British Columbia is a nature lover’s paradise so you know you’ll find great hiking everywhere in BC.
On Vancouver Island’s west coast you’ll find the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. While this trail is 47 km long, it does have several access points so you can hike sections of it. The trailheads are at China Beach (southern point), Sombrio Beach, Parkinson Beach, and Botanical Beach in Port Renfrew (northern point). This is definitely a wilderness trail at a moderate rating, although day hiking from the southern and northern trailheads tends to be somewhat easier. Botanical Beach and its tidepools is a definite must stop before or after your hike if the tide is out. Fabulous views, an isolated shoreline, pounding surf and old growth forest make for inspiring surroundings, but be aware of bears and cougars!
Near Kelowna in BC’s Thompson Okanagan region you’ll find the Blue Grouse Mountain Trail, again with a moderate rating. The trail is 8 km long with fantastic views of Okanagan Lake. You can do the full 5 hour hike or just do a 2 hour one by parking at the lower communication tower. There are some steep sections but they do level out and the intermittent open areas give you better and better views the higher you go, until you have a 360 degree view at the top, all the way to Big White near Vernon. Things to watch out for are prickly rosehip bushes on some of the steeper sections and little cacti. For an easier alternative around Kelowna, there is the trial in Knox Mountain Park, along the east side of Lake Okanagan. This 4 km trail makes for about a 2 hour hike, with a beach and a picnic area at the end of the trail.
A favorite trail in Garibaldi Provincial Park is the Elfin Lakes trail. It is a moderate level trail that is well marked. The return hike is 6-8 hours for the full 22 km to the third lake. There is a big shelter but you must make reservations ahead of time, as this is a popular trail, with the park just 70 km north of Vancouver and close to the “outdoor recreation capital of Canada”, Squamish, BC. There are several other trails in Garibaldi Park, and a total of over 200 km of trails in the Squamish area at different difficulty levels. The area is also well known for great mountainbiking.
In the Selkirk Mountains of the Kootenays region, check out great hiking in Valhalla Provincial Park. This park is located on the west shore of Slocan Lake, north of Slocan and Castlegar. There is a great network of hiking trails in the park of various difficulty levels, some only with boat access. A great choice for a day hike would be the Slocan Evans trail along the lake with great views and lots of opportunity for swimming. Park on the east side of the Slocan River in the village of Slocan to reach the trailhead.
These are only some of hundreds of hiking possibilities in British Columbia. Our BC Bed & Breakfast innkeepers will know many of the local hikes in their area and will be able to give you detailed information. Where ever your BC hikes take you, always make sure you’re prepared and let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to be back. Enjoy our BC wilderness at your own pace!