hikes in British Columbia
Beautiful British Columbia is a great place for a hiking holiday. Fly into Vancouver and from there explore everything from the rugged BC coast to the interior mountain peaks. In between, stop for a glass of wine in the vineyards of the Okanagan or some lake kayaking on one of the great lakes of the BC interior.
BC has a little bit of everything for visitors. There are stunning coastal walks on Vancouver Island and near Vancouver, where you can also combine some sea kayaking. Surfers flock to the village of Tofino, for big waves surrounded by forests.
In winter, BC is home to great ski resorts. Famed for the light champagne powder that falls here, you can choose world-class Whistler or any number of smaller regional resorts, all of which boast great ski terrain and wonderful, fun little towns nearby. Consider a trip ski touring or snowshoeing while in the mountains, a great way to enjoy some serenity in a busy world.
Summer sees hikers, climbers and mountain bikers descend on the BC mountains. Famous mountain ranges, like the Island Alps, Coast Mountains, Monashees, Purcells, Selkirks and Rockies provide enormous opportunities to explore. Many of these mountains are crossed by only a single road, providing the ability to truly get off-grid and explore.
20 Greatest Hikes in British Columbia
British Columbia may be one of the most beautiful hiking destinations on earth! With countless options, there is something for everyone regardless of skill level, time or fitness level. From family-friendly hikes, to post-work jaunts, to epic, multi-day hikes, British Columbia has it all in terms of stunning trails.
- Elfin Lakes: Find this popular trail within Garibaldi Provincial Park, as you traverse to two pristine lakes perfect for an alpine dip.
- Jocelyn Hill from Caleb Pike: This underrated trail is a moderately challenging, but immensely rewarding climb. Follow the path as it undulates up and down to Holmes Peak, then steeply climbs to breathtaking Saanich Arm— our favourite spot for an epic picnic.
- Elk Lake: This family-friendly trail weaves in and around glistening Beaver Lake for a picturesque walk. Continue through scenic and shaded woodlands before spotting stunning Elk Lake off in the distance.
- Fry Creek Canyon: If you’re looking to hike in B.C during the shoulder season, Fry Creek Canyon is the perfect spot. Pass by beaches, canyons and forests on this unique trail hiking through varying landscapes.
- Kokanee Glacier Cabin: This epic hike makes for a great overnight trip with older children to experience the magic of the Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park. Snuggle up in a cabin overnight, then spend the next day exploring the surrounding wildflower fields and wilderness.
- Panorama Ridge Hike: Making for an ideal long day or multi-day hike, this trail will provide ridge views you’ll never forget. Prepare for lots of switchbacks, wildflower fields and alpine meadows on this unforgettable adventure.
- Lake O'Hara All Souls Route: This is one of the standout hikes located directly in the Canadian Rocky Mountains! This circuit trail passes beautiful lakes and amazing views from the ridgeline, all kept pristine by the limited access to the trail.
- Stawamus Chief: One of the most popular hikes in the Squamish area, this is a can’t miss hike! With multiple peaks, this trail is perfect for hikers of all skill levels and rewarding views regardless of which peak you choose to summit.
- Mount Loki: Prepare for an incredible challenging feat at Mount Loki, the highest peak seen from the highway between Nelson and Kaslo. This mountain is only to be hiked during the summer season and offers 360 degree views as far as the eye can see.
- Capilano River Regional Park: For an easy, but beautiful urban hike, check out Metro Vancouver's oldest park. With multiple trails spanning over the beautiful Capilano Canyon, this stroller-friendly trail makes for a quick, but adventurous day spent in nature.
- Widgeon Falls: This epic hike starts out with a canoe or kayak paddle to reach the starting point. Widgeon Falls is especially spectacular during the fall season with leaves dazzling in brilliant colour.
- Macbeth Icefield: Set out on an incredibly challenging, but rewarding hike traversing through forests, staircases, rockface and marshland--all with the icefield towering above.
- Emerald Lake Circuit: Perfect for families, this quick 1-2 hour hike features a B.C. highlight-- kool-aid blue Emerald Lake. Be sure to have your camera ready, you’ll want to grab a snap or two at this picturesque spot.
- Black Tusk: This long and arduous journey will take you up one of Whistler’s famous mountain peaks--the Black Tusk. From the top, revel in the views over Garibaldi Provincial Park and down to Garibaldi Lake.
- Jug Island: Perfect for those with older-children (we’d avoid strollers on this one!), Jug Island offers plenty of shoreline to explore. With picturesque coves surrounding the island and a fantastic beach for a dip--this trail is an ideal summer hiking spot.
- Brandywine Falls Hike: Those looking for a quick and easy hike in Whistler or those who are new to hiking will love this trail. In just a short walk from the parking lot, hikers can take in a cascading waterfall that feeds into Daisy Lake below.
- Mount Finlayson: This short, but steep hike will have you sweating for a quick cardio challenge! Prepare for a bit of scramble on all fours, but that’s half of what makes this trail so fun.
- Mt. Albert Edward: This dramatic ridge is an iconic view from Mt Washington ski hill and only the most daring hikers should take on this gargantuan mountain. Set out on a full day's climb to reach the peak, but find mesmerizing views over all of Strathcona Park.
- Dog Mountain: This incredibly popular trail is known for its easy grade and stunning views. A win-win combination! Push onwards to the tip top of the mountain to spot Mount Baker, the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland, Stanley Park and the Strait of Georgia.
- Howe Sound Crest Trail: Arguably one of the best trails in the Vancouver area, if not all of B.C., this incredible hike takes on average two days to complete-- but it’s plenty worth it for the multiple peaks you’ll conquer.
When is the Best Time to Hike in British Columbia
British Columbia is beautiful across multiple seasons, but the best time for hiking is during the warmer and drier months of April through October. While trails are at their most beautiful during the summer months, they’re also often flooded with tourists. Our favourite time is the shoulder seasons, spring and fall, which offer beautiful temperatures and no crowds.
Best Regions to Hike in British Columbia
British Columbia is bursting with stunning locations for avid hikers to lace up their boots. Kootenay National Park is one of the locations that make up the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site and is popular for good reason. Here, you’ll find countless natural attractions that are a feast for the eyes. Squamish is easily accessible, just a skip, hop and a jump from both Vancouver and Whistler. With multiple mountain ranges, there are plenty of options for all skill levels in this adventurous town.
If you’re looking to get off the beaten path, Strathcona Provincial Park is a hidden gem located on Vancouver Island, home to a pristine chain of mountains and lakes. And if you’re short on time or want to keep close to the big city, just East of Vancouver is the new hotspot for hiking with plenty of famed parks in close proximity. For hidden coves and beaches to watch the sunset from, the North Shore is home to stunning waterfront trails.
Visiting B.C’s capital city? Victoria offers plenty of rugged trails. For exceptional hiking, the mountain towns of West Kootenays are a must visit. And for a lesser explored destination in the Rocky Mountains, Yoho National Park offers peace and tranquility far from the crowds.
Other Activities in British Columbia
British Columbia is an outdoor adventure playground, with endless opportunities to experience the natural beauty of Canada. From rock climbing to hiking, backpacking, road biking, mountain biking and horseback riding, there’s something for everyone. If you’re more into the winter sports, British Columbia is home to plenty of world-class ski resorts where you can practice everything from downhill skiing, backcountry skiing, snowboarding…or even just dabbling in the après ski life.
British Columbia's Adventure Tours
If you’d rather skip the headache of planning your own trip, why not let 10Adventures help? With our wide-range of tours in British Columbia, all you have to do is pack your bag—the rest is taken care of! From fresh powder ski safaris to trekking the remote rocky mountains, our 10Adventure tour options are guaranteed to be epic and worry-free.
How to Plan a Trip to British Columbia
Convinced you need to hit the trails in beautiful British Columbia? We’ve got you covered with our complete guides on planning a trip to B.C, outlining the best spots across the province for food and a pint (or two), cozy hotels, and fun activities to fill your day. From Squamish, to The West Kootenays, to Kananaskis Country, to Strathcona Provincial Park, to Whistler, to Yoho National Park, to Victoria—we took out all the guesswork, leaving more time for daydreaming.Read More