Clayoquot Sound

(Hubert Kang photo)

Trip Ideas

BC's Ancient Forests

British Columbia’s incomparable wilderness makes it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to connect with nature and replenish their soul. In addition to a long, rugged coastline and jagged mountain peaks, BC is perhaps best defined by the enormous, ancient forests that thrive here. In every region of the province, it is possible to stand among towering trees – Douglas firs, western red cedars, Sitka spruce – surrounded by hundreds of years of natural history, and feel yourself become part of the landscape.

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JF Bergeron

Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park

Spectacular Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park, located northwest of Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, is home to some of the largest spruce trees in the world. These trees are as tall as 95 metres (312 feet), and are approximately 800 years old. The park also protects giant cedar trees believed to be more than 1,000 years old. Several hiking trails in this remote wilderness park lead to unforgettable viewpoints. Note that some trails are quite challenging, and often very muddy.

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Sean Scott photo

MacMillan Provincial Park/Cathedral Grove

This super accessible park is located off the highway that crosses Vancouver Island between Parksville/Qualicum Beach and Tofino/Ucluelet. Trails on both sides of the highway take park visitors through stands of giant Douglas fir and western redcedar trees, some more than 800 years old. On the north side of the highway, see groves of western redcedars surrounding Cameron Lake; and on the south side of the highway is an ancient Douglas fir measuring nine metres (29.5 feet) in circumference.

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Graeme Owsianski photo

Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve

The Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve is made up of a large area along the west coast of Vancouver Island, from north of Ucluelet to Hesquiat Peninsula Provincial Park. It encompasses vast tracts of coastal temperate rainforest, rocky shorelines, stunning sandy beaches, estuaries, and sections of the open Pacific Ocean. The resort town of Tofino is located within the biosphere, and experiences to be enjoyed here include spectacular hiking, surfing, beachcombing, whale watching, bear watching, sailing, kayaking, fishing, and visiting natural hot springs.

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(Destination British Columbia photo)

Strathcona Provincial Park

Hike, camp, canoe, rock climb, or watch for wildlife among this park’s lakes and peaks. Adjacent Mount Washington Alpine Resort offers lift-accessed hiking in summer, and downhill skiing, Nordic skiing, tubing and tobogganing in winter. For an easy day out, walk along the Centennial Trail; for a backcountry expedition, hike to Della Falls, one of Canada’s highest waterfalls. Camp at one of the park’s many drive-in or hike-in sites, or stay at Strathcona Park Lodge and hone your outdoor skills at the lodge’s renowned Outdoor Education Centre.

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BC Parks photo

Golden Ears Provincial Park

Explore one of BC’s largest parks from lake floor to mountain top at Golden Ears, located north of Maple Ridge. This coastal western hemlock forest is home to second-growth western hemlock, western redcedar and Douglas fir trees. Hiking trails range from easy interpretive trails to scrambles to mountain summits, and there are plenty of horseback riding trails available. Set up camp at one of three campgrounds, hike the rugged mountain trails, then cool off in scenic Alouette Lake. Swim, paddle, fish, waterski or try your hand at windsurfing.

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Cypress Provincial Park

Cypress encompasses towering North Shore mountains that form a backdrop to the bustling city of Vancouver. Outdoor recreationists can enjoy hiking and sightseeing, photography, wilderness camping, mountain biking (in limited areas), skiing and oth...
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(Graham Osborne photo)

Stanley Park

Jog, bike or just walk the scenic Stanley Park seawall, and take in views of the downtown skyline, the North Shore mountains and English Bay. Stop at the Vancouver Aquarium to see otters, penguins, beluga and dolphins, plus a re-created tropical rainforest.Cool down at Second Beach Pool, or the Variety Kids Water Park or take a horse-drawn carriage tour through Stanley Park.

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Tom Ryan photo

Lighthouse Park

Lighthouse park offers an extensive network of connected trails that lead to some pretty spectacular scenery. Trails through thick, old-growth forests take hikers to a rocky shoreline with ancient granite outcroppings. The Point Atkinson Lighthouse is a highlight, as are the views of Stanley Park and Vancouver, and the Strait of Georgia.

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(iStockphoto.com/Glowing Earth Photography photo)

Wells Gray Provincial Park (Clearwater)

Listen to the water fall at Helmcken Falls, one of many beautiful cascades in Wells Gray Provincial Park, a sprawling wilderness in the rugged Cariboo Mountains. Hike the trails, ranging from a few minutes to a few days in duration, spot wildlife, and paddle a canoe on forest-framed lakes.
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Kokanee Creek Provincial Park

Kokanee Creek is the perfect destination campground, with a little something for everyone. The park boasts a number of great activities including a network of nature trails, wildlife viewing platforms and interpretive programs that run over the s...
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Destination BC/Ryan Creary

Mount Revelstoke National Park

Enjoy a diversity of ecosystems that include old-growth rainforests, lush wetlands and alpine meadows. Stroll among 500-year-old cedars, watch for mountain caribou, grizzly bears and mountain goats, or enjoy panoramic views as you drive 26 km / 16 mi up the Meadows in the Sky Parkway to experience sub-alpine meadows, ablaze by mid-August with colourful wildflowers.

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Destination BC/Grant Harder

Tweedsmuir Provincial Park

Tweedsmuir South and Tweedsmuir North Provincial Parks together form BC’s largest provincial park, and one of its most spectacular. The remote wilderness of Tweedsmuir North can be reached only by air or boat; the more accessible Tweedsmuir South is about 400 km/250 mi west of Williams Lake on Highway 20. Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, located in the south park, is in a prime location for grizzly bear tours, hiking, fishing and wildlife viewing in summer; in winter it becomes a heli-skiing base for Bella Coola Heli Sports.

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Ian McAllister photo

Great Bear Rainforest

Catch a glimpse of the Kermode (Spirit) bear, also known as the Kermode bear, a white-coated black bear found only in the BC’s Great Bear Rainforest. This area is home to not only some of the last intact temperate old-growth forest in the world, but also to Orcas, humpback whales, eagles, sea lions, otters, porpoises, grizzly bears and black bears. Take the Discovery Coast Connector route to explore BC’s remote and beautiful central coast. Disembark at the village of Klemtu and tour the area with Spirit Bear Lodge, run by the local Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation.

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(Northern BC Tourism photo)

Ancient Forest

The Ancient Forest Trail, 113km/70 mi east of Prince George is home to trees that are thought to be 1,000 years old or more. Explore a unique eco-system – a forest with attributes of both a coastal rainforest and a northern boreal forest; an easy to moderate hike with interpretive signage leads to a beautiful waterfall.

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JF Bergeron photo

Haida Gwaii

Haida Gwaii is a remote archipelago about an hour’s flight or seven hours by ferry from Prince Rupert. It’s among the most culturally and ecologically rich places on earth. Explore the ancient forests and feel like you’ve been transported back in time. Learn about the ancient culture of the Haida First Nation, and get a sense of how humans and the natural world have peacefully coexisted here for millennia. Travel by boat or kayak through the remote, roadless wilderness in southern Haida Gwaii, where more than 600 archaeological sites are scattered among 138 forested islands.

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BC Parks photo

Huchsduwachsdu Nuyem Jees/Kitlope Heritage Conservancy

This massive and important area is home to some of the largest intact coastal temperate rainforest in the world, with old-growth trees dating back more than 800 years. Access to this remote conservancy is by boat, and the trip takes e few hours from Kitimat. Wildlife sightings along the way are very likely – watch for whales, seals, mountain goats, bears and bald eagles – and the conservancy itself provides a significant habitat for moose, grizzly and black bears, wolves, and a number of bird species.

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