Middle Earth ain’t got nothing on BC. As the westernmost province of Canada, BC is home to ancient evergreen forests, pure air, and plentiful lakes and rivers. For those with wanderlust, an adventure into the wild is never far away when you live here. And it seems the rest of the world agrees. In 2016, over 5 million visitors came to BC, an increase of 12% compared to last year. For those who pursue the off-beaten path, there are natural sights to be one with Mother Earth.
Here are 10 magical destinations to see only in BC.
Near Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island are unique spherical tree houses suspended in the forest. Available all year-round, these are the world’s first spherical tree house, claims creator Tom Chudleigh. Inspired to create these magical spheres from a dream, there are three handcrafted spheres that continue to improve. There is the classic Eve sphere made for a cozy couple. There is also the vibrant Melody sphere for an artist looking for an unconventional studio space. If you’re interested in more micro cabins and tiny houses in BC, check out our full list here.
Nestled in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Yoho National Park is named after the Cree term for awe and wonder. One such dazzling sight is the Emerald Lake. Largest of all of Yoho’s 61 bodies of water, it is a natural splendour. Although it is frozen from Nov. to Jun., its brilliant waters flash turquoise as soon as the snow melts. Lake O’Hara is a hidden gem that’s not as easy to reach but similarly delightful.
Haida Gwaii, formerly known as Queen Charlotte Islands, is a Place of Wonder. According to Haida lore, this is where time began. The landscapes here are rich and dramatic on land and water with remote beach stretches to an abundance of wildlife like humpback whales. UNESCO declared a village site located in the southernmost part of Anthony Island a World Heritage Site.
Great Bear Rainforest is sometimes referred to as the Amazon of the North. Nearly the size of Ireland with a human population of less than 17,000, this is 21 million acres of undisturbed coastal temperate rain forest. It’s also the only place in the world where you can see the Spirit Bear, a sub-species of the black bear with white fur.
Dubbed a paradise for boaters and sea kayakers, it’s not hard to see why when Desolation Sound offers beautiful views of the Coast Mountains, plenty of oysters, prawns and salmon, as well as some of the warmest salt water north of Mexico to be had ideally in May or September.
This famous provincial park located on the Alaska Highway is named after the spectacular Muncho Lake. Muncho is an aboriginal word that comes from the Kaska Dena people meaning “big water.” Against a backdrop of mountains, Muncho Lake is 12 kilometres of deep aqua-coloured waters. A boat trip and hike are great activities to take advantage of the views.
MacMillan Provincial Park on Vancouver Island is known for Cathedral Grove, a network of walking trails under ancient Douglas Firs, some of which are over 800 years old. These natural pillars provide a majestic canopy for travellers. This old-growth forest is a 157 hectare stand that draws in tourists around the globe.
Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park is known for an undeveloped natural hot spring called Lussier. The soothing hot waters can run temperatures as high as up to 43 degrees Celsius. As a wildland hot springs, this is a new experience for well-seasoned travellers to Harrison Hot Springs. If you’re interested in hot springs of BC, here is our complete rejuvenating list.
Near Harrison Hot Springs is a short but divine walk among the cedar trees. A local artist was inspired to decorate the trees with masks after coming across a dog walker who observed the trail seemed full of mysterious spirits. Even without the masks, Spirit Trail remains a woodland fantasy with green moss, marshland and fallen logs on this haunting walk. See more pictures of the trail here.
Between Sicamous and Revelstoke is the Enchanted Forest. With over 350 handcrafted fairy tale figurines and the tallest tree house in BC, this forest will fulfil all your Old World fancies. Castles and dungeons make the Enchanted Forest a destination for children and those young at heart.
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