“It’s the journey, not the destination”
There’s a diversity of places to visit in British Columbia and one of my favourite things to do when we take road trips is to explore the stops along the way; View points, parks, waterfalls, ghost towns. Today I’m going to share some of the places to stop on the way to your destination, whether that be Tofino or The Rockies.
Stamp River – Port Alberni
If you’re on your way to Tofino & Ucluelet this is a must during any season. The Stamp Rivier is a 15 minute drive outside of the town of Port Alberni. Take a walk along the 1.3 km well kept trail. The river is grand and fast moving. On a sunny day in the Fall you’ll see people fishing from the boulders for Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat and Steelhead (always read the fishing regulations before fishing as some species are catch and release only, others endangered). Well worth the stop, the towering trees dripping with lichen , white rapids and waterfalls to view along the way. Early Autumn is the best time to see the Salmon run as well as beautiful Fall foliage. There are some stunning pools at the bottom of the Stamp River Trail; In high Summer I hope to return and swim there.
Rockwater Secret Cove Resort – Sunshine Coast
The Rockwater’s Tenthouse Suites is a great place to stop for a night (or 2). Perched on the cliffs overlooking the waters of the Straight of Georgia, each tent is equipped with a gas fireplace, a jacuzzi tub for 2 and a gorgeous private deck. Take a book, some games and disconnect to the sound of eagles flying above the trees and the rain falling on the tent roof. There isn’t a lot to do in this area so it’s a good stop on your way further up the coast or if you’re headed to Powell River.
The Whistler Trainwreck
A hike to the Whistler Train Wreck site is an interesting pitstop on your way to Whistler or Pemberton. When a train derailed in the 1950’s, the railcars tumbled down a steep ravine making them impossible to retrieve (luckily no one perished during the accident). Over the years artists equipped with spray paint cans have created art on the cars and apparently they change constantly. This is an easy walk for the entire family.
Salmon Hatchery – North Vancouver
If you’re visiting Vancouver, you’ll see the Capilano Suspension Bridge on every tourist guide. If you’re not one for long lineups and crowds, keep driving. Just past the suspension bridge parking lot is the entrance to the Capilano Salmon Hatchery with some wonderful forested trails, sweeping views of the canyon and Cleaveland Dam. On any given weekend you’ll see fisherman pulling Coho from the river and a walk to see the giant Douglas Fir tree is a must.
Greenwood – Kootenays BC
The Kootenay region is in the eastern part of the Province (close to the Rockies) and is comprised by a series of towns including Nelson, Fernie, Castlegar, Kaslo, Radium Hotsprings and Rossland. On the way is the tiny town of Greenwood. The town was the setting for the movie Snow Falling On Cedars; it was a ghost town in the 40’s and the buildings have been preserved to their former glory and the old hotel was recently purchased and will re-open with a restaurant soon. Greenwood is like stepping back in time. The town is mainly one road and a stop at the Copper Eagle Bakery for the best butter tarts and cinnamon rolls is a must.
Elk River Falls – Campbell River, Vancouver Island
If you’re visiting Campbell River or heading up to the North Island, a stop at the Elk River Falls is a great little detour. A 10 minute walk from the parking lot takes you to a viewing platform where you can get your first glimpse of the falls. Cross the suspension bridge high above the falls for the view you see in the photo below. Take a picnic, enjoy lunch near the rushing river then continue on your way.
Cathedral Grove – Vancouver Island
The drive to Tofino & Ucluelet takes you through Macmillan Provincial Park, housing some of the oldest trees still standing on Vancouver island including an 800 year old Douglas Fir. A short easy walk under the forest canopy, the trail loops and brings you backs to you car in less than 30 mins. Don’t miss these peaceful giants.
Coombs Country Market – Vancouver Island
I make it a point to always stop at Coombs Country Market; Stop for an hour to pick up souvenirs, enjoy an ice-cream cone, get some international cooking ingredients in the market and take photos of the goats on the roof.
Othello Tunnels – Hope BC
Hope BC, located in the Fraser Valley is always a pit stop on our way into the Interior of BC. A small town at the base of the Fraser Canyon, it’s the perfect place to stop for lunch or gas. 15 minutes outside of Hope are the Othello Tunnels, a trail that takes you through what were once old train tunnels and over wood bridges crossing the Coquihalla Canyon. After a long drive, getting out and walking the tunnels is a good way to stretch your legs for an hour or so. The steep canyon walls and rapids below are Instagram worthy. Any Rambo geeks out there (like me)?: this is where First Blood was filmed. Just saying.
Do you enjoy stopping on your way to your destination? Have you been to British Columbia? I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey today.
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