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Sample Tours: West Coast

 

Totem Circle

Beaches, fjords, lakes, mountains and more. This is our Totem Circle Tour. Choose to travel one way from Vancouver to Calgary or complete the circle by returning to Vancouver through Montana and Southern British Columbia.

Duration:

Vancouver to Calgary - 17 days
Vancouver to Vancouver - 25 days
Total Distance: Vancouver to Calgary - 2262 km/1405 mi
Vancouver to Vancouver - 3784 km/2351 mi


 Tour Map - Totem Circle view larger map
Itinerary
Butchart Gardens
Day 1 - Depart from Vancouver to Victoria - 69 km/43 mi
Please phone our station at 604-940-2171 after 08:00 this morning to arrange your transfer from the hotel to our station. Vehicle pickup times are generally between 13:00 and 16:00 but your exact time will be given to you when you phone. Detailed vehicle instruction will be provided. full details

Do your grocery shopping and head out. The Tsawwassen Ferry to Schwartz Bay is the best choice for reaching Victoria quickly. The ferry ride is about two hours long. If the weather is fair, there is nothing better than to stand out on deck while navigating the narrow passages between the Gulf Islands. You enter a very narrow channel with a close view of Galiano Island on the north and Mayne Island on the south side, coming out on the south-west side of Salt Spring Island, winding your way toward Schwartz Bay.

As you approach the Bay, the island on the south side of the ferry is Pender Island. The islands offer a slower pace of life. There are small farms, acreages, and summer cottages. As well, many well-known artists make the Gulf Islands their home. As you drive out of the ferry terminal, you should join Highway 17. Take the south exit and in one-half hour, you will be in the heart of Victoria. The closest CanaDream Club partner campground to the ferry is Beachcomber RV but if you prefer to be closer to the city, we suggest you try one of our three Victoria campground partners listed here. Victoria offers a wide variety of nightlife for you to experience. There are excellent restaurants in the wider Victoria area, as well as in the centre.

CanaDream Club Partners on today's route:

Beachcomber RV - Saanichton
Fort Victoria RV Park - Victoria
Weir's Beach RV Resort - Victoria
Pedder Bay RV Resort - Victoria

Victoria Legislature
Day 2 - Full Day in Victoria
Victoria has so many interesting activities to offer, you will have a full day fitting in just a few. Of course, Butchart Gardens, south of Schwartz Bay, on Highway 17A, is world-renowned and is a splendid, restful place to wander around and enjoy the day. While in the area, Victoria Butterfly Gardens offers your only opportunity to experience the warmth, beauty and romance of a tropical jungle without going to the tropics.full details

Stroll through this indoor tropical wonderland, where Caribbean flamingos walk through the streams and ponds among the beautifully coloured koi, goldfish, Australian whistling tree ducks and red-eared slider turtles. Wander through lush jungles of plants native to tropical rainforest environments. Stroll along the trails past organic vanilla beans growing on the vine, papaya trees, pineapple, coffee beans, ginger and many other foods of the world growing in our organic soil. 

The jungle is rich with its diversity of animals. It boasts 2 chameleons, 6 varieties of poison dart frogs, 4 varieties of Geckos, two different types of tortoises, 30 different varieties of tropical birds and that's not all! All this within  5 minutes from the "world famous" Butchart Gardens.

Drive into Victoria and spend the next two days wandering in old downtown and the waterfront.  See the Parliament Buildings and have high tea at the Empress Hotel.  Close by is the Royal BC Museum and IMAX Theatre.  If you enjoy historic houses, take an easy eight-minute drive from Victoria's inner harbour, up Fort Street, right on Joan Cresent to visit Craigdarroch Castle

Alternatively you can walk there from the inner harbour, up Fort Street, along Antique Row - stopping at various interesting shops and sights.  Turn right on Joan Crescent and it's a two-minute walk to the entrance.  Craigdarroch Castle was built between 1887 and 1890 for Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish immigrant who made his fortune from Vancouver Island coal. This Victorian mansion, overlooking the City of Victoria, announced to the world that he was the richest and most important man in Western Canada. 

Victoria is also famous for whale watching - a number of CanaDream Club partners operate 3 hour trips from the Inner Harbour. 

If you want to camp further up the Patricia Bay Highway, you could rent bicycles and cycle along the “Galloping Goose”. This trail is part of the Trans Canada Trail—a pathway designed for cyclists and hikers that goes almost continuously from one coast of Canada to the other. The pathways offer an alternative route enabling adventurers to see the entire country by bicycle, horseback or on foot without having to share the highways with vehicular traffic. The “Galloping Goose” begins in Sidney and continues through Victoria out to Sooke. It is a picturesque route that winds its way past waterways, through thick stands of forest, and past The Gorge, an inland tidal waterway on its way to Sooke and the end of the Trail at the Pacific Ocean. A variety of birds are evident as they go about feeding their young high up in the branches overhanging the trail. So, if you want to explore Victoria without taking a vehicle into the inner parts of the city, a bicycle is a great alternative. Victoria is a city of outdoor enthusiasts who cycle, walk, run, and roller-blade. Bicycle rental is available from CycleTreks at 1000 Wharf Street in Victoria.  This company also offers guided day treks which can be booked in advance through CanaDream.  Victorians are geared to the mild weather and find the conditions are suitable for outdoor activities most of the year round.

When in the centre of Victoria, there are a few venues worthy of particular mention. The Provincial Museum and the BC Legislative Building are next door to one another at the south end of Government Street. The Museum often hosts new and interesting exhibits and the Legislative Buildings are open to the public with regular tours. As well, there are tours of the Inner Harbour, which is just a few blocks west of Government Street. In the spring and summer, baskets of flowers hang from lamp posts on all the downtown streets.

If you are interested in collecting antiques, you may find just the right item in an antique shop along Fort Street. If you follow Bay Street to just west of the Inner Harbour, the street name changes to Craigflower Road. On the west side of  Admirals Road, you will come to a heritage farmstead named Craigflower. This farm was established back in 1853 because of an obligation to Britain that the Hudson’s Bay Company honoured in order to encourage colonization. The farm also experimented with certain seeds and tubers in order to learn what would grow best on the island. Craigflower Manor and Schoolhouse are open to the public from 11.00 am to 5.00pm from 1 May to 30 September.  The grounds and ancient Kosapsom Village Site are open year round for self-guided tours. 

If you enjoy viewing shipping traffic, you can drive or cycle around the ocean front by going south from Government House down to Beacon Hill Road and following it around to the Oak Bay Marina. When you are looking directly south of this coastline, there is an excellent view of the Olympic Mountains in Washington State. As well, there is a great view from China Beach west of Victoria past Sooke. There is a restaurant at Point No Point that is built on the edge of the cliff, providing a great view of the entrance to the Juan de Fuca Strait from the Pacific Ocean. You can dine here while you watch everything from small craft to the larger cargo ships enter the Strait on their way to the Vancouver and Seattle harbours. Along this road, you will see the Race Rocks Light Station on the promontory known as Robert’s Point. This lighthouse was built between 1859 and 1860 to warn ships of the destructive outcropping of rocks that jutted out at the point where they entered the Juan de Fuca Strait. This was the location of many tragic shipwrecks over the years, even after the lighthouse was built. In later years, they changed the direction of the foghorn’s blasts and met with better results. It became an automated light in 1997.  Now the light station is a nature reserve and is part of the University of Victoria Biology Department’s course delivery.

A lighthouse that is open for viewing is the Fisguard Lighthouse National Historic Site, together with Fort Rodd Hill that was built to protect Victoria and her harbour as well as the naval base at Esquimalt.

CanaDream Club Attraction Partners in Victoria        

Craigdarroch Castle                                                                                
Springtide Victoria Whale Tours                                                              
Orca Spirit Adventures
Five Star Whale Watching
Sidney Whale Watching
Cycle Treks Victoria 
Victoria Butterfly Gardens 

CanaDream Club Campground Partners in Victoria  

Weir's Beach RV Resort  
Pedder Bay RV Resort & Marina
Fort Victoria RV Park
Malahat Mountain Meadows RV Resort
Beachcomber RV 

Tofino Starfish
Day 3 - Victoria to Tofino / Ucluelet - 316 km/199 mi
Expect the unexpected on your drive to Tofino. There is such a variety of scenery with every bend in the road, from thick forest, to small towns, and spectacular views of the Gulf Islands that are sprinkled throughout the Strait of Georgia. It is advisable to leave a little early and give yourself ample time on this leg of the journey, as the Port Alberni to Tofino leg is a very narrow, winding road and will likely be quite a slow portion of the day’s drive.full details

On your way up the Trans Canada Highway, Bamberton Provincial Park is a worthwhile stop for a scenic break. Duncan, nestled in the Cowichan Valley, is also an interesting stop. The Lumber Mill Museum is worth a look. Duncan is known as the “City of Totems”.  In the downtown area, you will find a historic totem pole walking tour. This island town also gives you access to mountain biking and hiking trails, and scuba diving, canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Oh, what to do?

Part way up the west side of the island, you will come to a town named Chemainus. This is a pretty little seaside town with different murals painted on the sides of many downtown buildings. These murals depict the town’s corporate history and community spirit.

Branching off the Trans Canada Highway onto Highway 4, just north of Nanaimo, you will be on your way to Port Alberni and Tofino. For another scenic break, you may want to stop in either Little Qualicum Falls, McMillan or Sproat Lake Provincial Parks. These provincial parks are further inland and have a different feel from those that border the ocean front.

You are getting into mountainous and forested terrain at this point and there is more wildlife viewing potential. Begin looking for cougar tracks here. It is not recommended to walk too far on your own; traveling in larger groups is advisable. Vancouver Island has a high concentration of cougar populations, although confrontations are very rare.  Stop in Coombes to see the goats that graze on the roof of a local establishment, and stop at Cathedral Grove, near Port Alberni.  Walk among huge old-growth rain forest with trees up to two to three metres thick.

From Port Alberni to Tofino, the highway narrows. Traffic usually slows down somewhat through this section to accommodate the winding, mountainous terrain. For this reason, it is wise to build extra time into your schedule to make your drive less pressured.

Tofino is on the northern edge of Pacific Rim National Park, and is the northern end of the well-known West Coast Trail. This is a backpacking trail that usually takes five or six days to complete and requires climbing up and down ladders that hang from cliffs, walking over large fallen logs and crossing expansive rock flats and beaches while the tide is out. It is an isolated but very popular hike, thereby requiring reservations to embark on the route. 

CanaDream Club campground partners on today's route are
Cedar Springs Ranch
Malahat Mountain Meadows
Country Maples RV Resort (Holiday Trails) south of Chemainus
Mountainaire Campground & RV Park
Paradise Seaside Resort
Coombs Country Campground
Whiskey Creek Campground 

Sunset in Tofino
Day 4 - Full day in Tofino / Ucluelet
What an incredible playground! From all the possible activities, here are a few suggestions to tantalize and inspire you.
Whale watching tours are one possibility that cover much of the calendar year. The charter companies take you out in larger power boats, cutting the motor when they are close and never getting too close to infringe on whale movements.  
full details

These charters also take passengers out in summer to watch for bears that forage along the beaches when the tide is out. Ocean Outfitters are one of the companies offering such an experience.  You can choose to watch bears from the comfort of their covered family vessel or, for a more unrestricted viewing experience, go out in a zodiac. They also offer whale watching and Hot Springs tours.

There are a few sea-kayaking companies that offer lessons and day trips, as well as longer tours. There have been many people who have seen a whale spout very close to their kayak. That is one way to have a memorable holiday. Also, Tla-ook Cultural Adventures of Tofino offer ocean-going canoe trips. These trips vary in length from 2½ hours to six hours.  These trips offer storytelling, knowledge-sharing about plant life and survival skills, and a day out on the water.

If sport fishing is more to your liking, there are boat charter companies that will take you out to the salmon and halibut grounds for a few hours or a full day.  Charters are geared to groups of four or more. These are just a few of the aquatic possibilities.

If you are passionate about playing golf, then there is a golf course overlooking the ocean and very close to the Parks Canada's Green Point campground. The third hole may catch you out, as the fairway looks completely straight, but it actually has a very gentle curve. It seems that if you missed, your ball will be in the Pacific. For this reason, it's one of the most challenging fairways on the island. With all these activities to choose from, it seems that you could have a busy day here.  You may well decide to spend a day or two more in this beautiful part of Vancouver Island so you don't have to choose one activity over another.

CanaDream Club attraction partners in Tofino / Ucluelet
Ocean Outfitters Tofino Adventure Tours
Remote Passages Marine Excursions
Jamie's Whaling Station
The Whale Centre
West Coast Aquatic Safaris  

Miracle Beach
Day 5 - Tofino to Campbell River - 272 km/169 mi
A return trip down the winding road to Port Alberni is the only way back to the east and more populated side of the island.  If you didn't already do so on your way to Tofino, stop at Cathedral Grove, near Port Alberni to take a walk among huge old-growth rain forest.full details

There are only a few dozen parking spots immediately adjacent to the highway at the entrance to the trail to Cathedral Grove.  Please proceed slowly through this stretch of road, as the trees encroach on the road and there may be little warning when people, as well as wildlife, cross the road.

Continue on to Coombs to see the goats that graze on the roof of a local establishment before heading north through the Lighthouse Country communities of Qualicum Bay, Bowser and Deep Bay on your way to Campbell River.  Follow the Oceanside Route (19A) through the charming communities of Fanny Bay, Buckley Bay and Union Bay, making sure you stop to sample the world famous oysters in Fanny Bay.

At Courtenay, you may like to take a short diversion off Highway 19A into Comox, home to more than 500 pleasure boats and a commercial fishing fleet.  Comox Harbour is one of the safest year-round harbours on Vancouver Island and is a great launching spot for some of the best salmon fishing in the world.

Other places of interest en route to Campbell River today include Miracle Beach Provincial Park, where porpoises and hair seals can often be seen near the mouth of black creek.  Killer whales are sometimes spotted from here in the Strait of Georgia.  Self-guided nature walks skirt the shore and wander through forests of hemlock and Douglas fir.

From Miracle Beach Provincial Park, it's a short drive to Campbell River.  En route you may catch a glimpse of Cape Mudge lighthouse on the south end of Quadra Island.  The lighthouse was built in 1888 and is still staffed and fully operational.    There are a number of private campgrounds to choose from in Campbell River. Our recommended CanaDream Club partner campground is Parkside Campground & RV Park, approximately 3km from downtown Campbell River.  This park sits nestled among stately evergreen trees offering a natural forest setting with large, private sites, clean restrooms and hot showers.  A discount is offered to CanaDream guests on request.

CanaDream Club campground partners on today's route: 

Whiskey Creek Campground
Coombs Country Campground
Cedar Grove RV Park
PineRidge RV Park and Farm Market
Qualicum Bay Resort
Salmon Point Resort
Parkside Campground & RV Park

CanaDream Club attraction partners on today's route: 

Horne Lake Caverns

Boats at Campbell River, Vancouver Island
Day 6 - Full day in Campbell River
Take time out today to explore the area.  Among our recommendations are a short ferry ride across to Quadra Island.  The ferry leaves Campbell River hourly between 6.30am and 10.30pm, taking 10 minutes to make the crossing.  Check out www.bcferries.com for details of fares and sailing times.full details

If you feel like spending longer on Quadra Island, it's possible to take your RV across with you to Quathiaski Cove and spend a few nights camping at Tsa-Kwa Luten Lodge's Oceanfront RV Park.  

If Quadra Island doesn't appeal, how about taking a wildlife and cultural tour with Aboriginal Journeys?  This first nations wildlife and cultural tour operator offers whale watching, grizzly bear and wildlife viewing, native history and culture, nature photography and eco-adventure tours in Campbell River.  If you're travelling between early September to mid-October, a grizzly bear expedition with Discovery Marine Safaris is a must.  It's a full-day trip which enables you to see bears chasing and catching salmon to fatten up for hibernation.  Discovery Marine Safaris also offer Whale and Wildlife Safaris during the spring and summer months.

Should you prefer a day just exploring the area, a drive down to Gold River or to Strathcona Provincial Park may appeal.  Strathcona Provincial Park was the original park in the BC provincial system.  A day trip to Strathcona gets you into an unparalleled natural wonderland of vast forests, great lakes, alpine meadows and challenging peaks.  More than a dozen hikes and walks originate from the Buttle Lake area of Strathcona Park, offering trails for all fitness levels. 

Return to Campbell River and spend another night at Parkside Campground & RV Park.

CanaDream Club campground partners on today's route:
Parkside Campground & RV Park

CanaDream Club attraction partners on today's route:

Discovery Marine Safaris
Aboriginal Journeys

Welcome to Port Hardy Signpost
Day 7 - Campbell River to Port Hardy - 508 km/316 mi
From Campbell River, Highway 19 passes through more lakes and bays before skirting inland toward the small logging and farming community of Sayward.  Watch for a mysterious steamy ring round the peak of Hkusam Mountain.  The Kwakwaka'wakw People called it Hiatsee Saklekum - "Where the breath of the sea lion gathers at the blow-hole".full details

If you have time, take a side trip at Sayward Junction into Sayward and visit the unique Cable Cookhouse, a steel-framed building wrapped with 8,200 feet of wire cable weighing 26 tons, located on the east side of the one-lane bridge on Sayward Road that crosses the Salmon River.  The Cable Cookhouse provides excellent food and welcomes all travellers.  Don't miss The Logger's Totem, built in 1986 by Glen Duncan to honour the logger.

Visitors driving the scenic route between Port McNeill and Sayward are very likely to encounter at least one large mammal alongside the road or ambling into the forest. Black-tailed deer, Roosevelt elk and black bear are common year-round.  

If you'd like to add another day to this leg of your journey, we suggest you take a side trip into historic Telegraph Cove.  Much of the town is built on stilts, raised above the water, and linked by a wooden boardwalk.  With a permanent population of around 20 people, Telegraph Cove has reinvented itself as a hub for ecotourism. It is the departure point for a slew of outdoor activities including whale watching, bear watching, fishing, ocean kayaking, caving, diving, hiking and aboriginal cultural touring.  

Plan for an early evening arrival in Port Hardy.  Our recommended CanaDream Club partner campground in Port Hardy is Port Hardy RV Resort, in beautiful surroundings close to downtown Port Hardy.  Advance reservations are strongly recommended as this is a very popular campground.

CanaDream Club partners on today's itinerary:

Port Hardy RV Resort

Boats in Prince Rupert Harbour
Day 8 - Port Hardy to Prince Rupert (via ferry)
The ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert has a daytime sailing schedule between mid June and early September, allowing you to take in the surrounding scenery.  In May and August, the vessel departs Port Hardy on even-numbered days, while June, July and August see the ship leaving on odd-numbered days.   A limited schedule also operates overnight between mid September and early February.full details

Be sure to plan your itinerary to take account of this.  Check the BC Ferries website online for the most up to date information.  Advance reservations are essential for people travelling with RVs.

The ferry departs Port Hardy at 7.30am, arriving in Prince Rupert around 11.30pm.  Once you're on the ferry, sit back, relax and enjoy not having to drive yourself today.

Many campgrounds in Prince Rupert say open late for ferry arrivals.  We suggest you make a reservation with your chosen campground. 

 

North Pacific Cannery in Prince Rupert
Day 9 - Full day in Prince Rupert
Take more time out today to relax and enjoy your spectacular surroundings.  Visit the North Pacific Fishing Village, a National Historic Site, and take a tour of the most complete cannery remaining of the remote villages that once dotted the West Coast.  Here you can be transported back to the hectic days of cannery life through displays and interpretive guided tours.   full details

Other places worth visiting include the world class Museum of Northern BC.  This museum houses art and artifacts exploring the wealth of history and culture on BC's Northwest Coast.  Visitors can often share in the experience of First National dance performances in the Longhouse.

A series of other museums in the city explore the wealth of European history in the area. 

At the Kwinitsa Railway Museum, visitors can experience the life of early station agents and linemen who worked the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway at the turn of the century.  The Firehall Museum features many artifacts demonstrating the history of the fire department since 1908, such as a rebuilt 1925 R.E.O. Speedwagon fire engine. 

Spend a quiet moment watching the boats along the waterfront - you may find yourself rewarded by a glimpse of a harbour seal, or one of many species of seabirds.  On rare occasions you may even spot humpback or killer whales.

 

Prince George, BC
Day 10 - Prince Rupert to Prince George - 722 km/449 mi
Today's a very long day driving if you decide to do this stretch all at once.  You may decide to break this into a two day journey, overnighting at a campground en route, before continuing on to Prince George the following day. full details

Points of interest between Prince Rupert and Prince George include Ksan Historical Village,  50 million year old fossils at Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park and Fort St James Historic Site.

Ksan is the Gitxsan name for the Skeena River.  This replicated ancient Gitxsan village features large decorated house fronts and totem poles facing the water.  If you have time, continue up to Kitwancool and the Nisga's Memorial Lava Bed Park where, over two centuries ago, a volcano erupted leaving a lava moonscape.  Don't forget to stop to view the famous totems at Kitwancool.

 

 

Elk in Jasper National Park
Day 11 - Prince George to Jasper – 375 km/233 mi
Prince George is known as an all-season playground.  With over 120 parks and more than 1600 nearby lakes and rivers offering endless opportunities for fishing, boating, hiking, wildlife viewing and camping, Prince George is a place for both indoor and outdoor discovery.full details

At Fort George Park, cultural, scientific and natural history becomes a hands-on experience.  Check out the Prince George Native Art Gallery and visit the vintage railway collections at the Prince George Railway & Forestry Museum.

From Prince George, head east on the Yellowhead Highway to the scenic community of McBride, nestled in Mount Robson Valley.  The exceptional scenery here draws hikers, anglers and white water enthusiasts.  Catch a glimpse of some of the 200 bird species recorded in the area at the Horseshoe Lake bird viewing station.  Enjoy an easy walk around this thriving artist community or try heli-hiking, heli-skiing or snowmobiling.

Continuing east from McBride, take a short diversion off highway 16 into the friendly town of Valemount.  Here you can canoe meandering streams or simply take in the nature around you.  Don't miss the wildlife and bird watching at Robert W. Starratt Wildlife Sanctuary, a 43 ha (600 ac) waterfowl habitat just minutes from Valemount.

Late summer brings the world's longest salmon migration to the spawning ground of Swift Creek in nearby George Hicks Regional Park.

Travelling back to highway 16, you rejoin the Yellowhead Highway en route to Jasper.  Pass through Mount Robson Provincial Park, named after the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies - a jagged, snowy pinnacle rising 3,954 m (12,972 ft) above largely undisturbed wilderness.  Break your journey at the Mount Robson Visitor Centre where you can buy souvenirs and snacks and hike a few easy trails.  Mount Robson Provincial Park also houses the headwaters of the Fraser River and the massive Berg Glacier.  Hike the extensive trail systems leading past lakes, glacier, waterfalls and through dense forest.

From Mount Robson, it's an easy one hour drive through to Jasper where you should plan to spend at least two full days.  Advance reservations at the National Park campgrounds are strongly recommended during the peak summer season.   The closest campgrounds to the township of Jasper are Whistlers and Wapiti.  These can be booked online at http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/voyage-travel/reserve.aspx.

CanaDream Club partner campground on today's route:

iRVins RV Park & Campground - Valemount

Jasper Tramway, Alberta
Day 12 - Full Day in Jasper
Awake today to trilling birdsong and views of the massive peaks which crown the horizon in every direction.  With so many things to do in and around Jasper, you'll have difficulty deciding what to do first.full details

Early morning and dusk are the best times for animal sightings in the area.  Start your day with the tranquility of Pyramid Lake and the reflection of Pyramid Mountain in the surrounding water.  An osprey sitting on her nest, a bald eagle soaring overhead, beaver swimming along the shoreline and the sound of a loon disturbing the silence with its haunting call.  All this is possible by taking the Great Canadian Sunburst Canoe Experience which ends with steaming hot coffee, fresh baking and, if you request, a "Sunburst" and fresh croissant for breakfast.  The morning is complete and it's only 9.00 a.m.!  

Spend some time today wandering around Jasper and visiting the variety of stores along the Main Street.  RV parking is available close to the downtown area.

This afternoon, head out to the Jasper Skytram - Jasper's Peak Attraction.  The experience of being gently transported into Jasper National Park's alpine tundra will captivate all ages.  Stroll the boardwalks, viewing the interpretive plaques, and watch for wildlife. Alpine inhabitants include the Hoary Marmot, white tailed Ptarmigan, ground squirrels, pikas and the occasional bighorn sheep.  Travel off of the boardwalks onto the hiking trails to the summit is possible at your own risk, but come prepared.

Tonight you may like to take a trip up to Miette Hot Springs.  Open between mid May and Labour Day, these hot springs consist of two pools kept at about 40 degrees Celsius.  Miette Hot Springs are located 61km east of Jasper.  During the July/August peak season, the pools remain open until 10.30pm. 

CanaDream Club partners on today's itinerary:
Jasper Skytram
Miette Hot Springs

Maligne Lake Jasper Alberta
Day 13 - Full day in Jasper
Take a drive today out to Maligne Lake, 44km south of the Jasper town site.  This emerald green lake is set amongst the snow-mantled peaks of the Front Range and stretches for nearly 22 kilometers.  At Maligne Lake, take the 90 minute scenic cruise to world-famous Spirit Island.   full details

Cruises depart hourly from 10.00am between early June and early October.  Discounts are available to CanaDream guests when pre-purchasing tickets through CanaDream.  Allow at least an hour to get from Jasper to Maligne Lake.

On the way back from the lake, stop at Maligne Canyon. Here sheer limestone walls plunge to depths of over 50 metres (165 ft).  Parks Canada has developed a self-guided interpretative trail along the canyon with signs describing the geological history of the area.  There are four bridges across the gorge, each with its own special view.  A short hiking loop tours the upper reaches of the canyon, while a longer trail follows the gorge and exits at a fifth and sixth bridge lower down.  These two activities should take up most of your day today. 

You may fancy having a more active day, perhaps going hiking or rafting instead.  Adventurous whitewater trips are offered by both Jasper Whitewater Rafting Co and Maligne Rafting Adventures while Jasper Raft Tours offer a gentler scenic float trip suitable for ages 2 to 102.  All are CanaDream Club partners and discounts are available on any of these trips when booked through CanaDream.

CanaDream Club partners on today's itinerary:
Maligne Tours 
Maligne Rafting Adventures
Jasper Whitewater Rafting Co
Jasper Raft Tours 

Herbert Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta
Day 14 - Jasper to Lake Louise - 236 km/147 mi
The 230-kilometre Icefields Parkway ranks among the great highroads of the world and commands some of the most majestic scenery in the Canadian Rockies. It runs between Jasper townsite and Lake Louise, following in turn the Bow, Mistaya, North Saskatchewan, Sunwapta and Athabasca rivers, crossing the Bow and Sunwapta passes and presenting a panorama of peaks, glaciers, waterfalls and canyons.full details

Some landmarks bear the names of early guides and explorers - Wilcox, Stanley, Nigel. Others have descriptive names such as Tangle Ridge and Whirlpool River, or Indian names such as Sunwapta (turbulent river).

If the weather is nice, we suggest you take Highway 93A from Jasper, passing by Wabasso Campground and look out for bears and other wildlife along your route.  There's a picnic area at Meeting of the Waters where the Whirlpool and Athabasca Rivers meet.  In bygone days, this site formed a major junction for countless fur trade expeditions. Today it's a peaceful place to stop and linger.  93A continues and joins the Icefields Parkway again by the Athabasca Falls.  These dramatic falls cut a gorge through layers of quartz sandstone and you can witness the shear power of the water as it plummets down with a thunderous roar.

Further down the Parkway, look for bighorn sheep and goats at Tangle Falls, Stutfield Glacier Viewpoint and Goat Lookout. Stutfield Glacier Viewpoint offers a view of the Sunwapta River, an excellent example of a braided river. The valley bottom is filled with sand and gravel spreading the river across the valley floor in interlacing channels. The Stutfield Glacier features a picturesque pair of ice falls, which spill down the face of Mt. Stutfield. Take the 1 km (1/2 mile) access road from the Icefields Parkway to Sunwapta Falls and Canyon and see where the Sunwapta River changes its course abruptly from northwest to southwest, then plummets into a deep canyon producing a spectacular waterfall.

Quartzite boulders litter both sides of the Icefields Parkway where rockslides have swept down here from the mountain slopes to the east. Above the boulder field, near the top of the ridge, is a distinct pink scar where part of the rock sheared away. The Sunwapta River now breaks in rapids over the foot of the slide area. The rock itself has been used extensively as building stone in Jasper National Park. To the southeast of Poboktan Creek loom Tangle Ridge and the 3,315 metre Sunwapta Peak. In the opposite direction, Endless Chain Ridge stretches to the northwest.

Near the Stutfield Glacier Viewpoint, you'll pass by a glass skywalk built into the side of the rocks on your right-hand side.  There is no parking or ticket office here and you will need to continue on to the Icefield Centre if you decide the Glacier Skywalk is to be on your day's agenda.  After purchasing tickets at the Icefield Centre, you board a coach which will take you back to this fairly new attraction.  Also at the Icefields Centre, you have the opportunity to board an Ice Explorer for an 80 minute round trip onto the Athabasca Glacier.  Both attractions are operated by Brewster Travel Canada and tickets can be pre-purchased from CanaDream at a discounted rate.  Combo packages are also available should you wish to experience both the Skywalk and the Glacier Adventure.

There are a number of smaller National Park campgrounds dotted along the Icefields Parkway should you decide to spend more time hiking the trails along this spectacular stretch of road.

If you are ready to stretch your legs and get out in the mountain air, there is an easy stroll known as East Bush Falls Loop near the Nordegg turnoff. It offers the bonus of a waterfall on East Bush Creek. The hikes in this area are mostly old logging roads, making good hiking and equestrian trails today. Apparently, there are people who get lost on East Bush Mountain , so it is important to follow the signs posted. The route is not quite 6 km long and has a slight elevation gain of 90 metres, requiring as much as a half-day to complete.

Just beyond this area is the Saskatchewan River Crossing, the junction of Highway 11. Take a short detour heading east and you'll discover fantastic tracts of wilderness noted for fishing, trail riding and hiking, such as the Wildland Recreation Area, White Goat Wilderness, Cline River and Abraham Lake.

Keep your eyes peeled for Bow Summit, which at 2,068 m (6,785 ft.) above sea level, is the highest point on the parkway and offers one of the best mountain panoramas in the world at Peyto Lake viewpoint.

Jasper and Banff National Parks border one another along the divide between the headwaters of the Sunwapta and North Saskatchewan rivers. Waters flowing north from this divide eventually reach the Arctic Ocean via the Mackenzie River, while those flowing south cross the Prairies via the Saskatchewan River to Hudson Bay. The Icefields Parkway crosses the divide at 2,035 metres above sea level. At this elevation snow­banks remain in sheltered areas throughout the summer. Like many high valleys near timberline, the bottomland near Sunwapta Pass is virtually treeless. 

The Icefield Parkway ends in the picturesque village of Lake Louise. Located in the Bow Valley, the village provides shopping, accommodation, meals, automotive services and tourist information. Four km (2.5 mi) above the village is the lake itself, dominated by the majestic Victoria Glacier. Near Lake Louise, visit emerald-coloured Moraine Lake. Surrounded by a panorama of 10 glaciated summits, the Wenkchemna Peaks, Moraine Lake is found at the base of the Continental Divide, the geographic point where all waters flow either west to the Pacific Ocean or east to the Atlantic Ocean.  The Moraine Lake road is open from early June to early October.  Exact opening and closing dates are dependent on seasonal conditions.  For most of the winter, the lower 8km section of the road is maintained as a cross-country ski trail.  The road to Lake Louise is open year round.  We suggest you overnight at the Lake Louise Campground, a national park campground operated by Parks Canada.  Advance reservations are essential during July and August - visit http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/voyage-travel/reserve.aspx to make your reservations online.  After settling in to your campsite, we recommend you take an evening trip up to Lake Louise.  At this time of the day, you can sit back and enjoy the scenery without battling the summer crowds.

CanaDream Club attraction partners on today's route:

Brewster Travel Canada  

 

Upper Banff Hot Springs, Banff
Day 15 - Lake Louise to Banff - 63 km/39 mi
Before leaving Lake Louise today, take an early morning trip back up to the lake where, on a fine day, the mountains cast tranquil reflections into the lake.  The early morning is a good time to take pictures and to revel in the quiet solitude around the lake before the arrival of the tour buses.  Afterwards, drive up to the Lake Louise Ski Resort where you can purchase a breakfast and gondola package or a lunch and gondola package, dining in the beautiful Lodge of the Ten Peaks.full details

The summer gondola whisks you up the mountain, providing opportunities for hiking and guided walks and a visit to the wildlife interpretive centre.  Look out for the grizzly bears who make this area their home. Discounted tickets for Breakfast and Gondola or Lunch and Gondola may be purchased in advance through CanaDream Club.

From Lake Louise, take the Bow Valley Parkway and look for the turn-off to Mount Eisenhower.  According to Indian legend, this 2,862 metre turreted peak is the home of the Chinook - a warm, dry winter wind that sweeps out of the Rockies to melt snow in the foothills and prairies. A hiking trail winds for eight kilometres from a warden station to Tower and Rockbound lakes, hidden in a hanging valley behind Mount Eisen­hower. Another trail follows a fire road to a lookout high on the mountain's flank.

Next stop along the road is Johnston Canyon, which was carved out of the soft underlying rock by Johnston Creek. Among the canyon's wildlife is the dipper or water ouzel, a bird which lives at the very edge of turbulent mountain streams. In feeding, the dipper will wade, swim, dive, and even walk underwater on the stream bed. In a meadow just beyond the canyon are a group of seven springs called the Ink Pots. Two of them are noted for their murky, blue-green color - a hue created by suspended sediments. To the west, open meadows mark the site of Silver City, a mining boom town. During its heyday (1883-85), the town boasted a population of 2,000, four general stores and several hotels. The mines failed to meet expectations however, and a disputed claim helped to speed the town's demise.

Proceeding up the highway you will find a nine-kilometre drive that skirts the shores of the three Vermilion Lakes. The surrounding wetland, a marshy area of the Bow River, is rich in plant and animal life. Sedges, rushes and swamp horsetail provide a habitat for beaver and muskrat. On slightly drier ground grow willows, black currants and bracted honeysuckle. Beyond the wetland are groves of white spruce sprinkled with poplars. Ringing the lakes are Sulphur Mountain, Mount Rundle and the peaks of the Sundance Range.

You will soon enter the town of Banff, which is a year-round recreation center for tourists, horseback riders, skiers, hikers and mountain climbers. Banff is the headquarters for the Banff National Park, which is the first and most famous of Canada's national parks, with an incomparable com­bination of towering peaks and high mead­ows, emerald lakes and keen mountain air. These factors, and the sulphur hot springs, have made Banff National Park one of North America’s most spectacular scenic and rec­reation areas. It was here in the winter of 1883 that railway workmen no­ticed wisps of steam rising from a fissure on the south side of the Bow Valley.

A can­dle lowered down the hole on a string revealed a cavern with a pool of steaming, sulphurous water. The upshot, in June 1887, was an Act of the Canadian Parliament designating 673 square kilometres around the springs as "Rocky Mountains Park". Be sure to check out Cave & Basin Hot Springsthe birthplace of Banff National Park. In the early days, bathers descended into the cave by means of a ladder through a hole in the cavern ceiling. Since then a tunnel has been burrowed into the chamber so that visitors can view the historic site. Inside the grotto, jagged rock walls arch above steaming Cave Pool, fed by sulphur springs flowing at 675 litres a minute.

One of Banff's most popular attractions is the Banff Gondola, operated by Brewster Travel Canada.  Gondolas rise 690 metres to the summit ridge (2,348 metres) and a sweeping panorama of mountains and valleys. Discounted tickets are available to CanaDream guests by pre-purchasing these direct from CanaDream.

The Banff Hot Springs, rich in minerals, is an outdoor hot spring which is open year round.  Operated by Canadian Rockies Hot Springs, this pool, with a temperature of between 37 and 40C, is great for relieving tired at aching muscles at any time of the year. Show your CanaDream key tag to receive a discount here.

Other places of interest in Banff include:                  

Archives of the Canadian Rockies - These archives house a community library and research center for the history of the region.

Banff Natural History Museum - Specimens of wildlife native to Banff National Park are displayed here.

Luxton Museum - Indian lore and customs are shown in dioramas at the museum, which is built to resemble a 19th-century fur-trade post. 

There are no private RV Parks in Banff National Park.  Parks Canada operates a number of campgrounds in and around Banff, most of which do not have power hookups.  If you need a campground with power hook-up, you will need to make advance reservations  for the Tunnel Mountain Campground. 

 CanaDream Club attraction partners on today's route:  

Lake Louise Sightseeing Lift and Gondola
Banff Gondola
Banff Hot Springs

 

Big Horn Sheep in Banff National Park
Day 16 - Full Day in Banff
You may not have thought of finding so much art in a place like Banff. This town offers you a multitude of artistic activities. The Banff Summer Arts Festival has many artists performing in a variety of ways from June to August.  Try a world class opera production, different musical ensembles or theatre, an art walk, exhibitions or literary reading. full details

Whatever your taste, there is something for everyone throughout the Festival.

The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies holds a very large collection of mountain art by a wide variety of artists who either lived in the Park or spent time working in the area.

As for physical activity, Banff offers a great deal to keep you occupied. You can hike east along the Bow River valley to the hoodoos (eroded rock formations by the river’s edge), hike up Sulphur Mountain and take the gondola down, then take a soothing dip in the Banff Hot Springs at the base of Sulphur Mountain. Or you could go to the west side of town and rent a canoe and paddle northwest along the creek to the Vermillion Lakes. You may have to portage around a beaver dam or two or even spot some beavers at work maintaining their homes, but the view of Mount Rundle (the jagged, sloping mountain you see from Vermillion Lakes when you look straight west) is wonderful, especially when you see it early on a clear morning or later in the evening. For the first few hours of the morning, you would see the sun rise over the mountain, turning its warm, sandy brown tones to a soft pink.  The same is true at dusk. Sunset comes very quickly in the mountains, so once the mountain turns pink, it is time to head back to the dock.

An interesting area to explore is the old, abandoned town site of Bankhead, just north of the Trans Canada Highway turnoff. on the road lading to Lake Minnewanka. Look for an unmarked parking lot on the right just after the Two Jack Lake Camping Ground access. This was a model town built and developed by the Canadian Pacific Railway about 100 years ago to support a coal-mining endeavour that the Railway owned. Bankhead was the envy of all the towns in the area, because the residents enjoyed indoor plumbing and electric lighting in their homes and on the streets. They built up sports teams and the residents themselves provided the entertainment in local musical performances. The town lasted the 20 years that the mine was profitable. Then, when the use of coal declined, the CPR closed the mine and moved the town buildings to Banff, Canmore and Calgary. There are still some building foundations left and some interesting displays.

There is also a town beneath Lake Minnewanka that used to support an earlier coal mine. The town’s name was Anthracite, an indication of the type of coal they hoped to find. However, the mine was a failure and the residents had packed up and moved out by 1904. Sometime after the residents moved away, the area was flooded to produce hydro-electric power. There had been a lake there before, although not as wide.  Brewster Travel Canada offers cruises during the summer months on Lake Minnewanka.  Tickets can be pre-purchased from CanaDream at a discounted cost.

If you're looking for something to do this evening, a stroll through Banff's downtown area is a good idea as the shops are open late.

CanaDream Club attraction partners on today's itinerary are:

Banff Lake Cruise
 
Banff Hot Springs

Calgary in Autumn
Day 17 - Banff to Calgary - 129 km/80 mi
The journey to Calgary from Banff is a short one so take your time to explore along the way.  After leaving Banff National Park, continue east on the Trans Canada Highway and look for the turn-off down to Kananaskis (Highway 40 south).  Kananaskis has something to satisfy almost every outdoor interest.full details

In addition to recreation, the land also mixes livestock, forestry, and petroleum production to show that such activities can co-exist with provincial parks, wildlife sanctuaries, recreation facilities and natural areas.

Stop at Barrier Lake, right inside the park entrance.  This has great views of the park and is a starting point for kayakers and canoeists on the Kananaskis River.  Visit Kananaskis Village, the focal point of Kananaskis Country, which is overlooked by Mt Allan, the home to the Nakiska Ski Area.  Before reaching Kananaskis Village, stop at Ribbon Creek for a picnic or to hike one of the numerous trails which start here.  If you feel like taking a little more time in this area and want to camp a night here, we suggest you check out CanaDream Club campground partner, Sundance Lodges - open from May long weekend to mid September.  If you're into horse riding, Boundary Ranch is close by - we recommend their two-hour Ridge Ride.  Book through CanaDream to receive a discounted rate.

If you're travelling this road between June 15 and December 1st, continue south over the Highwood Pass to Longview.  This pass, just south of Kananaskis Lake, which takes Highway 40 from Peter Lougheed Provincial Park down the slopes of the foothills, has an elevation of 7,233 feet or 2,206 meters and is higher than any of the Highway passes across the Continental Divide.  Stop for a snack or an ice-cream in Longview before continuing north on Highway 22 to Black Diamond where you turn east onto Highway 7 then join Highway 2 to Calgary.

If the Highwood Pass is closed, you will need to backtrack north on Highway 40 to the Trans Canada Highway and take this Highway back to Calgary.

Our recommended campground in Calgary is Calgary West Campground.  Let them know you are a CanaDream guest to receive a discount on your stay.  While in Calgary, we suggest you visit the Calgary Tower, the Zoo (both are open year round) or Heritage Park (open May 12-October 12).  Other places of interest in the city are the AeroSpace Museum, Canada Olympic Park, Fort Calgary, the Glenbow Museum, TELUS World of Science, the Military Museum and Spaceport.  If you're in Calgary during the 10 days of Stampede (usually starts the second Friday in July - check www.calgarystampede.com for dates), plan to stay at least two nights.  The chuck wagon racing and the rodeo are not to be missed!

If you are dropping off your RV in Calgary - this is the end of your Totem Circle tour.  Unless you have booked a late drop-off, your vehicle is due back at our Calgary location between 8.00am and 10.00am.  If you need transport to the airport or to an airport hotel, our friendly staff will be happy to take you.

CanaDream Club partners on today's route:

Sundance Lodges
Boundary Ranch
Calgary West Campground 
Calgary Tower 

 

Waterton National Park with Prince of Wales Hotel on hill
Day 18 - Calgary to Waterton National Park - 263 km/163 mi
Today we leave Calgary behind as we take Highway 2 to High River before heading west to Longview where we join Highway 22 south.   This scenic route passes Chain Lakes Provincial Park and skirts the foothills of the Canadian Rockies before reaching Frank Slide.   full details

Here there is an interpretive centre, open year round, which highlights the rich history of the Crowsnest Pass.  Displays throughout the centre feature the 1903 Frank Slide (rockslide-avalanche), the Canadian Pacific Railway, European settlement, early underground coal mining and community life. 

Turn east at the junction of Highways 22 and 3 to Pincher Creek, the wind energy capital of Canada.  Here the landscape is dotted with more than 100 wind turbines which generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 35,000 homes. 

From Pincher Creek it's only a short drive south into Waterton National Park.  This is an uncrowded natural paradise, where people, wildlife and nature peacefully co-exist all year long.

Reservations may be made using the Parks Canada Campground Reservation Service for the Townsite Campground.  Campsites at the Crandell and Belly River Campgrounds are available only on a first--come, first-serve basis.  During peak season (July-August), these campgrounds tend to fill quickly and are usually full for the night by early afternoon.

 

Red Rock Canyon, Waterton National Park
Day 19 - In Waterton National Park
Waterton Lakes National Park has a variety of activities you can enjoy year round!  There are 255 km (191 mi) of trails in the Park, ranging in difficulty from short strolls to steep treks of several days duration.  Hiking is the best way to experience Waterton - visit Parks Canada for trail information. full details

Take a trip up to Red Rock Canyon - a 16 kilometer drive from Waterton Village, where the layers of red and green coloured minerals offer a brilliant contrast to each other and the lush surroundings.  The road to the Canyon abounds with colourful roadside wildflowers and views of hanging valleys and jagged mountain peaks.

For a spectacular view over Waterton Village and the lake, there's a short, moderately strenuous hike to the overlook at the top of Bear's Hump - 2.8km round trip with an elevation gain of 225m. Avoid the summer crowds with an early morning start and enjoy the rising sun.

Canoes and kayaks are available for rental at Cameron Lake at the end of the Akamina Parkway or you can walk the short, easy 3km trail along the west shore of this beautiful emerald lake.

Waterton Park offers a huge variety of fishing experiences. You can fish at the most beautiful alpine lakes the Rocky Mountains have to offer. Waterton Lakes is home to a huge variety of animals and birds, giving you the opportunity to experience wildlife in its natural habitat.

The southern tip of Waterton Lake lies in the United States and it's possible to take a cruise from the Waterton docks down to Goat Haunt where you can disembark for 30 minutes then reboard your boat for the return journey to Waterton. Goat Haunt, the northern gateway to Glacier National Park, is a Class B Port of Entry.  You don't need to clear immigration there if you are staying only half an hour but there are popular hikes starting from this point and, if you decide to embark on any of these, you will be required to have your passport with you.

With so much to choose from, you’ll have difficulty deciding how to spend your day.

CanaDream DVC on Going to the Sun Road, Montana
Day 20 - Waterton Park to West Glacier (Going to the Sun Road, Montana) - 146 km/91 mi
If you're travelling between early June and late October, the easiest way to get from Waterton to Glacier National Park, Montana, is through the Chief Mountain border crossing.  This crossing is open from 0700 to 2200 daily.full details

Between November and the end of May, the next closest port of entry to the USA is at Carway, south of Cardston.  Guests travelling on foreign passports (passports issued by countries other than Canada and the USA) may need to complete immigration formalities at the border.  Be aware that there is a restriction on some foodstuffs which may be taken into the USA, particularly fruit.

From the Chief Mountain border crossing, it's a spectacular drive south, through the small town of Babb to St Mary.  St Mary is at the eastern end of the Going to the Sun Road, one of the most amazing highlights of Glacier National Park.   The road is closed for most of the year, generally opening around the end of June and remaining open until the snow forces its closure in mid to late September.  Traffic on this road is restricted to vehicles 21 feet or shorter so travelling this in your RV is not an option.  From 1 July to 31 August, the US National Parks Service operates a free shuttle which will pick up and drop off at many points along the road.  Red Bus Tours also operate over this route from the day the road opens to the day it closes.  Check at the Visitor Centre in St Mary for rates and times.  

To truly appreciate the Going to the Sun Road, you should allow enough time to travel it in each direction.  

After completing the road in both directions, you will be back in St Mary. As you are unable to take your RV across the Going to the Sun Road,  you will need to continue your journey around the perimeter of the park to get to your next over night stop in West Glacier. Allow a couple of hours to get there.

If you're travelling outside of the peak travel months of July and August, we suggest you check to make sure the Going to the Sun road is open before crossing the border into the USA.  If the road isn't open, we suggest you remain in Canada, taking the Crowsnest Pass and Highway 3 to Creston.  At Creston take Highway 3A through the Creston Valley and up the eastern shores of Kootenay Lake and spend a day exploring the area.

Kootenay Lake to Balfour Ferry
Day 21 - West Glacier to Nelson, BC (via Bonners Ferry, Idaho, the Kootenay Lake ferry and Balfour) - 436 km/271 mi
The Kootenai (in the US) and Kootenay Rockies (in Canada) provide some spectacular mountain scenery today as you drive west on Highway 2 through Kalispell and Libby to Moyie Springs.  Just east of Moyie Springs is the junction of US Highways 2 and 95 where you head north towards the border crossing at Porthill, Idaho.full details

This border crossing is open year round between 7.00am and 11.00pm.  US Highway 1 becomes Canadian Highway 21 at Rykerts, 11km south of Creston, BC.   Nestled in the Creston Valley, between the Selkirk and Purcell Mountains, the attractive town of Creston presides over a broad and fertile river valley where the Kootenay River comes home to Kootenay Lake.  Also known as "The Valley of the Swans", the Creston Valley is a breathtaking combination of snow-capped mountain peaks, waving fields of grain, deep clear lakes, quiet mountain streams and wide-open spaces.  It's an agricultural region, with dairy farms and orchards dotting the surrounding landscape.

At Creston, you have the choice of saving time on your journey by taking Highway 3 west towards Osoyoos or travelling up the east side of the Kootenay Lake on Highway 3A.  If you have the time, we recommend you take the second option.

On this route, beautiful scenery, sandy beaches and panoramic views of the Selkirk and Purcell Mountains are sure to delight both young and old.  Operating between Kootenay Bay and Balfour, the Kootenay Lake Ferry is the longest free ferry ride in the world.  During the summer months, this ferry departs the Kootenay Bay terminal approximately every 50 minutes.  No reservations are necessary - simply join the vehicle queue when you reach the end of the paved highway and wait your turn to board.  Please ensure your propane tanks are off before driving onto the ferry.   Once you reach Balfour on the other side of the lake, it's only a short drive into Nelson, a city acknowledged for its impressive collection of restored heritage buildings from its glory days in a regional silver rush.  The most convenient campground to stay at here is the Nelson City Campground.  Close to the downtown core, this 35 site campground offers full hookups, showers, a sani-dump and picnic tables.  We recommend you book this campground in advance, particularly during the summer months.

SIDE TRIP - After disembarking the ferry at Balfour, you may like to take the road left up to Ainsworth Hot Springs, a few kilometres north of Balfour.  These mineral springs offer an interesting and very different bathing experience. The pool is shaped like a giant horseshoe and you can swim into caves that are dark and very humid. Some people believe this pool is the very best mineral spring in all of British Columbia for rejuvenation after a day of physical activity. Public hours are 10.00 am to 9.30 pm, 365 days a year.  Once finished here, drive south to Nelson.

 

Vineyard in Osoyoos, BC
Day 22 - Nelson to Osoyoos - 262 km/163 mi
Highway 3A continues on to Castlegar where it rejoins Highway 3, passing through Grand Forks and the small towns of Greenwood, Midway and Rock Creek before reaching tonight's destination at Osoyoos.  With a relatively short distance to travel today, there should be ample time to explore points of interest along the way.  full details

Off-route from Highway 3, you may like to take a short diversion along Highway 3B to the 19th century town of Rossland for a tour of the famous Le Roi Gold Mine.  Follow in the footsteps of underground miners who drilled, blasted and hand-mucked the mine's 128km (80 mile) stretch of underground crevasses.  Tours run regularly from May to the end of August with the last tour of the day leaving at 3.30pm.

Back on Highway 3 west, the town of Grand Forks is the fastest growing town in BC's Kootenays.  Here, history buffs will enjoy exploring turn of the century mine sites, the old Phoenix town site and many abandoned rail grades.  

Continuing west you reach Greenwood, now Canada's smallest city.  When it was incorporated in 1897 it was a mining boom town.  Many turn of the century buildings in this picturesque community have been restored, including the Courthouse, Post Office and MacArthur Centre.  Despite its small size, the city is a popular tourist attraction and a great place to explore.

Located in the heart of the Kettle Valley, surrounded by the protective mountains of the Okanagan and Kootenay regions, is the small village of Midway.  Worth visiting here is the Kettle River Museum, located at Mile 0 of the Kettle Valley Railway.  Open daily from May to September, the museum's main attraction is the original Station house, built in 1900 and now housing exhibits commemorating the steam railway era of southern British Columbia.

Between mid May and mid September, you can ride the historic Kettle Valley Steam Railway along ten miles of original track.  Trains generally run Thursdays through Monday and depart from Summerland so be sure to check the Kettle Valley Railway website to confirm the schedule.

From Midway to Osoyoos, Highway 3 skirts the Canada/US border until it reaches Osoyoos in the heart of BC's Desert Wine Country.  Located at the northern most tip of the Sonora Desert, Osoyoos is now a popular vacation destination and one of the largest fruit growing areas in Canada.  Apricots, peaches, pears, plums, cherries, apples and grapes thrive in the hot dry climate, while the surrounding area features desert flora and fauna such as prickly pear cactus, antelope bush and rare species of birds.

Take a dip in Lake Osoyoos, Canada's warmest lake, rent a boat from the Marina, celebrate thousands of years of Okanagan First Nations habitation on desert lands at the Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre or just relax in some of the highest average temperatures in Canada.

If you're a wine lover, a winery tour in this region is a must! 

 

Summerland BC Shoreline
Day 23 - Osoyoos
Spend today exploring the region.  Some suggestions for the day are:
A full day winery tour with Great Estates of the Okanagan.  Your passport to Okanagan wine country includes five of the most exceptional wineries in the Okanagan Valley following a special route through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Okanagan - a route off the beaten path and not marked on the standard wine tour maps.
full details

A drive up Highway 97 into the heart of the Okanagan Valley. 
Heading north from Osoyoos, you'll pass through a true desert.  At Oliver, consider taking a short tour of a local winery.  Learn traditional wine-making techniques and sample your favourite Pinot, Cabernet or Chardonnay in the tasting rooms.

In Summerland, climb aboard the vintage Kettle Valley Steam Railway, which will transport you on a 10 km (6.2 mi) route.  Cruise into the picturesque houseboat haven of the Shuswap Lake area before returning to Osoyoos through Kelowna, Peachland and Penticton.

The Osoyoos Museum.
This museum offers something for everyone.  Exciting exhibits include First National artifacts, a Victorian parlour, an 1892 log building, a sizeable military collection, agricultural equipment, children's toys, sports and recreational items and much more!  The museum is open year round.

Rattle Snake Canyon.
A family friendly amusement park with a western mining theme, Rattle Snake Canyon offers a variety of quality entertainment including an 18 hole mini-golf course, a Go-Kart track, an ice-cream parlour, bumper boats and much more.

CanaDream Club partners on today's itinerary are:

Desert Gem RV & Resort     

Totem Pole in Hope BC
Day 24 - Osoyoos to Vancouver - 395 km/247 mi
From Osoyoos, Highway 3 takes a south-west direction towards the US border before it takes a sharp turn again north to Keremeos.  The Keremeos area boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in North America.  Ranging from Cottonwood groves along the river to well-kept orchards, to true desert landscapes to incredible alpine peaks with azure lakes and mountain meadows, the South Similkameen Valley is a photographer's delight.full details

This is the best place in British Columbia to buy fruit and vegetables from the many fruit stands lining the routes in and out of town or directly from the farm. 

Located just 30 minutes west from Keremeos is Cathedral Lakes Provincial Park, with its amazing towering mountain tops and their waterfall veils.  Open from June to September, this wilderness park is definitely for the more adventurous.  The focal points in the park are the Cathedral Lakes, which look like turquoise jewels in a granite setting.  Each of the close-knit group of lakes has a unique charm.  If you plan to hike in this park, be aware that no water is available other than from lakes and streams.

If you decided to spend the day hiking in Cathedral Lakes Provincial Park, you may like to add a day to your journey and spend the night in Hedley.   Here, the ruins of two mineheads, the Nickel Place and Mascot, are perched on Nickel Plate Mountain overlooking the town.  For almost half a century, until they closed in 1955, the mines produced almost $1 million worth of gold, silver, copper and arsenic each year.  The path of an aerial tramway, which cut through the forest and carried the ore to a mill at the base of the mountain, can still be seen. 

Nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains at the junction of the Tulameen and Similkameen rivers is Princeton, a town rich in history and filled with tales from the early days and adventures of the gold rush era.  Take a step back in time as you visit the Princeton Museum and ponder over many of their displays.  Enjoy the Museum's collection of fossils, petrified wood, minerals and rocks that is one the most extensive in the interior of British Columbia.

The next leg of your trip will take you through mountainous terrain to Manning Provincial Park.  There are four campgrounds within the park, each providing water, toilets and firewood.  Numerous hiking trails lead to the park's scenic features as well as designated trails for horses and mountain bikes.

Situated on a wide sweeping curve of the mighty Fraser River, the town of Hope is truly the Chainsaw Carving Capital of Canada, with over two dozen large wooden sculptures scattered throughout the downtown core.  These carvings, which can be viewed on the Hope Arts and Carving Walk, feature local wildlife, including eagles, bears, mountain sheep and cougars.   Just east of Hope on Highway 3 is an awe-inspiring testament to nature's power. In January 1965, most of an entire mountain called Johnson's Peak came sliding down into the valley, burying the highway and marking the valley forever.  Now known as the Hope Slide, the remaining half of Johnson's Peak is an irresistible draw.

Join the Trans Canada Highway (Highway 1) as you leave Hope and travel through the rich farm country of the Fraser Valley.  Continuing along Highway 1, the farm country begins to disappear gradually as you approach the cities that make up the Greater Vancouver region. There are a number of options for campgrounds tonight with four of these being within an hour's drive of our Vancouver location.  Discounted rates are offered to CanaDream guests.

CanaDream Club Campground partners on today's route:

Camperland RV Resort (Holiday Trails) - Bridal Falls, BC
Coquihalla Campground (Holiday Trails) - Hope, BC
Eagle Wind RV Park - Aldergrove, BC
Burnaby Cariboo RV Park - Burnaby, BC
Peace Arch RV Park -  Surrey, BC
Pacific Border RV Park - Surrey, BC

Vancouver City from False Creek
Day 25 - Vancouver
Unless you have a pre-arranged late drop-off today, your RV is due back at CanaDream between 08:00 and 10:00.  Directions to our station are in the CanaDream Operations Manual supplied with your vehicle.   full details

If you require transport to the airport or an airport hotel, we will be happy to take you. We look forward to welcoming you back as our Guest on another occasion. CanaDream has locations across Canada from which you can set out to explore the incredible beauty and culture of this vast country.  If you need inspiration and ideas for touring, check out the Suggested Tours section of our website.  It's been a pleasure having you as our Guest.

 




CanaDream