Find Your Adventure in Canada’s British Columbia

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Are you seeking mountains, forests, history, lakes, rivers, beaches and ocean water? You’ll find all of that the furthest western Province of Canada…British Columbia! You can start with either of the gateway cities, of British Columbia.

vancouveaerial

Downtown Vancouver Aerial View
Source: Tourism Vancouver Credit: Colin Jewall

Vancouver, the third largest metropolitan area in Canada (CMA Pop. 2016 – 2,463,431) . Vancouver is also the largest metropolitan area, in western Canada. It’s on the Straits of Georgia, the Pacific Ocean body of water that separates Vancouver Island and other islands, from the mainland. Vancouver is the gateway to mainland British Columbia adventure.

Empress Hotel Victoria Harbour

The Marina And Seawall In Front Of The Empress Hotel
Photo: Hellobc.Com

For seekers water sports, rugged coastline trekking and long beaches (with cold water) Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

Orca (killer whale)

Orca (Killer Whale) – Victoria, BC.
Photo: Mae Croft

Both cities have excellent accommodations and dining, as well as cultural and historical experiences. The truth is the entire province has so much to offer!

Travel British Columbia has an online interactive map and PDF map. To get to BC, from Alberta, travelers, who are driving or cycling can enter the province.

Travelers should also:

  • have good road maps, GPS maps are now available for British Columbia
  • Reserve accommodations (i.e. bed and breakfast, camping, hotels, hostels, etc.), well in advance of trips particularly during high travel seasons (summer, ski season)
  • Be aware of the distances needed to travel large, Canadian province like British Columbia.

The following are various routes a ways to access British Columbia:

Northern Alberta

West of Grande Prairie. To get there, take scenic route on the north section of the Ram Highway (Hwy. 40), from the Trans-Canada Yellowhead Highway 16. Go west from Alberta’s Capital City Edmonton, to Hinton (288 km/179 mi). West of Hinton, turn north towards Grande Cache. Make sure you stop off, just past Grand Cache and take in the view of Suphur Gates.  Continue following the highway from Grande Cache to Grange Prairie, then via Taylor and Fort St. John.

Central Alberta

Jasper and the Trans-Canada Yellowhead Highway 16

Using the above route, continue west from Hinton, to Jasper National Park. Depending on what parts of British Columbia, they wish to visit, travelers have two routes from Jasper:

ice fields parkway

Ice Fields Parkway
Photo: Travel Alberta

  • Jasper South on the Ice Fields Parkway: from the town of Jasper, travelers can go south on the scenic Ice Fields Parkway (Hwy. 93). Continue down the parkway, (232 km (144 miles) with lots of photo stops, great side treks and tourist attractions. At Lake Louise Junction, go west on the Trans-Canada #1 Highway, towards Golden, BC. This route will take you through the Kicking Horse Pass an Roger’s Pass, via Yoho, Glacier and Mt. Revelstoke National Parks. The Ice Fields Parkway, can also be accessed, from Alberta, via the David Thompson Pass.

Mount Robson

Mt. Robson, Evening Without Clouds
Photo: John Hayes ©2009

  • Trans-Canada Yellowhead Highway 16 west of Jasper: this is the highway that follows the Canadian National Railroad (Via Rail for passengers), through British Columbia, via the Yellowhead Pass. Continue west from the town of Jasper, past the Ice Fields Parkway junction. Continue west and if the weather is good, be sure to take in Mount Robson. You can’t miss it as it’s huge. It’s the largest mountain, in Canada, south of the Yukon Territory. Shortly after Mt. Robson, at Tete Jaune Cache. Travelers have choice at this junction; continue west into interior BC, or turn south towards Valemont.  The Valemont route will take you to Kamloops, where you can connect to the Trans-Canada #1 Hwy (see below). A point of interest, Tete Jaune is the French name for whom the Yellowhead Pass is named after.

Southern Alberta

  • Calgary, Banff and the Trans-Canada #1 Highway: If you’re traveling via Calgary, use Stoney Trail (Hwy. 201) if you want to drive around Calgary. The southwest section is yet to be completed. Click the previous link, for a map. When you reach the Trans-Canada #1 Highway, on the west side of Calgary,  head west past Kananaskis Country and Canmore to Banff. Continue west on the Bow Valley Parkway (part of the Trans-Canada hwy.) to Lake Louise Junction. Travel west on #1 highway though the Kicking Horse Pass though Yoho, Glacier and Mount Revelstoke National Parks. This route will take you out of Alberta and the Rocky Mountains and into British Columbia and the Selkirk Mountains. This is the route that the Canadian Pacific Railway, went through the mountains. It will involve driving the Rogers Pass, which is a high mountain pass, in the Selkirk Mountains. There are both short and long snow sheds, to protect from avalanches, that you travel through in the pass.
  • Banff and Kootenay National Park to Radium Hot Springs: Before reaching Lake Louise Junction, take Highway #93 west for Castle Mountain Junction and into Kootenay National Park, in British Columbia (see map). Highway #93 will take you to Radium, BC and the famous hot pool. From Radium, travelers can go north to Golden, BC, of south to Fairmont Hot Springs and the southern part of BC.
  • Crowsnest Pass: This is the southern most access from Alberta. The Crowsnest Pass is accessed from the #2 highway by going west from Fort MacLeod. It will take you into southern parts of British Columbia, also accessed by going south from Radium (see above).

From the United States

There are many ports of entry to British Columbia, from the United States. As well US citizens, for Alaska can for to BC, via the Yukon Territory. Travel from Alaska to BC, can also be done via scenic Alaska Cruises, during the summer. The cruise ships dock at Vancouver, then head south to American ports. The ships also head north towards Alaska.

Visitors also sail their own vessels in the ports on Vancouver and Victoria. There are also Ferries, that come fro the US to British Columbia.

Via Airports

By far the busiest airport in British Columbia, for Travelers from Everywhere, is Vancouver International (YVR). with many international travelers using it as a gateway. Victoria International (YVJ) is the main airport for Vancouver Island.

British Columbia Destinations

Visit our directory of British Columbia destinations Ya’Gotta visit. You can also return to our home page to for other great destinations and activities, for adventure in western Canada.

 

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