Western Canada: Staff favourites
Explore Lower Sunwapta Falls in Jasper National Park. It’s a short hike (2.6 km return) that is less travelled with stunning waterfall views. Make a day out of it and go for a bike ride to Big Bend (12.6 km return) to enjoy riverside and mountain views.
When the salmon are running up the small creek in the back end of Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, it is a pretty amazing place to be. There are bears, eagles and seals enjoying the huge schools of salmon milling about in the creek mouth and you can watch the salmon work their way up the small “falls” right from your boat.
This house post on Benson Island in the Broken Group Islands of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is worth a visit. It’s located at Ts’ishaa; a great place to learn about Tseshaht cultural history.
Spring in the Garry Oak Learning Meadow at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites is signalled by a white burst of fawn lilies in early March, soon joined by splashes of sea blush, buttercups, purple camas and chocolate lilies. A rare ecosystem and delicate landscape once cultivated by the Lekwungen people, who grew camas lilies for their edible bulbs.
My favourite ‘hidden gem’ at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site is the view from our south harbour viewing deck. You can see all kinds of working fishing boats in Steveston Harbour, which is the largest commercial fishing harbour in Canada!
Children love climbing the ladder into the loft of the playhouse at Fort Langley National Historic Site and peeking out. The walls of the playhouse are a model of post-on-sill construction, and kids and parents can build and dismantle the walls, like a giant lego house.
My hidden gem is the lower boardwalk at Cave and Basin National Historic Site in winter. Around flowing warm springs frosty vegetation creates a winter wonderland. In silence, you can hear the sounds of running water flowing into the marsh.
If you are a first time visitor to the site, the playfort at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site is a lot of fun. Games for the kids, the David Thompson puppet show, a miniature example of a fur trade fort… this site engages the whole family!
Take a walk at Bar U Ranch National Historic Site along our viewpoint trail to the north to discover panoramic scenes of the Rocky Mountains, forgotten ranch buildings and spot the herd of cattle that still call the Bar U home. Wildlife and native plants abound along Pekisko Creek to the east of our Chuckwagon camp. Discover deer, hawks, eagles or you might happen across a cowboy proposing to his sweetheart. It’s happened before!
Located just past the visitor kiosk at the bottom of the parkway in Mount Revelstoke National Park, you will find an enchanting world full of beautiful cedar hemlock forests, thick moss carpets and hanging lichen. This little known wonder is especially beautiful in the spring and fall when the creeks are flowing.