Three Brothers Mountain – Manning Park

Three Brothers Mountain – Manning Park

I am so excited to share this one! The Three Brothers Mountain (reached by hiking along the Heather Trail) is one of the most popular hikes in Manning Park. The trail itself is not particularly difficult so it is a great challenge for newbie hikers; Or for when you don’t quite have your hard-core summer legs ready. You drive up to 1950m, so you can expect epic alpine views right from the start of the walk. Then British Columbia keeps showing off with displays of wildflowers and views that just get better and better.

This hike is truly spectacular. If you are ever in the area, I cannot recommend it enough.

Three Brothers Mountain – the Basics

Distance: 21.5km 
Cumulative Elevation gain
: 850m
Elevation change: 480
Highest Point: 2272m
Time: It took us 6.5 hours, with some breaks
What to bring:
Hiking poles were pretty helpful.
Loads of water
The 10 Essentials
There is a loo at the trailhead
Dogs will love it, but they need to stay on their leashes.
How hard is it?
Intermediate. I was pretty exhausted by the end of the day, but the trail never gets too steep.

Three Brothers Trail Map

Three Brothers Mountain – Getting Started

If you saw my previous post about the Dry Ridge Trail in Manning Park you might remember that you can drive right up the mountain next to the Manning Park resort. It’s worth stopping at the first viewpoint for the view above. Then, once have had your fill of the first mountains, keep going to the Blackwall parking lot. There are two areas where you can park – we chose the lower parking lot so we’d get to see the views hiking along Blackwall Peak.

You want to follow the Heather trail towards Three Brothers Mountain. However, before you go, there are two mini walks; the paintbrush nature trail and the viewpoint loop. We looked at both to see the alpine flowers and views before setting off.

Downhill to Buckhorn Campground

The start of this trail is almost all downhill. This can be slightly worrying on long walks because it means you have to finish by going uphill for a while. Still you can enjoy a super easy start.

Wonderful Wildflowers

One of the best things about the Heather Trail is all the flowers. We did this walk in early July so the meadows were covered in glacier lilies (avalanche lilies) and anemones. A few weeks later, I think these slopes will be full of blue alpine lupines and red indian paintbrushes.

I have never seen so many glacier lilies before. They were gorgeous.

This was also the first time I had seen anemones. The Western Anemones (in the left photo) are the flowers that turn into teeny pom poms later in the summertime.

Slow ascent

After the Buckhorn campground, you’ll start walking uphill. Pretty soon, you’ll emerge from the forest, so each time you look backwards you get to see beautiful views.

There were still a few patches of snow, but we didn’t need to put on micro spikes.

On the way, you walk along the ridge of Big Buck Mountain. You can walk up to the edge and see the views. You may need to do a jump shot at that point. (I did!)

This is the view looking from the ridge and off to the North East.

Getting steeper

The trail continues up from the viewpoint over a larger patch of snow. The snow patches help to keep you cool on hot days as the breeze flows over the snow.

You need to turn off the Heather Trail to start the main ascent of Three Brothers Mountain and the First Brother Peak. We could see some pretty large cornices on one side of the mountain. So if you do this hike earlier in the year, be reeeally careful at the edge of the slope.

It’s hard to see in my photos, but the side of the mountain was covered in flowers.

Three Brothers Mountain Top

You can’t really get lost. Just keep following the narrow path along the top of the mountain. Stay away from the edge as there are steep drops on both sides.

As you get closer to the First Brother Peak (at the end of the trail) there are a couple of sections where you need to scramble up using your hands.

Marc stopped for a while to take photos, so I made it to the peak first. He always know what I want, so he snapped this far-off jump photo of me at the top!

Weather in Manning Park

We were incredibly lucky with the weather. It was a truly beautiful day. Even then, it was pretty cold and very windy at the peak. Make sure you bring appropriate clothes to keep you warm. The weather can change incredibly quickly in alpine areas.

I should also mention that although this was my third visit to Manning Park, this was the first time I had ever seen the views. Be aware that this area is often cloudy, rainy and nothing like my photos!

If you are new to hiking, then 20+km will feel like a very long walk. Still, if you get a clear day, it will totally be worth it. I mean, just look at these views.

We found a great sheltered spot just beyond the First Brother Mountain, where we could eat lunch and look out at the views. This is a busy trail at the weekend, but we hiked up on a Friday, so there were very few people around.

Return from Three Brothers Mountain

You head home the way you came. Be extra careful as you hike along the colourful ridgeline. Some of the rocks are a bit loose, so you need to watch your step.

Take a last look over to the other peaks. They all look really tempting as a future hikes to me!

We found the hike back was pretty easy. You’ll be heading downhill all the way until the Buckhorn Campsite. As the gradient of the path never gets very steep, it is an easy, pleasant hike. Plus, in this direction, you don’t have to keep turning around to see those epic mountain views to the South.

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I was pretty tired by the time we needed to hike up the last section to the car. However as the path is not too steep, it was actually less hard than I expected.

I am going to finish with a few panoramas to give you more of an idea about the expensiveness of these views.

I hope you are as excited by this hike as we were. We both had sooo much fun! If you can visit the area I hope that you get similarly gorgeous weather and you have as much fun as we did!

Click on the pins below to save them for later.

83 thoughts on “Three Brothers Mountain – Manning Park

  1. You are getting me very excited about a trip to Manning. I’m glad you guys got some clear skies. The hike looks amazing. What do you recommend as the best campsite to use as a base for 3 days of hiking?

    1. If you can get a spot, Lightning Lakes. It’s close to Windy Joe/ Skyline/ Frosty and Three Brothers (as well as the waterfall trail/lake trail if the weather is less good)

      Oooh you are going to have so much fun!

  2. That looks absolutely spectacular—from the abundant wild flowers to those stunning summit views. And what perfect weather. Reward for your persistence in returning after two ascents in cloud.

    1. The other times I visited there was still lots of snow, so I didn’t try this walk before…when it’s cloudy there are other low-elevation trails to keep me happy. 😉

  3. This looks so pretty! I especially love all the flowers and those mountain views. Wow. Thanks for giving so much detailed info!

    1. 6 hours doesn’t seem to long for me anymore – I guess that means we’ve been hiking too much this summer! 🤣

  4. Beautiful post! I loved reading along and imagining your journey upwards. I could feel how excited you were to hike there! The pictures of the flowers and the glacial snow are amazing. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yay thank you so much for reading. To be fair, I was super excited to see the views here for the first time. The whole area was amazing!

  5. My first thought: Oh wow, this hike’s a biggie! I don’t know that I’ve done anything this long in length… Anyway. Am I a minority hiker in that I quite dislike stairs? I’ve got some knee issues, and they always seem worsened by stairs instead of a slope, even if it’s steep! I still hike anyway, so I’d still hike this one despite those stairs I see haha.

    I’m so glad you managed to get there on a day where rain and clouds weren’t inhibiting your views! I’m sure it would’ve been enjoyable regardless, but it always gives me a special happiness.

    With each post (and other info you’ve provided me 😊), you make the Vancouver area more and more exciting to visit! Really can’t wait for travel to be safe again.

    1. No, I am totally with you! I much prefer slopes to stairs. This hike actually didn’t have too many stairs, so you might be alright! The gradient made it pretty easy, so it didn’t feel as hard as the stats suggest.

      p.s. thank you so much for the lovely comment!

    2. Hike trips are so much fun, the Three Mountain hike trail looks gorgeous, must have been an adventure traversing those slow/steep ascents and how wonderful to see wild flowers on your route that too a rich variety of them. The peaks do look enticing!

    1. Thanks Camden! I really love having maps to help visualise what the hike will be like. I’m chuffed you like them too.

  6. What a stunning hike! The views are spectacular! I think I’d struggle with that scramble to the top (vertigo) but it would definitely be worth it! Thanks for the great guide!

    1. You’d still get pretty amazing views by stopping at the top of the ridge. There is no reason to scramble up if it would stress you out! 🙂

  7. What a stunning hike! Canada’s nature never stop amazing me… you used the right word to describe it in your blog: expansive. I’m pinning + saving this for my next Ca. trip.

    1. I keep thinking the same thing about hikes in Washington. 🤣 It’s going to be nice when the borders reopen.

  8. What a gorgeous hike! I have done a lot of hikes around Vancouver but I haven’t done this one, I will have to add it to my list for my next visit once the border opens again!

    1. Yay Katie! I didn’t know you were close. I just saw that you posted about Garibaldi, and followed you on twitter so we can get in touch if/when you come back. 😀

    1. I think most of the snow may have melted now it’s August, but it’d still be full of flowers and gorgeous.

  9. I’ve been looking for more hikes outside of Vancouver, and this one seems great. I love all the flowers, and the fact that there’s still some snow there in July. Some of these hiking days in the summer can get hot here, so I appreciate a route with a natural way to keep cool. The views are amazing, I really need to check out Manning Park. Everyone’s told me for so long to get out there but I haven’t done it yet

    1. You really need to Emma!

      Everyone kept telling me that too, and I have to admit, I didn’t quite get it when we visited in the rain…but if you make it on a sunny day any walk you choose will be spectacular. <3

  10. Wow! This hike looks unreal, especially the view of the mountains. I’m going to make it a goal to be able to do such a difficult and long hikes. Thanks for sharing!

    1. You can doooo it! This one wasn’t too hard, I promise. You just have to build up slowly, so do a few shorter trails first, rather than starting straight with the epic hikes…

  11. That view! Mountains are endless and the snowcaps in the distance blend into the clouds. It must have been so peaceful and lovely to look upon that vista. The entire hike looks so beautiful – from the wild flowers to the snow and all those views. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for commenting Jamie! Yeah, it was SUCH a pretty view with the snow-capped mountains off in the distance.

  12. I live in North Van, but have never spent much time in Manning Park! I hadn’t heard of this hike before but definitely want to add this to my list for next summer. All your photos are so beautiful and can’t wait to do this hike 🙂

    1. Yaaaay for finding another Vancouver blogger!! 😀
      To be fait, there are soooo many great hikes in North Van, I can see why you might not need to go further. Manning Park is great if you fancy a change of scenery though.

  13. This looks AMAZING! Your photos are beautiful. You timed your hike perfectly with the wildflowers. When borders are open, I’d love to do this hike!

  14. Wow, this Three Brothers Mountain hike looks stunning, especially with some snow and the wildflowers. On a sunny day, it looks like such an idyllic place. I love that you can drive up to such a high vantage point so the views are epic straight away! This is making me want to get out and hike. Unfortunately I don’t have anything like this nearby, but a girl can dream 🙂

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment Sarah.

      I bet they’ll be some pretty trails near you (even if they are not up high in the alpine, there’s always somewhere to hike!)

  15. Ok I really want to do this epic hike! The Vancouver area is a mecca for awesome hikes and views! I’ve only hiked once on snow and that was an experience! Makes me miss hiking and can’t wait to get back out there. 😁

  16. What a beautiful part of the world. It’s always a bit hard to get your head around snow in July! The flowers were a joyous addition to the landscape too.

    1. Don’t worry, I don’t think the snow was recent. It just takes a few months for it to melt, even after the spring.

  17. I hope to one day visit all the beautiful amazing places in Canada. I have only been to Banff so far but hopefully we will move to Canada one day.

  18. Wildflowers are one of the reasons why I love hiking during summer. And this hike is never short of it! It would be hard for me to move as I would be taking lots of photos 🙂

    The expansive views at the summit is spectacular. This is the reason why we hike, right?! Thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely put this hike on my list when we visit BC.

    Thanks for sharing Josy. I got excited reading your post 🙂

    1. Lol I have the same issue. It is basically impossible for me to walk quickly in alpine meadows because I have to keep stopping to take photos. It makes me soooo happy.

  19. I really loved seeing this hike. It’s definitely one I’d like to do. Oh, those views. The wildflowers were amazing. I loved the glacier lily–I’m never seen one before. I was glad to see you got your signature jump in.

    1. Thank yoooou! Yeah, those Glacier lilies are beautiful aren’t they. It’s funny though, you don’t normally see them this later in the year. The last time I saw them in Manning Park was in April!

  20. Oh wow, these gorgeous photos almost make me cry as they make me miss travelling so much right now but they also bring back many special memories to me of my first ever road trip and travels outside of Europe which was a fabulous 3-week road trip through BC and Alberta. It’s been 16 years ago now but it’s still one of my most beautiful and memorable trips. I’d love to go back one day and go on this hike although it does seem a bit intense but the views are more than worth it! Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful track.

    1. Oh no, sorry Zarina, I didn’t mean to make you sad. I hope you can come back though, 3 weeks ins a good start, but there is sooo much more to see. 🙂

    1. If you fancy it, you could easily camp along the path so you wouldn’t have to walk so far in a single day. We are just a bit too lazy to lug all out camping gear that far!

  21. Wow Josy, this has to be the best of all your hikes I’ve read about! The views are absolutely stunning! And the flowers – so pretty! I didn’t even know there was a type of lilies that grow in the wild, so gorgeous. Anemones I’ve seen here in Switzerland too – on a hike just last week. I don’t have the knack of taking pretty flower pictures though!
    This hike does look like something I’d love to do – even if it’s a bit long. The ridgeline sounds a teeny bit scary to me though.

    1. Thanks Smita! I was wondering if there are glacier lillies in Europe too – I guess not then!? Aren’t the anemones beautiful!? I do need to visit your ‘hood to see the Swiss wildflowers. 🙂

  22. I love all the amazing views you guys had at the Three Brothers Mountain Hike in Manning Park. British Colombia is such a beautiful province for sure! In particular, those wildflowers you captured were so pretty! I am not the biggest fan of backpacking or hiking in the snow but for these views, I would manage it!

    1. You could always cheat and just do the mini loop near the car park. You’d still get to see the alpine meadows, but with far less effort. 😉

  23. Holy cow, what a gorgeous trail! It’s got a bit of everything. Don’t get me wrong, I like working for the views but I also don’t mind driving halfway up the mountain either 😉

    1. Heh! My thoughts exactly! I mean if there is a road all the way to the top that allows me access further into the backcountry, I’m always going to take it!

  24. What gorgeous views! It’s quite interesting to me that the trail doesn’t get very steep even with an 850m elevation gain. I guess I am more used to hikes that just get straight into the incline and have you on top of a hill within a short amount of time.

    1. Yeah, I am more used to that too. This was a nice, easier change. Having said that, we did some hikes in the Rockies this summer. Those trails were like this too – fewer steep inclines make it easier to hike for longer sections…

    1. I am afraid I don’t think there is (I had a look on my map) There is a trail called the Bonnevier trail that joins up close to Big Buck Mountain, but that would be quite a long way to reach the car park.

      You could try visiting the Skyline trail instead. It starts lower, so there is no scary drive to reach the trailhead.

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