Beautiful British Columbia: The Best Place on Earth
For the summer of Canada's 150th birthday, we did a cross Canada road trip. We had our free Parks Canada Discovery Pass in-hand to get us free access to all the National Parks across Canada. We started on the west coast of Canada in British Columbia and made our way East before travelling back West all the way to BC again.
Here is our travel diary travelling through BC both going west and coming back east.
We were not really sure how far we would make it for our first drive. We have been on some road trips before but it isn't something that we've done a lot. It's the first time we've done a road trip on mainland BC so we had the rough goal of making it to Merritt which seemed like a reasonable distance. It wasn't too far or too close.
Here is a short video of our time in Merritt:
The weather was great when we started in Tsawwassen but then as we left Delta it was pouring pretty much until we made it to Merritt.
We were happy that Merritt was so dry as we were not looking forward to kicking off our camping trip by sleeping in the rain even if our plan was to sleep in the GMC Jimmy. We found a nice RV Park with lots of amenities that made our stay very comfortable.
Back on the road, the weather was excellent for our drive. We were planning our route to avoid the wildfires and the flooding in BC. There was flooding all across Canada during the summer.
We made it to Kamloops and you could see evidence of the flooding down by the river. There were walking paths that were underwater thanks to the flooding.
Here is a video of our quick stop in Kamloops.
We explored Kamloops for awhile and then got back on the road to find our next campsite. We were using wifi and the RVParky app to choose campsites that we suitable and most importantly not expensive.
We stopped in Salmon Arm which is a city we've never been to but we know the name. It's a weird sounding town name and now we can picture the town when we hear Salmon Arm.
It's small but it was a nice place to walk around and stretch our legs for a little while.
The lake is pretty big and it definitely felt like we needed sunscreen being outside. We explored downtown which didn't take long and then we went out on the Salmon Arm Wharf.
Here we are at the Salmon Arm Wharf. We got back on the road again and made it to our campsite.
It was called Noah's Ark and it had a big building that looked like an Ark. We were just outside of the town of Revelstoke.
It was a nice campsite with showers and a common eating area with microwaves, kettles and toasters.
We were having showers and getting ready to leave and I accidentally left our shower soap in one of the showers. I went back to get it and the door was shut. We were really desperate to get out of there in time for check out and one of us still wanted to take a shower. I kept knocking on the door to try and get the shower gel because it seemed like whoever was in there was taking forever in the shower and we didn't want to wait anymore. Anyway, then we tried pushing on the door to the shower and it turns out no one was in there the whole time! The door stop to keep the door open must have slid out and the door closed which made it seem like the shower was occupied.
We drove from Noah's to Revelstoke which was a great drive as we were hitting the gorgeous mountain scenery.
We made a stop in the town of Revelstoke to check out the tourist information centre and get wifi. Plus we wanted to check out the town. Here is the video of our short but sweet time there. There happened to be a cool car show going on while we were there.
After leaving Revelstoke, the scenery got more and more epic as we made it into some of the national parks. We highly recommend visiting Glacier National Park and
We ended up getting a great campsite in Yoho National Park where there was a Grizzly Bear Sighting! We made sure our food was all sealed up and we slept in the truck that night.
Here is our video on the Canadian Rockies:
After that, we were into Alberta which is another province with lots of great things to see like Banff National Park and Lake Louise.
Then on the way back WEST, we passed through BC a different way.
We took the high road through BC on the way east so on the way back we decided to take the low road (Highway 3, the Crowsnest Highway) and see some different stuff.
At this point in the trip, we were getting a bit burned out and our main goal seemed to be seeing how quickly we could make it back without completely bypassing everything.
We were still open to stopping places that caught our eye but we were feeling like we wanted to reach the end of the road trip.
Canada is a huge country and being in BC it felt like we were so close to the end that it made us want to just drive and drive.
We really wanted to save our money still so we shopped around for campsites.
BC seems to have the cheapest and best campsites in Canada but we still ran into a few that were a bit too expensive for us.
The option of Wal-Mart camping made us less inclined to pay top dollar for a mediocre campsite. We stopped at a small town to get advice from the information centre. They gave us some campsite options and said that we could possibly get away with parking overnight in their local aquatic centre's parking lot.
It was still a bit early in the day to set up camp so we decided to keep going. The parking lot didn't sound too appealing.
We made it to Christina Lake where all the campsites we super expensive. We went to a tourist information centre and they called around for us but none of the places had a vacancy. We tried going to another campsite nearby that the information centre wasn't able to reach but they were also a bit expensive. We decided we were going to keep on going and take our chances somewhere else.
Before we left we went to Christina Lake to cool off as it was scorching hot outside. Driving in the hot sun feels a lot better after taking a dip in the lake.
We made it to Grand Forks and they had a campground that was just our style. It was super cheap at $20 plus there was free showers and free wifi available.
The lady that ran the site scared us a little bit because of how insistent she was that we parked our truck correctly on our site. She said that if we didn't park exactly within the site lines then we would either be blocking the fire lane path and we would be fined or we would be taking up two campsites and then we would be charged for both sites. It was a little weird. She saw that we were just driving a GMC Jimmy so it was kind of a surprise when we drove over to our site and found that there was lots of room on the sites to park. She also mentioned making sure not to let anyone into the bathrooms if they didn't have the code and that there was a kids soccer camp taking place the next morning on the nearby field.
Despite all these red flags, our stay there went pretty smooth. She was right though. There were people trying to get into the bathrooms and there were people going through the garbage cans looking for cans or something. The kid's soccer camp started early and it was loud but it acted as our cue to leave.
Driving through this part of BC really reminded us of the wild west. We went through a lot of long stretches of hills and it was very dry out. Then every once in awhile there was a small town that you'd miss if you blinked. Some of the towns appeared to be almost abandoned.
There were quite a few businesses with that wooden wild west looking architecture. It was interesting to see.
We went past the signs for the interestingly named Anarchist Mountain and stopped at the Anarchist Mountain Lookout to the lookout at Osoyoos.
We had a fun time checking out Osoyoos and the Lake which you can see in our vlog we made.
We thought of staying in Osoyoos for the night but then we felt the urge to just keep on going. There wasn't much in the way of campsites available in Osoyoos because we showed up during the height of the resort towns tourist season.
The weather was still great for a drive and the sun was still out.
Our plan was to try and make it back to Tsawwassen which we didn't really think was possible but that was our goal. We burned through all these mountain roads. It is a bit exhausting driving through the mountains in BC compared to other provinces.
It got to a point where we were on a roll so we figured we would just keep driving. We were coming into Chilliwack, Abbotsford, the lower mainland while the sun was setting.
We didn't plan on it but it was the perfect end to our cross Canada road trip. We had the time of our lives driving across the country and back. It is something we will never forget. All the ups and downs added up to make a fantastic adventure and hopefully, we will have the chance to do another road trip as fun as this one in the future.
And we rode off into the sunset.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed reading this then you will enjoy reading the rest of our cross Canada road trip for Canada 150. Why not start at the beginning?