We often travel to other countries to discover other landscapes, but in this article we are actually doing a road trip in our own country, Western Canada. Our journey ? From Vancouver to Calgary with an RV! We had already done a road trip with a camper in California with the same app and we loved it! So why not do it again in Western Canada? We heard that the landscapes are breathtaking!
The words and pictures are not enough to describe how wonderful our trip was, even wonderful is not strong enough, but who knows some tips and advice may help you and maybe would make you travel with us!
We are satisfied customers of the Imoova application for several reasons: price, flexibility, destinations, comfort, adventure … not necessarily in that order! I also want to say that we had nothing planned except the Vancouver-Calgary route. The places listed below are random discoveries during our road trip. So, to venture without having a concrete plan can be risky and make us miss places to see? Or rather, does not venturing into a plan make the journey even more wonderful by its unexpected discoveries? The answer is: it depends on you!
We arrived in the city of Vancouver: the first time for me, but many times for my boyfriend. A very charming city that combines urbanism with nature, it is bordered by water and the vibe had a warm atmosphere, its magnificent mountains, large parks and its harbor really charmed me. It seems to have all it needs to make its inhabitants happy.
After picking up the RV we stopped at Capilano Provincial Park, it is just 8.5 kilometers from Vancouver. It is worth going out of your way for! It is certainly known for its suspension bridge which is nice to do it, but it is mostly by following the trail of the park that has sublimated us by its gigantic trees, a very rich nature, dense and so fascinating. The price (in 2019) is $ 53.95 (CAD) for adults, $ 48.95 for Seniors (65 years old and over) or $ 39.95 for students. If you work at the airport, you can present your Restricted Area Identity Card (RAIC) and it will be FREE for you!
Notice to those who have vertigo, you might not appreciate because the trail and the bridge are high, but if your dizziness is not very developed you could still enjoy it.
The Falls and the Sea-to-Sky Highway
On the way to Whistler, there are several views to see huge waterfalls! Indeed, British Columbia is surrounded by mountains and water creating natural falls that are fun to watch and venture into. From Squamish to Whistler we saw Shanon Falls and Brandywine Falls. How could I describe them? Would “wow” be appropriate? It was our reaction when we saw them. This impresses us because they are beautiful, big, natural, noisy, you feel small as a human being in front of this gigantic nature.
The Sea-to-Sky Highway has, as its name suggests, an endless sky view with blue waters on the side or waterfalls, rivers, canyons and mountains as far as the eye can see on the other side. A beautiful road for both motorists and motorcyclists.
Where to park with an RV in Whistler ?
For our first night with a camper, we could stay and sleep in any provincial parks but when we arrived in Whistler, world famous for being one of the largest ski resorts in North America and the Olympic Winter Games in 2010, we wanted to stay close to this pretty ski village. After some research the same evening (yes as I told you, we had not organized anything), we came across a free parking after 5pm for campers. Perfect it was past 5pm 😊 Lot 4 parking is located a few steps from the ski slopes and the village! So, we parked and slept there (see directions) for the night!
And here we are on the road again for new adventures!
After leaving Whistler, we took the road north through Pemberton to see Nairn Falls Provincial Park, again one of the most beautiful falls ever seen! A small and pleasant walk to get there (between 10-15 minutes from the parking lot) surrounded by nature and along a river, it is always amazing when you get to the falls!
A new adventure was waiting for us! We wanted to go to a hot spring, a hot spring located north of Whistler called T’sek Hot Springs or Skookumchuck Hot Springs on the edge of the gigantic Lillooet River and oh so beautiful. I had never personally seen such natural beauty, the pleasure of riding along this clear-water river with the snow-capped mountains and the blue sky above was just indescribable. An even better happiness when it is shared with a partner who had the same wonder in his eyes and his heart in front of such splendor.
Is it possible to travel to T’sek Hot Springs with an RV ?
I would have liked to find this answer when I was looking for information before going there. Well for having done it and survived, the answer is absolutely yes! It is true that on some online forums we it said that the road could be hectic and bumpy since we left the highway completely to go in full nature. If you drive a 4×4 it would be less hectic, but we did it with a camper with no problem! You just have to be careful not to drive too fast and abruptly at the risk of damaging the vehicle, but everything went fine. Hat to the pilot! He’s the best.
How much does the campsite cost at the T’sek Hot Springs ?
You can get there for the day which is $ 7.50 but we wanted to stay there for the night after all the way we drove, about 50 kilometers from the start of the huge Lillooet Lake. For two people with our RV it cost us $ 30, they only accept cash. Since there were a lot of people because it was the Easter long weekend, we could not pick a beautiful spot close to the river, but we made a beautiful fire at night under the stars.
Driving out of Pemberton, one of the lakes we saw as the Joffre Lakes, really lovely with a panoramic view, I would say it is a must! You can even feed birds that perch on your hand, perfect for taking a memorable photo. There was still snow when we went in April, but the splendor was still there.
Pavilion Lake in Marble Canyon was for me my favorite viewpoint and lake. We stopped for a lunch break and found it by chance. We were pleasantly surprised by the beauty of this turquoise water. In addition, what is interesting or rather mysterious with this lake is that we can dive because there are underwater structures that look like coral, but the coral is only present in the hot seas and salt water. Researchers are still wondering about these strange structures. What is it about ? Watch this space …
While eating our sandwich in front of this turquoise and peaceful water, my boyfriend drops his phone, panic, he goes down in the water to recover it, the water is certainly beautiful, but it is also very cold! On my side I look at the scene and eat my sandwich quietly, then suddenly a snake appears in front of me! More fear than harm I’m just startled while my boyfriend takes a picture of me and this beautiful landscape (with his phone that still works by the way), but we remembered that during our last road trip with a camper in California, a snake had also passed in front of us and a picture had been taken! Coincidence? Illuminati? Conspiration?
Finally, we laugh heartily, we look up and see a Bald Eagle! Incredible, we had never seen one! In short, an anecdote that still makes me laugh today.
We then took the road again through Kamloops and the small town of Shuswap (yes, funny name), but we did not stop there.
On the way to Banff, the famous and very popular national park with the Lake Louise! But surprise or not really a surprise anymore, we came across other beautiful places before getting there.
Mount Revelstoke National Park, for example, has giant cedars, and that’s what one of the trails is called, the giant cedars boardwalk trail. A very nice trail surrounded by giant trees that some of them are over 500 years old. We feel very small in front of these immense creatures of nature. You can get there easily from the parking lot and will take just 15 minutes of your time, it is only 0.5 km, a perfect stop for a break on the Trans-Canada Highway 1.
We briefly passed through the town of Golden, located near the famous Kicking Horse ski resort where we could see the slopes overlooking the city. This brought back good memories to my boyfriend who has already skied there. A key part of the Canadian rockies!
Yoho National Park
Is a must stop and we were amazed (again!) By the Natural Bridge and Emerald Lake. We found them less touristy than Lake Louise, so more enjoyable to visit.
It is a beautiful observation point with the Kicking Horse River running under your feet and where you can venture out on rocks. The river flows naturally under the bridge. Such an indescribable beauty, when the few tourists left, we had the impression of being alone in the world.
As its name suggests, has a beautiful emerald color, it is indeed a jewel but also the largest lake in Yoho Park. It is retired and less known than Lake Louise, but I found it just as charming. Surrounded by several mountains all around, this magical setting is like a painting on canvas. There are often tourist buses that visit the bridge and the lake but they do not go around the lake so we took the opportunity to walk around. There are cabins all around so if you want to stay there, the place seems soothing and quiet.
We finally get to Lake Louise and indeed there were a lot of people. Not a surprise for once! It is a beautiful lake with turquoise water recognized around the world, so tourists come here all year long (maybe less in winter). Why Louise? as the name of a lake, I asked my boyfriend. This is actually the name of the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, the lake is also facing the Victoria Glacier and the legend says that it symbolizes the Queen who keeps an eye on his daughter Louise. That’s what one of the waiters from the picturesque Chateau Lake Louise told us. Yes, we had a coffee Bailey’s in this beautiful castle overlooking the lake, a perfect moment of relaxation.
It is by looking at my photos that I realize that all good things come to an end. Our road trip with our camper ends in Calgary with a journey of 1,260 km of pure happiness.
One last cool tip before ending this article, there is Highway 1A parallel to the Trans-Canada Highway between Banff and Calgary which is smaller with a speed limit to better observe and appreciate nature with beautiful views. Keep an eye on the road, animals can cross, that’s why the speed is limited to respect the wildlife.
We may go back someday so any questions or comments are welcome.
Looking forward to writing or seeing you on our next trip ….