Vancouver residents are blessed with close access to some of the most breathtaking places in the country, from turquoise lakes to challenging mountain hikes, to every waterfall and hidden cove in between. If you need a place to turn to when it comes to gathering ideas – within an hour or two of Vancouver or further away – consider this list a great jumping-off point. Here are 8 amazing BC road trips you can take from Vancouver this long weekend.
Wells Gray Park has plenty of natural wonders that make it well worth the trip – and a whopping 500 campsites to choose from, making enjoying it all even easier. From some of the most famous waterfalls in the province (including Helmcken and Dawson Falls) to a range of refreshing mineral pools, extinct volcanoes and lava beds, and glaciers – this park is truly a must-visit.
Of the 500 campsites throughout the park, 164 are vehicle-accessible and 126 are boat-accessible – the latter of which you’ll find at Azure, Clearwater, Mahood, and Murtle Lakes.
Reservations are accepted at Clearwater Lake, Falls Creek and Mahood Lake group campgrounds, although first-come, first-served sites are also available here.
Where: Clearwater, BC
Distance from Vancouver: Five hours and 19 minutes by car
Where: Clearwater, BC
Waterfall lovers, this one’s for you. The Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park is located just east of Chilliwack and includes a spectacular 60-metre-high waterfall. The best part? This gorgeous view is only a 15-minute walk away.
Once you’ve enjoyed the falls, you can check out the 32-acre Minter Gardens. Get some quality bird-watching in, or make use of the Bridal Falls Waterpark if you need a little cool-down. Since Chilliwack is just a hop skip and jump away, you might as well venture off into the Cheam Lake area!
Where: Bridal Falls, BC
Distance from Vancouver: One hour and a half by car
A quintessential day trip spot, Garibaldi Park is definitely one for the books – particularly if you’re up for a more challenging hike to Garibaldi or Wedgemount Lake. Even better? Parkbus has you covered with a direct bus route from downtown Vancouver to the postcard-worthy destination, and each ticket comes with a day pass to over 90 kilometres of established hiking trails!
Where: Near Whistler, BC
Distance from Vancouver: One hour and 24 minutes by car or Parkbus
Located right by the Stawamus Chief in Squamish, these falls are truly breathtaking. It is the third-highest waterfall in the province, with hundreds of metres of rolling cliffs and rocks. The first viewing area is just a short walk away from the parking lot, but this is also a launch point for some of the region’s most challenging hikes.
Where: Squamish Falls Provincial Park, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District
Distance from Vancouver: 51 minutes by car
Located inside Chilliwack Lake Park, Lindeman Lake is accessible via a dog-friendly, “intermediate-level” hike through gorgeous forested trails. Note that the glacial lake remains cold year-round, but its blue-green waters and mountain vistas are well worth the trek.
Where: Near Chilliwack, BC
Distance from Vancouver: Two hours and 11 minutes by car
A lesser-known but worthwhile park to visit is Duffey Lake Park between Pemberton and Lillooet. Established in 1993, the park is centred around the scenic turquoise Duffey Lake, surrounded by the towering Mount Rohr. The park is known for its excellent canoeing, kayaking, and wildlife-viewing options.
While there are no marked trails at this park, backcountry hiking is permitted – just be sure to exercise caution and leave no trace behind!
Where: Duffey Lake Road, BC
Distance from Vancouver: Three hours by car
The closest destination on this list and a popular choice for lake days in the summer, Sasamat Lake offers visitors wide shandy shores to explore. Oh, and an extensive hiking trail network if you want to work up a sweat before taking a dip into its clear waters. All in all, it’s about an hour and a half trip each way if you want to bus, or a one-hour drive to Belcarra Regional Park.
Where: Belcarra Regional Park, BC
Distance from Vancouver: One hour by car
Located along the Sunshine Coast, Porpoise Bay is a local fave among campers and visitors alike, separated by a unique isthmus at Sechelt. Whether you want to lounge on sandy beaches all day long or use the opportunity to explore the Sechelt Inlet, you’ll have plenty to enjoy here.
All in all, there are 72 reservable front-country sites, 84 vehicle-accessible sites, and 10 walk-in sites to choose from.
Where: Sechelt, BC
Distance from Vancouver: Two hours and 15 minutes by car and ferry
And that’s a wrap on some amazing BC road trips you can take from Vancouver this long weekend. Enjoy your trip!