Best hiking spots in lovely British Columbia
Apart of the mouthwatering Poutine in lovely Quebec, the top attractions in Vancouver, boating in Ontario the magnificent outdoors is what keeps tourists coming back to Canada. The vast and pristine natural beauty of British Columbia makes this particularly true. Even better, a tonne of British Columbia’s top hikes will lead you right there.
We’ve listed reasonably accessible hiking routes, nothing too far north (which can be totally hard to visit). You should find a good number of them that will work for your trip because the most of these should be within easy-ish reach of larger and more well-known places in British Columbia.
See which hikes in British Columbia are recommended below. Enjoy yourself to the fullest while exploring this province.
1. Sunshine Coast Trail, Sunshine Coast
This 180-kilometer trip, which starts in Sarah Point and ends in Saltery Bay, is not as absurdly challenging as its rivals (even if very long). The North Coast Trail, however, is over three times longer and does include some really difficult sections.
The sunrises and sunsets are nothing short of breathtaking in this pristine region of the province, as one would imagine, and the chance to experience backcountry life means that you will spot many wildlife along the road, from seabirds to black bears and even the occasional timber wolf. While there are a few huts scattered along the route, you will have some semblance of protection, but you need still take all required care when it comes to food storage to prevent luring nighttime wildlife gatecrashers.
How to get to Sunshine Coast Trail
On Highway 101, Powell River is located about 4-5 hours north of Vancouver. Even though there are roads in the area and the city is on the mainland, it is not connected to the Provincial Highway system. To get there, you will need to take a few ferries from Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay to Langdale and Earl’s Cove to Saltery Bay; note that you only pay once on the way up and once on the way back) or just one if you are coming from Courtenay or Comox. For more info visit Sunshine Coast Trail visitor info sire.
READ MORE: 10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in British Columbia
2. Al’s Habrich Ridge Trail, Squamish
Ride the Sea to Sky gondola to the town of Squamish to access the beginning of this moderately challenging hike. This hike can be difficult at times, so it’s not always recommended for beginners. You will pass through ancient forests and overflowing streams on your route to the big rock that needs to be scaled using a rope ladder.
You will then have to endure a breathless walk across glacial fields before being rewarded with an incredibly breathtaking vista of Howe Sound at the peak. It is one of the top hikes in British Columbia only based on this.
One of the highlights of Al’s Habrich Ridge Path, which takes around 5 to 6 hours to hike, is when the path emerges near the magnificent Neverland Lake. You should make sure to stop here and explore because it is worth a day trip on its own! The hike also comes in an expanded form dubbed the Neverland Loop. The path outlined here can be extended by an hour by taking the Neverland Loop Trail, which leads to a small waterfall. Visit Al’s Habrich Ridge website for more info on this beautiful British Columbian trail. You can use the Sea to Summit Path to climb if you so choose. The Sea to Summit Trail and Al’s Habrich Trail can both be hiked in the same day, but it will be a tough day of hiking.
3. Black Tusk, Garibaldi Provincial Park
Black Tusk is one of the most beautiful and distinctive treks in southwest British Columbia due to its dark, angular edges. The most impressive mountain in the region is Black Tusk, which is situated in Garibaldi Provincial Park.
Despite the fact that many hikers finish this trek in a single day, the length and elevation gain make for an extremely exhausting day. Due of this, some prefer to go to Taylor Meadows or Garibaldi Lake, camp there, and then hike to Black Tusk the next day. You can do either, but if you want to complete it in a single day, give yourself plenty of time to go back to the parking lot during daylight hours.
This 29-kilometer climb is challenging and is up the most stunning mountain in Garibaldi Provincial Park.
The right road goes to the spectacular Garibaldi Lake, a pristinely scenic body of water renowned for its untainted beauty, while the left path takes you to Taylor Meadows, which is an especially beautiful sight in the late summer when the alpine wildflowers are at their absolute optimum. The main trail connects the two routes and leads to the base of Black Tusk. Incomparable views of Garibaldi Lake and expansive vistas of the park itself are available here. Because the rocks at the peak can be fairly loose and cause significant injury or even death if you manage to misplace your step, it is important to pay close attention to where you are climbing or strolling. At the wooden steps in the upper part of the Rubble Creek parking area, begin your climb. Over the first 6 km, the dirt trail gradually climbs until you come to a fork. Garibaldi Lake is reached by turning right, therefore take the trail to the left to ascend to Taylor Meadows and then Black Tusk.
4. Brandywine Falls, Brandywine Falls Provincial Park
It is conveniently situated between Squamish and Whistler on British Columbia’s breathtaking Sea to Sky Highway and is one of the most well-known sights.
The short (about 1-km) and very simple hike to the falls is a must-do for adventurers of all ages.
But don’t be deceived by the flat terrain! As you get to the viewing area, you’ll find yourself admiring the magnificent, over 70-meter-tall falls!
Be sure to spend some time snapping pictures and simply soaking in the magnificence of one of the best, reasonably easy treks in British Columbia. Arrive early to avoid the crowds.
The greatest place to observe Brandywine Falls, a magnificent 70-metre cascade, is from the overlook, which also offers some stunning views of Daisy Lake and the nearby mountains.
This park offers chances for waterfall watching, mountain biking, hiking, and picnicking. In order to incorporate a special habitat for red-legged frogs (a provincially “blue listed” species at risk), the park’s size was tripled in 2010. The enlarged park also featured a number of already-existing recreation trails.
5. Elfin Lakes, Garibaldi Provincial Park
This hike, which may be very long and is located in Garibaldi Provincial Park, is particularly well-liked.
The leisurely Elfin Lakes Trail, which is around 23 km round trip, leads you through the magnificent red heather meadows along a picturesque alpine pathway that offers stunning mountain vistas and even a few charming tiny waterfalls. The Elfin Lakes themselves, which are crystal pure and gleaming with undeveloped beauty, are the jewel in the crown. Although you cannot camp on the lakes’ actual coastlines, there are many authorised campgrounds close by, around a mile distant. Especially in the summer, these locations might fill up quickly, so make sure you reserve your space as soon as possible!
In Squamish, British Columbia, in the picturesque alpine backdrop of Garibaldi Provincial Park are two little lakes called Elfin Lakes.
Pass the yellow gate as you leave the parking area and start climbing the wide gravel road. This used to be the major entrance route to the previous Diamond Head Lodge at Elfin Lakes. To access Elfin Lakes, it is now only utilised by hikers and mountain bikers.
You reach Red Heather Meadows’ shelter after hiking for just over an hour. In the summer, hikers can use the outhouse outside the shelter, which is used by snowshoers and cross-country skiers in the winter as a place to warm up.
The next kilometre of the hike will be on the winding hiking track as you proceed beyond the shelter. When you move closer to the alpine region, the vegetation starts to thin out and become highly delicate. Eventually, the wide gravel road and the winding trail reunite. Turn left and continue slowly ascending while taking in the stunning mountain panorama on your left. The two lodges at Elfin Lakes can be seen in the distance as the trail starts to level out.
The trail descends towards the Elfin Lakes for the next 30 minutes before reaching a viewpoint above the nearby lakes. Take a break to take pictures and enjoy the scenery as you make the last drop down to the first lake.
6. Joffrey Lakes, Joffrey Lakes Provincial Park
This is a highly popular hiking location, especially in the summer when you may unwind on the shores of some of British Columbia’s most picturesque lakes.While the majority of the elevation rise occurs during the trip to the trailhead, the Joffrey Lakes Trail is now rather simple and suitable for families.
Your journey will take you through three incredibly beautiful lakes, each with crystal-blue waters that are framed by an alpine forest and towering mountains in the distance. It takes three to four hours to do the full hike (longer if you saunter), but you’ll want to budget additional time to take in the views of the lakes.
The gorgeous Joffre Lakes Park is home to icefields, chilly running streams, craggy hills, and turquoise-blue lakes. The park’s most well-known attractions are the lakes at Lower, Middle, and Upper Joffre. Each of the three lakes, which are all along the walk from the parking lot, is more beautiful than the previous one. Rockflour, also known as glacial silt, is floating in the water and reflects green and blue light, giving them their remarkable, vivid blue colour.
From Lower Joffre Lake, the peaks of the park rise sharply. These can be seen from a convenient vantage point 500 metres from the parking lot. The terrain gets steeper and harder as you move closer to Middle and Upper Joffre Lakes.
7. Juan de Fuca Trail, Vancouver Island
The 47-kilometer Juan de Fuca Trail in the Vancouver Islands is a challenging hike that usually takes four days to complete. This type of hike is appropriate for individuals seeking a challenge.
But don’t worry, you can only do a limited portion of the trail at once. You can hike at your own pace and get a flavour of the trip in this way. Do not feel compelled to complete it all! If so, you can start your trek at the breathtakingly gorgeous China Beach, which is home to the southern trailhead. You can also start in the north at Botanical Beach, which is equally beautiful and well known for its thriving tidepools.
It actually doesn’t matter which you choose because both are excellent.
There are several possibilities to see marine species along the way, including (if you’re lucky) orcas and right whales, as well as other aquatic creatures. Remember that you are in a very remote area and that there are many land creatures to take into account, including bears and even the occasional cat. As a result, make sure to hike in groups, carry bear spray, and properly store all food.
Although the majority of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail is made for challenging day hikes or multi-day backpacking expeditions in this wild and remote location, trailheads offer some simple to moderate day hike options to the beach or along the trail.
The China Beach Campsite and China Beach day-use area are located at the east end of the park and are accessible by vehicle. Around a kilometre east of the Juan de Fuca East (China Beach) trailhead and the China Beach day use area, the campground is located in a forest with an open understory. East of the main China Beach day-use area, and close by Second Beach, are connected by trails from the campground. Botanical Beach, one of the most productive tidal zones on the west coast, is located at the westernmost point of Juan de Fuca Park. Also, the beach at Botanical Beach is distinctively framed by quartz and shale ridges that protrude through the dark basalt to create enormous tableaus. The westernmost point of the Juan de Fuca Marine Route, Botanical Beach is a well-liked day trip location for travellers interested in seeing this delicate and distinctive ecosystem. Low tide is the best time to view wildlife since it allows people to stroll out across the flat sandstone and granite outcroppings to see tidal pools brimming with vibrant marine life.
British Columbia is a marvel of Canada for hiking and forrest bathing, so don’t miss this opportunity.