I have another corker that I’d like to share with you all. The Skyline Trail to Lone Goat Mountain (or to Snow Camp Mountain) in E.C. Manning Provincial Park is one of the premiere hikes in this part of British Columbia. It starts with a not-too-steep climb up to the main ridge of Snow Camp Mountain, then follows flower-filled alpine meadows over to Lone Goat Mountain. As soon as you reach the ridge, you will be treated to spectacular mountain views so you’ll see why this trail is called the skyline!
Skyline Trail to Lone Goat Mountain Map
Skyline Trail to Lone Goat Mountain – The basics
Distance: 20+ km
Cumulative Elevation gain: 1160m
Elevation change: 635m
Highest Point: 2005m
Time: It took us just under 7 hours, including breaks
What to bring:
Loads of water
The 10 Essentials
Hiking poles were helpful
There is a loo at the trailhead
Dogs will love it, but they need to stay on their leashes.
How hard is it?
Intermediate. It there is a decent amount of elevation gain, but it does not get very steep (until the last part up to the peak.) The most difficult aspect is probably the distance if you are not used to hiking 20km. My phone thought it was more like 24km.
Skyline Trail I Trail – Getting Started
We started our hike from the trailhead at Strawberry Flats. There are plenty of sign posts; You should follow the signs for Skyline II.
There are actually two Skyline Trails in Manning Park. Skyline I is a loop up onto Snow Camp Mountain from Strawberry flats or Lightning Lake. While Skyline II is a longer trail across the mountains past Lone Goat Mountain and on towards Skagit Valley Provincial Park. This trail goes on both the Skyline I and Skyline II trails.
Be bear aware – make noise
We didn’t see any early in the morning, but the previous time we visited Strawberry Flats (for the Three Falls trail) we met a beautiful black bear on this part of the trail. This time there were four of us making plenty of noise so we didn’t see any bears. If you are in a smaller group, just make sure you are loud.
The first 4km are basically switch backs through the forest. As you climb higher, the trees start to open up a little and you’ll be bathed in sunlight.
At around 5km in, you get your first glimpses of Snow Camp Mountain’s Peak (left) and Lone Goat Mountain (in the middle). The red/brown mountain to the right is Red Mountain.
Junction for Skyline I and Skyline II
Once you reach the junction up on the ridge, you want to turn off down the Skyline II trail. However, before you do that, go and look at the views! This is the viewpoint you’d see if you wanted to return back down the Skyline I trail.
It’s a bit of a steep drop, but aren’t the mountains gorgeous!? The next section of the trail climbs down the ridge to the right of my photo below, then straight back up again to the green ridge in the distance.
Down, then back up again!
Next you need to follow the switchbacks to lose around 150m in elevation. Once you’ve reached the lowpoint, you just hike right back up again!
Manning Park’s Alpine Meadows
If you have seen my post about Three Brothers Mountain, you’ll know that Manning Park has sooo many amazing wildflowers once you get into the alpine. The Skyline II trail is no exception. My walking pace slowed down considerably once we made to this part of the trail. I stopped hundreds of times to take photos of flowers.
In addition to all the red paintbrushes (the red spiky fellas) and alpine lupines (blue/purple dudes) there were lots of cool plants that I had never seen before. They looked like succulents.
We were hiking with our friends Bernie and Zoe, who are super speedy walkers. So I spent most of this part of the hike taking photos, then running to catch up as everyone was so far off in front of me.
Thunder Lake View
As well as wildflowers, there are oodles of mountains views to take photos of! I loved being able to see Thunder Lake from above. We hiked along the Lightning Lake Chain trail to that lake last year, so it was great to see the birds eye view of the same scenery.
Snow Camp Mountain Vs Lone Goat Mountain
This trail goes right up to both Snow Camp Mountain or Lone Goat Mountain, so you could easily climb to the top of either. Our original plan was to hike up Snow Camp…but we totally missed the turning for it. We had so much fun on the trail that we just kept going to Lone Goat Mountain. You do lose (and then gain) extra elevation if you head for the Lone Goat, but not *too* much.
To reach Lone Goat Mountain’s peak, you just have to keep walking to the end of the trail on the AllTrails map above. After that there’s a turning that climbs straight up the extra 150m to the top.
This last 150m of elevation gain is the toughest part of the whole hike. It is steep and the ground is quite dusty and slippery. Still, you can take it slowly, as every time you turn around, you will see views of Mount Hozomeen like this…
We made it up and stopped for some food. This is one of my favourite lunch viewpoints of the whole summer. It was amazing in all directions.
Lone Goat Mountain Views
This is the view back towards Thunder Lake and Lone Mountain. You can see the edge of Frosty Mountain off in the distance. We hiked there to see the golden larches in the autumn.
This is off in the other direction. There are layers and layers of mountains.
We hiked a little further over to the edge to take a peek north towards Red Mountain too.
Looking back, these photos all look a little fake as it was just all so blue, green and lush! The photo below looks back to Snow Camp Mountain, and the ridge beyond; Where if you like, you can follow Skyline I back down to Lightning Lake.
And this is the steep view back down to the Skyline II trail, with Hozomeen Mountain looking fabulous in the background.
Heading back via Snow Camp Mountain
We didn’t hike up Snow Camp Mountain on this occasion. We had big plans for a swim followed by a slow-cooked dinner on the campfire. I’ll definitely be back to hike it next time.
Extra tip – Start early
We started at 8am, so the hike up was relatively cool and pleasant, and the bugs didn’t really start to munch on us until we reached the peak. We hardly saw any other hikers at all before lunch. The trail was far busier on our return journey, so most people seem to start a few hours after we did. However their hike must have been far hotter and more exhausting. If you possibly can, start early for a more pleasant (and quiet) hike.
Once again, I have to finish with some of the panoramas from this walk. They give you a better idea about how expansive the views can be from Skyline Trail to Lone Goat Mountain.
Isn’t it gorgeous!? What do you think?
All the hikes in E.C. Manning Park are fun, but this is one of the truly spectacular ones. If you would like to find an amaaazing hike East of Vancouver, look no further! Just click on the pins below to save this to hike later.