Paintbrush trail – Manning Park

Paintbrush trail – Manning Park

The Paintbrush trail in Manning Park is one of the many bite-sized adventures that is great for kids or non-walkers. It is less than 2km long, but high in the alpine so you get beautiful flower-filled views.  We did the trail the morning after our epic hike to Frosty Mountain, so this trail was fabulous for seeing larches from afar.

There are quite a few mini trails like this in Manning Park (the closest is the Dry Ridge trail which is gorgeous in the springtime). If you are an avid hiker and don’t fancy such a short walk, this is the same trailhead as Three Brothers Mountain which is a fabulous longer hike through this scenery.

Paintbrush trail Map

Paintbrush trail – the basics

Distance: 1.6km 
Elevation gain
: 50m
Highest Point: 2012m (ish)
Time: 45 mins
What to bring:
Camera. You don’t need much it’s a short walk.
There is a car park, picnic benches and some loos with great views
Yes, on a lead.
How hard is it?
Easy. It’s a fun, easy walk with great views.
You can grab a free map from Manning Park Resort. We used the fantastic Manning Park Map from Clark Geomatics.
Extra notes: This trail is normally closed in winter as Blackwall road (that you drive up to reach it) is closed after heavy snow.

Paintbrush Trail – getting started

This is one of those trails that allows your vehicle to do most of the hard work for you. Drive up Blackwall Road, which starts on the opposite side of the highway to Manning Park Resort. You’ll be able to see a sign from the Paintbrush trail from the upper car park.

The trail is gorgeous right from your first step! We visited in the autumn when the shrubs had turned bright red. You’ll be able to see Three Brothers Mountain in one direction and oodles of layers of Cascade mountains the other way.

There is a cell phone tower which is a bit of an eye-sore; But you can ignore that by looking out to the surrounding peaks.

Once you’ve taken in the views over E.C Manning Park, you can turn right to the next part of the paintbrush trail. I loved the contrast between the pine trees and the bright red foliage of the berry bushes.

Larches from afar

You’ll be treated to peek-a-boo views through the trees. The lighting was constantly changing for us, but sometimes the sun shone on the golden larches over on the mountains.

Views of Frosty Mountain

You’ll see Frosty Mountain from afar. While the larches are golden that mountain will be incredibly busy, but this trail was completely empty. If you need to find a quiet area in Manning Park in the autumn, this is perfect.

By October, there were very few paintbrushes left; But the colours of this trail are still worthy of a paint palate.

Blackwall Peak

The lower end of the trail sits just below Blackwall Peak. There is a second car park and some loos with views there.

The trail loops back to the start. We stopped by the picnic benches to have lunch looking out at the gorgeous Manning Park views.

Paintbrush trail in the springtime

We’ve hiked along the paintbrush trail in the springtime too. I’ll share photos of the western anemones we saw just after the snow melted in spring. These turn into the Dr Seuss-like poofs you’ll find along the trails in the summertime and autumn.

The other reason to visit this trail in the springtime is for the glacier/avalanche lilies.

Cascade Lookout

On the drive back down, we always stop at the Cascade Lookout to see the views. Once again, Mount Frosty was looking fabulous sprinkled with the golden arches.

If you fancy a short but lovely trail in E.C. Manning Park, the Paintbrush trail is a great option. I hope you like the look of it.

34 thoughts on “Paintbrush trail – Manning Park

  1. What a lovely place to visit! I loved watching your pictures, especially the one withthe pathway in the middle of the flowers, stunning! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Francesca! Those red-looking flowers are actually leaves! All the shrubs and berry bushes turn red…

  2. Wow what a beautiful place to visit! I wasnt sure at first where the Trail was until I got further in– when I get to Canada looks like somewhere I would enjoy!

  3. What a beautiful trail! The colours look spectacular! What a pretty route for very little effort! I love these kinds of walks! Thanks for sharing it!

    1. Thanks Hannah! Yeah it’s fab when you can cheat and see so much without doing much! (To be fair, we hiked for a much longer, harder trail the previous day!)

    1. Thank you 🙂 Yeah, it would suit bringing paintbrushes and an easel. I think it might be named after the flowers, red paintbrushes. I have a feeling the trail must be covered in them in the summer.

  4. I love hikes that aren’t too hard and have tons of gorgeous scenic views! The red foliage from the berries is stunning against the dirt trail and green trees. What a great seeing all those pretty flowers!

  5. As much as I like my long hikes, sometimes a nice short walk with a view is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. This looks so pretty, the flowers are lovely. Haven’t been to Manning yet but I hopefully will soon

  6. Aww, it’s so pretty here! I like your term for shorter hikes as “bite-sized,” hehe. That’s awesome that there’s a longer version of this as well! Always good to have options depending on how much time you have that day!

    1. Yeah, I love the mini hikes sometimes. You would looove the long one to the three brothers trail Farrah.

  7. This looks like such a fun hike! I’m going to have to check it out next time I’m in BC. Thanks for sharing!

  8. What an amazing hiking trail. Being out in nature and exploring new places is exactly what I like to do. The views along this hike look absolutely stunning!

  9. Those beautiful tiny flowers are getting me excited for spring! The snow is finally starting to melt here and today happens to be a warm sunny day! Can’t wait for some spring hiking.

    1. Oooh nice! I guess it is starting to spring-y here too! We have loads of rain to help bring out the blossoms!

  10. The views from this trail is definitely worth it, even if it’s a short trail. I like finding short trails like this one because they’re usually the ones I spend some time just relaxing and enjoying it all.

    1. It’s pretty good for getting up close and taking lots of flower/foliage photos too, as we were in no rush 🙂

  11. I like the idea of mini trails like Paintbrush Trail. This would work for us when we want a change of scenery or a short hike. And always great when the views are fantastic. I can see why all is a great time to visit. Although those glacier lilies might tempt me in the spring!

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