British Columbia is home to thousands of trails of varying degrees of difficulty. While the list of the best hikes is always going to be subective, I can guaruntee that if you check out these three classic and scenic British Columbia routes, you won't be dissapointed.
The Iceline Trail
Yoho National Park (Kootenay-Rockies)
Length: 18 or 21 km
This may just be British Columbia’s most picturesque Rocky Mountain hike. With two lengthy circuits (Little Yoho, 18 km and Celeste Lake, 21 km; trailheads located four kilometres east of Field, BC) and offering nearly 700 metres of elevation gain, day-hikers wishing to tackle this route should be in stout physical condition. So-named as the path follows the lower edge of a series of glaciers, expect scree slopes, babbling mountain streams, glaciers, snow fields, the occasional meltwater lake and tear-inducing Rocky Mountain environs throughout. The hike culminates with an unobstructed photo-op at 380-metre-tall Takakkaw Falls. If you’d like to take more time to ponder the environment in quiet contemplation, you can overnight on this trail at the Little Yoho Campground, about 10 km into the trail, or at the Stanley Mitchell ACC Hut (reservations required) at about 11 km from the trailhead.
Best For: Those searching for classic Rocky Mountain alpine environs; waterfall hunters.
Trophy Mountain Alpine Meadows
Wells Gray Provincial Park (Cariboo-Chilcotin Coast)
Length: 12 km
Sprawling Wells Gray Provincial Park is one of BC’s Thompson Region gems — offering thick evergreen forest, azure lakes (including Murtle, the world’s largest canoe-only lake), robust Helmcken Falls and hikes galore. The Trophy Mountain area, a 6,900-hectare portion of the park, is accessed via Bear Creek Correctional Centre Road (gravel), north of the town of Clearwater. Within an hour of setting out, you’ll be in flowery sub-alpine meadow, followed by alpine spruce and fir trees and even more meadow as you meander to Sheila Lake. A light scramble from there leads you to the broad views of Skyline Ridge, about three hours after you started. Enjoy the mountain air and surrounding 2,500-plus-metre peaks before retracing your path to your car. In fall, weather patterns change quickly; bring layers of clothing and emergency supplies.
Best For: Day-hikers looking for breathtaking alpine vistas and (near) instant gratification.
Buckley Lake to Mowdade Lake
Mount Edziza Provincial Park (Northern BC)
Length: 75 km
This route through 270,000-hectare Mount Edziza Provincial Park, in BC’s northwest, is best done mid- to late-summer — local weather starts to get very dodgy by the end of September. Accessed via foot, hoof or, preferably, floatplane from Telegraph Creek (Highway 37), Edziza is characterized by otherworldly, volcanic terrain — lava flows, basalt plateaus, cinder fields, pumice rock and 2,787-metre Mount Edziza, a dormant volcano surrounded by barren, 1,300-year-old cinder cones. This multi-day route — the only marked trek in the park — requires total self-sufficiency; at times, even water is scarce. The pack-in-pack-out, north-to-south Buckley Lake to Mowdade Lake route will take you about seven days.
Best For: Highly experienced trekkers looking for challenging and unique terrain with zero crowds.