Thursday, May 31, 2012

3-day Road Trip in Canada: Vancouver-Calgary

See some mountains and inland waterways with this trip through southwest Canada This is ski country, but the scenery is stunning for a summer road trip too!

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Day 1: Vancouver- Kelowna

Vancouver has a stunning setting between the Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The city is consistently ranked as one of the best to live in, and is certainly great to visit! Sizeable Stanley Park with many walking trails is a highlight, as are the bustling markets of Granville Island and the Vancouver Aquarium.

by Alan Bruce Flickr Creative Commons

Head out of the city on the Trans-Canada Highway/ BC-1 following the beautifully braided Fraser River. Hope is a gorgeous town where this river meets another. A stop here will give you a chance to admire the beauty of the area. After Hope, get on the BC-3, then merge onto BC-5/Coquihalla Highway following beside the Coquihalla River. For a great rest stop, try the Coquihalla River Recreation Area or the Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area for a picnic and recreation spot.

 Coquihalla River
by Pete Flickr Creative Commons

Just before Merritt, get off the BC-5 onto 5A, following signs for Kelowna. Only a little bit out of the way is Merritt- once called Forksdale, the town is in possession of a number of historic ranches and hotels and is branded the Country Music Capital of Canada.

The drive to Kelowna is getting into mountain country and beautiful, with many small lakes dotted around. Near to the city are several major ski resorts for winter trippers- and in summer, the city on Lake Okanagan is a beautiful mountain resort.The opportunities for entertainment are endless- hike in the mountains, go boating or fishing in the lake, do some wine tasting at vineyards, play golf, or experience the great restaurants, bars and beaches of the picturesque city.

by Darren Kirby Flickr Creative Commons

Day 2: Kelowna- Revelstoke

Leave Kelowna on BC-97N, and you should soon pass Kalamalka Lake, and several park areas to enjoy the view from there. Several golf clubs can also be found along this route for those who are fond of a round- try the Vernon Golf and Country Club or Spallumcheen Golf Club, these being on either side of Swan Lake.

This drive is all about the nature- with few towns along the way. It is also not a long drive, so take the opportunity to stop at one of the National Parks and Protected Areas along the way for walking, picnicking and more.

Sicamous is one of the few spots of civilisation- a small town with many houseboats whose population doubles during the summer months, due to its position on both Mara and Shuswap Lakes. Snowmobiling is popular in winter, and water sports in summer. Sicamous is also where you should get back on the Trans-Canada Highway.

 Lake Shuswap
by Reg Natarajan Flickr Creative Commons

Continue the nature appreciation along the highway until you arrive in Revelstoke. The city and nearby mountain resort and National Park are popular amongst holidaygoers- the resort being a major ski destination. The National park is a beautiful place to explore in summer, with a variety of landscapes from rainforest to tundra. Enjoy this amazing city!

by Stuart Flickr Creative Commons

Day 3: Revelstoke- Calgary

Continue on out of Revelstoke on the Trans-Canada Highway and through Glacier National Park in an area of steep mountains. Keep a look out here for Grizzlies, mountain goats and Caribou! Further along the route, Golden is a very popular holiday town due to its proximity to some of Canada's most stunning National Parks. Golden is home to the longest covered, free span timber frame pedestrian bridge in Canada, spanning the Kicking Horse River. There is also a centre for Wolf Conservation, and a district museum.

 Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge
by Angela MacIsaac Flickr Creative Commons

The highway continues through several amazing National Parks to Banff. Banff is also a big name in skiing and another city blessed with amazing mountain views. The Banff National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a visit to Banff is guaranteed to be a feast for your eyes!

 Banff Mountains
by Pascal Flickr Creative Commons

Enjoy views of river, lakes and ponds as you keep on along the Trans-Canada Highway and into Calgary. This is an eclectic city -a great scene with many eating and drinking venues. For shopping, try the Core Shopping Centre, and for some things to see and do, downtown there is the Calgary Zoo, the chinatown district, the Art Gallery of Calgary and Prince's Island Park.

by Brian Flickr Creative Commons

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Author: Phil Wright+

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