British Columbia is a vast and iconic province in Canada’s West. It’s home to multiple mountain ranges including the Rockies, as well as the rugged Pacific Coast. It is a province characterised by contrasts. Here you can find both temperate rainforests and semi-arid grasslands, snow-capped glaciers and sun-soaked vineyards.
With so many incredible sights on offer, it’s hard to choose a favourite. We find the best way is to draw up a shortlist and dive right in. Here is our pick of the top 10 sights on holiday in British Columbia:
10. Deep Cove
Deep Cove is both the name of North Vancouver’s easternmost community and the picturesque bay which flanks the town. With its deep blue waters and views of Mount Seymour and the North Shore Mountains, it’s one of the most scenic spots in the Vancouver area. The sheltered waters are perfect for sports like kayaking and SUP (stand up paddle-boarding).
9. Victoria’s Inner Harbour
A perennial favourite with tourists to stroll in the sunshine or in the twinkling lights of evening, Victoria’s Inner Harbour is a sight for sore eyes. Victoria is the provincial capital of BC and as such, is home to the impressive parliament buildings as well as the iconic waterfront Fairmont hotel.
8. Vaseux Lake
The namesake lake of Vaseux Lake Provincial Park is a stunning lake which snakes along the course of the Okanagan River in the Okanagan Valley. It is located in Interior BC, where the weather is hot, dry and sunny. The area is perfect for growing grapes, which means you can relax with a glass of fine local vino after a day of activities on the lake.
7. Capilano Suspension Bridge
This iconic bridge is located in the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park on Vancouver’s North Shore. Visitors have been crossing the bridge since 1889 and it is now one of the most popular attractions in Vancouver. The bridge stretches 137m above a dizzying 70m canyon to the Capilano River below. Brave the heights and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views and ethereal temperate rainforest.
6. Takakkaw Falls
The second tallest waterfall in Canada is definitely worth a stop-off if you are passing by. The waterfall is located in the fabled Yoho National Park (which although smaller than its neighbours Banff and Jasper, makes up for it in big attractions). Its highest point is 380m, with a free-fall of 254m. Sit in the iconic red chairs at the base of the falls for a picture-perfect photo op.
5. Whistler Mountain Inukshuk
This statue is an iconic feature which stands proudly at the summit of Whistler Mountain. The inukshuk surveys Whistler Valley, Black Tusk peak and Whistler summit where you too can get great views if you hike up in summer or ski the mountain in winter. The statue was erected for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in British Columbia and is based on the inuksuit used by Inuit and other peoples of the North American arctic regions.
4. Helmcken Falls
This 141m waterfall in Wells Gray Provincial Park might not be the tallest, but it is certainly one of the most spectacular. In fact, the famous waterfall is the very reason why the provincial park. The water spurts dramatically over the lip of the canyon and crashes into the carved bowl below. The viewing platform hangs over the lip of the canyon offering panoramic views of the waterfall and Murtle River.
3. Mount Robson
As the highest point in the Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson is a pretty spectacular peak. Part of the Rainbow Range of mountains, you can get some stunning views of the peak on a clear day by driving along the Yellowhead Highway.
2. Garibaldi Lake
Just outside of Whistler is one of the most splendid glacial lakes in British Columbia. Garibaldi Lake in Garibaldi Provincial Park boasts a vivid turquoise hue thanks to the concentration of light-reflective rock flour floating in the water. It’s surrounded by snow-capped peaks, glaciers and alpine meadows.
1. Emerald Lake Lodge
Arguably one of the most famous sights in all of British Columbia, this widely-photographed lodge perches on the shores of the pretty Emerald Lake. Located in Yoho National Park, it’s a brilliantly scenic spot in the Rockies and the lodge provides welcoming fireplaces and a salvaged bar from an 1890s Yukon Saloon. It’s the perfect place to soak in those views.