Province wide campfire bans in place, Campers know before you go camping.

Actors in Historical Costume at Hat Creek Ranch. Photo: Destination BC/Blake Jorgenson

Take a Trip through the Canadian Rockies, British Columbia’s Cowboy Country & into the Coast Mountains

Are you ready to take a British Columbia trip across this amazing province from the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean? This is a road trip of a lifetime with breathtaking scenery infused with rich Canadian history as you drive from Calgary, Alberta to Vancouver, British Columbia. Wind your way through breathtaking snow-capped alpine peaks and around iridescent aquamarine lakes. Witness the highest mountain peak in Canada (Mount Robson 3,954 m / 12,972 ft.) and discover limestone formations.

Hiking in Mount Robson Provincial Park | Destination BC/Megan McLellan

The main driving route from Calgary to Vancouver is via the Trans Canada Hwy 1 across BC through Banff, Golden, Revelstoke and Kamloops. Alternatively, you can travel south and west along the Crowsnest Hwy 3 through Cranbrook, Castlegar and Osoyoos. This Calgary to Vancouver trip will travel north through Banff and Jasper National Parks then south and west to Clearwater, along the Fishing Hwy 24 and to the ski resort of Whistler. Each route is uniquely different. Whichever one you take, be ready to discover the hidden gems along the way! This is just one of those routes for you to explore.

Calgary to Banff & Jasper

To start this trip get yourself to Calgary, Alberta, whether doing a fly/drive or hopping in your own RV. Head west to Banff National Park for a night or two. There are plenty of hiking trails to explore but also check out Banff Park Museum which is Western Canada’s oldest natural history museum with interpretive programs and exhibits. Cave and Basin National Historic Site of Canada is a commemoration site that marks the birthplace of Canada’s National Park System. Since 1883, visitors have been coming to enjoy the warm mineral pools. Today, the site still engages visitors of all ages with many interactive displays and exhibits focusing on the history of the mineral pools.

Leaving Banff follow signs to Jasper National Park. The Jasper Skytram  is a 7 minute alpine ride that takes you to an altitude of over 2,277 m (7,472 ft) all the time with an awe-inspiring view. Take a boat tour or go for a paddle on Maligne Lake, the Canadian Rockies largest glacial lake. Sip your afternoon tea at the beautiful chalet while savouring the world famous views. There is also a UNESCO heritage site here which includes: Mystery Rock, the Two Brothers Totem Pole, and the 6015 Rail Engine.

Mount Robson | Mary Putnam, Tourism Valemount

Jasper to Mt. Robson Provincial Park & Valemount

Heading into British Columbia, follow Yellowhead Hwy 16W and look for signs to Valemount/Kamloops. A short drive from Valemount is Mount Robson Provincial Park where you can experience the expansive natural outdoors by hiking a variety of networking trails. For a gentler activity, paddle or fish Kinbasket Lake or try Whitewater Rafting on the Fraser River.

Valemount to Clearwater

On the road to Clearwater stop in Blue River for a River Safari and experience gliding down the river through Grizzly Mountain Valley. This is one of the world’s only inland temperate rainforests with an abundance of wildlife. There are also some great hiking trails in Wells Gray Provincial Park.

Kayaking on Clearwater Lake | Kim Walker

Clearwater to Bridge Lake Provincial Park

Continuing south on Hwy 5 to Little Fort, turn off onto Interlakes Hwy/Little Fort Hwy 24W. Also known as the Fishing Highway fly fishing is very popular in this region due to the abundance of beautiful lakes offering a variety of species. There are several tour companies in the area that assist with equipment, guides and fly-fishing lessons.

Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing

Also renowned for its Cowboy landscape with endless rolling hills, vast hay fields and resident cattle on dude ranches you can get up close and personal with this landscape by taking a guided horseback ride.

Check out the blog Coast Along BC’s Famed Fishing Highway 24 in the Cariboo

Bridge Lake to Lillooet

Continue heading west and turn south onto Cariboo Hwy 97, then onto Hwy 99S to Lillooet.

Explore Marble Canyon Provincial Park which offers lots of opportunities to see wildlife. Try rock climbing, scuba diving and more. View the sheer limestone rock formations carved out of the Pavilion Mountain range and brilliant colours of the sparkling Turquoise, Crown and Pavilion Lakes. The groundwater spring that feeds Pavilion Lake is slightly alkaline, producing an intense crystal-clear turquoise coloured water and Stromatolites (a rare prehistoric life organism).

Horses are a Frequent Sight in Lillooet | Trish C.

Whilst in this area go back in time at Hat Creek Ranch and learn about the Gold Rush days via local interpreters. Explore original buildings and a Native village of the Shuswap Nation.

Lillooet to Whistler

Continue south on Hwy 99, also known as the Duffey Lake Road, towards Pemberton and follow signs to Whistler. A year-round resort, Whistler is as much fun in the summer as the winter. There are plenty of trails for hiking and biking. The Peak to Peak Gondola is open to experience amazing views, or go ziplining, bungee jumping or take a helicopter/float plane sightseeing tour.

Peak to Peak Gondola, Whistler. Photo: Destination BC/Blake Jorgenson
Peak to Peak Gondola, Whistler | Destination BC/Blake Jorgenson

Whistler to Vancouver

In Squamish, the Sea to Sky Gondola whisks you up 885 m (2,800 ft) to viewing platforms with stunning views over Howe Sound and the surrounding mountains. There are interpretive walks and a restaurant that serves local food at the top. Close by is Britannia Mine Museum, a National Historic Site depicting mining life from the Gold Rush days. You can take a train ride in an underground mine and experience the life of a miner in the early 1900s. A must for kids and adults alike.

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With your British Columbia trip nearing an end, head to Vancouver. Nestled on the shore of Georgia Strait and the Salish Sea, Vancouver offers all the sights and sounds of a cosmopolitan city. Beyond is Vancouver Island and the stunning Pacific Ocean.

To read this recommended tour go to Canadian Rockies, Cowboy Country to Coast Mountains.

For camping and RV accommodations in British Columbia check out the Camping Map.

Share your BC travel and camping photos at hashtag #CampinBC

It’s always a great day to #CampinBC

Powell River, British Columbia, Insulated by Nature

Two ferries from the lower Mainland or one from Vancouver Island to get to Powell River could leave you feeling isolated, but locals prefer to think of it as being insulated from the busy world and high crime.  Powell River, situated on the side of a mountain is wrapped in forest, insulated by nature. With hundreds of lakes behind it and the ocean at its feet, locals have the best of both worlds.

Totem at Viewpoint into Town

Powell River and area population (Lund, Texada, Savary Island) is about 20,000.  There are box stores, independent stores and eateries covering a wide range of tastes. At the south end of Powell River sit by the sea at “Seasider Bistro & Wine Bar” or at the north end closer to Lund enjoy a spectacular view of Okeover Inlet at “Laughing Oyster Restaurant.” It’s open April to October. If you want to enjoy a meal “on” the water “The Boardwalk in Lund” has gluten free cooking while a golden sun sets into the ocean.

Lund is either the beginning or the end of Highway 101 depending on who you ask. It once was a fishing village now a tourist destination for those taking off for Savary Island or other islands. “Historic Lund Hotel” was originally built in 1895, now owned by Tla’amin Nation. It has 31 rooms, a store, restaurant, pub, laundromat, and Tug Uhm Art Gallery. Camp at “Sunlund By-The-Sea Campground & Cabin,” a 5 minute walk to the hotel and “downtown” Lund. Sunlund offers full facilities; pets are welcome, laundromat and showers surrounded by forest. What a setting to wake up in before going to Nancy’s Bakery for one of their famous blackberry cinnamon buns. Fuel up before you leave Powell River. There isn’t a service station in Lund.

Lund Hotel

If you’re ready for a hike try the Sunshine Coast Trail. At 180 km. with 13 huts it’s the longest free hut-to-hut trail in Canada. Pick up part of it at “Inland Lake Provincial Park” with spacious campsites among the trees. It has a 13 km wheelchair accessible trail around the lake. The road to the park is a good gravel road about 20 mins from Powell River. It’s open year-round with free camping from mid-September to mid-May.

Inland Lake Provincial Park
Inland Lake Provincial Park

Is canoeing your desire? The Canoe Route is 57 km long taking you through 8 lakes with portages.

We live in Powell River but our favorite campground is downtown by the ocean. “Willingdon Beach Campground” has 81 sites, some full-service, some beside the beach, others snugged under the trees. An easy walking trail joins it through towering cedar and Douglas fir where pesky squirrels beg for peanuts. At one time it was the rail bed for bringing logs down from the lake to the log dump on the beach. Old logging equipment rests along the trail.  It’s only 5 minutes from Westview Ferry terminal to Texada Island or Vancouver Island.

Willingdon Beach Campground
Willingdon Beach Campground

Historic Powell River Townsite was where it all started. Dr. Israel Wood Powell discovered the area in 1881 and established logging camps but thousands of years before him it was home to Tla’amin First Nations.  A pulp and paper mill was built 1910- 1912 and went on to become the largest newsprint mill in the world. The company built a lovely town based on the English Garden plan. Take a walk around the old homes; tour Dr. Henderson’s home and when you’re tuckered out stop at “Townsite Brewery.” From a 1931 building the “Townsite Market” has grown with individual stores selling produce, unique products from hand-made chocolates to children’s clothes and more. “The Old Courthouse Inn” owners decorated each room in an antique theme and serve delicious meals in the cozy café.  Go to the movies at the Patricia Theatre, the longest running theatre in Canada. In 1995 the federal government proclaimed this area a National Historic District.

Lund Shellfish Festival, Darren Bolton Prawn Fisherman
Lund Shellfish Festival, Darren Bolton Prawn Fisherman

If it’s culture you want, Powell River has it every month of the year. In August they shut down Highway 101/Marine Drive to celebrate the blackberry at the Blackberry Festival. Lund is famous for their Shellfish Festival in May. Every 2 years International Choral Fest Kathaumixw fills the air with music for five days. For a complete list of all that is happening in the area stop by the Powell River Visitor’s Information Centre, 4760 Joyce Ave. They have a gift store and WIFI.

There is just too much to tell in a short period of time. You’ll just have to discover how Powell River is insulated by nature for yourself. Warning: People have been known to come for a visit and 30 years later they are still here.

If this area interests you, check out our drive:
Salish Sea Route

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For Camping and RV parks in the area and elsewhere in BC go to the camping map.

Share your BC camping and travel photos using hashtag #campinbc, #explorebc

It’s always a great day to #campinbc

5 Reasons You Should Go Fishing While Camping in BC This Year

Try Fishing While Camping This Year. Photo: Lacey Pukas for Freshwater Fisheries Society

Try Fishing While Camping This Year. Photo: Lacey Pukas for Freshwater Fisheries Society

The tent, trailer or RV is packed and you’re ready for a camping vacation. With 20,000 lakes and 750,000 km of streams in British Columbia, there is a very good chance you’ll be camping next to water. Why not take advantage and go fishing on your next camping trip? We’ll give you five reasons why you should – with tips so you have no excuses not to.

It’s inexpensive

An annual fishing licence for B.C. residents’ costs $36. Purchase your annual licence on April 1, and you get 365 days of fishing before it expires on March 31 the following year. What else can you do for less than 10 cents per day?  And kids under the age of 16 fish for free.

Don’t have gear?  Borrow a rod and tackle for free at locations throughout the province, including Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC hatcheries and select tourist visitor centres.

Blackwater Rainbow. Photo: Steve Olson Freshwater Fisheries Society

Blackwater Rainbow. Photo: Steve Olson Freshwater Fisheries Society

Learn a new skill

Whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned angler, the Freshwater Fisheries Society’s YouTube channel has you covered. Learn the basics, like how to cast with a spincasting reel, or pick up some new tips from fishing expert Brian Chan.

Kids never tried fishing? Take them to a Learn to Fish program. Check out the Events calendar to find a program offered in provincial, regional or municipal park near you this spring or summer or book a program through one of their hatchery visitor centres.

Experience the outdoors

Kids aren’t into hiking and are tired of riding their bikes up and down the campsite? Strap the lifejackets on and pile them into a boat or find a good shore fishing location.  If you don’t have a boat, try casting a line from one of the growing list of lakes in the province with a fishing dock. (Use the Dock filter on this Where to Fish map to find a lake near you). Watch insects hatch and enjoy the call of a loon – and if you’re lucky you’ll get to feel the tug of a fish on the end of your line and reel in a trout.

Edith Lake Dock. Photo: Jess Yarwood Freshwater Fisheries Society

Edith Lake Dock. Photo: Jess Yarwood Freshwater Fisheries Society

Connect with family and friends

Put the laptops and phones away. Water and devices don’t mix, so you’ll get uninterrupted time to catch up. If you need to use your phone, use the camera and take an awesome photo of a happy angler in action!

You can catch your own food

Fish are nutritious and delicious. Share a meal of your freshly caught trout or kokanee at the dinner table, along with the story of how you caught it.

To ensure our freshwater fish stocks remain abundant, follow the regulations and observe the catch quotas.

And to find a campsite near one of the 800+ stocked lakes in B.C., use the Stocked Fishing Lakes filter on the Camping and RV in BC’s website.

Share your BC camping and fishing photos using hashtag #campinbc

Camping at Joffre Lakes, British Columbia With Friends

The new trail from the 2nd to 3rd lake now goes by this beautiful waterfall.
The trail from the 2nd to 3rd lake goes by this beautiful waterfall.

If I could recommend one hike to anyone visiting the Whistler area, it would have to be Joffre Lakes. Located north-east of Whistler off the Duffey Lake Road (Hwy 99), I would say it’s one of the most spectacular hikes of BC, if not Canada, and its popularity has kept it very well-maintained. Climbing 400 vertical meters over a 5.5 km span up to the third and final glacial lake, it is great for everyone, from beginning hikers to veteran backpackers.

Most overnight camping missions I go on tend to be just me, Sara, and our dog Tiva, so it was a fun treat to re-visit Joffre Lakes with a crew of friends. Joffre Lakes is always a beautiful hike to check out, and I have been numerous times.

The trail is fairly easy to manage and very scenic making Joffre Lakes extremely popular. (Note: Camping in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is only allowed in Upper Joffre Lakes Campground and is only available by reservation).

Sara stops for a fishing break at the second lake while Tiva intently looks on.
Sara stops for a fishing break at the second lake while Tiva intently looks on. (Note: Dogs are no longer allowed in Joffre Lakes Park).

With friends in from Ontario and also up from Vancouver, we started hiking up on a beautiful Sunday morning. On our way up, we counted 45 campers hiking down that had stayed there overnight (there are not that many campsites available)! Luckily, our Sunday-Monday choice was a good one – we only encountered 2 other camping groups up alongside us.

The trail has crushed gravel placed over two large boulder fields, which makes the hike much faster. We quickly reached the second lake, where we stopped for some fishing and lunch. The second lake holds some very nice small rainbow trout, and the water is so crystal clear that you can target cast for them and watch them take your lure. After that nice break, we ascended to the third lake, which passes by a beautiful waterfall. At the third lake we found a nice spot to set up camp, and took another snack break.

Our campsites comfortably placed on the edge of the third and final lake.
Our campsites comfortably placed on the edge of the third and final lake.

Another unique part to this trip that had me excited compared to years’ past was a new toy I had recently acquired, a 10-stop ND filter, which allows you to take long exposures during broad daylight. Once we reached the third lake and set up camp, we took off and explored the neighbouring glacial streams. My hopes for a clear starry night were squashed by the large cloud cover, but it made for a great sunset which was a joy to watch.

If you live in or near the Sea-to-Sky corridor, Joffre Lakes is a must-do for the area, probably the most bang for your exercise buck in terms of a beautiful hike. In addition to the essential hiking gear, make sure you bring your camera and your fishing rod! (Note: Dogs are no longer allowed in Joffre Lakes).

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More information on hiking Joffre Lakes.

For more camping opportunities in this area and all of British Columbia go to

Share your BC camping pictures using hashtag #Campinbc

Published: November 30th, 2015

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