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BC by road encore: 3 more epic Rainforest to Rockies journeys

Canada’s Pacific Coast province of British Columbia has it all from epic wildlife to untouched wilderness in the Canadian Rockies that you can explore by road, rail and trail. And it’s easily accessible from Vancouver, just a direct flight from Australia’s east coast.

Canada’s Pacific Coast province of British Columbia has it all from epic wildlife to untouched wilderness in the Canadian Rockies that you can explore by road, rail and trail. And it’s easily accessible from Vancouver, just a direct flight from Australia’s east coast.

British Columbia is full of adventurous spirit in all seasons with 10 mountain ranges, 25,000km-plus of coastline and one-quarter of the world’s temperate rainforest to explore. That’s without even mentioning the wildlife like bears, humpbacks, orcas, moose, caribou, wolves, birds and rattlesnakes.

There’s no better way to experience the inspiring, natural British Columbia than by road or rail. Venture from sea to sky at your own pace or be guided to enjoy all the extraordinary sights and engage with Indigenous cultures from the Pacific Coast to the Canadian Rockies.

DBC R2R Map 20231120 TT version 3 with Logo1 1 copy
Official Rainforest to Rockies map. Access the full interactive map here. Image: Destination BC

Begin your BC adventure in the province’s largest city, Vancouver. Fringed by verdant rainforest and bound by the sweeping Pacific Coast, it’s the natural gateway to the Rockies.

We’ve given you a sample of some of the inspiring itineraries on the Rainforest to Rockies route and now here are three more ways to explore.

Rainforest to Rockies: Coast Mountain Circle Route (695km)

BC Stand up paddling in Squamish
Stand-up paddleboarding with Norm Hann Expeditions in Squamish. Image: Destination BC/Hubert Kang

This four- to six-day itinerary is a gorgeous Rainforest to Rockies round-trip discovery from Vancouver. Get your engines revving along the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Squamish aka Canada’s ‘Outdoor Recreation Capital’. Tip: Stop on the northbound pullout leaving Squamish for OMG glacial views.

Both Squamish and the next stop, Whistler, offer everything from mountain biking and hiking to kite-surfing and whitewater-rafting in summer and, of course, wintersports galore along with breweries, cideries and the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre for Indigenous insights. Don’t miss riding the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola in Whistler for epic mountain vistas.

Rainforest to Rockies via sinclair canyon
Driving through Sinclair Canyon, Radium Hot Springs. Image: Destination BC/Kari Medig

If you’ve still got a head for more heights, check out Fraser Canyon with a stop to board the Hell’s Gate Airtram over the Fraser River’s narrowest point at just 35m wide, or ride the river rapids in Lytton. Soaking in hot springs more your thing? Visit Hope and Harrison Hot Springs for a relaxing plunge before the two-hour drive back to Van City.

Find out more here.

Rainforest to Rockies: The Signature Circle Route (2,195km)

BC Yoho National Park Emerald Lake
Canoeing on Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park. Image: Destination BC

Set aside up to 10 days to embark on this expansive Rainforest to Rockies loop along byways and scenic roads taking in big cities and charming towns before circling back to Vancouver. It includes all the highlights and highest peaks you’d expect from a signature sea-to-sky experience in BC.

Drive on Sea-to-Sky Highway 99 via Howe Sound and Highway 1 to the outdoorsy thrills of Kamloops in the Cariboo and the mountain towns of Whistler, Lillooet and Pemberton. Heading east to Mount Robson Provincial Park, gaze at the Rockies’ loftiest mountain at 3,954m before ducking into the next province over, Alberta, and Jasper National Park.

BC Mountain goats along the Burgess Mountain pass in Yoho National Park
Mountain goats along the Burgess Mountain pass in Yoho National Park. Image:
Destination BC/Dean Faulkner

Be wowed on the Icefields Parkway, home to the Athabasca Glacier and Lake Louise en route west to Yoho National Park with around 30 peaks topping over 3,000m high and the stunning Emerald Lake. Then swapping that alpine view for the unique semi-arid desert landscape in Osoyoos and Indigenous history at the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre.

The scenic drive through the Kootenays to Fernie in the Canadian Rockies yields yet more peaks and valleys, forests, hot springs and historic mining towns before enjoying small-batch wineries in the Similkameen Valley on Highway 1 westward back to Vancouver.

Find out more here.

Rainforest to Rockies: Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tours

BC Rocky Mountaineer in Kootenay Rockies
Rocky Mountaineer. Image: Destination BC/@nomadasaurus

Rail enthusiasts will revel in a slow, scenic sightseeing experience on a Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tour, travelling on the famed train from Vancouver to the Canadian Rockies on several dedicated itineraries for a different perspective via panoramic windows.

The BC-based luxury train offers myriad ways to ride the rails through the wilderness, spotting wildlife along the way. You can head north after overnighting in Kamloops on the evocatively named Journey Through the Clouds itinerary from Vancouver to Jasper across two days that include Mount Robson and the cascading Pyramid Falls.

BC lookout points on the Battle Bluffs hike in Kamloops
One of the many lookout points on the Battle Bluffs hike in Kamloops. Image: Destination BC/Jordan Dyck

The historic and epic two-day First Passage to the West itinerary between Vancouver, Lake Louise and Banff steps back in time, spanning the Continental Divide and encompassing mountain passes and canyon drops. Or take the three-day Rainforest to Gold Rush route via Whistler and feel the thrill where the train tracks hug the mountains by Seton Lake.

Find out more here.

But wait, there’s more…

BC Helmcken Falls Wells Gray Provincial Park
Helmcken Falls in Wells Gray Provincial Park. Image: Destination BC/Max Zeddler

There are 12 different ways to get to the Rockies from Vancouver, depending on your timeline or interests and preferred mode of transport by road, rail or trail. It’s a choose-your-own path at your own pace.

Hikers and bikers will get a Rocky Mountain high on the Trans Canada Trail and Kettle Valley Rail Trail. The reclaimed Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail is a section of the 28,000km cross-country Trans Canada Trail in British Columbia and involves a multi-day journey from Hope to Midway via Kelowna and Myra Canyon.

Meanwhile, vino aficionados will say “cheers” to the Rainforest to Rockies Valleys to Vineyards itinerary, a four-to-six-day indulgent exploration from Vancouver of the Fraser, Similkameen and Okanagan valleys for BC’s grape-growing regions and local viticulture traditions.

There’s also nothing like BC’s epic highways en route to the Rockies: venture on the road trip to Mount Robson, tackle the Trans-Canada Highway and set out on Crowsnest Highway 3 to see scenery you won’t believe actually exists in the Great White North.

For more info and inspo, head to hellobc.com/rainforest-to-rockies

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