The first thing that comes to mind when people mention Western Canada is the outdoors and rightly so. The vast swathes of untamed nature in its raw beauty are truly an outdoorsman’s dream. It’s got green meadows, azure lakes, dense woods, and gorgeous snow-capped mountains in the distance just waiting to be explored. If you want to get away from the hectic city life and have a laid-back weekend, here are things to try in Western Canada.
Visit eye-catching towns
Western Canada has some of the country’s homiest and coziest little towns. These quaint communities are laid-back yet filled with a natural charm like no other. Here some of the best towns to visit
Tofino – This endearing little town is very reminiscent of a surfing town like those in California. Surfing and other water sports are what tourists came here for. The waves are great all year long thanks to the Pacific Ocean. The town itself has a very rustic vibe with lots of small restaurants and shops.
Banff – This quaint little town is actually in the middle of National Park. The picturesque streets are lined with unique buildings and shops. The brick and chalet-style roofs prominent in the town are picture-perfect models with the Canadian Rockies in the background.
Bon Accord – This little town in Alberta, is perfect for stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts. The community ensures zero light pollution making stargazing such a more vivid experience. Perfect if you want to take stunning photos of the night sky.
Hike the great outdoors
Western Canada’s best-known feature is the vast wilderness with countless miles of trails and paths. From beginner-friendly routes to highly challenging treks, there is surely something for everybody. Here are a few notable places to find the best trails for you.
Mt Revelstoke National Park – in British Columbia is known for its stunning views, fresh air, and unbridled nature. The park boasts hiking trails that are also great for trail running. These run through the dense rainforest and into the scenic views at the top.
Jasper National Park – is another great place for good trails. This Alberta national park is famous all year round with hikers even coming in winter. Snow hiking is made easy through rental snowshoes and skis available in many rental places nearby.
Banff National Park – nestled in the Canadian Rockies, this park is a treasure trove of hiking experiences. There are over a thousand miles of hiking trails to choose from for beginners to seasoned hikers alike.
Go overnight camping
When hiking isn’t enough time spent outdoors, why not spend the night? Camping is another fun way to spend the weekend. Here are awesome camping spots in all of Western Canada.
Dinosaur Provincial Park – a stark contrast of other greener provincial parks, this quirkily named park is a favourite among night sky enthusiasts. No large trees and clear nights makes this spot perfect for stargazing and astrophotography. During the day you can explore the terrain or paddle at the nearby river.
Grindstone Provincial Park – Hecla Island is a popular campsite for avid canoers and paddlers. It sits in the middle of Winnipeg lake with access to small inlets and a few other features. There is a nearby town if you still want to camp out but still near civilization.
Lac La Ronge Provincial Park – The Hidden Bay Campground is a very accessible lakeside campsite. It has tons of easy spots just near the road amidst a backdrop of the beautiful Wollaston Lake. Here, campers can fish in the lake or explore the nearby surroundings through the many trails.
See gorgeous lakes
Speaking of lakes, Western Canada has a lot of these. Each with their own unique charm and character but all beautiful. Most of these are flat and tranquil making them perfect for kayaking and stand up paddleboarding or SUP. Don’t worry if you’re new to paddleboarding, it’s pretty easy! A weekend trip would not be complete without visiting at least one. Here are some notable lakes to see in the region.
Lake Louise – This lake has a stunning view unlike any other. The water is pristine and calm making it a popular paddleboarding destination. The gorgeous view of the Canadian Rockies towering on the horizon while you paddle along is one of the most relaxing things to do.
Emerald Lake – The aptly named lake is made from glacial melt known for its distinct green/turquoise waters. Found in the Yoho National Park, this lake is a popular destination for sightseeing, canoeing, and kayaking.
Garibaldi Lake – This hidden gem requires quite a hike to get to but its beauty is well worth it. This tranquil lake near Squamish has one of the most spectacular displays of untamed nature. The seaplane tour of the lake is also a great way to see all its glory.
Go mountain biking
If you’re feeling a bit more adventures and want adrenaline-pumping action on your weekend trip then give mountain biking a go. Western Canada has grown a reputation in recent years as a prime destination for downhill and mountain biking because of its wide variety of trails. It’s got highly technical paths as well as beginner-friendly ones making it a bikers paradise.
Fernie – this city in BC is well known among mountain bikers for having some of the best trails in the region. The challenging ones draw hundreds of enthusiasts each year looking to test their skills on the tracks. Castle Rocks and Swine Flu are two of the well-known trails in the area.
Alberta – The region is home to some of the best singletrack biking trails in Western Canada. Most of which are located in Banff and Jasper. The rough backcountry is what makes these trails extra challenging and a whole lot of fun. Notable trails include Jewel Pass in Jasper and Topp Notch in Banff.
Manitoba – The province is one of the prime outdoor destinations in Western Canada. In stark contrast to highly Urban Winnepeg (its capital), the majority of Manitoba is an untamed wilderness. Mountain biking trails and canoeing spots dot the area.