Adventure Awaits – 17 Things To Do In Manning Park in 2024

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Are you looking for the best things to do in Manning Park? 

Only a 2-hour drive from Vancouver, Manning Park is a classic Canadian wilderness experience right in our backyard. As a family, it’s one of the local gems we love visiting in Summer and Winter as it offers a balance of many great things to do, with a heavy dose of the simplicity found in mother nature. One of the things we love the most is the large cabins that they have, inviting you to bring your extended family or a group of friends.

Manning Park welcomes guests with open arms and swallows you with its nature and outdoor activities. A vacation there will give you everything you didn’t know that you needed in a family weekend away… not just connection, but a deeper connection. Multiple adventures within arms reach of your cabin at the resort. More places to explore than time will allow. And a sense of longing to return will arise well before you depart.

Adventure awaits here, check out all the things to do in Manning Park!

Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links from which I may earn a small commission if you choose to purchase tickets or book accommodations. Money goes to help fund Adventure Awaits and keep more informational and educational articles coming your way!

How to Get To Manning Park

Are you wondering, “Where is Manning Park?” The proximity to the GVRD makes it the perfect weekend getaway, with no ferries or borders having to be crossed. 

Whether you’re leaving from Vancouver or the Fraser Valley you’ll head east on Highway 1, taking exit 117 to Highway 3. This highway will take you all the way to E.C. Manning Park. If you are staying at the resort (which I highly recommend you do) you can park at the entrance, check in, and then make your way to the closest parking spot by your accommodations. 

Traveler Tip: I recommend booking an afternoon off work so that you can head out early and be there for check-in, making the most of your time.

Where To Stay In Manning Park

Manning Park Resort

Photo Credit: Manning Park Resort

Manning Park Resort is the epitome of a wholesome family, “cabin in the woods” vacation experience.  The resort offers both 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom cabins, some are more traditional in style and they also have new cabins that give a luxury experience. 

Photo Credit: Manning Park Resort

Each cabin is equipped with a full kitchen (including dishes, pots, pans, cutlery, etc.), a dining room with a table that will fit the whole family, a living room, and a full bathroom.

Photo Credit: Manning Park Resort

The 2 bedroom cabin features a queen-sized bed in the first bedroom and the second bedroom has 2 bunk beds (4 single beds total). The 3 bedroom cabin features a queen size bed in the first and second bedroom and the third bedroom has 2 bunk beds (4 single beds total). These cabins do have room for the whole family and would be perfect for a family reunion.

Book your stay at Manning Park Resort here!

Camping at E.C. Manning Provincial Park

If you prefer to camp and bring your own accommodations with you, book a site in one of the 12 campgrounds at Manning Park. From pull-in campsites at Lightning Lake to backcountry camping throughout the park, there are a LOT of campsites available at Manning Park. Learn more here about camping in Manning Provincial Park here.

Booking Tip: Manning Provincial Park is a very popular park and reservations fill up quickly so be sure to learn about the BC Parks Reservations tips and tricks to help you secure your ideal spot and dates.

17 Things To Do In Manning Park

Summer Guide

Summer is a great time to visit Manning Park, with Lightning Lake being the main attraction, the area has so much to offer. From hiking around the lake to paddling on it to jumping right in and swimming with the fish, there are so many fun things to do in Manning Park, so let’s dig into all the things to do in Manning Park in no particular order:

1. Visit Lightning Lake

Photo Credit: Manning Park Resort

Just a short 7-minute drive from Manning Park Resort, up a well-maintained gravel road, you’ll find one of my favourite lakes in the province, Lightning Lake. It’s my favourite lake as it is so picture-perfect with a set of two lakes in the foreground and the Cascade Mountains in the background. This lake should be at the top of your things to do in Manning Park list!

Can you swim at Lightning Lake?

Yes! If the water is warm enough, feel free to splash on in and go for a swim!

2. Take Part in a Naturalist Interpretative Program

Photo Credit: Manning Park Resort

BC’s Provincial Parks have a reputation for providing high-quality naturalist programs and the Interpretative Programs at Manning Park exceed that expectation. With mascot Jerry the Moose creating a child-centered focus, you can take part in hands-on programming that educates the whole family on the Manning Park eco-system. From pond studies to alpine wildflower walks and learning about bears, these interpretive programs are a great way to keep kids entertained and learning while on vacation. And these programs aren’t just for the kids, they are designed so that there is something for everyone in the family, so be sure to add one of these programs to your things to do in Manning Park list! There are Jerry’s Rangers where kids can collect stickers for their certificate, Interpretive Walks, and Naturalist Programs. Below is a sample of past programming that has taken place. To learn more about what events may be on during your visit to Manning Park visit their website.

3. Go Hiking – Lightning Lakes Loop Hike

Photo Credit: Manning Park Resort

No matter what season I visit, we always do the Lightning Lakes Loop hike, a must add to your list of things to do in Manning Park. The trail runs along the lakeside and around both lakes, it takes us about 2 hours to complete the full 8.5 km loop. Depending on the time we have and my kid’s capacity, we either do one loop or two. In the winter we snowshoe the trail, and one time we had fresh tracks which made for an incredible things to do in Manning Park winter experience. 

Safety Note: If you are snowshoeing in the winter, be sure to check the ice conditions and only traverse across the ice if it is safe to do so.

4. Sumallo Grove Trail – Walk Among Giants

flowering bush along the trail in manning park, large trees line the trail

A short ten-minute drive from the west entrance to Manning Park Resort will have you at the Sumallo Grove Trailhead. This is a short 1.1km loop trail that takes most visitors about 16 minutes to complete. However short, it makes up for in its marvel with large giant old-growth trees including Western Red Cedars and Douglas Firs standing tall. On the ground level, you’ll see indigenous species including ferns, mosses, and shrubs. 

Mom Note: There are washrooms in the parking lot by the trailhead.

5. Full Day Hike – Windy Joe

Pacific Crest Trail from our summer activities in Manning Park

If you are an experienced hiker and are looking for a full-day hike, the Windy Joe Trail may be the right fit for you. This 15.6km long trail will have you traversing through the forest, and like any good hike, it will give you rewarding views at the top. Overall the trail has been noted to be relatively flat with not too many technical aspects. This may be a good things to do in Manning Park list item if you have older children in your family.

Hiker Tip #1: Start at the Beaver Pond trailhead which will save you about 2 kilometers on the return trip. 

Hiker Tip #2: Practice safe hiking and always carry the 10 hiking essentials with you.

6. Go Paddling – Rent a Kayak or Canoe at Lightning Lake

Photo Credit: Manning Park Resort

The serenity of Lightning Lake is best experienced out on the water and fortunately, there is a boathouse at the Lightning Lake Day Use Area where you can rent a boat and head out. They have a few different rentals to choose from including kayaks (single, double, or kids), 2-person canoes, 5-person Mackenzie canoes, rowboats or SUPs (Stand-up paddleboard.) Note: If you happen to visit when the boathouse is closed you can get rentals at the Manning Park Resort front desk. 

Boat rentals range from $25 per hour to $135 per day. Be sure to check their website for the most up-to-date pricing. This is another of our musts of things to do in Manning Park!

Mom Tip: The Boathouse has a small shop with essential snacks, drinks, and even ice cream so grab a treat and head out onto the boat to enjoy!

7. Spend The Day At The Beach

Photo Credit: Sophie Bruce, Manning Park Resort

With nice sand and a place to splash around, be sure to fit in some unscheduled time on your summer trip to Manning Park and enjoy everything that a day at the Lightning Lake beach day use area can offer. Bring a picnic lunch and some sunshade, and you have a perfect day.

8. Learn to Fish On Lightning Lake

Photo Credit: Manning Park Resort

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC runs a Learn to Fish program typically every Tuesday from 11 am – 1 pm throughout the summer months of July and August. The program is designed for kids aged 5 – 15 (and their supervising adults). No registration is required and the program runs out of the Lightning Lake Campground Amphitheatre. If you have any questions email [email protected].

9. Photography

mountain views from the cascade lookout point, one of the things to do in Manning Park

If you head over to any of Manning Park’s photography hotspots you’ll quickly see that it is a beautiful region to photograph. With so many different places and scenes to capture, make sure you pack an extra memory disc or two because if you are like me, I couldn’t stop shooting!

Photo Credit: Manning Park Resort

If you time your visit right, you may get to experience the gorgeous Wildflower Alpine Meadows when they are in full bloom. A must visit for any photographer! Check out this site for some great photography inspiration.

10. Bring Your Mountain Bike and Hit The Trails

close up view of the pedals, gears and rear tire of a mountain bike on a trail in manning park

If you have mountain bikes (note: there are none available for rent in Manning Park), be sure to bring them with you as there are a lot of great trails in the park for you to explore. We love to load up the bikes and bring them whenever we visit, as it is one of the best things to do in Manning Park, and an easy way to get around. Here are some of the recommended trails and tips to get you started mountain biking in Manning Park

Easy: Little Muddy, Similkameen River Trail 

Intermediate: Lone Duck, South Gibson 

Hard: North Gibson, Poland Lake, Windy Joe, Monument 83. 

Safety Note: There is no cell service in the park. Weather can change quickly, so be sure to check the forecast. You may encounter horses and hikers at any time on the trail. Also, know wildlife safety precautions and be sure to practice safe biking.

11. Bring Your Horse and Go Horseback Riding

two riders on horses trotting through manning park

Why leave your horse at home when you can bring them to Manning Park? With thousands of backcountry wilderness areas to explore, you can go horseback riding during the day and spend your nights in one of the backcountry horse camps (Headwaters Corral and Dewdney and Hope Pass Trails)!

Horses are welcome on the following trails at Manning Park:

  • Dewdney
  • Windy Joe
  • Poland Lake
  • Similkameen East and West
  • North Gibson
  • Little Muddy
  • Hope Pass

Important Note: Manning Park does not have any guided horseback riding tours or horses available for rent, so you need to bring your own.

12. Cascade Lookout via Blackwall Road

Photo Credit: Manning Park Resort

Known as Manning Park’s favourite viewpoint, Cascade Lookout is only a 30-minute drive from Manning Park Resort. This is a favourite among visitors as you get to experience amazing views without having to hike for them!

How to get to Cascade Lookout

Head across the highway directly opposite the Manning Park Resort and turn left at the first intersection. You’ll drive up Blackwall Road to the lookout point, unveiling stunning views.

When to visit Cascade Lookout

While the daytime showcases the incredible views over the park and resort, a clear night will have you looking up at the stars, offering what some say is the best stargazing in Manning Park!  

Mom Tip: If you’re going for stargazing, pack sleeping bags and extra pillows and lay in the back of the truck to look up at the stars. No truck? No problem, bring some camping chairs or foamy mattresses so you can lie on the ground and look up.

13. Stargazing At Manning Park Resort

Photo Credit: Manning Park Resort (Jon Ross)

Stargazers from all around come to Manning Park for the Dark Sky and limited light pollution. Some of the best places to see the stars include the Windy Joe Field, Lightning Lake Day Use Area, The Cascade Lookout (above), and the Sub-Alpine Meadows. If you are camping, I recommend you book at the Skyview RV campground as it has a beautiful bright sky at night. 

With sky-gazing taking off there are more and more events being added so be sure to check the resort’s event calendar for sky-gazing-specific events or sign up for their mailing list to get the updates direct to your inbox.

Regardless of whether you are an avid star gazer, be sure to take the time to look up at the night sky and marvel at its incredibility, so be sure to add this activity to your things to do in Manning Park list.

14. Lounge in the Loon Lagoon Pool

view of the indoor pool and two hot tubs at the manning park resort

While registered guests have unlimited access to the Lagoon Pool, visitors can stop in for the day and pay the daily rate to access the Manning Park Resort Lagoon Pool. The pool boasts 50 feet of heated indoor pool, 2 hot tubs (yes two!) a sauna, and a steam room. A must on your list of things to do in Manning Park, especially after a long day of hiking, mountain biking and other outdoor activities.

Things to Do For Guests Staying Manning Park Resort

There is no shortage of amenities to keep all members of the family entertained with summer activities at Manning Park. Rain or shine there is plenty to do. There are tennis and basketball courts, just visit the front desk to borrow the sports equipment. In front of the main lodge is a playground and a large grass area, the perfect spot to kick a soccer ball, play some tag, or just relax while the kids climb on the jungle gym. Downstairs in the main lodge is a games room, home to pool tables, shuffleboard, arcade games, and ping pong tables. The perfect place for some fun family competition!

15. Playground

playground at the manning park resort, mountains and trees are in the background

Manning Park Resort has a playground which is a fantastic place for the kids to burn off some energy while parents enjoy the stunning mountain views. Don’t forget to take a photo in the Big Bear Chair!

16. Indoor Games Room

two kids playing ping pong inside the games room at the manning park resort

On one of our trips to Manning Park Resort, we accidentally stumbled upon the games room, a kid-centric play area that the whole family can enjoy. With ping pong tables, shuffleboard, arcade games, and pool tables, we quickly started playing games and spent over an hour there! I can’t wait to go back now that my kids are older but I bet they will be beating me at most of these games!

17. Outdoor Firepits

people gathered around a campfire roasting marshmallows using their campfire supplies

If there are no fire bans while you are visiting, you will be able to have an outdoor fire by your cottage or cabin. Sadly this is highly unlikely during the summer months, but if you visit in the winter they will have a firepit going by the ice rink, ready to warm you up. 

Mom Tip: If you do go when fires are allowed be sure to bring the campfire essentials including graham crackers, marshmallows, and of course, chocolate! 

Where to Eat at Manning Park

outside entrance view of the pinewoods restaurant and store at manning park resort

Pinewoods Dining Room

Photo Credit: Manning Park Resort

Located across from the main lodge at Manning Park Resort, you can find the Pinewoods Dining Room. With an extensive West Coast cuisine menu you can stop in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and know the whole family will find something they like.

The Bears Bite Snack Shack

In the summer months, grab a quick beverage, snack, ice cream or hot dog from The Bears Bite, located outside the Pinewoods building. Kids (and adults!) can’t resist a cool treat on a hot summer day.

Bear’s Den Pub

Photo Credit: Manning Park Resort

If you are looking for a more casual vibe and funky decor, head on into the Bear’s Den Pub for some eats while enjoying a sports game on one of their big screen TV’s or even some live music. It’s a great place to relax and unwind after a day of outdoor adventures. Families are welcome at the Bear’s Den, minors are allowed until 8pm.

Country Store

If you are staying at the Manning Park Resort in one of the cabins or cottages you’ll have a full kitchen to do your cooking however, if you happen to forget an essential grocery item, you can find it at the Country Store. This on-site store has a small grocery section with frozen foods, dry goods, and limited fresh fruits and vegetables. It also has a fabulous selection of souvenirs and local artisan goods for sale. 

Feel like taking the day off and not cooking for the family? Just wander over to the Pinewoods Dining Room & Bistro! 

In conclusion, families have been making memories at Manning Park Resort for generations, and with so many things to do in Manning Park it’s easy to see why they keep coming back again and again!

Things to do in Manning Park FAQs

Is Manning Park Resort dog friendly?

Yes, they have many dog friendly rooms in the lodge, cabins and chalets (an extra $30 per dog, per night will be added to your rate). Be sure to request a dog friendly room when booking your stay.

Are there electric vehicle charging stations at Manning Park?

Photo Credit: Ryan Morasiewicz

Yes! Traveling by electric vehicle to Manning Park is a great way to get there, as the resort has 12 Tesla superchargers, 2 BC Hydro ultra fast chargers and 1 BC Hydro charger so you can re-charge before your trip back home.

Does Manning Park Resort have accommodations for larger groups?

Manning Park Resort is a great place for a large family gathering. Their chalets can sleep up to 14 guests and The Last Resort building can accommodate 50 guests, a great place for a family reunion!

Travel Tips for Visiting Manning Park

  • Take time to enjoy the drive! There are countless scenic stops along the drive to and through E.C. Manning Park.
  • Be sure to make use of the bike storage facilities in the main lodge, rather than taking up space inside your cabin.
  • Don’t forget to stop and visit the Visitor Information Centre, just past the entrance to Manning Park Resort. The building is filled with historic information, hands-on exhibits, and the staff can provide you with the schedule for all the educational programs that are happening during your stay!

Looking for More Family-Friendly Getaways? Check out these Fabulous Locations!

Is this a sponsored post?: While we received a complimentary stay, our words reflect our experience and we’re excited to share our things to do in Manning Park with you.

About The Author
Jami Savage
Jami Savage
Jami Savage is one of the top Family Travel Writers in Canada, and has been featured on CTV and Vancouver Sun, and more. Go here to read our families story about how we went from backyard adventurers to world travelers, and how you can do the same. If you want to send Jami a quick message, visit her contact page here.
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    • Hello Doreen. Thanks for your message. I highly recommend you give Manning Park Resort a call directly. That way they can give you the most up to date information as well as be able to check availability for you! They can be reached at 1-604-668-5922.


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Jami Savage

Full Time Travel Writer, Mom who is passionate about empowering and educating travelers on how you can use your own tourism dollars as a catalyst for positive change worldwide. Click here to learn more about us, our family, and how we lead an adventure filled life!

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