Last weekend, I got away for the weekend and went snowshoeing in Manning Park for the first time. It’s a great destination that is far enough away to feel like you get a bit of a road trip while still not having to spend all day in the car. (Note: You will need snow tires during the winter season.)
Distance from Vancouver: About 220 km (2.5 hours)
On Saturday, we tried our luck at Fat Dog Trail. There is a smallish parking lot at the trailhead, so it’s a good idea to arrive before 9:00 a.m. at the latest. A porta-potty hut sits at the trailhead for those of you who, like me, want to make sure their bathroom needs are accommodated. It was relatively clean with toilet paper, but no sink – bring hand sanitizer!
Fat Dog Trail was relatively slow, with other hikers only passing us (yeah, wah wah) every 30 minutes or so. The snow was well tamped down, and the views were absolutely gorgeous.
The trail itself was never too steep, but the incline was pretty relentless for my winter bod. We stopped pretty frequently, ultimately calling it quits about halfway up. We took the Cambie Loop to add a couple kilometers to the hike, but wound up pledging to return next year and conquer!
Fat Dog Trail:
Length: 14.8 km
Elevation Gain: 697 m
Route Type: Out & Back
(from All Trails)
On Sunday, we went with a much easier hike at Lightning Lake Loop near the Manning Park Lodge. This hike was very well trodden, so we opted to leave our snowshoes behind. This turned out to be an excellent decision, but use caution if you try this yourself!
As we started out, trekking across snow-covered parking lots, we realized we were actually trekking across the snow-covered lake! It was entirely solid, and we saw other hikers going straight across the middle, but the thought of being that far from the edge skeeved me out, and we found our way to the official trail.
This is a flat trail with expansive views of snow-covered lakes surrounded by trees and mountains. There is a cool bridge at the at the first turnaround where we took pictures. Overall, it’s a refreshing, beautiful hike that is perfect for those who don’t want a lot of elevation.
Lightning Lake Loop
Length: 8.5 km
Elevation Gain: 206 m
Route Type: Loop
(from All Trails)