Great Bear Circle Route
7 to 10 days, 2116.08 km (1314.87 mi)

 

This scenic adventure includes coastal villages, hiking amid volcanic mountains, fishing well-stocked lakes and discovering the Gold Rush Trail.


PART 1
Ferry to Vancouver Island
187 km4 hours 2 mins
In Tsawwassen, south of Vancouver, board BC Ferries to set off on the coastal leg of your journey. In Victoria, take time to admire the city’s gardens, parks, museums and beaches before driving north to see the world’s largest outdoor art gallery – 40 painted murals in the seaside community of Chemainus. Or venture off to the surrounding area and visit one of the many welcoming wineries and vineyards.

In Nanaimo, take a heritage tour and stroll along the waterfront or head to Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park where a shoreline of sandstone cliffs, complete with caves and caverns, awaits your exploration.

Continue north towards Port Alberni.

PART 2
Side Trip to the West Coast
382 km4 hours 7 mins
A side trip across the island on Highway 4 to Port Alberni offers a variety of discoveries. Wind your way through the ancient Douglas fir trees of Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park, or head west and stay at a wilderness lodge in the seaside villages of Ucluelet or Tofino. While there, experience remote Hot Springs Cove (only accessible by boat or plane), and leave your footprints on Long Beach, the longest stretch of surf-swept sand on Vancouver Island’s west coast.

Return along Highway 4 to head north on Highway 19A, and relax on the sandy beaches of Parksville – ideal for warm, saltwater swimming – and the stunning shoreline of Qualicum Beach. Continuing north, cast a line in Campbell River, the Salmon Capital of the World; the fishing and scenery are spectacular. Stop in Telegraph Cove, a village raised on stilts, and join a whale watching tour.

PART 3
Ferries to Bella Coola
263 km10 hours 56 mins
From Port Hardy, board BC Ferries Discovery Coast Connector for the two-stage journey to Bella Coola. Catch a connecting ferry in Bella Bella for the final voyage to Bella Coola; stops along the way may include Shearwater, Klemtu and Ocean Falls. As you ferry north, keep your eyes on the ocean to see whales blowing up spray or sea lions sunning themselves on the small islets and along the rocky shoreline.

PART 4
Bella Coola through Tweedsmuir Provincial Park
232 km2 hours 45 mins
Drive the celebrated “Freedom Highway” (Hwy 20), named for the determined locals who built the road from Bella Coola to Anahim Lakeon the Chilcotin Plateau. The highway climbs a steep, exhilarating switch-backed route—known locally as “The Hill”—to an elevation of 1,524m/5,000ft. (Note: this road is mostly paved, but there is also a well-maintained gravel section; suitable for all vehicles.) Head from Bella Coola past the rugged Coast Mountains to Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. BC’s largest park spans 981,000 hectares/2,452,500 acres, and enchants visitors with volcanic “Rainbow Mountains,” flowering meadows, waterfalls and glacial-capped peaks.

Fly fishing for trout, camping, hiking, canoeing and horseback riding are all popular activities here. Look for mountain goats, caribou, black bears, moose and countless bird species. Charter a floatplane to fly over Turner Lake and view one of North America’s highest waterfalls – Hunlen Falls plunges 253m/850ft over a sheer rock face.

PART 5
Lakes and Hoodoos
221 km3 hours 12 mins
Drive from Tatla Lake to Chilko Lake, along a gravel road for 80 km/45 mi. Go angling for trophy-sized rainbow and bull trout in the turquoise waters of Chilko Lake, the largest, natural, high-elevation freshwater lake in North America.

Stop near Alexis Creek, named after Chief Alexis of the Chilcotin tribe, at Bull Canyon and Battle Rock. Here, the Chilcotin defended their lands in fierce battles with the Shuswap and Bella Coola First Nations. From Riske Creek, detour along Farwell Canyon Road (a well maintained gravel road) to see hoodoos at Farwell Canyon and Junction Sheep Range Provincial Park, which is home to more than 500 free-roaming bighorn sheep.

PART 6
Williams Lake to Clinton
164 km1 hour 48 mins
Heading east again on Hwy 20, you’ll find Williams Lake amid rolling ranchlands. Visit the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin and the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame for a dose of cowboy culture. Williams Lake is also a great spot for mountain biking and a launching point for rafting trips on the Chilcotin, Chilko and Fraser rivers. Drive south on the old Cariboo Wagon Road, Hwy 97, to 100 Mile House and see an original stagecoach.

Continue beyond to Clinton, where you can jump in the saddle for a real cowboy experience at one of the area’s many guest ranches. Along with delicious home-style cooking and western hospitality, you can ride the range and round up cattle. Or explore the countryside while fishing, hiking, canoeing and river rafting. And remember, from May to September rodeo events in this region are as common as cattle.

PART 7
Pemberton to Whistler
234 km3 hours 24 mins
Head south towards Pemberton and stop to hike along thickly forested trails that lead to views of hanging glaciers and turquoise-coloured lakes. Complete the circle tour via the spectacular Sea-to-Sky Highway (Hwy 99).

PART 8
Whistler to Vancouver
136 km2 hours 1 min
From the mountain encircled village of Whistler, travel through narrow valleys with mountain glaciers visible in the distance alongside Howe Sound.

The Sea-to-Sky Highway turns a final corner and the mountains give way to a spectacular view of Vancouver—arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

© 2021 – Destination BC Corp. All rights reserved.

Motorhome Adventures with Norman and Leah

  • Motorhome Adventures with Norman and Leah

    Motorhome Adventures with Norman and Leah

    A quick video introducing us - Leah and Norman - and the project Happy Holidays Hits the Road. Join us in a Happy Holidays Motorhome Rental as we travel around BC. Let us know if you have any suggestions of place we absolutely MUST SEE!     Read More
  • Episode 1 - RV adventure in Squamish

    Episode 1 - RV adventure in Squamish

    Episode 1 - This week, we explored the Sea to Sky corridor and Squamish. Join us as we kill ourselves on a hike much too advanced for our fitness levels, and as we sun ourselves at Porteau Cove. Read More
  • Episode 2 - RV Life In Whistler

    Episode 2 - RV Life In Whistler

    Episode 2 - Join us as we hit up Whistler - the outdoor adventure capital of BC! We hike, explore, eat, and off-road our way through this outdoor paradise - with home base as a gorgeous, fully stocked Happy Holidays Motorhome Rental of course! Read More
  • Episode 3 - RV Life in Pemberton

    Episode 3 - RV Life in Pemberton

    Episode 3 - Rushing rivers, towering mountains, and endless meadows - join us as we tour North America's #1 horse breeding and training facility - we got to meet a foal that was less than a day old! With lakes, rivers, glaciers, and baby horses, Pemberton has WAY more to offer than it first appears. Read More
  • Episode 4 - RV Life on the Road in Lillooet

    Episode 4 - RV Life on the Road in Lillooet

      This week we made the gorgeous trek from Lillooet to Clearwater, BC. This route is on the way to the Canadian Rockies, and is worth a visit! Seton Lake, Schnitzel in 100 Mile House, and the adorable historic gold town of Clinton, BC make the kilometers fly by. Read More
  • Episode 5 - RV Life in Wells Gray Provincial Park

    Episode 5 - RV Life in Wells Gray Provincial Park

    Check out the shenanigans as we goof off in Wells Gray Provincial Park. This video is a bit more quirky than the last few, so we hope you like it! Read More
  • Episode 6 - RV Life in Robson Valley - Mountains, Cabins, And Bears - oh my

    Episode 6 - RV Life in Robson Valley - Mountains, Cabins, And Bears - oh my

    This week we visited the Robson Valley Region. We saw the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies, a family of bears, and a gorgeous little cabin. Read More
  • Episode 7 - RV Tour in Jasper - Mountains, Music, and Food

    Episode 7 - RV Tour in Jasper - Mountains, Music, and Food

    Springtime is the perfect time to visit Jasper National Park - you'll miss most of the crowds, and be in time to see the bears, elk, and goats bask in the springtime sun. Read More
  • Episode 8 - Banff by RV - Finding Our Happy Holiday

    Episode 8 - Banff by RV - Finding Our Happy Holiday

     Experience the best of Banff with us - the peaks, the waters, the ice, and the snow! Read More
  • Episode 9 - Waterton Lakes Motorhome Tour - We met a Grizzly Bear

    Episode 9 - Waterton Lakes Motorhome Tour - We met a Grizzly Bear

    This week, we headed down to Waterton Lakes National Park - and we were AMAZED! It was absolutely beautiful, with endless fields of wildflowers, a castle staffed by kilted employees, and one of the most thrilling hikes in the world! (Don't believe us - National Geographic named this hike top 20 in the world!) Read More
  • Episode 10 - East Kootenays by RV - Hot Springs and Whitewater Rafting

    Episode 10 - East Kootenays by RV - Hot Springs and Whitewater Rafting

    Join us for Episode 10 of our Happy Holidays Hits the Road journey! This week, we explored the East Kootenays - featured in this video, we have: Radium Hot Springs Kootenay National Park Kicking Horse Mountain Resort The Eagle Eye Restaurant The Old Bauernhaus Restaurant Hydra Whitewater Rafting Read More
  • Episode 11 - Revelstoke - Stoked to be here

    Episode 11 - Revelstoke - Stoked to be here

     As we traveled around Revelstoke, it was clear - all the locals absolutely LOVE their town. And it is clear why! This mountain playground really does have it all. This video features: Revelstoke Mountain Resort The Alpine Coaster Peak Axe Throwing Centennial Park Mount Revelstoke National Park (Eva Lake hike) Read More
  • Episode 12 - West Kootenays RV Tour - Nelson, Kaslo, and New Denver

    Episode 12 - West Kootenays RV Tour - Nelson, Kaslo, and New Denver

    This week, we visited New Denver, Nelson, and Kaslo. This area is gorgeous, quirky, and totally undiscovered! Visit the West Kootenays for a fresh take on the Rockies!  Read More
  • Episode 13 - Okanagan Valley RV Trip

    Episode 13 - Okanagan Valley RV Trip

    In this video, Norman and I ventured to the ever-popular Okanagan Valley - Canada's wine country! With something for everyone of all ages, the Okanagan should absolutely make your list of must-see places in BC. Featured in this video: Shuswap Lake St. Andrew's by the Lake Golf Course Osoyoos waterfront Rattlesnake Canyon Amusement Park Osoyoos Desert Model Railroad Orchard Valley RV Park Grey Monk Winery Nk'mip Winery Kelowna Farmer's Market Sicamous boat launch Read More
  • Episode 14 - Vancouver by Bicycle - the BEST way to see the city

    Episode 14 - Vancouver by Bicycle - the BEST way to see the city

    If you have an extra day at the beginning or end of your trip, a bike tour of Vancouver would ALWAYS be our suggestion. See the park, visit the old town, and ride the seawall - all without sitting in traffic! Read More
  • Episode 15 - Goats on the Roof - Vancouver Island by Motorhome

    Episode 15 - Goats on the Roof - Vancouver Island by Motorhome

     In this episode, Norman and I visit Victoria, BC, and hit up the Goats on the Roof Market in Coombs. Read More
  • Episode 16 - Tofino by Motorhome

    Episode 16 - Tofino by Motorhome

    In this episode, Norman and I visited the west coast paradise known as TOFINO! The surfing capital of Canada, and a true beach-front town, Tofino has a LOT to offer. We were blown away by the endless beaches, towering forests, and great local scene! Read More
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Creative Consultant - Wingtip Creative Media