continues to descend.  There are a couple of kind of rocky areas where it is very easy to twist an ankle or trip, but overall, the trail remains easy.  There are a few areas where the forest has almost a carpet of moss, and the vegetation is pretty dense.

Once the trail gets to Derek Falls, it opens up a little bit, making Derek the easiest of the falls to see.  Depending on the time of year, huckleberries can be in abundance here.  Right where the trail ends there is a nice viewpoint overlooking the valley.  If you are out of shape (as I have been a couple of the times I've done the trail) you might feel the gradual ascent on the way back, but otherwise, it is a very easy trail.  While this isn't the most spectacular hike in the park, the falls do have a special beauty, and I would say it is worth doing.

Derek Falls

For a more recent account of the Three Falls Trail, see this post.

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