Did you know that BC is home to over 600 provincial parks (and 10,700 vehicle-accessible campsites)? If you’re looking for a great day trip to take from Vancouver this winter, rest assured there are plenty of parks you can explore year-round. So get ready to chase some frozen waterfalls, go snowshoeing, or forest bathe at one of these beautiful provincial parks in BC.
Take a quick walk out past Whistler to see one of the most interesting falls in the area. Nairn Falls are around 60 meters tall and feature two amazing falls. The cool part about these falls is there is no visible connection between the second and third falls. Why? Well, because later in the season the water travels underneath a natural rock wall!
Where: Nairn Falls Provincial Park, Whistler
Goldstream Park boasts majestic 600-year-old trees, powerful waterfalls, vibrant wildflowers, and a river that meets the sea – and that’s just for starters. Hikers can explore an extensive network of trails that cater to all levels of outdoor enthusiasts, from wheelchair-accessible hikes to more challenging adventures along creeks and up past abandoned gold-digging sites.
Where: 16 km northwest of Victoria
Just 15 km south of the small town of Terrace is Hai Lake, which is open year-round to winter hikers and campers, and you’ll definitely want to make the trip out. In the winter months, visitors can snowshoe the South Thunderbird Forest Service Road and the trail to Hai Lake, snow conditions permitting (about 2.5 km each way).
Oh, and if Hai or Herman Lakes are safely frozen over and cleared of snow, visitors can even skate on the ice, or try their hand at ice fishing.
Where: 15 km south of Terrace, BC
In addition to great hiking & camping opportunities year-round, Gibson Marine Park offers visitors the chance to relax in natural warm springs connected by historic trails and sandy beaches.
Where: Alberni-Clayoquot, BC
Spanning a total of 250,000 hectares, Strathcona Park offers nature enthusiasts and adventurers plenty of rugged mountains, ancient forests, alpine meadows, and crystal-clear lakes to explore. Hikers can backpack through an extensive network of trails along riverside paths, or challenge themselves at summit ascents, like Golden Hinde. The latter offers the most daring explorers stunning panoramic views from its summit.
Where: Westmin Road, Comox-Strathcona D, BC
It’s no secret that Mount Seymour (Ch’ich eliwxih) is one of the most popular ski and snowboarding destinations near Vancouver, situated just 30 minutes away from the city. Mount Seymour Park is open to skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, and winter campers (north of Brockton Point), so there’s plenty to enjoy here!
Where: North Vancouver, BC
While this stunner is open year-round, visitors of Garibaldi Park should note that the trails and parking lot by Wedgemount Lake are not maintained in the winter. So if you’ve got micro spikes, snowshoes or backcountry skiing equipment – here’s your chance to shine and enjoy some breathtaking views.
Where: 19 km south of Whistler
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From emerald lakes to towering waterfalls, Yoho National Park in BC offers visitors no shortage of natural wonders to check out year-round. In the warmer months, visitors can visit national historic sites like the famed Burgess Shale fossils – some of the oldest in the world. During the colder months, the park offers an array of well-groomed skiing and snowshoeing trails to explore.
Where: Rocky Mountains (west of Continental Divide), BC
With an extensive network of 38 hiking trails and multiple viewpoints, E.C. Manning is the perfect place for your next winter adventure – and even the drive there from Vancouver is scenic.
Where: Manning Park
Spanning 62,539 hectares, Golden Ears is a wildly popular choice for day trippers heading from Vancouver, and for good reason. The park offers visitors a diverse range of outdoor activities and wildlife to observe. And its proximity to the city certainly doesn’t hurt when it comes to making last-minute plans!
Where: Maple Ridge
Situated on the charming Salt Spring Island, Ruckle Park is one of the most scenic parks in the southern Gulf Islands area – if not the most. With seven kilometres of shoreline and hidden coves and bays to explore, you’ll definitely keep yourself busy with a stay here. Plus, with 78 walk-in campsites, you won’t have to make a reservation to enjoy the rich, vibrant tide pools.
Where: Salt Spring Island
And we’re capping off this list with another classic pick – Joffre Lakes. The stunning provincial park is home to some of the most beautiful mountain vistas and crystal blue lakes in the country, and it’s well within a day trip’s distance to Vancouver. Combine that with the beautiful reds, golds, and oranges of fall, and you’ve got one heck of a picture.
Where: Off of Highway 99 east of Pemberton
And that’s a wrap on