The “King of the Treeline.” That’s how the information sign in the meadows of Frosty Mountain describes the alpine larch. Some of these trees are ancient. In fact, one recent core sampling from a tree in the Rocky Mountains of Canada dated it to be almost 2,000 years old. Growth occurs slowly at the high elevation level where winter temperatures can be fiercely cold. The alpine larch is native to Northwestern North America, and the only conifer species that is actually deciduous, meaning it loses its needles every year. Just before the needles fall, the green foliage turns golden. It’s so beautiful, especially on a day with blue sky, that visitors flock from far away to locations in Banff National Park and the Rocky Mountains, and the Cascade Mountain Range of Northern Washington State, USA and Southern British Columbia, Canada.
In those Cascade Mountains of Canada, Manning Provincial Park has one of the most popular hikes for seeing the yellow larch. The Mount Frosty hike begins at the Lightening Lakes day-use area, approximately a three hour drive east of Vancouver. The hike to the summit of Mount Frosty is 11 kilometers with 1,150 meters of elevation gain. However, if you want to mainly see the larches, the distance to the meadows is about 7 kilometers with a 700 meter gain. Well, it certainly wasn’t cold on a beautiful sunny day in early October when a friend and I went to Manning Park to see the golden larches of Frosty Mountain.
The peak in the distance is Hozomeen Mountain in the United States and yes, this is the alpine larch.
I love the yellow against the bright, blue sky. This was taken in the meadows.
So clear that the moon could be seen in the late morning.
Hillsides northwest of the meadows covered in yellow not only from the larches, but the grasses and autumn foliage of small shrubs.
As autumn progresses, the meadows become brilliant with various colors. Here, the red foliage is from the blueberry or Vaccinium.
The trail continued through the meadows…
the larches towering over you.
Another view towards Hozomeen Mountain which looks like an inviting peak in itself.
Looking north into Manning Park and beyond.
As you proceed through the meadows, the larch is the only tree that remains. Trees become sparse and Frosty Mountain looms ahead.
This was an interesting ridge walk, although we didn’t go right to the end. As you can tell, one false step and you’re probably in serious trouble.
Facing toward the eastern peaks of Manning Park.
Just before the strenuous climb to the peak of Mount Frosty.
The hike to Mount Frosty will be on a separate post. This is one view from the summit, facing south. I believe the peak in the center is in the United States. This is truly Southern British Columbia.
Another look at the larches on this memorable October day.
Yes, and one more with the moon too.
I hope you enjoyed this post as I took you on one of my favourite hikes ever. I’ll post larger scale photos on the Facebook page for Camino My Way. Please stop by and “like” the page as I will be reviving it soon. For a little more information on Manning Provincial Park, please read my light post Ground Squirrels and A Bear. Thanks to my friend for providing company on this hike, and not getting upset for the spooky hour we walked in the dark. The Pacific Crest Trail ends at Manning Park, and we were able to walk at least part of it. Well, we walked the last 6 kilometers of the PCT, which leaves me with 4,280 to go. I’ll have to think about that. The entire Mount Frosty loop will be on another post. Please join me.
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