Category: kootenay rockies

BC Road Trip: Coast to the Rockies by RV

Travelling by RV allows you to bring the comforts of home into the wild nature of BC, thanks to camping options that range from full-service glamping sites to rustic, natural retreats. Here are some ideas to help you plan an RVing adventure from BC’s Coast to the Rocky Mountains.

Pick your route.

Trans-Canada Highway (Vancouver, Kamloops, Revelstoke, Golden, Banff)
Rogers Pass on the Trans-Canada Highway.

Rogers Pass on the Trans-Canada Highway. Photo: @_miss.mandy_ via instagram

The Trans-Canada (also referred to as Highway 1) is a direct and well-travelled RV route. If you’re not comfortable with mountain driving, exit the Trans-Canada at Hope for the Coquihalla Highway. Connect back to the Trans-Canada in Kamploops, or continue through the Okanagan Valley via Kelowna and Vernon and reconnect in Sicamous.  Spend time in the mountain parks; locomotive fans will want to check out the railway museum in Revelstoke and the Spiral Tunnels in Yoho National Park.

For a change in scenery, consider taking Highway 8 off the Trans-Canada at Spences Bridge, which traces the Fraser Canyon along the Nicola River.

Highway 99 to Highway 5 (Vancouver, Whistler, Lillooet, Clearwater, Valemount, Jasper)
Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99).

Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99). Photo: Destination BC

This route travels BC’s coastline with breathtaking views of the ocean on one side and jutting rock on the other. Be aware that the road can be narrow and twisty, with sharp corners and some steep areas (especially the Duffy Lake section).

A more direct option is to take the Trans-Canada route, and then connect to Highway 5 in Kamloops.

Highway 3 and the Kootenays (Manning Park, Osoyoos, West Kootenays, Banff)
Sinclair Canyon, the entrance to Kootenay National Park and Radium BC.

Sinclair Canyon, the entrance to Kootenay National Park and Radium Hot Springs.  Photo: Kari Medig

The Highway 3 route from Hope and on through the Kootenays is a spectacular drive, passing through parks, small towns, and mountain ranges. Be aware, Allison Pass through Manning Park has some steep grades. 

Consider these stops:

 

Make the time to take your time.

Depending on your route, driving from Vancouver to the Rockies is approximately 800 km (500 mi) —equaling eight to 10 hours driving time—up and over several mountain passes. Routes go from coastal waters, through rainforest, desert, wine and orchard country, mountain ranges, small towns, parks, and historic railway and gold rush sites. Give yourself time to stop, stay, and explore along the way.

Renting an RV? Make it a one-way trip.

Many RV rental companies allow you to pick up your rental in Vancouver and drop it off in Calgary (and vice versa). Click here for more tips on renting an RV in BC.

Where to camp with an RV. 

San Juan River on BC's coast.

San Juan River on BC’s coast. Photo: @theworldinwhich via instagram

Find RV-friendly campsites here. After a long drive, avoid having to back in by calling ahead and reserving a site with a pull-through spot.

Parks on the way.

No matter the route you choose, you’ll pass through both provincial and national parks. Here are just a few to visit:

  • Garibaldi Park off Highway 99. Hike to Garibaldi Lake for stunning views of the park.
  • Wells Gray Park off Highway 5. This is one of BC’s larger parks, at 541,516 hectares (1,338,115 acres), and it’s full of natural wonders like volcanoes, waterfalls, mineral springs, and glaciers.
  • Mount Robson Park off Highway 16 (from Highway 5). Here you’ll see the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies, and the view of Mount Robson does not disappoint.
  • Glacier National Park off the Trans-Canada Highway. Home to glaciers, old-growth forest, alpine meadows, and Rogers Pass, the final link in Canada’s national railway.
  • Yoho National Park off the Trans-Canada Highway on the western slopes of the Canadian Rockies.
  • Whiteswan Lake Park off Highway 93 (from Highway 3). On your way in, keep an eye out for Lussier Hot Springs, a natural spring set in the forest beside the Lussier River.  
  • Manning Park off Highway 3. In the heart of the Cascade Mountains, Manning is an all-season recreation destination.
  • Gladstone Park off Highway 3. A short hike to Christina lake, one of the warmest and clearest lakes in Canada.
  • Kootenay National Park on Highway 93 is home to Radium Hot Springs.

 

When should you go?

Spring, summer, and fall months are the best times to be on the road, but high-elevation areas are known to have snowstorms in April, May, and October.

Plan ahead.

Reserve your Provincial park campsite here.

Plan your Trans-Canada Highway route here.

For up to the minute BC road conditions visit Drive BC.

Explore other BC road trip routes.

Featured Image: Driving along Highway 3 next to the Kootenay River. Photo: Keri Medig.

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Meet Our 2017 BC Winter Ambassadors

We are excited to introduce our 2017 BC Winter Ambassadors. This January and February, four ambassadors will hit the road and ski BC’s resorts, giving us an inside perspective on snow conditions and resort experiences. Read on to learn about our ambassadors, and which resorts they will be visiting.

Leo Zuckerman | @leozuck

Leo Zuckerman Winter Ambassador 2017

Drawn to the peaks of the Coast Mountains, Leo left the East Coast to seek out new adventures in BC. He is an outdoor filmmaker who challenges himself in the elements, and by pushing the limits of his craft. Currently based in Vancouver, Leo is excited to hit the road and explore BC’s coastal resorts.

Which BC ski resorts will Leo visit? Mount Washington Ski Resort, Mt Seymour, Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain, and Whistler Blackcomb.

Map of Leo's Winter Ambassador route

 

Ben Giesbrecht | @bennnnnnnnie

Ben Giesbrecht Winter Ambassador 2017. Photo: Nathaniel Martin

Based in Vancouver, Ben is a photographer and videographer who grew up in Kelowna. BC’s interior was the perfect backdrop for endless exploration, which ignited his passion for snowboarding and film. He has lived across Canada, from Quebec to Whistler, searching for the best snow.

Which BC ski resorts will Ben visit? Sun Peaks Resort, SilverStar Mountain Resort, Big White Ski Resort, and Apex Mountain Resort.

Map of Ben's Winter Ambassador route

 

Zoya Lynch | @zoyalynch

Zoya Lynch Winter Ambassador 2017

Born into a family of hard-charging skiers, Zoya learned to ski as a toddler at her family’s backcountry lodge in the Canadian Rockies. She moved to Revelstoke in 2009, and was instantly drawn to the rugged mountains and endless powder. Zoya soon picked up a camera and started documenting her adventures. She feels lucky to live in a beautiful place where she can combine her love of the mountains with art and creativity.  

Which BC ski resorts will Zoya visit? Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, and Panorama Mountain Resort.

Map of Zoya's Winter Ambassador route

 

Leigh and Spring McClurg
@pebbleshoo | @springmcclurg

Leigh and Spring McClurg Winter Ambassador 2017

Leigh and Spring are photographers, writers, and adventure seekers based in the Coast Mountains. After moving from Ireland back to Canada in 2010, they developed a passion for exploring their backyard. Leigh and Spring hope to inspire others to get outside and experience the freedom of being in the mountains. 

Which BC ski resorts will Leigh and Spring visit? RED Mountain Resort, Whitewater Ski Resort, Kimberley Alpine Resort, and Fernie Alpine Resort.

Map of Leigh and Spring's Winter Ambassador route

Follow our Winter Ambassadors as they share stories from their ski trips around the province. Check back for weekly features, and follow Destination BC on Facebook and Instagram to see how the BC ski season is unfolding. 

For information on skiing in BC visit winterwithin.ca.

Featured image credit: Zoya Lynch

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8 Resolutions for 2017 (and How to Make Them Happen in BC)

With 2016 behind us, it’s time to make plans for the year ahead.  Here are my eight New Year’s resolutions that will take me to all corners of the province.

Spend quality time with friends.

Wine tasting at Skimmerhorn Winery in Creston, BC.

Girls’ Weekend at Skimmerhorn Winery. Photo: @Justinecelina via instagram

Remember when you’d spend all day, every day, with your friends, laughing until your face hurt? I resolve to do more than a quick coffee catch-up with friends, and there’s nothing better than an extended weekend wine-touring trip to re-connect.

Do something that scares me.

In 2017, I’ll face my fear of heights in a big way on the Sea to Sky Gondola’s Via Ferrata. The view from the top is a motivational bonus. Who knows, I might be inspired to take it a step further on Mt. Nimbus, North America’s longest Via Ferrata.   

Break a world record.

Snow angels on a sightseeing tour with Compass Heli.

Not quite a snow angel world record. This sightseeing tour with Compass Heli Tours found the perfect untouched snow for two angels. Photo: Nicolas Drader

I’ve attempted to break a few records (no luck so far). This year, I pledge to join others at Panorama Mountain Resort in an effort to shatter the Guinness Book of World Records’ cross-Canada simultaneous snow angels record. The winged action will take place Feb. 6th, in celebration of Canadian Ski Patrol Day.

Try something new.

Tyee Fishing in Campbell River.

Traditional Tyee fishing in wooden rowboats. Photo: Derek Ford.

In 2016, I caught my first fish, and snorkeled for the first time in the Campbell River among salmon. I’m hooked. These new fishing experiences are on my “try” list: fly fishingice fishing, and maybe joining the Tyee Club of BC by catching a 30-pound or larger salmon in a rowboat.

Go outside–be in nature.

Tin Hat Cabin on the Sunshine Coast Trail.

Tin Hat Cabin on the Sunshine Coast Trail. Photo: @Billharding via instagram

A quick reconnect in nature is never far from reach when you live in Vancouver.  This year, I plan to take a longer break, and the Sunshine Coast Trail is ideal. The 180-kilometre (112-mile) route stretches through old-growth forests, towering mountaintops, and coastal shorelines. The trail also has 13 huts, making it the longest hut-to-hut hiking experience in Canada.

Take the ultimate road trip.

Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park in Northern BC, Alaska Highway.

Liard Valley on the Alaska Highway. Photo: Emanuel Smedbol

The Alaska Highway celebrates its 75th anniversary next year, and that means one thing: road trip. The diversity of wildlife, the scenery, and Liard River Hot Springs make this on-the-road adventure a “must” 2017 resolution. 

Meditate more.

This year, I resolve to attend a meditation retreat. A weekend of solitude in the mountains of southeastern BC at Yasodhara Ashram offers both the meditation and yoga needed to rejuvenate and prepare for 2017. 

Run a marathon.

This is the resolution I’m least likely to accomplish, but the Nakusp half-marathon has the added incentive of being near Nakusp Hot Springs for a soothing mineral soak post-run. If I fall short on my training, there’s also a 5K or a 10K option.

What’s on your 2017 resolution list?

Featured Image: Heli-hiking Mt. Nimbus Via Ferrata in Glacier National Park. Photo: Ryan Creary.

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Top 5 Filming Locations in BC

BC’s diverse topography of cities, deserts, rainforests, mountains, and beaches makes it a popular place for movie-makers to call “Action!” Numerous TV series and films have been shot in the province. Here are some of the most popular film backdrops—and best locations for star-spotting.

Vancouver

Vancouver's Marine Building, a.k.a. Smallville's Daily Planet headquarters.

The entrance to the Marine Building, a.k.a. Smallville’s Daily Planet headquarters. Photo credit: Jeff Hitchcock via Flickr

“Hollywood North” is a star attraction for filmmakers looking for a North American cityscape: Vancouverites regularly see “snow” in summer, a NYC taxi cruising around Gastown, or supernatural beings fighting crime.

Vancouver morphed into Metropolis in Smallville to tell the story of Clark Kent’s early life. Hit shows such as The 100, Supernatural, Arrow—and its spin-off The Flash—have been filmed at atmospheric locations, such as the disused Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam. Many of the alien encounters in The X-Files (up to series five and the 2016 reboot) were filmed in the forests around Vancouver. Aldergrove in Langley is home to the set of the infamous Bates Motel, where the TV show (a prequel to Hitchcock’s Psycho) is filmed.

Shows such as iZombie and the US remake of The Killing show downtown Vancouver as “Seattle.” The city has also appeared as our American neighbour in romantic movies such as the Fifty Shades trilogy movies, which shot key scenes at the Bentall Tower, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, UBC, and Gastown.

Vancouver’s infrastructure also stars in films—from the stunt sequences of Deadpool, filmed on the Georgia Street viaduct, to the collapse of the Lion’s Gate Bridge in Final Destination 5’s opening credits.

Richmond

Since 2011, seaside Steveston has transformed yearly into Storybrooke, Maine, for ABC’s Once Upon a Time. Steveston’s Moncton Street receives a mythical makeover for filming, but Romania Country Bread keeps its Storybrooke Country Bread sign up year round. Moncton Street was also a location for the new Power Rangers film in which Elizabeth Banks stars as villain Rita Repulsa (due out in 2017). It’s not just superheroes that visit Richmond—the Riverport area was home to a giant ape prison for the recent filming of War of The Planet of the Apes.

Secrets of Storybrooke: check out the 5:22 mark to learn how Steveston transforms into Storybrooke.

BC Interior

The Cache Creek area for Ben Stiller's Night at the Museum.

The Cache Creek area is transformed into “Egypt” for Ben Stiller’s Night at the Museum. Photo: Thompson-Nicola Film Commission

Desert landscapes make BC’s Interior a popular place for TV and filmmakers to shoot far-flung and otherworldly destinations. Walhachin, near Kamloops, stood in for the US desert in The X-Files and The Andromeda Strain, and the arid Elephant Hills landscape near Ashcroft morphed into Texas in the Twilight saga Eclipse, the Mexican desert in The A-Team, and Mexico’s Baja Peninsula in The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. Ben Stiller’s Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb transformed the Cache Creek area into Egypt, and Aladdin soared above in Once Upon a Time. The TV show Battlestar Galactica used Kamloops’ desert as “Planet Algae.” Back on Earth, Merritt become small-town Kansas for Superman’s Smallville, and the heritage gold-rush town of Fort Steele had a starring role in Bridget Fonda’s Snow Queen.

Kootenay Rockies

The Kootenay Rockies city of Nelson's many heritage buildings for the Steve Martin classic Roxanne.

Nelson’s many heritage buildings set the scene for the Steve Martin classic Roxanne. Photo: Phil Best Photography

BC’s Kootenay Rockies enjoys the limelight, too. Nelson’s heritage buildings set the scene for the Steve Martin classic Roxanne; Nelson, Greenwood, and the surrounding Slocan Valley, were featured in Snow Falling on Cedars. The mountain town of Fernie provided the ultimate ski backdrop for Hot Tub Time Machine. On the horizon, The Mountain Between Us, a new drama starring Kate Winslet, is set to start filming near Invermere in early 2017.

Northern BC

Northern BC's snowy landscape is a natural stand-in for Alaska.

Northern BC’s snowy landscape is a natural stand-in for Alaska. Photo: Northern BC Tourism

Mountains, glaciers, and remote landscapes make Northern BC an ideal stand-in for Alaska. The 2002 US remake of Insomnia, a critically acclaimed version of the 1997 Norwegian film, brought Al Pacino, Robin Williams, and Hilary Swank to Stewart and Bear Glacier. And the wintry north of Liam Neeson’s plane-crash drama The Grey was filmed at Smithers and Hudson Bay Mountain.

For more information about filming in BC, check out these movie maps and filming news sites:

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10 Exciting BC Moments From 2016

As the new year approaches, it’s time to look back at significant moments from 2016. From #1 spots on “Top 10” lists, to a Royal visit, it’s been a memorable year in BC.

10. The BC Government reached a historic deal with First Nations, environmentalists, and logging companies, and announced that 85% of the 6.4-million-hectare (15.8-million-acre) Great Bear Rainforest will be permanently protected from logging.

Grizzly crossing a river in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Grizzly crossing a river in the Great Bear Rainforest. Photo: Pete Ryan

9. Local businessman and philanthropist Michael Audain opened the hotly anticipated Audain Art Museum in Whistler. His personal collection includes one of the world’s finest collections of First Nations masks, and pieces by renowned BC artist Emily Carr.

Entrance to the Audain Art Museum in Whistler.

Entrance to the Audain Art Museum. Photo: Caley Vanular

8. Chinatown’s Kissa Tanto, a delightful marriage of Japanese and Italian cuisine, was named Canada’s Best New Restaurant in Air Canada enRoute magazine’s annual best-of list.

7. Mount Revelstoke Resort opened the Pipe Mountain Coaster, an exhilarating ride that lets you control your own speed down a 1.4-kilometre (0.9-mile) track.

Pipe Mountain Coaster at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

Cruising down the mountain on The Pipe Mountain Coaster. Photo: Ian Houghton

6. The BC Craft Brewers Guild launched the BC Ale Trail, a collection of seven craft beer routes around the province. Cheers!

Persephone Brewing Company in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast.

Persephone Brewing Company in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast. Photo: BC Ale Trail

5. A media frenzy descended in September when Will and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, arrived for a week-long Royal Tour.

The Duke and Duchess sample food and wine in Kelowna.

The Duke and Duchess sampled some of the best food and wine BC has to offer while in Kelowna. Photo: @canadian.heritage

4. BC Parks announced an investment of more than $20 million over the next five years. Plans include 1900 new campsites for locals and visitors alike to spend time in the great outdoors.

Nairn Falls Provincial Park near Pemberton.

Setting up camp at Nairn Falls Provincial Park near Pemberton. Photo: Julian Apse

3. Baldy Mountain Resort, near Oliver in BC’s Okanagan Valley, found new life with new ownership. The resort re-opened this winter—much to the delight of locals.

Baldy Mountain Resort near Oliver.

Glade skiing at Baldy. Photo: @apreswheeler via Instagram

2. The world’s largest Christmas light maze put on a display near Vancouver‘s Olympic Village. Enchant boasts more than 5,000 square metres (55,000 square feet) of illuminated sculptures, as well as a Christmas Market featuring 40+ local vendors and a dozen food trucks.

Enchant Christmas Maze in Vancouver.

Enchanted by Enchant. Photo: @wendy.shep via Instagram

1. In October, Lonely Planet released their annual Best in Travel list for 2017. Number one on their Top Countries list? You guessed it: Canada. Aw, shucks.

Natural Bridge in Yoho National Park.

Natural Bridge in Yoho National Park. Photo: @goldiehawn_ via Instagram

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