Have you ordered you Discovery Pass yet? If you haven’t, you’d better get on that! It’s Parks Canada’s way of celebrating our fair nation’s 150th birthday. Get one of these passes and you’ll have free access to our national parks for the rest of 2017!
We’ve only just entered the month of August so there is still plenty of time to scrape up some holiday time, invest in bear repellant and rally a road trip into the wilderness. To make things a little easier for your planning, we’ve put together some suggestions of things to do in each of BC’s beautiful crown jewels.
Distance from Vancouver: 817 km, about 8 hrs and 44 min
Located along the border of our prairie neighbours, Kootney National Park offers views of grasslands, mountains and glaciers. If you like the idea of camping but prefer some comforts of home, try camping at the oTENTiks at Redstreak Camground. They are these amazing tents/cabins that let you sleep under the stars but they still have access to a toilet for you to flush when you are done your business.
2. Yoho National Park
Distance from Vancouver: 736 km, about 8 hrs and 10 mins
Yoho is literally an expression of awe and wonder in the Cree language. So you gotta assume your mind will be blown by the beauty of this place! For the perfect selfie, visit the base of Canada’s largest waterfall, Takakkaw Falls. There are two red chairs there for you to candidly capture the moment for all your Instagram followers. #yohoitsme
3. Mount Revelstoke National Park
Distance from Vancouver: 565 km, about 6 hrs and 17 mins
A personal favourite of ours, Mount Revelstoke National Park offers the full spectrum of altitude zones for hikers to explore. You'll get everything from lush redwood forests at the base of the mountain to miles of delicate wild flowers in the higher alpine meadows. A great thing to do with the family (or your young at heart friends) is the Geocaching interactive GPS treasure hunt through the woods. Use your millennial technology to get in touch with nature for once!
4. Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
Distance from Vancouver: 87.5 km, 2 hrs and 58 mins
The gulf islands are so gorgeous and abundant in wildlife! You can enjoy their beauty with deer and song birds by exploring the extensive trails and paths on each island. So you don't walk off a cliff, try using the self guided hiking app Exlpora to get around. Or, if the summer heat is too much, do an island cruise with harbour seals and orcas on a kayak tour.
5. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
Distance from Vancouver: 245 km, 5 hrs and 35 mins
Pacific Rim National Park provides the perfect escape from city life. You can squish sand between your toes along miles of beaches, listen to crashing waves for hours or live your Cali fantasy for the afternoon with surfing lessons. We’re pretty sure there isn’t anyone who has gone here who has not left crushing hard for the place.
6. Gwaii Haanas National Park
Distance from Vancouver: It’s far! You’ll need to take multiple ferries or a seaplane to get there.
Gwaii Haanas National Park is an ancient and remote destination perfect for history buffs and sightseers. The journey will be a long one but once you are in the lush rainforest among scared Haida historical sites, you’ll know the journey was worth it. Make sure you go on a kayaking wildlife tour to see bears munching salmon and cute puffins bobbing in the waves!
WRITTEN BY: Todd Mitchell
Kootney National Park - Nipika Mountain Resort
Yoho National Park - BritishColumbia.com
Mount Revelstoke National Park - www.hikebiketravel.com
Gulf Islands National Parks Reserve - TripAdviser.ca
Pacific Rim National Parks Reserve - Black Rock Resort
Gwaii Haanas National Park - Hello BC