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Road Trip West Canada & Vancouver Island

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West Canada tour

The preparation of our 23-day camper tour Western Canada and Vancouver Island took a lot of time. Because we had reserved all camping spots in advance, we had more time on site to enjoy the beautiful nature and we did not have to worry about looking for camping spots. Usually the parks of British Columbia and Alberta are fully booked during the high season. If you have not booked in advance, you have no choice but to either stand on the overflow parking or pay a lot for a usually uninviting private campsite. It is therefore best to book a camping pitch from Parks Canada in advance.

Meeting the Waters - Glacier National Park BC
Black beer Well's Gray National Park
Johnston Canyon, Banff National Park - BC

Camping in the National Parks

Parks Canada's sites in British Columbia and Alberta are highly sought after in high season. In my opinion, they are, together with the places in the Provincial Parks, the best to spend the night. On the Parks Canada website you can clearly see from which date AND time you can reserve these places. Within the hour, from the possibility of booking, all camping spots of Parks Canada are reserved for the high season. Being rap is really the message here! Through the Parks Canada website you can reserve places in the National Parks.

Camping in Provincial Parks

The places in the Provincial parks can only be booked later. These places are comparable in size and location, but can only be booked 4 months before arrival. The “problem” with a reservation in these parks is if you want to stay overnight in the same park for several days in a row, you have to make the reservations day after day. It is therefore possible that you have to move to a different place for several days, because someone else was too quick for you when booking and reserved “your” place. You can place them in the Provincial Parks Through this link to reserve.

Ready steady GO!

You actually have to be ready behind your laptop or computer on the hour after you can make a reservation. Usually that is the order of the day 8:00 am local time in British Columbia or Alberta. In Europe it is then 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. later and therefore 16 p.m. or 00 p.m. Are you already home from work? Picked up children from school? Do they have to go to the sports club? In the case of the Provincial Parks, I wouldn't panic to reserve that beautiful spot on the water a little later. But for one of those few places in the National Parks, it is best to put your finger on the book button at 17:00 PM (or sometimes 17:00 PM) punctually !

Cheap flight to Vancouver YVR

It had been a number of years that we wanted to take a tour through Western Canada, but the price of the flight was usually too expensive. The month before I bought the tickets I had requested a quote from Tioga Tours, but the price of the flight on the quote at that time was 5500 euros for 4 people from Brussels and 3276 euros from Amsterdam. The price for the Mobilhome was OK, but due to the high cost of the flight I had put the tour on hold again. A month later and after some searching about campers, camping pitches, the ferry to Vancouver Island, fuel, food, etc… it just happened to be… the price had dropped enormously!

Departure from Brussels to Vancouver BC

Lufthansa flight

We were able to book the flight very cheaply through Lufthansa. Flights to Vancouver and Calgary are always very expensive, but this time I got there early and we got lucky. In November 2017, I searched for cheap flights to various destinations in Canada on momondo. Usually a flight in that period costs around 850 euros per person at best. At that time, the price had dropped to 1658 euros for 4 persons! I had a hard time believing it. Did I wrongly set the search engine to 2 people? Checked again, but it was indeed the price for the 4 of us together.

All hands on deck! Called Jessica asking if she could get leave in August for 3.5 weeks. The day after, the price could have been adjusted and then it might again become too expensive. After waiting for two hours, I received the redeeming answer. The leave request was approved and we were able to book. Since the price was the same at Lufthansa, I booked directly with Lufthansa. The first step was taken. Later I heard that her boss had bought the same cheap tickets to Vancouver that day, but before July.

The price of a flight ticket changes every day

The bizarre thing was that the flight that we booked was exactly the same flight that was in the quote. So waiting a little can do wonders! Through you can search flights with search engine momondo or via you can book directly with Lufthansa.

Forget about traveling to Canada ETA (Eletronic Travel Authorization) not to be requested! You absolutely need that to enter Canada. It costs 7 $ CAD per person and you can right here .

West Canada tour

Our “Western Canada & Vancouver Island tour” lasted a total of 23 days and could take a little longer in my opinion. There are always places where you want to stay a little longer or where you would like to take it a bit easier, but that is about the only disadvantage of recording everything in advance.

Below is a summary of our tour of breathtaking British Columbia, Alberta and Last but not least Vancouver Island! Excursions and sights are further elaborated with tips on some days.

Daily reports

You can read the daily reports of the tour of Western Canada and at the end of Vancouver Island at the bottom of the map by clicking on the link “Read more” or on the accompanying photo of the description. We made the RV trip in the summer of 2018 with a 25 foot Diesel Navion Mobilhome rented from Traveland RV Rentals in Langley BC. With a few exceptions, we stayed in the parks of Parks Canada and the Provincial Parks of British Columbia and Alberta.

With you get a practical overview of all daily reports.

Tour Western Canada - Route and places of interest Map

Day 1: Brussels - Vancouver

Saturday

Departure from Brussels to Vancouver, BC with Lufthansa

Overnight at the Victorian Hotel, Vancouver BC

Day 2: Pick up the mobilhome at Traveland

Sunday

Pick up RV Camper at Traveland RV Rentals in Langley BC

Doing shopping in a superstore, Langley BC

On the way: Othello Tunnels near Hope (120 km / 75 mi)

Campsite: Coquihalla Campground (Hope)

Day 3: Manning Park

Monday

Ride from Hope to Okanagan Lake North Provincial Park via Manning Park (240 km / 150 mi)

On the way: lunch in the park after which we took a walk of 4.5 km (Lightning Lake Loop) around the lake in Manning Park.

Camping: Okanagan Lake North Provincial Park - Quiet 1 night site - No electricity - Swam and played the Frisbee - You can hear the road a little

Day 4: Bike ride - Myra Canyon

Tuesday

Ride from Okanagan Provincial Park to Martha Creek Provincial Park in Revelstoke (290km / 180mi)

On the way: Bike ride in Myra Canyon over wooden bridges of an old railway line

Campground: Martha Creek Provincial Park - One of the nicest campgrounds we had - 1st night

Day 5: Hike - Mount Revelstoke National Park

Wednesday

Walk in Mount Revelstoke National Park and Skypark

Camping: Martha Creek Provincial Park - 2de night

Day 6: Hike -Loop Brook Trail & Meeting the Waters

Thursday

Drive from Revelstoke to Kootenay National Park (270 km / 167 mi)

On the way: Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk (30 min) Located 43 km from Martha Creek Provincial Park + Giant Cedar Boardwalk (30 min) Located 2.6km further.

Walk Brook Trail and Meeting the Waters Trail

Camping: Kootenay National Park - Redstreak Campground

Day 7: Emerald Lake & Lake Louise

Friday

Ride from Kootenay National Park to Banff via Natural Bridge and Emerald Lake (250 km / 155mi)

On the way: Natural Bridge, Emerald Lake, Lake Louise

Camping: Banff Tunnel Village 2 - place A54 (Large and not so cozy Campsite)

Day 8: Hike - Johnston Canyon - Banff National Park

Saturday

Johnston Canyon: Walk to Upper Falls (2.5km / 2mi) and to the further Inkpots (5.5km / 3.7mi)

Banff Radium Hot Springs

Banff Gondola - Dinner

Camping: Banff Tunnel Village 2 - 2de night same place

Day 9: Icefield Parkway

Sunday

Ride from Banff to Jasper via Icefield Parkway Highway 93 (400 km / 250 mi)

On the way: Athabasca Glacier, Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls

Camping: Wapiti place FF28 Nice quiet Provincial campsite

Day 10: Maligne Canyon & Maligne Lake

Monday

That day we drove to Medicine Lake and Maligne Lake (50 km / 31mi), but before that we had made a walk along the river via Maligne Canyon Trail.

Camping: Wapiti place FF28 - 2nd night

Day 11: Rearguard Falls

Tuesday

Drive from Jasper (Wapiti Campground) to Clearwater - Wells Gray Provincial Park (323km / 200mi)

On the way: Walk to Rearguard Falls (3.2 km) and lunch at a food stall

Camping: Dutch Lake Resort & RV Park Place 32 - 1st night

Day 12: Wells Gray National Park

Wednesday

Wells Gray National Park waterfalls: Spahat Falls, Bailey's Chute, Helmcken Falls & Dawson Falls

Camping: Dutch Lake Resort & RV Park Place 32 - 2nd night

Day 13: Nairn Falls

Thursday

Ride from Dutch lake (Well's Gray National Park) to Nairn Provincial Park (395 km / 245mi)

On the way: Lunch

Camping: Nairn Falls Provincial Park - place 47

Day 14: Whistler Mountain

Friday

Short drive from Nairn Provincial Park to Whistler (35 km / 21mi)

RV parking in Whistler. Little to look for. Best to fix parking in the GPS in advance. We stood on Lot 3 (20 $ all day).

Suspension Bridge on Whistler Mountain

Peak to Peak to Blackcomb Mountain

Ziptrek Ecotours - Zipping with Eli

Camping: Riverside Resort Full Hook Up (71 $)

Day 15: Vancouver Island - Pacific Rim National Park

Saturday - Transfer to Vancouver Island

Ride from Whistler to Picific Rim National Park (300 km / 186mi)

On the way: Transfer Horseshoebay (100 km) to Nanaimo

Camping: Green Point Campground (Long Beach Area) in the Pacific Rim National Park - 1th night 23

Day 16: Vargas Island & Meares Island

Sunday

That day Island hopping for Vargas Island and Meares Island was on the program.

Camping: Green point Campground - 2de night place 88

Day 17: Ucluelet - Wild Pacific Trail

Monday

Rainforest Trail a & B

Ucluelet Wild Pacific Trail

Dinner at Shed in Tofino

Camping: Green Point Campground - 3de night place 91

Day 18: Cathedral Grove

Tuesday

Ride from Pacific Rim National Park to Miracle Beach Provincial Park (235 km / 146mi)

On the way: Cathedral Grove in Mac Millan Provincial Park

Lunch: Sproat Lake Provincial Park and swimming

Camping: Miracle Beach Provincial Park - 1st night Place 44

Day 19: Campbell River - Elk Falls

Wednesday

Trip to Campbell River and Suspension Bridge at Elk Falls

Camping: Miracle Beach Provincial Park - 2nd night Pitch 44

 

Day 20: Whale watching tour (full day) & Bute Inlet

Thursday

Whale watching tour (7u) Campbell River and lunch at Bute Inlet

Camping: Miracle Beach Provincial Park 3 the night Place 44

Day 21-22-23: Ferry Vancouver Island - Cultus Lake

Friday (Day 21)

Ride from Miracle Beach to Cultus Lake via the Ferry (Nanaimo-Horseshoe Bay) (260km / 162mi)

Camping: Cultus Lake Provincial Park (Place E20)

Saturday (day 22)

Ride from Cultus Lake PP to Traveland to bring the Mobilhome back

Camping: On the plane (Day 23)

  • The most beautiful walks on Tenerife
  • Mallorca - Fantastic holiday island
  • Gozo - Unspoiled pearl of Malta

Wim

I made the travel blog "Globetrotter Avenue" as a hobby, but also to share travel experiences with others. In the meantime I have visited more than 40 countries. We love nature, forests and mountains, but also sun, sea and beach. Enjoy reading!

This post has 9 responses

  1. PickAKayak

    Vargas Island is something I looking forward to exploring and Pacific Rim National Park for kayaking, what else would be great for water lover?

    1. Wim

      Hi, There are so many opportunities to do water activities on Vancouver Island. You can book a kayak excursion with a guide or rent a kayak yourself and head out. You do need a certification or proof on Vancouver Island that proves that you are qualified in “training in capsize recovery specific to sea kayaking or got training in paddle float rescues, self-rescues etc” I already had a lot of experience with kayaks in Europe , but I could not provide proof. As a result, we were unfortunately unable to rent kayaks in Tofino to explore the coast along Tofino or Ucluelet itself.
      You can take the water taxi and visit different islands yourself or in a group. You can also book a whale watching tour in both Tofino and Ucluelet, but we made a whale watching tour from Campbell River.
      A lot of surfing is also done on the beaches near Tofino. There are various surf schools and surfboards that you can rent.

      1. John Spear

        First of all Thanks for responding, so I guess we need a certificate for exploring water all by owned, so we need to pre-booked the kayak, with a guide or without, or we can do on the spot?

        1. Wim

          Hi John,

          Yes, you can rent a kayak on the spot with or without a guide (if there are places in the group of course), but if you want to kayak without a guide you need proof that you or someone in the group has experience in “ training in capsize recovery specific to sea kayaking or got training in paddle float rescues, self-rescues etc ”. No idea if that is necessary if you launch your own kayak.

          Greetings, Wim

  2. Ger English

    Really enjoyed the report. Valuable tips. We are going at the end of May next year. About the same route. Was this trip approximately 3500 km?

    1. Wim

      Hello Ger English,
      Nice to let you know what you thought. Thanks!
      The full distance was 3903 km. We had paid for 3500 km in advance, but had driven 403 km more. Price per additional km was 0.41 $ / km (taxes not included: PST and GST). The price for the extra 403 km was about the same as the price of the extra package of 500 km that you could purchase in advance from the landlord (150 € per 500km).
      Happy travels, Wim

  3. Tash M

    This looks like an epic adventure & cheers for sharing this itinerary and information!

    1. Wim

      Hi Tash

      It certainly was and you're Welcome!

  4. scorpian

    I am very happy to discover your post as it will be on top in my collection or favorite blogs to visit. Road trip is amazing, keep sharing.

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