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
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.
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.
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.