The Final 5 Days in a Rental RV Exploring the Coastal Mountains of BC
Having picked up our RV rental in Delta, BC the first five days of our circle tour took us to Manning Park, Merritt, Kamloops and on our 4th night we stayed at Pinantan Lake Resort north off Hwy 5. This is the rest of our trip.
Day 5: We packed up at Pinantan Lake Resort and drove back the 25 km to Hwy 5 and headed to Sheridan Lake Resort, our final stop in the Cariboo Region. Once we turned on to Hwy 5 we drove 88 km to the Little Fort turn-off onto Hwy 24 and the famous Fishing Hwy. The first thing we saw was a fishing store, Little Fort Fly and Tackle. I recommend going in and taking a browse. There’s plenty to see aside from the abundance of fishing tackle. On the way to Sheridan Lake we stopped at a rest area to make lunch. That’s the best thing about having your home on wheels with you – the ease of preparing your own on-the-go-meals. Sheridan Lake Resort, at first glance, tells you it’s a popular spot with rows of RVs, trailers and camping units, as well as the motel block. Our site was treed and beside some very friendly campers. I find that campers are gregarious and always willing to share stories, advice and help one another.
Jamie and I decided to go for a walk along the lake which was just a few short steps from our campsite. On the way we chatted with a couple of seasoned Sheridan Lakers who frequent the resort as it is close to their home of Vernon, BC. They told us they have to make two trips, one to bring in their Travel Trailer and one for the boat although, they did say that they only have to make the trip with the boat once as the resort offers moorage during the camping season.
The couple let us peek into their modified unit. They had really maximized the storage space. And even though I have been camping for more than 50 years I learned a few tips and tricks.
The next day Jamie went out in a 12 ft Lund boat to take some video and drone footage. Later we walked along the upper fenced area of the property, which was made from hand cut timber that Titus, the co-owner builds. The path was created from all the cedar chips produced by the fence cutting. There were painted rocks, fairies, houses and miniature states all lining this beautiful path that visitors seem to add to each visit. For such a busy park, it is very quiet and well maintained.
Day 7 we took a short journey to Paul Lake, before heading on to our next destination for two days at Fraser Cove Campground in Lillooet, BC. We drove along Hwy 24 to the Hwy 97 turnoff just past Lone Butte passing through the communities of 70 Mile House, Chasm, Clinton, Cache Creek and into Lillooet. Fraser Cove Campground is a very unique, quaint campground and is aimed at the smaller c-class, vans and tenters. It has a switchback that stops larger towing vehicles and motorhomes from gaining access. Peter and Dawn, the operators, are very straightforward with campers about getting you down the hill – a service that is greatly appreciated. Our site was parallel to the Mighty Fraser River with a grassy knoll and a picnic table all under this wonderful weeping willow. Jamie and I walked around the property with Dawn and Peter talking about the area and all the sturgeon that are caught (and released) in this end of the Fraser.
Peter let us use the e-bikes that he has on-site, and we rode across the old (1914) wooden bridge into town, spoke to a local who was on his motorcycle and then we rode (15 minutes) into town. Unfortunately, at the time of our visit, due to Covid 19, a lot of businesses were closed to tourists to help keep their community virus free. However, we went to the local grocery store and purchased a few items for our next stage of the journey. After we were back at the campsite we sat outside listening to the roar of the Fraser and the weeping willow above us swaying in the wind. That was a great sleep.
Day 8 we woke to the sound of the river and because the heat of the morning came early, we got ourselves ready as a friend (who’s now a local) was taking us on a hike to Cayoosh Creek Dam, a fairly easy 4 km hike that takes you to a spectacular show at the dam with so much rushing water you can feel the coolness 200 yards away. Back at the campsite, we barbecued dinner and later rode over the main bridge that crosses the river.
Day 9: In the morning we packed up and headed down Hwy 99 to Whistler via scenic Duffy Lake Road, a 132 km trip, with a quick stop at Joffre Lakes to take photos. Our next camping stop was Riverside RV – A Parkbridge Camping & RV Resort. This resort has cabins, RV sites as well as some yurt rentals. Just a short walk from the resort is the renowned Scandinave Spa, as well as a 2 km walk to the Whistler Village itself. Because this was our last destination, and would be returning the vehicle the next day, I used the evening to pack up our personal effects and store them under the table and in the storage compartments outside for ease of transferring once we got back to Fraserway RV Rentals.
Day 10: Two hours and 132 km to go and we arrived at Fraserway RV in Delta. The return was very easy. We pulled up, ran inside to let them know we were back, they did a quick check of the paperwork and just like that, it was the end of a great trip. In summary, we travelled 1,500 km and filled the gas tank 4 times.
Enjoyed this blog? Read the 1st blog of our trip.
Other blogs and trips of interest in this area include:
Coast Along British Columbia’s Famed Fishing Hwy in the Cariboo
Following the BC Gold Rush Trail through the Cariboo & Beyond
For camping in this area and throughout BC go to the Camping Map
Share your BC travel and camping pictures using hashtag #campinbc, #explorebc, #bcnice, #green
It’s always a great day to #campinbc
Snowbirds! Spending Your Winter in the Vancouver Area? Check Out This Side Trip – North Vancouver to Whistler
Recently, we wrote a blog about things to see and do if you are a Snowbird staying in the Vancouver area. We suggested a drive from Vancouver to Harrison Hot Springs along Highway 7. Here is another drive that follows the Sea to Sky Highway (Hwy 99) from North Vancouver to Whistler.
The Sea to Sky Highway hugs the coastline as it winds its way north offering up stunning views across Howe Sound and to the mountains beyond. It then heads inland north of Squamish to the year-round destination of world-famous Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort. Mt Seymour, Grouse Mountain, and Cypress Mountain are all popular winter activity destinations, two of which are included in this trip.
- Rent a pair of ice skates and enjoy the exhilarating fresh air atop Grouse Mountain on their 8,000 sq. ft. ice skating pond. The Skyride allows for stunning views across Vancouver, Stanley Park and beyond.
- Take a self-guided snowshoe tour or go cross-country skiing at the top of Cypress Mountain through a forested winter wonderland. Warm up with a hot drink or bowl of soup.
- Back on Highway 99 and a further 18 km (11 mi) is the tiny, picturesque village of Lions Bay which hugs the shoreline. A must stop-off is the Lions Bay General Store and Café, located on the east side of the highway (take Lions Bay Avenue exit) and a favourite of those who have travelled this road for decades. You’ll find local products, great coffee, beer, lunch, souvenirs and great views too.
- Adjacent to the highway is the Britannia Mine Museum, an award-winning national historic site. It was a working copper mine from 1904-1974 and opened in 1975 as the BC Museum of Mining. You’ll be dazzled by the light and sound show as you are transported underground by train.
- Just south of Squamish is the entrance to the Sea to Sky Gondola. Be amazed at the stunning views of snow-capped mountains, old-growth forests and turquoise waters of the Howe Sound stretched out before you. At the top take in the brisk winter air, try snow-shoeing or tubing and then warm up with a hot drink or visit the Sky Pilot Restaurant where you can enjoy delicious West Coast fare.
- Like to try local craft beer? Howe Sound Brewing in Squamish produces an abundance of craft beer, from seasonal to year-round brews. Pair their excellent beer with small bites or big bites, all made in-house. It’s located on Cleveland Avenue left off Highway 99, almost at the end of town; you will see the pub on your right.
- For some eagle spotting, head back to the highway and continue north towards Brackendale and Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park, one of North America’s largest congregations of wintering bald eagles. These majestic birds gather in this area from November to January to feast on salmon. There are plenty of lookouts and shelters to view the eagles (the Eagle Run viewing shelter is at 41015 Government Road) and you can take an organized tour or even an eagle viewing float trip. Visit Squamish Tourism’s web page on eagle viewing for more information.
- Get back on the highway, it’s time to head to Whistler! There is so much to do in this world-renowned resort. In winter the snow is the big attraction with skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and more, but if you want to do something different or your ski legs need a rest there are fabulous restaurants, art galleries, spas, winter events, festivals and more. A must-see is the Whistler Village stroll where you will find fun and sporty shops, bistros and cafes, and the Whistler Olympic Plaza, which is transformed into an outdoor skating rink in winter.
- To experience First Nations art, history and culture visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler. Hear the stories and songs and admire the traditional regalia, carvings and art. This is a beautiful museum with stunning works and exhibits; guided tours are available.
- If you are in Whistler on a Sunday evening from December to March check out the free Fire & Ice Show in Whistler Village. Grab a cup of hot chocolate or warm cider and be prepared to be amazed at the spectacle created as expert skiers jump through hoops of fire!
- Once you have explored Whistler then it’s time to head back, and the views are just as stunning on the return journey! You will pass Furry Creek, known for its golf and country club, and the villages of Lions Bay and Horseshoe Bay, home of the BC Ferries terminal for taking travellers over to Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and Bowen Island. Horseshoe Bay has some shops and eateries and it’s always fun to watch the ferries coming and going.
There is so much more to see in this area, particularly in and around North and West Vancouver. Check out Vancouver’s North Shore Tourism. You could spend a day or two exploring the parks and waterfront walks, Lonsdale Quay Market, with its specialty shops and services, or the historic and growing urban neighbourhood of The Shipyards District.
For other drives from Vancouver check out:
For RV parks and other camping accommodations check out the Winter Camping Map.
Share your camping and BC travel photos using hashtag #CampInBC #ExploreBC #BCNice
Pemberton, British Columbia – a Fun Diversion from Whistler
What to do once you have explored Whistler Village and the weather is looking better to the north – follow the sunshine. This decision was made by three of us on a girls’ weekend in July, so we hopped in the car, headed north on Hwy 99, the Sea to Sky Highway, to explore the Village of Pemberton. This is just a 30-minute scenic drive through mountain wilderness, 27 miles (35 km) north of Whistler.
As you arrive in Pemberton, the Visitor Centre is located on Hwy 99 opposite Petro Canada or McDonald’s. We followed signage to the town centre and found ample parking on the street. It was a pleasant stroll through the various stores and the shop assistants were friendly, helpful and a great source of information on local activities, restaurants and coffee shops to go to in the area.
With recommendations in hand, we got back in the car heading north on Hwy 99 to Airport Road, following signs to Big Sky Golf & Country Club, http://www.bigskygolf.ca.
This course features a handsome clubhouse with full service restaurant, including attractive patio with beautiful views of Mt. Currie and the golf course. The food is excellent and the staff very friendly and accommodating. On the day we went, Saturday, the drink of the day was a rose sangria which was very refreshing and hit the spot along with a delicious platter of local meats.
The entrance to the golf course is very unique, with both sides of the drive displaying all shapes and sizes of animals made from old car, lawn and gardening equipment parts. Someone had a great imagination and talent.
After leaving the golf course our next stop was north on Hwy 99 to the Pemberton Business Park where we followed signs to the Pemberton Distillery www.pembertondistillery.ca. This is a British Columbia Certified Organic Distillery which produces award-winning organic whiskey, vodka, gin, absinthe, brandy, schnapps and liqueurs. Their vodka is the only organic potato vodka in the world. A tasting room is available to sample and purchase product. Tours are also available by appointment year-round. It is definitely worth a visit.
It was then time to start heading back towards Whistler, but on the way we stopped off at North Arm Farm, http://northarmfarm.com. This is a 60-acre working farm using organic practices. It is open to the public daily during the growing season and offers farm lunches, picnics and catering services for weddings and corporate events. A wedding was taking place while we were there. The season is from April to October with options to pick berries.
Our last stop was Nairn Falls Provincial Park, located 5 minutes from Pemberton, off Hwy 99. This was a trip down memory lane for me, as the last time I did this hike was in 1974 when I was younger, fitter and slimmer! The day use parking area is easily accessible and can also accommodate large RVs. From the parking lot it is easy access to the trail head to the falls. Allow at least 60-90 minutes to do this hike, it’s a 3 km round trip, moderately easy and well-worth it. You will be rewarded with stunning views of the upper and lower falls as the water thunders through the narrow gaps in the rocks. Children must be watched closely, dogs are welcome but must be kept on leash. Appropriate footwear and proper hiking attire is a must.
The trail follows alongside the river, is narrow in places as you hike along steep banks, drop-offs, and be careful stepping over tree trunk roots. When you reach a large rocky area, walk to the top where you will find the first viewing platform for Nairn Falls. After, make your way down towards the chain link fence, go through the opening for views of the lower falls. Slowly head back to the trail and the parking area.
There is also a campground available at Nairn Falls that offers 94 campsites, picnic site and pit toilets. Firewood is available for sale. This campground offers the warmest and driest climate of the entire Sea to Sky area and offers many hiking trails. To make reservations go to www.discovercamping.ca.
Also keep a look out for birds, squirrels, raccoons and ravens. This park is also home to the rubber boa, which is the smallest of the boa constrictor family with an average length of 45 cm (18”). Its nocturnal habits make this shy snake rarely seen.
After rounding off our adventure to the Pemberton area, it was time to travel back to Whistler, and as we got closer the sunny skies followed us.
Whistler Fun with Kids (Without Hitting the Slopes)
Recently our family had the chance to head up to Whistler for a quick day trip. We don’t ski or snowboard, so we were looking for fun (inexpensive) activities we could enjoy off the slopes. With Easter coming up, here’s a day’s worth of Whistler fun with kids under 10, for under $40 – without ever setting foot on the mountains.
Before you go, we recommend you download a copy of the area map here: http://www.whistler.com/resources/pdf/maps/whistler_village_map_small.pdf. Note: most of these activities take place in “Village North” – the left-hand side of the map.
1. “Adventure Playground” – Free!
Located in the Olympic Village, this inclusive playground is perfect for year-round adventure. Accessible to children of all abilities, it features two tree houses, slides, and interactive components like a musical station. In the winter it’s a snow-covered wonderland, and in summer there are splash pools for staying cool. It’s also adjacent to a Blenz and a Starbucks, so mom and dad can keep up their stamina.
2. Live Music and Entertainment – Free!
Just south of the playground is a gazebo where we stumbled upon a performance by a high-school band. They covered a medley of Beatles tunes, and had us dancing in the streets. If you want to be sure to catch a performance during your stay, check out http://www.whistler.com/concerts/ and http://www.whistler.com/events/ to review what’s happening.
3. Lunch at El Furniture Warehouse – Cheap! (El Furniture Warehouse)
When we stepped inside “El Furny” we weren’t sure it would be kid-friendly. It has a kitch, 1970s pub-style décor. But with all menu items coming in at $5.95, this is a great place to feed the family. The hostess immediately found crayons and paper for our little one, and after a few minutes’ wait, we were seated. The booths are a little tricky (slippery) for small ones to stay put, otherwise the environment is fun and very casual. The patio would be a great choice in warmer weather.
We tried the chicken strips and fries, the pulled chicken sandwich with daily soup (yum!), and a twisted greens salad. With water for mom and dad and a small juice, this lunch clocked in at under $25 (plus tax and tip). Can’t beat that!
4. Afternoon Quiet Time at the Whistler Public Library – Free!
Can a library be a tourist attraction? This one is! The Whistler Library has a fantastic kids section with books, puppets, toys, and a computer for educational games (10 minutes a turn). They also have a small room where toddlers can explore and play as loudly as they like.
5. Extend Your Trip With Camping
Our trip ended there, but we were surprised to learn how many camping options there are nearby. In addition to a number of private campgrounds, there are several provincial parks and recreation sites within a short driving distance. Next time we’d consider the following nearby camping options and extend our stay:
- Nairn Falls Provincial Park
- Riverside Camping & RV Resort
- Cal-Cheak Recreation Site
- Whistler RV Park
- Alice Lake Provincial Park
- Klahanie Campground
Whether it’s a day trip or you end up spending the night under the stars, Whistler is an affordable year-round destination for families – even those that don’t ski!
Garibaldi Lake Hike
The hike to Garibaldi Lake is a cruisy 9 km walk up from Rubble Creek car park (just south of Whistler) on a well graded trail through towering Douglas-fir and western red cedar before leveling out to expose stunning views of Garibaldi Provincial Park and the valley below.
We started relatively early- just after 9am – and whilst walking under the cover of mountain hemlock, we soon heard the calling sounds of marmots and encountered some rare mountain goats.
Expect some friendly banter and smiles on the way up- trail upgrades are currently taking place on the Garibaldi Lake trail and the welcoming workers will draw your attention to any wildlife or adverse conditions further on.
Just past the 7 km mark the remnants of winter comes into full swing so expect snow all the way to the lake. Wear decent hiking boots- I wore trail shoes and was soaked (not to mention baltic toes) by the time we landed up at the actual lake!
But all of that fades when you make it to the top. Lake Garibaldi is simply stunning. Crunching along the snowy path you will be in a daze, gazing in awe at the sight before you. Pockets of crystalline aquamarine water greet you before you behold the mighty lake in all its grandeur.
It’s the stillness that grabs your attention first. Sitting silently, soaking up the beauty of Mount Garibaldi and its environs, you feel you could have travelled days to reach somewhere as serene.
We rested for an hour on the (pseudo) boardwalk (embraced a few star-jumps to warm up the toes), ate our lunch and dazed at the pristine iridescence of the lake.
If you are looking to camp close to Garibaldi Lake go to the Camping & RVing BC website, click on Where to Camp and type in Whistler or Squamish.
Published: July 17th, 2013
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