Golden Larches of Frosty Mountain

December 17, 2012 — 4 Comments

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.

Blue sky, yellow larch, USA, Mount Frosty


 I love the yellow against the bright, blue sky. This was taken in the meadows.

Yellow larch, tree, Mount Frosty, blue sky


Yellow Larch, tree,  blue sky   mount frosty


So clear that the moon could be seen in the late morning.

Yellow Larches, Moon, Mount Frosty, Manning Park, BC, Canada


Hillsides northwest of the meadows covered in yellow not only from the larches, but the grasses and autumn foliage of small shrubs.

Valley, Manning Park, hills, mountains, blue sky


As autumn progresses, the meadows become brilliant with various colors. Here, the red foliage is from the blueberry or Vaccinium.

 blueberries, vaccinium, meadow, grasses trees, larch, yellow


The trail continued through the meadows…

Yellow Larches, Trail, Mount Frosty, blue sky Meadows


the larches towering over you.

Yellow Larches over Trail, blue sky


Another view towards Hozomeen Mountain which looks like an inviting peak in itself.

Yellow Larches Rocky Peak,  Valley, mountains, blue sky


 Looking north into Manning Park and beyond.

Yellow Larches, Valley,  trees, blue sky, mountains, range


As you proceed through the meadows, the larch is the only tree that remains. Trees become sparse and Frosty Mountain looms ahead.

Yellow Larches, Hiker, RockyTrail,  blue sky, meadows, rocky peak


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.

Yellow Larches, Rock,  Valley, hills, blue sky


Facing toward the eastern peaks of Manning Park.

Yellow Larches and Peak, Mount Frosty blue sky mountains


Just before the strenuous climb to the peak of Mount Frosty.

Yellow Larches, Rocky Peaks, Mount Frosty,  blue sky, Meadows, telus


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.

Yellow Larches, Rocky Peaks & Tarn, blue sky Mountain trees


Another look at the larches on this memorable October day.

Yellow Larches, Mount Frosty, Manning Prov Park, BC, Canada


 Yes, and one more with the moon too.

Yellow Larch, Moon, Mount Frosty, Manning Park, BC blue sky

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.

If you have my book, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, or have ordered it, I really appreciate your support. It’s also out on Kindle and Kobo. My Goodreads and Amazon pages have reviews and more information. Please share this post, and thanks for your time.

About Randall St. Germain

Randall St. Germain, author of Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, is a middle-aged Canadian Boy who is passionate about nature, photography, hiking, music, and self-improvement. After the death of his mother, he chose to walk the famous pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago, across the north of Spain, despite knowing little about it. He certainly didn’t plan to write a book until the latter days of his Camino. Similar to walking the Camino, writing and publishing a book was a learning experience. It was also very rewarding, and part of his ongoing journey. Please join him as he takes you along on his journey in Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, and on his blog Camino My Way.


4 responses to Golden Larches of Frosty Mountain

  1. Delightful! I had never heard of the larches. They are beautiful and unusual. Your photos are outstanding. It must be wonderful to get so “up close and personal” with nature.

  2. This is a fantastic hike we did last week you walk through the lovely meadows with these ancient trees and then hike to the top of mt Frosty with excellent 360 degree views you can see the cut line of the Canada US border and the start or the end of Pacific Crest Trail which goes all the way to Mexico .

    • Beautiful hike indeed. I also walked the loop which included the last few km of the PCT. Exciting. I was hoping to go back this year but never made it. Glad you enjoyed the hike. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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