You really need more than two days to take in even the highlights of B.C.’s national parks, but here’s how to make the most of a short trip through the mountains, stopping in Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, and Yoho National Parks.

Get an early start with a drive up Mount Revelstoke’s Meadows in the Sky Parkway. The winding road that climbs to an elevation of more than 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) opens at 8am daily in summer. From the parking area, catch the free shuttle to the summit, where you can hike one of the loop trails to capture the views across the mountains.

Historic fire watch tower at the summit of Mount Revelstoke.

Historic fire watch tower at the summit of Mount Revelstoke. Photo © chbaum/123rf.

Head down the Parkway and stop in Revelstoke at the Revelstoke Railway Museum to learn about the railroad’s importance in the development of this mountain region. After a quick lunch at La Baguette, start heading east along Highway 1.

Stretch your legs with a walk on the Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk Trail or the Giant Cedars Boardwalk Trail, short walkways that highlight different local ecosystems.

Continue east into Glacier National Park, enjoying the vistas of the mountains. Stop into the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre to explore the exhibits and watch one of the informative films about avalanche control, bear safety, or other eco-topics.

Your destination for dinner is the Restaurant at Heather Mountain Lodge, where the chef uses lots of wild ingredients in the creative mountain fare. Remember if you’re booking a dinner reservation that you’ve crossed into a new time zone—it’s an hour later here than the B.C. coast. Spend the night at the lodge or continue into Golden for more lodging options.

In the morning, if you’re up for an adventure, go rafting on the Kicking Horse River or take a more gentle canoe or kayak excursion at Columbia Wetlands Adventures.

Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park.

Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park. Photo © Harry Beugelink/123rf.

Back in the car, drive east into Yoho National Park. If you have time, hike to Wapta Falls near the park’s western entrance; it’s the largest waterfall along the Kicking Horse River. Closer to the center of the park, stop to see the unusual Natural Bridge en route to gorgeous Emerald Lake. Hike the trail that loops around the lake, rent a canoe for a leisurely paddle, and take lots of photos.

Have dinner and stay in Yoho at one of the lodges: Emerald Lake Lodge, Cathedral Mountain Lodge, or in the tiny town of Field, Truffle Pigs.

In the morning, try to take at least one more hike, perhaps to Takakkaw Falls or, if you’ve booked ahead, to Lake O’Hara. Then relax, knowing that you’ve seen the highlights of three of British Columbia’s spectacular mountain national parks.

Map of Yoho National Park, BC

Yoho National Park


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Vancouver and Canadian Rockies Road Trip.