West Coast Trail
Credit: Parks Canada/Scott Munn

Have you taken advantage of Parks Canada's Discovery Pass this year?

To celebrate Canada's 150th—the federal agency is offering FREE admission to all national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas throughout 2017. (Plus, free seasonal lockage too, on national historic waterways.)

Let's take a look at some of the BEST ways to experience our parks and historic sites—starting in the West with British Columbia's amazing Parks Canada sites:

1. A Softer West Coast Trail

The West Coast Trail, in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, just got a little shorter. Parks Canada added a new third entrance to the trail, midway at Nitinat, cutting the trip to two or three days without taking away any of the highlights. Make your West Coast Trail trek an even cushier experience by staying in a cozy safari tent at Tsuquadra Point. The Ditidaht First Nation stocks the oceanside canvas cabins with a wood-burning stove, cots, tables and chairs. westcoasttrail.com

2. Glacier View

Hike the Glacier Crest Trail, in Glacier National Park, for an amazing view of Asulkan Glacier and expansive views into the Asulkan Brook Valley. 

3. Killer Viewpoint

Strong tidal currents at Boiling Reef in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve help attract food for killer whales, seals and sea lions.

4. Ride Revy

Revelstoke is building itself into the cycling destination in a province full of them. There are several mountain bike trail networks and long alpine rides, including the 26-kilometre Meadows in the Sky Parkway, which climbs 16 switchbacks to the wildflower-filled alpine meadows in Revelstoke National Park, and the park’s newest attraction, the Beaver Lodge Kids Bike Park.

5. Unknown Yoho beds

Stay in comfort in the Yoho National Park backcountry at Twin Falls Tea House, a day’s hike from Takakkaw Falls. Book one of the three rooms in July and August as a base for some of the greatest day-hikes in the mountain parks. twinfallschalet.ca

6. Surf Long Beach

Ask any surfer, there is no more addictive feeling in outdoor sports than flying down the face of a green wave—and the gently sloping sand of Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve makes it one of the best places to learn the sport.

7. Three Ways to Visit the Fossils

The Burgess Shale Fossils, in Yoho and Kootenay national parks, are the best visual indicators of the hard-to-fathom fact that the craggy, snow-covered
Canadian Rockies were once the floor of a warm sea. Three fossil beds are open to the public but only on guided hikes. Reserve ahead of time to ensure your place on the all-day interpretive hikes.

  • Yoho’s Walcott Quarry is the oldest find, set high above the aptly named Emerald Lake.
  • Yoho’s Mount Stephen is across the valley above the town of Field. 
  • The newest quarry of marine invertebrate fossils is near Stanley Glacier, in Kootenay National Park. 

8. Oldest Totems

Some of the oldest standing totem poles in Canada are in Gitwangak. Take in the poles at the village site off Highway 37 in northern BC, after hiking around Gitwangak Battle Hill National Historic Site—once a strategic fortress and village site, now an interpretive hike along the Kitwanga River. 

9. Comfort Coming to Bennett

Most hikers toiling over the Chilkoot Trail in the tracks of the Klondike Gold Rush finish at Bennett. The trail’s only standing building, a church, is all that remains of the boomtown where Gold Rush miners switched from foot to river. However, in the next year the campground will become much more. Plans call for deluxe canvas tent accommodation, showers, catered meals, interpretive tours of the old townsite and First Nations cultural experiences.

Research these sites at: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/index.


Looking For More Action?

These 9 experiences are just the start.

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