Just about everywhere you go in British Columbia you’ll find good hiking opportunities, from short, easy walks in city and regional parks to long, strenuous hikes in wilderness parks.
The mountains are great places to hike. Short trails lead to waterfalls, lakes, rock formations, and viewpoints, and longer trails wander high into alpine meadows tangled with wildflowers, past turquoise lakes, and up to snow-dusted peaks providing breathtaking views. Rustic huts are provided at regular intervals along wilderness trails. Perhaps the best known of British Columbia’s hikes lies not in the Rockies but along the wild and remote west shore of Vancouver Island; backpackers return time and again to the West Coast Trail, an unforgettable 77-kilometer (48-mile) trek through Pacific Rim National Park.
To get the most out of a hiking trip, peruse the hiking section of any major bookstore—many books have been written on BC hiking trails. The Don’t Waste Your Time series (www.hikingcamping.com) covers interior regions while the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide (www.summerthought.com) is the book of choice for Kootenay and Yoho National Parks. Before setting off on a longer hike, study the trail guides and a topographical map of the area. Leave details of your intended route and itinerary with a relative or friend. And try to travel in groups of at least two in the backcountry.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition