So happy to again enjoy the breathtaking views of the mountains in Manning Park and knock off two peaks in a day: Snow Camp and Lone Goat! An area rarely visited for a day hike due to a long drive from Vancouver, it is beautiful year round. Having the longest days of the year on our side, we weren't worried about our late-ish 11 am start from the Strawberry Flats parking lot, and headed west along the wide trail.
Since there are no markers except for those marking each km (and I only spotted ones at 1, 2, and 7 km), the trail is lost as soon as you hit the snow at ~1700m. With help of a GPS, we easily made our way up to the ridge, except for the short steep part right before gaining the ridge where I regretted having left my ice axe in the car. Well, the mountains did look bare from the bottom, and they were, as soon as we got out onto the sun-lit ridge. The snow was completely gone from the steep southern slopes, traversing which in wet weather or unstable snow conditions would have been treacherous. On this beautiful sunny day, only rare portions of the trail were muddy. The stunning mountain views accompanied us to the descent into the Despair Pass, resuming as soon as we climbed up again.
Snow Camp Mountain ascent was a gentle slope, and after lingering for a while at the summit and taking multitude of pictures, we followed the trail to Lone Goat Mnt, which was a steep easy scramble from the SW. Stayed up there for nearly an hour, admiring the magnificent views, and descended via the east ridge. On the way back, went past our original point of entry onto the ridge and attempted to find a trail indicated on some Canadian topo maps. It wasn't there, so after descending into the gully, we ended up bushwhacking along the creek for a couple of kms, which took us longer than the original ascent. Happy to have finally hit the trail, we got back to the car, satisfied with the adventure and amazing scenery we had enjoyed all day. Lots of wildlife in the park: saw two small bears near the road on the way there and multiple deer grazing by the road on the way back.
Don't underestimate this trail! Lots of ups and downs on this trip, with cumulative ascent of ~1500m. ...