Hiking Opportunities in BC Parks

Kootenay, Lower Mainland, Central and Northern British Columbia
  • Cariboo Region
  • Skeena Region
  • Peace Region
Vancouver Island, Mid and South Central BC
  • Omineca Region
  • Okanagan Region
  • Thompson Region

Central and Northern British Columbia – Cariboo, Skeena and Peace Regions

Tweedsmuir Provincial Park - (North) (South)

Tweedsmuir Provincial Park appeals primarily to outdoor recreationists interested in boating, angling, camping, hiking or hunting in one of North America's most magnificent wilderness areas. The park is bounded on the north and southwest by the Coast Mountains and on the east by the Nechako Plateau. The backcountry of Tweedsmuir Park is an isolated wilderness with infrequent patrols by park staff. You should be experienced in wilderness travel, fit and well equipped. Snow is possible any month of the year in the mountains.

Babine Mountains Provincial Park

This area within the Skeena Mountains ecosection offers some of the finest hiking opportunities in west-central British Columbia. Glacier-fed lakes, rugged peaks and extensive sub-alpine meadows provide day and overnight hiking opportunities. Rolling alpine plateaus, rugged mountains and an abundance of snow especially during the off-season, provides skiers, snowmobilers and snowshoers with experiences for all skill levels.

Monkman Provincial Park

Monkman Provincial Park, nestled in the Hart Ranges of the Central Rocky Mountains and Foothills, covers 32,000 hectares of diverse natural landscapes encompassing extensive alpine meadows, jagged mountain peaks, forested valleys, thundering waterfalls and clear alpine lakes. Weather conditions in Monkman Provincial Park tend to be unstable year-round. In summer, the weather is usually cool, wet and often windy. Hikers should be prepared for all weather conditions in this changeable climate. Monkman Provincial Park offers a small but attractive selection of short hiking trails. Day hikers wanting more of a stretch can walk the Monkman Lake Trail as far as the Murray River Crossing, an easy hike that is 7 km one way.

Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Mount Edziza Provincial Park encompasses over 230,000 hectares of the Tahltan Highlands in northwestern British Columbia. This remote park showcases a spectacular volcanic landscape that includes lava flows, basalt plateaus, cinder fields and cinder cones. Mount Edziza is a truly remote park in northwestern British Columbia with no vehicle access and no supplies of any kind. Most hikers choose to fly in and out of Mowdade and/or Buckley Lakes so that they may spend the maximum amount of time above the treeline. Summer is short at Mount Edziza Provincial Park, where snow lingers year-round; be prepared for these conditions.

Naikoon Provincial Park

This low and largely flat provincial park is located at the northeast tip of Graham Island, largest of the Queen Charlotte Islands and offers broad, sandy beaches that stretch endlessly to form the eastern and northern boundaries of this unique and intriguing park. There are many trails to hike in the north end area of the Park near Tow Hill and in the south end area near Tlell. Cool, rainy, or foggy weather and high winds can occur at any time, so campers and hikers should always be equipped with warm clothing and wet-weather gear. Persons contemplating a visit to Naikoon Provincial Park are reminded that it is a wilderness area without supplies of any kind.

Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park

The park is located approximately 500 km north of Smithers off Hwy #37. Old horse trails and routes criss-cross the park - none of them are regularly maintained and are recommended only for experienced, physically fit and well equipped hikers. Proper gear, transportation arrangements and NTS maps are prerequisites. There are no supplies of any kind in Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park.

Stone Mountain Provincial Park

Stone Mountain Provincial Park introduces Alaska Highway travellers near KM 595, to spectacular landscapes and incredible wildlife viewing opportunities in the northern Rocky Mountains. Several short backcountry hiking routes start from the Summit Lake campground and lead to mountain valleys decorated with alpine meadows and lakes. For the more adventuresome and longer trails, hikers can explore the wilderness area of this park. Hikers and campers should be prepared for all weather conditions in this changeable climate.

Kootenay Region

Bugaboo Provincial Park

Bugaboo Provincial park, situated in the Purcell Mountains of southeast BC, continues to draw climbers from around the world to its airy, glacier-sculpted granite spires. With many peaks over 3,000 metres in elevation, the Bugaboo’s offer awe inspiring mountain and glacier terrain. Bugaboo Provincial Park is a remote area, but there are hikes that do not require technical mountaineering skills. Trails to Conrad Kain Hut and Cobalt Lake offer superb scenic values for the experienced, physically fit and well-equipped hiker. There are no supplies, equipment or transportation arrangements of any kind available in the park. Visitors must be prepared for outdoor living in a mountain environment. Hut accommodation is not available in the winter because of avalanche dangers.

Elk Lakes Provincial Park

Located within the western ranges of the southern Rocky Mountains, Elk Lakes Provincial Park is an easily accessible wilderness park characterized by outstanding sub-alpine landscapes, remnant glaciers, rugged peaks and productive lakes. Elk Lakes offers a variety of hiking experiences, including some maintained trails that are appropriate for all family members with some experience in back-country hiking. Persons visiting the park are reminded that the park is a wilderness area, without supplies or equipment of any kind. All arrangements for supplies and transportation must be made beforehand.

Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park

Located north of Nelson, in the Selkirk Mountains, between Slocan and Kootenay Lakes, beautiful Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park offers an excellent backcountry adventure for the whole family. For the status of the access roads into the central area of the park. Check the most recent trail report. Sitting mostly above 1,800 metres in elevation, the park has three glaciers - Kokanee, Caribou, and Woodbury - that feed over 30 lakes and many creeks. With 85 km of trails, this park is suitable for campers, hikers and climbers with all levels of outdoor experience. Persons visiting the park are reminded that this is a wilderness area without supplies or equipment of any kind.

Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park

Located west of the BC-Alberta border 48 km southwest of Banff, world-renowned Mt. Assiniboine, at an elevation of 3,618 metres, is situated along the continental divide near the southeast corner of the park and has defined mountain splendour in the Canadian Rockies for over 100 years. No roads penetrate this unspoiled wilderness; hiking trails provide the only land access. Persons visiting the park are reminded that this is a wilderness area, without supplies or equipment of any kind.

Purcell Wilderness Conservancy

The Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Park embraces six large drainages flowing east from the rugged backbone of the spectacular Purcell Mountain Range of south eastern BC. It is a challenging and undeveloped mountain landscape. Open to wilderness recreation, the park has no facilities or marked trails and is not regularly serviced. Visitors should be self-sufficient and proficient in backcountry travel practices. There are unimproved horse trails in each main valley and routes into many of the side valleys and over passes. Rivers may be impassable during flood season, usually until the end of July. There are no bridges on the east side of the Park.

Top of the World Provincial Park

This park is located 48 kilometres northeast of the village of Kimberley, high in the Kootenay Ranges of the Rocky Mountain region of south eastern BC. Weather conditions can change suddenly. Visitors are reminded that this park is a wilderness area, without supplies or equipment of any kind. All arrangements for supplies and transportation must be made beforehand. Trails provide the only access to the park. Despite the alpine terrain, the hiking in this lovely park is not particularly arduous and is, in most cases, appropriate for the whole family.

Valhalla Provincial Park

The park is located on the west shore of Slocan Lake off Hwy 6, north of both Slocan and Castlegar, and encompasses most of the Valhalla Range of the Selkirk Mountains. Varied and abundant hiking opportunities exist, from short walks to wilderness treks and mountain climbing. Visitors are reminded that the park is a wilderness area, without supplies or equipment of any kind. All arrangements for supplies and transportation must be made beforehand. Camping is restricted to designated sites along established trails and on Slocan Lake beaches.

Lower Mainland

Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park

The park offers over 40 kilometers of trails that provide opportunities for hiking, bird and wildlife viewing and nature appreciation. The three main trails at this park Greendrop Lake, Flora Lake and Radium Lake trails, share the same trailhead at the Post Creek Parking Lot. Greendrop Lake is 10.4 km return, Flora Lake is 14 km return and Radium Lake is 12 km return. The park also offers campsites, a day-use picnic area, playground and the Chilliwack Lake is ideal for motor-boating, canoeing, kayaking, swimming and fishing.

Cultus Lake Provincial Park

As one of the most popular destination areas in the Lower Mainland and just an hour and half away from Vancouver, Cultus Lake Provincial Park offers campsites, a large day-use area for picnicking, boating, fishing, hiking opportunities amongst the five main trails and admiring wonders of nature. The trails are: Teapot Hill Trail (2 hours return), the Seven Sisters Trail (2 hours return), the Cultus Lake Horse Trail (5 hours return), the Giant Douglas-fir Trail (45 minute return walk) and the Maple Bay Trail (30 minute return walk).

Cypress Provincial Park

Located in the North Shore Mountains, north of West Vancouver on Highway #1, this park offers over 30 km of various day-hike and wilderness hiking trails including the Baden Powell Trail. On a clear day the views are spectacular. To the north, the sprawling metropolitan area of Vancouver; to the southeast is snow-clad Mount Baker in the Cascade Mountain chain. To the west and southwest lie the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island with Georgia Strait in the foreground. The mountainous backcountry is extremely rugged; hiking in this area should be attempted only by experienced backcountry travelers. The mountain weather can change very quickly, be prepared by taking warm clothing and/or rain gear.

Garibaldi Provincial Park

Garibaldi Provincial Park has five main access points along Highway 99, the Sea to Sky Highway between Squamish and Pemberton. Access to the park is by developed trail systems along the western boundary leading from the trailheads. Parking is available at the trailheads. It is also possible to access the park by trail from the lift systems at Whistler and Blackcomb ski areas. Do not underestimate the demands of the backcountry. The hiker must be in good physical condition, properly equipped, and prepared to be totally self sufficient. Take adequate clothing as mountain weather is subject to sudden change and Garibaldi Park can receive snow 12 months of the year.

Golden Ears Provincial Park

Golden Ears Provincial Park has an extensive system of trails within the park that provides an excellent opportunities for hiking and horseback riding. There are many trails ranging from easy to extremely difficult. Spirea Universal Access Trail is a trail that is designed for a wide range of physical disabilities. As one of the largest parks in the province, this park offers three large drive-in campgrounds and recreational opportunities that include Alouette Lake, a popular spot for swimming, windsurfing, water-skiing, canoeing, boating and fishing.

E C Manning Provincial Park

Located in the heart of the Cascade Mountains, the park is within a three-hour drive from either Vancouver or the Okanagan. The climate and geography have combined to make this park an all season recreation area. EC Manning Park contains a large number of scenic, historic, floral and fauna attractions and provides a wide range of both summer and winter recreational opportunities. There are a large range of walking/hiking trails: from a 15 minute walk to a 5 or 6 day hike. During the winter season, all trails are closed for hiking due to snow.

Mount Seymour Provincial Park

Located just 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, Mount Seymour Provincial Park has been enjoyed by generations of Lower Mainland residents and visitors. The park offers viewpoints overlooking the city of Vancouver and east over Indian Arm Provincial Park. Mount Seymour Provincial Park boasts an extensive trail network; many of the trails lead to vantage points, notable park features, and spectacular lookouts. There are 14 main trails of varying lengths (day hikes or longer), elevation changes and level of difficulty. The mountainous backcountry is extremely rugged and hiking in this area should be attempted only by experienced and properly equipped backcountry travellers. People contemplating an overnight or longer hike should inform a responsible person of their intentions. The mountain weather can change very quickly, be prepared by taking warm clothing and/or rain gear.

Skagit Valley Provincial Park

Approximately two hours from the Greater Vancouver area, Skagit Valley is part of a larger protected area complex that includes the US North Cascades National Park and the Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas. The park is adjacent to E C Manning Provincial Park and offers hiking trails ranging from a one hour self-guiding trail to overnight wilderness experiences, as well as, river fishing, camping and picnicking. During the winter season, all trails are closed for hiking due to snow.

Stein Valley Nlaka'pamux Heritage Park

The Stein Valley is a wilderness park containing spectacular scenery and outstanding historical, cultural and spiritual values. The park protects the entire Stein River watershed. This is a user-maintained area, with 150 km of hiking trails and routes, four cable crossings, a suspension bridge and several wilderness campsites. The park offers limited opportunities for easy day hikes (primarily in the lower valley) and extensive opportunities for multi-night backpacking trips over moderate to difficult terrain. Visitors must be self-sufficient and prepared for all conditions.

Mid and South Central BC - Omineca, Thompson and Okanagan Regions

Cathedral Provincial Park

A true wilderness experience, Cathedral Park comprises an expanse of jagged mountain peaks, azure lakes and flower-dappled alpine meadows that is definitely for the adventurous. Persons considering a visit to Cathedral Provincial Park are reminded that the park is a wilderness area without supplies of any kind. The park has many well-defined hiking trails and a number of cross-country routes. Hikers will require at least a full day to hike one-way into the core area or vehicle transportation is provided for a fee.

Hamber Provincial Park

Hamber is located 24 km from the trailhead parking at Sunwapta Falls in Jasper National Park to the campground at the east of Fortress Lake. The park is a remote wilderness area with few facilities. An old trail accessing the campsites on the north shore of the lake is open for hikers’ use. No other trails exist, but midway along the north shore of Fortress Lake Washout Creek provides steep, rugged, but relatively open access to scenic alpine areas. The Athabasca River is bridged and a new trail has been built to Fortress Lake, one must still ford the Chaba River. The distance is 22 km.

Mount Robson Provincial Park

The park is located in east, central British Columbia, just west of the BC/Alberta border and Jasper National Park. With Alberta’s Jasper National Park as its easterly neighbour, Mount Robson Provincial Park comprises a portion of one of the world's largest blocks of protected areas. The park offers a number of interesting short walks and self-guided trails, as well as the Berg Lake Trail that suits the beginner to advanced hiker. Gaining just under 800 meters in 23 kilometres, the trail traverses three biogeoclimatic zones. A number of the trails, walks and backcountry areas are in hazardous terrain. Slippery rocks, cliffs, uneven trail surfaces and fast flowing rivers and waterfalls can all be dangerous. The mountain weather can change very quickly; be prepared for all weather conditions including snow in the summer season.

Wells Gray Provincial Park

Most of Wells Gray Park's 530,000 hectares is remote wilderness that you can only view after a vigorous hike or canoe. The best known access route for Wells Gray Provincial Park is off Hwy #5 at Clearwater. In the southern quarter of the park, a road runs 34 kilometres from the park entrance to Clearwater Lake. From this road corridor, you can explore many fascinating geological, cultural and natural features that make one of British Columbia's largest provincial park so special. Wells Gray has something to offer every outdoor interest: lush alpine meadows, excellent birding and wildlife viewing opportunities; hiking for every ability, ranging from a few minutes on a level trail to many days with a map and compass; boating, canoeing and kayaking. All hikers, whether day-trip or overnight, should be completely self-sufficient, and have advised friends and family of proposed route and time of return.

Vancouver Island

Cape Scott Provincial Park

Cape Scott is a hike-in park, located at the north western tip of Vancouver Island. Visitors to Cape Scott Provincial Park are reminded that the park is a wilderness area without supplies or equipment of any kind. Hikers can choose between a day hike or a backpacking excursion to explore the sandy beaches, rainforests and lowland bogs and muskeg of this wilderness park. Parts of the trail are very muddy. Holberg, located 16 km from the trailhead, is the nearest settlement. Visitors should be in possession of suitable maps. Anyone contemplating a visit to the park should be prepared for adverse weather conditions such as high winds and heavy rain, which are common at all times of the year.

Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park

Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park is located 20 km northwest of Port Renfrew on the south western coast of Vancouver Island. There are three different routes leading to the Caycuse River Bridge, which is the only way to access the park. Several hiking trails in the Carmanah Valley provide access to many of the park’s notable natural features, including some of the area’s largest trees. Many sections of the trail are extremely muddy and difficult. Visitors to Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park are reminded that the park is a wilderness area. Be equipped with appropriate clothing (including adequate rain gear) and good hiking boots. Carmanah Walbran has no gas, food, roofed lodging, telephone or medical services. Gas, food and telephone service are available at the Didtidaht Nation Centre located in Nitinat, approximately 20 km from the park. This area offers parking, pit toilets and walk-in camping above the valley.

Cowichan River Provincial Park

Located off Hwy 18 near southern Vancouver Island, this spectacular park protects significant stretches of the Cowichan River, a recently designated Provincial Heritage River internationally renowned for its wild salmon and steelhead fishery. The park is adjacent to an abandoned rail right-of-way, which provides recreation opportunities for cyclists, hikers and horseback riders. The historic 20 km long Cowichan River Footpath and a variety of day-use and picnic areas, each offer their own unique features and highlights. While staying at one of two scenic campgrounds, visitors can enjoy hiking, swimming, canoeing, white-water kayaking, tubing, camping or fishing. As emergency aid is not immediately available over much of this trail, basic supplies should include drinking water, a first aid kit and adequate clothing/footwear.

Juan de Fuca Provincial Park

Juan de Fuca Provincial Park on the west coast of southern Vancouver Island offers scenic beauty, spectacular hiking, marine and wildlife viewing and roaring surf in its course along the Pacific coastline of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A major feature of this park, the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, follows 47 kilometres of wilderness stretching along the western shoreline of the southern Island. Although most of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail is designed for strenuous day or multi-day hiking/camping in this rugged and isolated area, some easy to moderate day hiking opportunities to the beach or along the trail are available starting from the four trailheads. The Juan de Fuca Marine Trail is designed as a wilderness hiking trail. Hiking conditions are always changing and hikers should obtain up-to-date information before proceeding on a hike by checking the trailhead information shelters. The Juan de Fuca trail does not connect to the West Coast Trail in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Strathcona Provincial Park

Located almost in the centre of Vancouver Island, Strathcona is a rugged mountain wilderness comprising more than 250,000 hectares. Mountain peaks - some perpetually mantled with snow - dominate the park. Lakes and alpine tarns dot a landscape laced with rivers, creeks and streams. Visitors to Strathcona have numerous hiking trails to enjoy, ranging from 20-minute ambles to arduous, multi-day hikes and mountaineering adventures. There is information on the Buttle Lake hiking trails, Forbidden Plateau Area hiking trails, nature walks and short trails and other hiking trails.

Jerry the Moose hiking

There are many backcountry/wilderness hiking opportunities in our provincial parks and protected areas. Here are some guidelines to follow when visiting these areas:

  • Anyone contemplating an extended or overnight hike should inform a friend or family of their intended route and anticipated return time.
  • Dogs and other domestic animals are not permitted in Bowron Lake, Garibaldi, Kokanee Glacier and Cathedral provincial parks. Other backcountry areas allow pets but may not be suitable due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears.
  • Be prepared for extreme and adverse weather conditions all year long. Snow, rain and stormy conditions can occur at any time, even during the summer season.
  • Enjoy your visit but remember if future generations are to enjoy their visits, you must leave the park undamaged. Flowers, trees, plants and even rocks are part of the park's natural resources. Damage to, collection or removal of any natural resources is prohibited.
  • Motor vehicles, including motorcycles, ATVs and similar vehicles, are restricted to the vehicle roads and parking lots.
  • Due to the fragility of the whole wilderness environment, open fires are not allowed within the park. Primus-type stoves should be used for all cooking in the backcountry.
  • Please don't litter – pack out what you pack in. The park's lakes and streams are the source of drinking water. Help protect the delicate balance of the water system by washing yourself, your clothes and dishes at least 30 metres from lakes or streams.
  • It is recommended that the serious hiker consider purchasing reference books available at local bookstores and outdoor stores.


Leave No Trace Ethics

Here are 7 key principles of Leave No Trace that we want you to practice:

  • Plan ahead and prepare
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize campfire impacts
  • Respect wildlife
  • Be considerate of other visitors
  • Dispose of waste properly

Remember, you can always take pictures; please leave it as you found it so that future visitors may also enjoy the park.