Parks, Trails, Places to Explore in British Columbia

Parks and Trails in British Columbia

In Canada the mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, glaciers, forests, wetlands, wildlife, vegetation and heritage sites all play a big part in the creation of our BC park system.

Some British Columbia parks are established to protect our wildlife, some to protect our history and some to protect our precious wilderness areas. There is over 11,400,000 hectares of BC parkland with over 2,700 kilometres of hiking and mountain biking trails.

Over 800 BC Parks in the province alone.

This, by no means, is the total number of wilderness and recreation parks in British Columbia, Canada as there are many National, Community, Regional and Forestry Recreation Parks also located throughout the province. This adds up to only 12.5% of our province is protected by BC Parks (very small percentage relatively) and 0.6% is protected by National Parks.

Provincial & National Parks

Provincial and National Parks are the most popular parks in the province. Some of the parks are very well developed with day use areas, amphitheaters, museums, parking lots, campgrounds, boat launches, showers and washrooms. Other BC Parks are left in their natural state.

Many of the Provincial and National parks include backpacking, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails plus camping. There are 340 Provincial Parks with campgrounds (11,075 campsites) in British Columbia. Many have a "pay to use" format in place.

Community & Regional Parks

Community and Regional Parks are, relatively allot smaller than Provincial and National Parks. Many are located near communities and include such items as picnic tables, sitting benches, playgrounds, band stands, paved walking trails, flower gardens, skateboard parks, viewpoints, washrooms, museums, swimming, info boards and more.

Forestry Recreation Sites

Forestry Recreation Sites are the most rural and remote British Columbia park destinations. They are often located on rough gravel roads leading deep into the backcountry to rivers and lakes. The BC recreation sites are more campsite than park with no power, pit toilets and sometimes a gravel boat launch but more often a roof top boat launch. Forestry Recreation Sites are self maintained. Please leave no trace behind. Pack out what you pack in!

Summary

British Columbia has many parks for all occasions and activities.  The Khutzeymateen Provincial Park is Canada's only grizzly bear sanctuary. The Tweedsmuir Provincial Park is British Columbia's largest provincial park covering 989,616 hectares. On Vancouver Island the 440 metre Della Falls in Strathcona Park is Canada's highest waterfall and is one of the ten highest falls in the world!

Parks are an important part of our province providing thousands an opportunity to enjoy the wilderness outdoors. It is said 6 out of 10 people living in BC visit a park every year.

The British Columbia parks and recreation sites are here for yours and our tourism enjoyment. Please help us care for them and respect them. Do not leave garbage behind. Do not feed the wildlife. Always ask questions on the services, amenities, fees and rules to live by when in the park.

Click the BC Regions below to view parks, trails and places in that area.

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Parks and Trails

Gulf Islands

Gulf Islands Parks and Trails

Haida Gwaii

Haida Gwaii Parks and Trails

Kootenay

Kootenay Parks and Trails

Lower Mainland

Lower Mainland Parks and Trails

North BC

North BC Parks and Trails

Okanagan

Okanagan Parks and Trails

Sunshine Coast

Sunshine Coast Parks and Trails

Thompson Shuswap

Thompson Shuswap Parks and Trails

Whistler Area

Whistler Region Parks and Trails
sleeping_beauty_trail 008
The Sleeping Beauty Trail is the best known rainforest trail in an area of many trails. The trail is very vertical with plenty of opportunity for stair climbing, rope climbing and depending on the seasons, trekking though mud and navigating around wash-outs.
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The Tow Hill Hiking Trail is a short 15-30 minute trek (approx. 1 km - .6 mi. one way) through coastal forests comprised of ferns, deadfall and salal all the way to the summit of Tow Hill and a lookout deck.
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STMARYSIGN
The St. Mary Spring Trail near Skidegate BC is a short single track climb up the side of a hill to some views of Hecate Strait.The significance of the trail is the drinking fountain, the Madonna wooden carving and the legendary words.
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Spirit Lake Trail should take between 1.5 to 2.5 hours to complete. The trail is well maintained and ends with a loop around the lake.
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misty_meadows_naikoon_provincial_park90
Misty Meadows in Naikoon Provincial Park is a beach of sand dunes. The great storms blow sand inland forming massive sand dunes.
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armours_beach 001
Armours Beach is a popular beach close to the village of Gibsons. Armours also provides a small wharf, a picnic area, a clubhouse and is home to the local populations "Polar Bear Swim"
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