This past summer, I drove from Alaska to Colorado. As if this trip isn’t long enough, I decided to make it longer by driving through British Columbia, and it was 100% worth it. Canada has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. There are many more side trips you could take in BC, but here is a list of my must-see stops while road tripping through British Columbia.
Yoho National Park
First, let’s start with Yoho National Park. Banff and Jasper National Park (located in Alberta) get a lot of the attention, but Yoho is just as beautiful, and a little less crowded. Key stops in Yoho include Natural Bridge and Emerald Lake. These stops are right off of British Columbia 1 and are very clearly marked. It was quite smoky due to numerous wildfires in British Columbia, but Emerald Lake was still breathtaking. We decided to splurge and rent a canoe ($60CAN for 1 hour). It was a magical experience! For more information regarding Canada National Parks click here.
Gnewen/ Kicking Horse River
As we continued west, we stopped in Gnewen, which is a cute town along the highway where we were able to buy reasonably priced groceries (which was not the case in the national parks). We stopped by the Kicking Horse River for lunch. There are plenty of pullouts and places to picnic outside in and outside Gnewen. We spent some time walking along the turquoise river, taking in all the beauty of British Columbia.
The landscape changed drastically as we drove into Lillooet. We stopped in the town visitor’s center, which has an excellent exhibit on the history of the area. As we continued west along the highway, the mountains became dry and the vegetation was more sparse. We came across a giant canyon, which took us by surprise. Be sure to stop at one or more of the many overlooks off the highway and enjoy the view.
Lillooet Cayoosh Creek
After a few more miles, we were surrounded by a lush green forest. British Columbia has many parks/campgrounds/picnic areas along the highway. Any of these options will likely provide you with a beautiful spot to picnic. We picked a spot by Lillooet Cayoosh Creek. This spot provided beautiful shade and a creek to cool off in.
Duffey Lake Provincial Park
Duffey lake is another spectacular park that we drove through on the BC-99 (sea to sky highway). You will come to a lake and most likely see a number of cars stopped. Stop! Get out of your vehicle and walk around. There are many floating logs that create a dam-like structure on the lake, as well as a spectacular view of the snow-capped mountain Rohr.
Joffre Lakes Provincial Park
Joffre Lakes is definitely the most popular spot we stopped at in BC. This is because it is absolutely stunning. There are a few options of activities to do here. First, you could take a leisurely hike (500m from the parking lot) to lower Joffre lake, which is what we opted for. If you have more time, you can continue on a more strenuous hike up to middle and the upper Joffre lakes. You can only camp in the designated areas at Upper Joffre lake and you must have a backcountry permit to stay overnight.
Pemberton is a must-see small mountain town along BC-99. It has a small town vibe with a strong outdoors culture and breathtaking views of Mt. Currie. Take extra time to hike or mountain bike on one of the many amazing hiking trails in the area. Pemberton also has a beautiful recreation center, including a state of the art gym, showers, and a skatepark that can be utilized by the public.
Whistler is obviously known for its winter activities, but I was pleasantly surprised by the boom of activity going on in August. This is a gorgeous mountain town with ample water and mountain activities available. Recommended activities include taking the gondola to get a bird’s eye view and kayaking/canoe/SUP in the many lakes and rivers. For more summer activities click here.
Enjoy all of these must see stops in British Columbia! For more information about British Columbia parks check out their website here.
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