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5 AWESOME BC TRAILS TO PUT ON YOUR HIKING BUCKET LIST

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British Columbia has an incredible number of amazing trails for hikers everywhere. Whether your hiking skills are on point, or you’re just in it for the cool kicks, you’ll find something here. These are our favourite five, and something we think everyone should try once. Some of them are multiday hard hikes, while others are a brisk couple of hours! Tell us which ones you love in the comments below


Panorama Ridge - Garibaldi Lake, Taylor Meadows[1]

The deets

A 30km trail, best done over two days, with campsites available at Garibaldi Lake and Taylor Meadows.

Why it’s awesome

Located on the opposite end of the campsite, Panorama Ridge offers a jaw-dropping view of Garibaldi Lake, Black Tusk, and the Helm Lake area. If the turquoise blue waters of the west coast lakes float your boat, this is where you want to be! In the early summer (and fall) Taylor Meadows is full of bright colours from blooming alpine flowers. When you reach the Taylor Meadows campgrounds, to your left is a stunning view of the towering Black Tusk!

Getting there

The main trailhead for Panorama Ridge is at Rubble Creek, on a turnoff 25km south of Whistler Village on the Sea to Sky Highway.

Need to know

While many hikers complete this trail in a day, the distance and elevation make it a long day. Typically people hike to Garibaldi Lake or Taylor Meadows and camp overnight, before completing the hike to Panorama Ridge the following day. Stay on the trail; this is an ecologically sensitive area.


BC Coast Trail in East Sooke Regional Park[2]


The deets

A rough and winding 10km trail, that makes for a challenging 6-hour trip even for experienced hikers.

Why it’s awesome

This is one of Canada’s best day hikes because it’s a beautiful wilderness hike not far from the city. The changes in scenery you’ll see are spectacular! One second you’re walking across a jagged bluff of windswept pines with the ocean below you, and the next you’re in a dark rainforest. The park is home to some ancient plants like the Kinnikinnik, Oregon Grape, and Salal. 

Getting there

The park is located on the East Sooke Peninsula, 35km west of Victoria (about an hour, driving). Take Highway #1A to Sooke Road (#7), to Happy Valley Road. Turn right on Rocky Point Road, which becomes East Sooke Road, and leads to park entrances at Aylard Farm, Anderson Cove, and Pike Road.

Need to know

Cabin Point has a small trap shack, which used to be a fishing post. The end of your hike is at Aylard Farm, a heritage apple orchard and all that remains of the last settlement in the area.


Mount Cheam (Chilliwack) [3]


The deets

A 9.5km trail this park is home to the highest peak in the Fraser Valley; over 2000m high.

Why it’s awesome

You’ll be met with surreal views, as the trail zigzags its way up the mountain through beautiful meadows and gravelly terrain. This is an easier hike than most on this list, thanks to a logging road that gets you within an hour of the summit. The top offers a 360-degree view of the communities along the Fraser River, Jones Lake, the surrounding peaks, and Mount Baker to the south.

Getting there

The trailhead is near Chipmunk Creek Forest Service Rd. The backcountry forest road can be accessed from Chilliwack Lake road using a 4×4 vehicle. A 15-minute walk will take you to the end of the old logging road and trail.

Need to know

The road is snowed-in for most of the year so the best time to go is before the end of October.


Stawamus Chief (Squamish) [4]


The deets

A 7km favourite hike that’s easy to find and hard to get lost on. There are three domed summits you can hike to, all accessed by a trail that starts on the side of Stawamus Chief Provincial Park near Shannon Falls.

Why it’s awesome

From the summit, you’ll have panoramic views of the Squamish Valley, Howe Sound, the town of Squamish and nearby mountain peaks. 'The Chief' is the second largest free-standing granite outcropping in the world (after the Rock of Gibraltar).

Getting there

Driving to Squamish look for signage along Highway 99 for Stawamus Chief Provincial Park.

Need to know:

Popular as this hike is, please don’t assume it’s an easy one. The lowest of the 3 domes takes 3 hours for a round trip, and the highest takes 5. The town of Squamish offers tours to hike the park if you prefer something guided.

Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park[5]

The deets

A wilderness park with spectacular scenery and historical, cultural and spiritual significance. It offers 150km of hiking trails, four cable crossings, a suspension bridge and several wilderness campsites.

Why it’s awesome

As with many parks in the area, it’s user maintained and has a something for everyone. There are a few options for easy day hikes in the lower valley. But the fun begins if you’re into multi-night backpacking trips over moderate/difficult terrain. The park is home to many Aboriginal pictographs and petroglyphs. It protects the watershed, within which are three small glaciers, alpine meadows, four large lakes and tons of wildlife. Hikers will be rewarded with pristine, untouched beauty and insane views!

Getting there

The park is west of Lytton, 185km southwest of Kamloops (290km northeast of Vancouver), on the #1 Highway. You will need to use the Lytton Ferry to the west of Fraser River to access the trailhead, which is 5km from where the Ferry docks (marked). The alternative route is a 3-hour drive on the Westside Road south from Lillooet.

Need to know

The park doesn’t have a lot of patrols, so make sure you’re well equipped and careful. This summer the park was done with one of three phases of an upgrade to the trails. The next phase will begin in the spring of 2017 and include and official crossing at Cottonwood Falls.







Citations:
[1] http://whistlerhiatus.com/whistlerhikes/panorama-ridge.html

[2] http://www.eastsookepark.com/east_sooke_park.htm

[3] https://www.vancouvertrails.com/trails/mount-cheam/

[4] http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/stawamus/

[5] http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/stein_val/

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