Motorhome Winter Road Trip in the Canadian Rockies
Holiday Ref: 16494
Experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the snow-capped Canadian Rockies, towering in all their glory before you as you transport yourself to a place where the silence of the forest is broken by crunching snow and the occasional cry of a bald eagle.
Winter experiences abound on this adventure, from trekking the mountainside in snowshoes, snowmobiling, ice-climbing up a frozen waterfall, or conquering one of the many mountains on skis.
Follow all of that excitement with a relaxing stay in the beautiful Pacific Coastal City of Vancouver. We have even added a visit to the renowned Granville Island Market.
Upon arrival in Vancouver International Airport make your way to you overnight Airport hotel. The remainder of the day is free to explore.
You will be picked up from your Vancouver Airport hotel and transported to the Motorhome pickup location. After your orientation brief you are free to head off. Just 30 minutes from Vancouver lies one of three local winter destinations. If you’ve never experienced snow or just can’t get enough, visit the Snow Tubing Park at Cypress Mountain. Feel the thrill of sliding down chutes in a snow tube and let the tube tow do all the work to get you back to the top. If tubing doesn’t appeal, how about some snowshoeing? Even closer to Vancouver, on the North shore, you’ll find Grouse Mountain where their Super Skyride whisks you to the best in local skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and ice skating.
After some enjoyment on the slopes head north on Highway Shannon Falls. Shannon Falls is 6 times higher than Niagara with a 335 metre (1099 feet) drop. Short trails lead to several excellent views of the falls from the parking lot in Shannon Falls Provincial Park. After visiting Shannon Falls, be sure to stop at the Sea to Sky Gondola. Glide above the town of Squamish as you enjoy incredible views of Howe Sound, Squamish Chief Mountain and Shannon Falls.. From Squamish, it's only a short drive to MTN Fun Basecamp where we suggest you spend the night.
Today continue north on Highway 99. Approx 20km before Whistler, look out for the turn-off to Brandywine Falls Provincial Park. The spectacular 70 metre waterfall for which the park is named is best seen from the viewpoint which also presents some marvellous views of Daisy Lake and the surrounding mountains. The park trails provide good beginner snowshoe opportunities.
Plan to arrive in Whistler around mid-day. This will give you plenty of time to plan your activities for the next 3 days. A genuine winter wonderland, Whistler offers endless ways to enjoy the great outdoors. From recognized winter activities to zip-lining and bungee jumping – it’s all right here.
Whistler’s Peak to Peak gondola is one of the “must-do” attractions at any time of the year in Whistler. The gondola links Whistler Mountain’s Roundhouse Lodge with Blackcomb Mountain’s Rendezvous Restaurant and holds the world record for the longest free span between top towers at just over 3km. The trip between the two mountains offers spectacular views of the township of Whistler and the areas beyond. For a bigger thrill, ride one of the ‘grey’ cars which have glass bottoms. If ziplining is something you've always wanted to try, Ziptrek Ecotours are open year-round and offer four different ziplining tours close to the Whistler downtown area.
This afternoon we suggest taking a 3 hour Dogsled trip into the magnificent old growth forest of the Callaghan Valley.
Spend another day enjoying everything Whistler has to offer. How about some outdoor ice skating at Green Lake? Skate for as long as your legs will carry you under the watchful eye of the magnificent mountains on Green Lake – an experience like no other.
Why not consider a mountain top fondue dinner at Crystal Hut, perched atop Blackcomb Mountain at 6000ft. Chefs will treat you to a local interpretation of a traditional candle-lit fondue dinner accompanied by fine wine and followed by fresh baked fruit pie served hot from a wood fired oven.
Just 20 minutes north of Whistler and 5 minutes from the Pemberton Town Centre is Nairn Falls Provincial Park. It’s possible to walk-in from the road and follow the 1.5km hiking trail that will take you to the Falls viewpoint.
The Pemberton Valley is threaded with rivers and steep walled alpine valleys punctuated with glacier fed lakes. Hidden in the hills are many natural hot springs, some popular and some kept secret. Be sure to ask locals for the best place to go and soak. From Pemberton, the highway becomes the Duffy Lake Road (Highway 99) and winds through the most spectacular of the Coast Mountain peaks. At the start you will enter the Mount Currie Indian Reserve of the Lil'wat group of Stl'atl'lmx Nation. While travelling through the mountains along the Duffy Lake Road you will leave the wet coastal forests and abruptly enter the rain shadow of British Columbia's interior. Hardy pine trees and sagebrush replace the towering fir trees and green foliage of the west coast. You can expect to encounter snow during winter months but the road is ploughed regularly.
The town of Lillooet dates back to the Cariboo Gold Rush. Lillooet was mile 0, the start of the old Cariboo Wagon Trail that joined with the Gold Rush Trail south at Lytton (along Highway 12).
Today you travel south on highway 12 which takes you into a high mountain region. It is here that the Coastal Mountain range meets a semi arid desert created by the rain shadow of the mountains. Just east of Lytton is the Stein Valley Heritage Park, the last major, biologically complete unlogged valley in British Columbia. The park contains 14 ecological zones and offers the visitor an opportunity to visit all of the zones. This is a walk in wilderness park with no vehicles allowed. Due to the low snow levels in the park during winter, it may be possible to hike some trails with care.
At the junction of Highway 99 and 97, is Historic Hat Creek Ranch where you will turn south towards Cache Creek. Known for its old west ambience, the town was a stopover for travellers on the arduous Gold Rush Trail. The trail is now a major highway, but signs along its length commemorate the pioneers and gold seekers who trekked it when it was no more than a trail etched into the steep canyon walls.
Follow Highway 1 and the Thompson River south and stop where the Canadian Northern Pacific Railway hammered in its last spike at Basque, near Ashcroft. As you drive, notice the terrain and think of the challenge that faced railway engineers and labourers. Highway 1 is carved into the cliffs of the Fraser Canyon following the river as it rushes between the rocky walls and past Hell's Gate, the narrowest point on the whole river.
At Yale, the canyon opens up and the Fraser River spills out into the Fraser Valley. The raging white water becomes a slow, meandering waterway carrying log booms, barges and tugboats. The Yale Museum provides the background on the significance of this location as the start of the Gold Rush Trail.
Further on is Hope, where you head east to Vancouver along either Highway 1 or Highway 7. Hope is at the foot of the Cascade Mountains and is known as the Chainsaw Carving Capital of Canada.
The route along Highway 7 north of the Fraser River is very scenic and includes a short 8 kilometre jog to the resort village of Harrison Hot Springs, one of British Columbia's finest resort communities. Since its inception, Harrison Hot Springs has grown in class and reputation, and is now considered a world-class vacation destination. The town's two mineral hot springs beckon tourists, inviting them to relax while taking in the stunning scenery. Travel through fields and dairy farms as you head towards Vancouver.
Upon arrival into Vancouver head to the Motorhome drop off location, then make your way into the City where you will spend the next 3 nights.
We have included a Granville Island Market tour for you which is Canada’s second most visited destination, behind Niagara Falls, and Vancouver’s destination for lovers of food, art and culture. During your tour you can eat your way through the world famous Public Market and hear the intriguing stories, culture and history behind the tasty creations. It is truly one of the most authentic way to experience Vancouver.
Make sure you take time to check out some more of Vancouver’s not to be missed locations, such as Stanley Park, English Bay, Robson Street Shopping District, Gastown, Chinatown, Vancouver Lookout and Canada Place.
Today your Canadian Winter adventure ends with check out of your Vancouver hotel and make your way to Vancouver International Airport for your return flight back to the UK