British Columbia, the Canadian Pacific Northwest, is home to sights that are simultaneously stark, dramatic, and full of life.

Experience the pristine wilderness of perhaps the purest and most sustained wildernesses left in North America. Take two weeks and explore it for yourself. Here is a guide to the region and all the locations that are absolutely worth exploring.

Day 1: Vancouver

After arriving in Vancouver and picking up your rental it's time to enjoy the city a bit before leaving on your road trip. Why not take a trip down to “Gastown” as the old British sailors used to call it. Enjoy the pubs and bars in the area before it's time to get started early the next morning.


Day 2: Victoria

Victoria city on Vancouver Island is a brief but scenic ferry ride from Vancouver. The trip itself is stunning with the beauty of the Strait of Wanda Fuca before you as you arrive in Victoria. Victoria is a scenic city that maintains much of its old aesthetic. Explore the Inner Harbor with its old Victorian buildings or perhaps take a stroll down to the Fisherman’s Wharf and perhaps you’ll see one of the local seals trying to coerce some food from a visitor.

  • Travel Distance - 115km, 2 hours and 54 minutes from Vancouver

Day 3: Vancouver Island

This will be a three-legged day trip. Wake up early so you can enjoy your morning at Port Renfrew, your afternoon at Lake Cowichan, and your evening in Duncan.

Road Trip Stop 1: Port Renfrew

After getting some food, choose either Botanical Beach Provincial Park or Avatar Grove and spend your morning in exploration.

  • Travel Distance - 111km, 1 hour and 54 minutes from Victoria

Road Trip Stop 2: Lake Cowichan

Grab some lunch by the Lake and then spend some time in the local parks. There are hikes to do in this area, but you’ll have the best time simply enjoying the area around the Lake.

  • Travel Distance - 62.4km, 1 hour 5 minutes from Port Renfrew

Road Trip Stop 3: Duncan

Depending on when you arrive you may be able to visit Averill Creek Vineyard or Emandare Vineyard & Guesthouse. Either way, you can enjoy this relaxing town and make sure and grab something delicious to eat while you’re here.

Day 4: Salt Spring

You may choose to simply park your car and take the ferry to Saltspring so you can enjoy the island on foot, making use of the public busses. The ferry ride to Salt Spring itself is full of sights. Green hills rise out of perfectly clear and cold water. The island of Salt Spring has a couple of little scenic country towns you can walk around and find some food. There are also some hikes in the area worth checking out.

  • Travel Distance - 52.8 km, 1 hour 25 minutes from Victoria

Day 5: Port Hardy

On the northern point of Victoria island is Port Hardy. The nature here is stunning and you should absolutely get out and enjoy it. Rent a kayak and explore the many islands of Gods Pocket Marine Provincial Park. You could also explore Beaver Harbour Park on foot to see the stunning terrain of the Store’s Beach.

  • Travel Distance - 498km, 5 hours 32 minutes from Victoria
  • Beaver Harbour Park - 5520 Beaver Harbour Rd, Port Hardy, BC V0N 2P0, Canada

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Day 6: Travel to Bella Coola

The Ferry from Port Hardy to Bella Coola will take some time, so this will mostly be a travel day. But as travel days go by, you will be hard-pressed to find one more scenic. Kick back and enjoy the sights of this pocket of natural beauty. When you reach Bella Cool, you will most likely want to save the major adventures for the next day. Kick back a little and enjoy something delicious.

Day 7: Bella Coola

With a whole day in Bella Coola, it's time for some adventure. Clayton Falls Recreation Site is a great place to spend the hours of your day exploring. Perhaps you don’t think you’ve spent enough time on a boat and want some more, Great Bear Sailing Adventures is a great choice as well.

Day 8: Williams Lake

The drive to Williams Lake will be a large part of the day's adventure. You will be cutting through the mountains along Route 20, then you will drive through a beautiful landscape dotted with lakes until you finally reach Williams Lake. Its recommended to explore the Scout Island Nature Center, or travel a bit further and visit the Williams Lake River Valley Trail.

  • Travel Distance - 453km, 6 hours 18 minutes from Bella Coola
  • Williams Lake River Valley Trail - River Valley Trail, Williams Lake, BC V0L 1T0, Canada

Day 9: Mount Robson Provincial Park

Mount Robson Provincial Park has three campsites and various hikes you can spend a couple of hours on. The campsites are Meadows, Rivers, and Lucerne. If you are not keen on camping outdoors then there are also a few lodges in the area to check out too.

  • Travel Distance - 450km, 5 hours 20 minutes from Williams Lake
  • Trail Map

Day 10: Banff

Banff National Park spans the mountains that separate BC from Alberta. The wilderness here is pristine and the mountains are both stark and stunning. Here you can take the Banff Gondola for easy access to amazing sights. Perhaps a trip to the Sunshine Meadows or Bow Falls is more of what you are looking for.

  • Travel Distance - 311km, 3 hours 47 minutes from Mount Robinson Provincial Park
  • Banff Gondola - 100 Mountain Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1B2, Canada
  • Trail Map

Day 11: Kelowna

Kelowna is much more than a scenic lakeside town to take a rest at while traversing British Columbia. Take some time to explore Myra Canyon Park. The raised wooden pathway offers amazing vistas of the surrounding landscape. Knox Mountain Park is a fairly easy hike to consider as well. It offers a vantage point to look over the town and the lake.

  • Travel Distance - 583km, 7 hours 23 minutes from Banff
  • Myra Canyon Park - 4429 June Springs Rd, Kelowna, BC V1W 4C8, Canada

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Day 12: Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

This is a long driving day, but with proximity to Whistler and an early enough start, there will still be plenty to do and enjoy at Joffre Lake. You can enjoy the hikes here, they are intermediate in difficulty so at least make sure you have the appropriate attire. But again, the landscape is stunning here and needs to be experienced.

  • Travel Distance - 395km, 4 hours 55 minutes from Kelowna
  • Trail Map

Day 13: Whistler

Whistler is far more than just a famous ski mountain. It is home to many nonwinter activities as well. You can explore the Blackcomb on a mountain bike, or travel a short distance away to Lost Lake and enjoy a casual day and perhaps a picnic. For those looking for some more hiking, The Whistler Train Wreck Trail is a fun choice.

  • Travel Distance - 61.6km, 1 hour 2 minutes from Joffre Lakes Provincial Park
  • Whistler Train Wreck Trail - Whistler Quarry Rd, Whistler, BC V0N 1B1, Canada

Day 14: Back to Vancouver

  • Travel Distance - 121km, 1 hour 33 minutes from Whistler
  • Total Driving Distance - 3,505.5km
  • Total Driving Time - 54 hours 28 minutes

Next: Vancouver To Calgary: One-Week Road Trip Guide