Three Brothers



Country: Canada

Location: BC, Manning Park

Round trip: 21 km

Start elevation: 1950 m

Final elevation: 2273 m

Maps: (1:50,000):  92H/02

Contributor: Alan Tracey

getting there

The well-marked trail starts from near a microwave tower where there is ample parking (upper and lower lots).  The road to the microwave tower exits north from Highway 3, across from the Manning Park lodge and restaurant complex.  The paved road climbs steeply to a viewpoint and from there continues for about 5 km as a well-maintained gravel road to the tower area where it terminates.

featured plant

Anemone occidentalis

partial plant list

Anemone drummondii

Anemone occidentale

Caltha leptosepala

Cassiope mertensiana

Castilleja species

Dodecatheon sp.

Dryas octopetala

Erigeron aureus

Erigeron compositus

Eriogonum species

Erythronium grandiflorum

Kalmia microphylla

Ledum glandulosum var. glandulosum

Lupinus arctica

Lupinus lepidus var.lobbii

Pedicularis species

Penstemon davidsonii

Penstemon procerus

Phacelia sericea

Phlox diffusa

Phyllodoce glanduliflora

Phyllodoce empetriformis

Rhododendron albiflorum

Platanthera dilatata

Polemonium pulcherrimum

Potentilla species

Saxifraga bronchialis

Salix species

Silene acaulis

Spiranthes romanzoffiana

Trollius laxus

Veratrum viride

Veronica cusickii

Viola palustris

Viola sempervirens


Two of the more popular hiking trails in Manning Park in south-western British Columbia are the Mt. Frosty Trail and the Heather Trail to Three Brothers Mountain.  The trail to Three Brothers starts at about 1950 m near a microwave tower then drops a little in elevation as it leads to the Buckhorn camping area (about one-third of the way in).   In this part of the trail, it leads through a forested area with small meadows and also some boggy areas that are traversed via board walks.  Two plants to be observed here, but perhaps not further along the trail, are the bog orchids, Plantanthera  hyperborea and P. dilatata.  The sparkling white flowers in tall stalks makes for easy recognition of P. dilitata while P. hyperborea hides itself in plain site because of its green-coloured flowers.  The trail slowly climbs from the Buckhorn campsite until it breaks into the alpine meadows where it is more or less level until the final ascent.  In these meadows is found another common orchid, Spiranthes romanzoffiana, named after the spiral arrangement of its white flowers on the flower spike.  Numerous other plants including phlox, shooting stars, louseworts, lupins, Indian paint-brush, anemones, delphiniums and others are common in the meadow area and make a stunning display in June, July and August.  Along the creek beds also will be found white-flowered Caltha leptosepala and Trolius laxus. The final ascent to the summit (2273 m) of Three Brothers Mountain traverses a very different, gravelly, much drier habitat.  Predominant plants in this area include such wonderful plants as Phacelia sericea, Silene acaulis, Lupinus lepidus var. lobbii (L. lyallii), and the erigerons, Erigeron aureus and E. compositus.  Other composite flowering plants, along with penstemons, polemoniums and phloxes are commonly encountered here.

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