The Skyline trail is one of BC interior’s premier hiking experiences. On a clear day the views are mind-boggling. The feature peak is Hozomeen mountain – an iconic and captivating monolith towering over the horizon.
Directions to the Trailhead
There are actually 3 places to start the Skyline trails, all around E.C. Manning Provincial Park. The most straight-forward is the parking lot at Strawberry flats.
The second trailhead is a short walk from the lightning lakes campground, just south of rainbow bridge (all trails well signed). Park at the Spruce Bay Beach parking lot near the amphitheater.
These first two trailheads mark the ends of the Skyline I trail and there are trails between them to make a loop.
The third trailhead is at an entirely different location off Silver Skagit Rd accessed south of Hope. This is one end of the Skyline II trail (the other end is at Flash Lake Lookout, somewhere in the middle of Skyline I).
There are two popular routes on the Skyline trail, the first being the Skyline I trail. Strawberry Flats to Lightning Lakes (or vice versa) is a full day hike (5-8 hours). Any other option takes a bit more planning and an overnight (only one official backcountry campground called Mowich). Most hike into Mowich from Strawberry Flats or Lightning Lakes and either hike back the next day or continue onto Skagit Valley (making transportation more complex).
There are a few tangents along Skyline II where the heavy backpack can be dropped for a side-trip. The first two are summits along the way – Snow Camp Mountain and Lone Goat Mountain. Both are worth the detour. Out of Mowich camp another tangent trail is the Hozomeen ridge. This 5 hour excursion takes you to the US border and to the face of the stunning Hozomeen Mountain.
When we did the Skylines, we started at Strawberry flats and did Snow Camp on our way to Mowich where we set up camp. Mowich has the only water source on the whole trail in late summer. In the afternoon we did the round trip along Hozomeen ridge. The next day we went up Lone Goat and continued along the other branch of Skyline I to Lightning Lakes. This made for two very full days (10 hours each, 50km walking total).