Skyline Trail I & II
The Skyline II trail is located in Manning Park 8km past Manning Park lodge
towards Gibson's Pass ski area. The trailhead and
parking lot is at Strawberry Flats.
There are kilometer markers every 1km until you reach the 5km marker then they
appear as follows; junction (5.9), 7, 10, & Mowich Camp (12.5).
Skyline I and II Junction
You actually begin on the Skyline 1 trail at Strawberry Flats, until you
reach the junction at the 5.9km marker where the Skyline II trail separates from
the Skyline 1 trail and drops down into Despair Pass.
The first kilometer is traveled level along an old road where you come to a
marked junction where you either continue along towards Three Falls Trail or
onto the Skyline trail. You now enter the forest and
start the slow but gradual climb up a well maintained trail passing over several
small creeks that will soon be your last water source once past the pond between
the 4km and 5km marker.
Hozameen in the distance
After the 4km marker you come up past the pond and nearer the ridge for your
first views. You are now facing a NWW facing slope
where you catch your first but not last look at the magnificent Mt Hozameen.
Once past the 5km marker you are almost done your gradual uphill climb,
you reach the Skyline 1 & Skyline II junction at this point. This is a great
place for a break to take in the incredible views of Thunder Lake below and all
From the Junction you descend into Despair Pass, which I have to admit was
not nearly as hard as I had expected, it took around 45 minutes to make in up
and over the pass. You then do some more gradual
uphill climbing as you pass the 7km marker and quickly near Snow Camp Mountain
which is a must stop for a break.
Beautiful views open up as you start your open ridge walk with
enough breathtaking views to last you a year. After
lots of ridge walking you come to the 10k marker where you are close to rounding
the ridge and start your 45 minute descent towards Mowich Camp.
The gradual descent towards Mowich Camp is through open lush slopes, you
cross over a few small creeks which will be your first indication your are
minutes away from your destination.
From Strawberry Flats to Mowich Camp will take you about 5 hours, and that's
including a few breaks to enjoy the views. There is a
large meadow at Mowich Camp which can accommodate plenty of people.
There is a bear cache and a outhouse at Mowich, which was a welcome
sight. Just 20 minutes from Mowich you can get a view
of the entire Skajit Valley and Ross Lake, where the trail travels all the way
down to Ross Lake another 13k later.
Time permitting, there is Hozameen Trail that will take you from Mowich to
the border markers and of course a close look at Hozameen.
The area between the Skajit Valley and Manning Park is a ancient
aboriginal travel route dating back over 8,000 years, and is currently being
explored by Archaeologists.
All in all this trip has everything to offer, from incredible views to ancient
history. This is a Grizzly recovery area, in which 3
Grizzlies were relocated to this region from Pemberton last year. Not that there
are bear problems in the area, but just be bear aware on this trip........not
bear paranoid however!