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Hiking the Tonquin Trail in Tofino, BC

The beautiful Tonquin Trail in Tofino, British Columbia is a must do trail while you visit the coastal town.  Offering beautiful views of Clayoquot Sound the trail begins at Tofino Community Hall and winds through the old-growth forest to Tonquin Beach and Third Beach.  If you are looking to a beautiful but easy trail to hike while visiting Tofino the Tonquin Trail is must do!

Tonquin Trail Tofino British Columbia

Here is our guide to hiking the Tonquin Trail in Tofino, British Columbia!

Getting to the Tonquin Trail

There is three access points onto the trail which allows you to do a loop instead of having to double back on the same trail which is what we suggest!

The first access point is off Arnet Road by Tofino Community Hall.  Drive to Arnet Road off 1st Street and head west.  This is a dead end road that will take you up a hill to the parking lot.  You can park here and start from the top of the trailhead.  There are two access points here one takes you to the beach more directly and the other winds you through the forest towards Third Beach.

Tonquin Trail Tofino British Columbia

The second access point is where Leighton Way and Peterson Drive (off of Arnet) meet.  There is a gravel path at the corner of Leighton and Peterson where you can walk straight down the gravel trail where it meets up with the path from the first access point off Arnet Road.

The last access point is where the road forks at Arnet Road and Tonquin Park Road.  At the fork stay left and head down Tonquin Park Road where you will come to a set of wooden stairs and bridge that gives you the first look of Tonquin Beach.  Head along the wooden pathway where you will come to a set of concrete stairs that the trees have grown thick around and on the other side you will end up on Tonquin Beach!

Tonquin Trail Tofino British Columbia

Our suggestion for a complete loop and the easiest loop is park along the side of Arnet road before the hill and walk up towards Tofino Community Hall and take the path on your right.  You will walk down a series of hills on the gravol path that will take you to the stairs leading down to the beach.  If you want to extend your trip and see all the view points along the trail towards Third Beach keep left and make sure to stop at each of the view points and see the beautiful views of the Clayoquot Sound.  You will have to double back on this extension of the trail and then head down the stair to the beach and watch the waves roll in onto the sandy Tonquin Beach.  To have an easier hike back out take the third access point back towards Tonquin Park Road where you will only have to deal with a series of staircases and no stairs and hills if you head backtowards Tofino Community Hall.  This way you also get the opportunity to see more of the trail!

Tonquin Trail Tofino British Columbia


Distance of Hikes on Tonquin Trail

The Tonquin Trail in its entirety is 2.6 kilometres round-trip.  The distance from Community Hall to Tonquin Beach is 850m and Community Hall to Third Beach is 1.3km.  The difficulty of this hike is easy to moderate as there are some areas with steep gradient and a series of stairs.

Tonquin Trail Tofino British Columbia


Must See Spots While on the Tonquin Trail

Tonquin Beach – Tonquin Beach is a must see location – this wide sandy beach that is perfect to swimming or just exploring the sandy coast line.  The beach offers beautiful views of the Clayoquot Sound.  Tonquin Trail Tofino British Columbia Tonquin Trail Tofino British Columbia Tonquin Trail Tofino British ColumbiaMaze Lookout – Maze lookout is probably the nicest lookout along the trail.  With its nice boardwalk that juts out over the water overlooking Templar Channel, Wickannish Island and Lennard Island. The bent trees hanging low off the trail are part of the iconic look of the area.

Tonquin Trail Tofino British ColumbiaTonquin Trail Tofino British Columbia Tonquin Trail Tofino British Columbia Tonquin Trail Tofino British Columbia Tonquin Trail Tofino British Columbia

Bridge Leading to Tonquin Park Road  – This bridge was difficult to find but we were determined to find it.  From Tonquin Beach there is a small opening with old concrete steps leading into the forest – here you will find a beautiful wooden bridge that offers a great lookout spot back onto Tonquin Beach.

Tonquin Trail Tofino British Columbia Tonquin Trail Tofino British Columbia


This beautiful Tonquin Trail is an absolute must do while visiting Tofino!  Where is your favourite spot to go while hiking the trail?

Hiking the Tonquin Trail Tofino British Columbia

Staying at Crystal Cove Beach Resort, Tofino

Looking for the perfect place to stay in the heart of Tofino set in the rainforest along the edge of the Pacific Ocean then Crystal Cove Beach Resort is the perfect place for you.  Offering private camping spots, beautiful log cabins, the perfect beach to watch the sunrise and so much more.

Here is our guide to staying at Crystal Cove Beach Resort in Tofino British Columbia.

Getting to Crystal Cove Beach Resort

If you are driving from Victoria it will take about five hours to reach Crystal Cove Beach Resort.  You drive North from Victoria along Highway (Island Highway), if you want to bypass Nanaimo take Highway 19 (exit right towards Campbell River) and continue to drive North from Nanaimo and watch for the Port Alberni exit (Highway 4 West).  Drive through Port Alberni and continue along Highway 4 until you reach the Ucluelet-Tofino Junction.  Turn right at the junction towards Tofino along the Pacific Rim Highway and Crystal Cove Beach Resort is another 30km down the highway on the left hand side.

Road Tripping to Tofino

Note* The drive between Port Alberni and the Ucluelet-Tofino Junction is a very mountainous and windy road that is only one lane for the majority of the way. Driving this road in the dark or rain can cause you to go much slower than initially expected especially if you are driving an RV.  Make sure to go to the speed you are comfortable and pull over at the passing spots to let other cars by.

Driving to Tofino


Checking In and Resort Office at Crystal Cove Beach Resort

The Crystal Cove Beach Resort office is open from 8:30am to 10:00pm everyday which is great to acomodate later arrivals.  Upon arrival you will be walk into a beautiful log cabin type building where you will be greeted by friendly staff to help you to check in.  The resort office beyond checking you in offers tour information, a list of sample menus for local restaurants in Tofino, complimentary DVD rentals, books to borrow as well as board games to play.  You can also purchase firewood, laundry soap, ice as well as tours.  The office also has a complimentary computer, telephone and big screen TV for guest use.

Additional to all the great amenities that Crystal Cove Beach Resort Office has to offer they also have Bean at the Cove Coffee Bar.  Bean at the Cove Coffee Bar offers complimentary brewed coffee in the morning or offer teas, lattes, americanos, pastries and more for a price.  Bean at the Cove Coffee Bar is open daily in the Summer from 8:30am to 3:00pm (June-September) and the rest of the season from 8:30am to 1:00pm.


Cabins and Cottage Accommodation at Crystal Cove Beach Resort

Cottage and Cabin Tofino Accommodation at Crystal Cove Beach Resort

One of the options for your Tofino accommodation is staying in a cabin or cottage at Crystal Cove Beach Resort.  The resort is home to 34 modern log cabins which include a full kitchen, BBQ on the deck as well as a fireplace.  Some of the cabins sit right along the MacKenzie Beach while others are tucked into the rainforest.  We did not get the opportunity to stay in the cabins as we were camping in our RV but when we return we will definitely be staying in one of these cabins!  To check out all the cabins offered at Crystal Cove Beach Resort check out their website here. 


RV Camping at Crystal Cove Beach Resort

We had the opportunity to camp for two nights at Crystal Cove Beach Resort and loved every minute of it including the rain!  This is the premiere Tofino RV park and camping that offers year-round RV camping in private spots that are tucked into the lush rainforest.  Each site offers 30 amp power, sewer and water hook ups as well as a picnic table, wireless internet and a fire pit.

Crystal Cove Beach Resort RV Park and Camping Tofino AccommodationThe shower house has flush toilets and offers warm showers that do not need tokens and have no timers shutting off the water.  We stayed in site 7 and had lots of space in our campsite and felt secluded.  We were just steps away from the laundry, washrooms, office as well as the beach.  Check out the campground map here to find the spot best for you!


Things to Know Before Visiting Crystal Cove Beach Resort

Crystal Cove Beach Resort

We highly suggest you make a reservation whether it is during peak season or low season.  Tent camping is not available at Crystal Cove Beach resort, but there are plenty of other places you can camp including Pacific Rim National Park if you are travelling with your tent.  There is a minimum of three night minimum stay during peak season and two night minimum stay during low season.  Pets are welcomed at Crystal Cove Beach Resort as long as they are on leash on the grounds.


Top Things to do at Crystal Cove Beach Resort

Our top recommended thing is to watch the sunrise over MacKenzie Beach it will be the perfect way to start your day.  The pink and purple hues that light the sky as the sun begins to rise behind the campground are a site you will not want to miss.  Watch the waves crash into the rocks and listen to the sound of the beach.  This serene setting is the best way to start your day with a cup of coffee from Bean at the Cove Coffee Bar.

Sunrise at MacKenzie Beach Tofino Crystal Cove Beach Resort

Explore the grounds of Crystal Cove Beach Resort with the beautiful organic gardening that is located throughout the grounds and the beach.  Explore the winding roads that take you through the rows of beachfront cabins and cottages, private RV sites and find your spot for your next visit to this hidden gem of a Tofino destination.

Crystal Cove Beach Resort Tofino Accommodation


Crystal Cove Beach Resort is one of the nicest campgrounds we have ever stayed in with the beach access steps away from all accommodations, the complimentary drip coffee, board games, DVDs and books all for borrow really are a nice touch.  It is the perfect getaway for family, couples and friends.  Regardless of your trip you will not be dissapointed with your stay at Crystal Cove Beach Resort and we cannot wait to come back!

Staying at Crystal Cove Beach Resort Tofino Accommodation Staying at Crystal Cove Beach Resort Tofino Accommodation

What to do in Tofino When it’s Raining

Sitting along the Pacific Ocean Tofino is well known for its storms.  People flock from around the world to cozy up in their cabins and watch the storms roll off the ocean.  But what do you do in Tofino when it’s raining and you still want to get out and explore this beautiful coastal town?

Raining in Tofino

 

We had the opportunity to experience a true Tofino rain storm where it rain over 150mm of rain during the day we were planned on exploring.  Well we didn’t let a little (A LOT) of rain stop us.  The most important thing when coming to Tofino is come prepared for the rain.  Make sure to check out our post on what to pack while visiting Tofino.

Here is our guide on what to Tofino when it’s raining!

Rainforest Trail Hike

Tofino Rainforest Trail

Head to the Rainforest Trail just outside of Tofino when it’s raining.  This beautiful hike is covered under the thick canopy of the rainforest that cuts the rain significantly.  Located in Pacific Rim National Park this scenic Rainforest Trail is one of most popular hikes amongst visitors and locals alike.  The trail has two loops one on each side of the highway.  We opted to explore loop A that is a 1.2km loop on the wooden boardwalk weaves you through the rainforest with thousands of year old trees.  The loop should take you no more than an hour with stopping at each of the interpretative signs to learn as you go. On a rainy day you wont see many others out on the trail so you will have this majestic forest all to yourself.


Bundle Up and Walk the Beaches

Tofino when its raining

People come from all over the world to watch the storms – why stay inside and miss the beauty of Tofino in the rain?  Head over to Cox beach and watch the swells roll into the beach and slam against the rocks.   Go for a walk along the beach you will be surprised how many other adventurers you will find out amongst you but it will still be very peaceful!


Head to the Long Beach Lodge Resort Grab a Drink or Bite to Eat & Play Games

Long Beach Lodge Resort

Where can you go watch the rain but stay dry in Tofino when it’s raining? Head over and check out the Long Beach Lodge Resort.  Go in for a full meal or just a cup of hot chocolate or coffee to warm up! Make sure to grab a seat by the floor to ceiling windows that over look Cox beach.  Looking to spend an few hours here? Ask your server for board games – they are tucked away but they would be happy to pull them out for you!


Go Surfing

Tofino in Rain

You get wet when you go surfing so it doesn’t matter whether its raining or not! Book a beginning surf lessions with one of the may companies that offer beginingers surf lessions or if you have surfed before rent a board and go hit the waves!


Go Whale Watching

Looking for an excursion in Tofino when it’s raining that takes you out on an adventure? Whale watching goes out rain or shine (as long as the storms arnt too bad – call your tour operator before you head over).  The whales don’t appear based on the weather so head out on a covered boat or if your brave in one of the zodiac boats for an experience you wont soon forget.


Head to Tacofino

Tacofino

Tacofino is open rain or shine and this is an experience you need to have before you leave Tofino.  Offering a variety of tacos, burritos and more this is THE place to get tacos in the city.   Surprisingly enough the line on a rainy day to get a taco was equally as long as it is on a sunny day.  Getting a taco should be on your bucket list during your visit to Tofino.


Go Puddle Jumping

Why not play in the rain? Relive your childhood a bit and go for a jump in these massive puddles! We had so much fun jumping around in the puddles and you should too!  Head outside in Tofino when it’s raining with your rainboots and make sure to have some fun!

Tofino Puddle Jumping


Tofino when it's raining

Ultimate Packing Guide for Tofino

The beautiful coastal town of Tofino is well known for its epic storms that roll off the Pacific Ocean.  Your trip to Tofino can be sun filled or equally beautiful with its moody rain storms.  It is really important when packing for your trip to make sure you are ready so you can enjoy your time here rain or shine.  When preparing your packing guide for Tofino make sure to check the weather forecast and be prepared for all types of weather since you will be on the coast.

Packing Guide for Tofino

Make sure to check out our guide on what to do in Tofino when it is raining to be sure you don’t miss out on any of the great experiences Tofino has to offer!

We have prepared our packing guide for Tofino so you are sure to be ready when you visit!

Everyday Packing Guide for Tofino

Packing Guide for Tofino

Tofino is known as a surftown and their attire reflects that with its relaxed lifestyle and casual attire that is accepted everywhere throughout the city.  Be prepared to dress in layers as the tempature can change throughout the day and with a change in the weahter as well.  Make sure to pack light weight shirts, sweaters or a fleece layer, warm socks, hat and mitts and a hair tie to help keep your hair from blowing around in the wind.


How to Prepare for the Rain

Tofino when its raining

To make sure you are well prepared for the possible rain make sure you pack a waterproof jacket, rain boots, rain pants if you plan on going outside.  A spare change of clothes is also recommended considering you may soak through your gear depending on how long you spend outside.  If you forgot to bring a part of your rain gear we highly recommend heading over to the Tofino Pharmacy located at 360 Campbell Street right in the downtown and they have everything you could need from rain boots, rain jackets and pants to food, souvenirs and more.  To top it all off Tofino Pharmacy is incredibly well priced for their rain gear – we both got a pair of rain pants for $30/each!


Hiking in Tofino

Hiking in Tofino

Planning on heading out for a hike in Tofino? Make sure to have hiking boots or sturdy running shoes.  If any of your shoes are waterproof or have waterproof soles that is even better as if it is not raining the trails could still be wet or muddy and no one likes wet feet!  Make sure to bring water and a snack on the trails with you as some of the hikes are quite long and you could find yourself in need of a drink or snack and there are no conveniences along the trails.  A hat and sunglasses are ideal on sunny days and a rain jacket or wind breaker are a good idea to bring with you if there is rain in the forecast.

Visiting Niagara Falls in Goldstream Provincial Park

While visiting the picturesque Goldstream Provincial Park make sure not to miss Niagara Falls.  Although not the world famous attraction in Niagara, Ontario this Niagara Falls is special all on its own.  The waterfall falls 47.5 metres in a narrow stream into a beautiful pool at the bottom.  This is an easy hike to reach the falls and can easily be done in less than 30 minutes round trip.  Whether you are planning on pairing this hike with the Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge Hike or doing this hike on its own it is one not to miss.

Hiking to Niagara Falls

Where to Park

Lets start with where to park! There are several different options – you can park in the main parking lot located on the east side of the Island Highway at the entrance to the provincial park.  There are two areas for parking but make sure you come early to get a spot as it quickly fills up!  We were in an RV and the main parking lot was already full, but don’t fret as just up the Island Highway heading north not even an minute away there is another large dirt area that looks like an extension of the highways shoulder is a popular area for large vehicles and overflow parking.

Getting to Niagara Falls

Once you have parked if you are coming from the main parking lot in the day use area heading north towards the Nature House and follow the trail into the forest.  You will come to a junction and turn left which will take you up a gravol path to a bridge where you will see a large tunnel that heads under the highway.  This is how you will cross to the otherside of the provincial park to start your hike.

If you are located in the overflow parking just up the Island Highway you have two options – you can either follow the shoulder of the highway up a ways and on the other side you will see an opening that goes up a hill onto the hiking trail.  You do need to cross the highway median and the highway is often very busy so be careful if this is the route you choose! The other option is to head north down a gravel path into the forest you will quickly come to the bridge on the right and the concrete tunnel that will take you under the highway.  *Note – we found it just as easy to take this path under the highway and less risky than crossing the highway*

Once you are at the concrete tunnel walk through it and you will enter a dried up creek bed.  Follow the creek bed north and within a few minutes the falls will come into view.  We really enjoyed spending sometime at Niagara Falls watching some of the fall leaves fall from the trees above and the relaxing sound of the water cascading over the rocks.

Hiking to Niagara Falls

Hiking to Niagara Falls Hiking to Niagara Falls Hiking to Niagara Falls

24 Hours in Victoria, British Columbia

We only had 24 hours to spend in Victoria so we wanted to make the most of our time in British Columbia’s capital city.  Situated on the southern end of Vancouver island where you will find both ocean or mountain (or both) views around every corner.  This beautiful historic city has so much to offer and you could spend weeks here and not cover everything so here is our guide to the top things to do in Victoria if you only have 24 hours.

Take the Ferry

BC Ferries Vancouver to Victoria

For most people taking the ferry is how you start your adventure to Victoria.  A quick hour and a half crossing from Vancouver to Swartz Bay terminal just outside of Victoria.  The BC Ferries are luxurious compared to any other ferry we have ever taken – from being promptly on time for all their sailing, retail gift shop and several food options along with lots of seating options throughout the ferry.  The crossing is the perfect way to see Vancouver Island from the water as you weave through the Gulf Islands and then into Swartz Bay.

Visit Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens Butchart Gardens

On your way from the ferry to Victoria is about a 20-30 minute drive.  Along this drive you pass the exit to get off at the world famous Butchart Gardens.  With over a million visitors a year to this 55 acre garden it is understandable why this is a must visit spot during your trip to Victoria.  Filled with beautiful glowers and plants that reflect the season the paths that twist and turn during the various themed gardens will take you into a whimsical world.

Explore Beacon Hill Park

Beacon Hill Park Victoria Beacon Hill Park Victoria

Located a quick walk from downtown Victoria Beacon Hill Park should be on everyones list of places to visit while in town.  Beacon Hill Park is huge (200 acres) so you could spend an entire day in here and not see everything.  Home to a petting zoo, the world’s fourth-largest totem pole (was the worlds largest when it was built in 1956!), plenty of hikes that wind you though fields and hills, Beacon Hill that is both culturally significant as it was once a burial site for the First Nations Coast Salish people as well as provides incredible views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains of Washington.

Cross the Goldstream Trestle

Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge

The Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge is a hidden gem located just outside of Victoria, British Columbia.  Tucked just off the Island Highway this is not a hike for someone looking for an easy walk.  The trestle bridge is the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway that has not been used since 2015.  The view from the middle of the trestle bridge is not one to miss!

Visit the Parliament Buildings

Victoria Parliament Buildings

Whether you want to walk the grounds of Parliament or take one of their free building tours or a self guided tour a visit to the Parliament Buildings is worth the stop.  This elaborate building filled with so much history which can be see in the detail that has gone into both the inside and outside of it.

Walk along the Inner Harbour

Victoria Inner Harbour

The harbour area of Victoria is a must see for all visiting to town.  It is breathtakingly beautiful with all the boats sitting on the water, the Fairmont Empress dominating one side of the background and the Parliament buildings on the other.  Take a walk along the boardwalk and visit the Canada 150 sign that sits along the water.  The Victoria harbour is one of the few world’s natural harbours.

Explore Dallas Road

Dallas Road Victoria

Dallas Road winds along the southern end of Victoria sitting on the edge of the Straight of Juan de Fuca.  With views of the Olympic Mountains, the smells and sounds of the ocean crashing up on shore and the peacefulness that surrounds the are it is somewhere you do not want to miss on your trip to Victoria.  We accessed Dallas Road and the beach by walking through Beacon Hill Park and continued down to the waterfront.  There is also parking throughout the area if you would prefer to drive.

Explore the Buildings at Night

Victoria Parliament Buildings at NightCanada 150 Victoria

Victoria comes alive at night so make sure to take a few minutes to stoll back through the streets where you had explored during the daylight.  The Parliament Buildings are all light up and reflecting perfectly into the harbour, the Canada 150 sign is aglow, and the restuarnats are bustling welcoming people in for some great meals.

Hiking to Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge

The Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge is a hidden gem located just outside of Victoria, British Columbia.  Tucked just off the Island Highway this is not a hike for someone looking for an easy walk.  The trestle bridge is the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway that has not been used since 2015.  The view from the middle of the trestle bridge is not one to miss!  Here is our guide to hiking to Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge!

Where to Park

Lets start with where to park! There are several different options – you can park in the main parking lot located on the east side of the Island Highway at the entrance to the provincial park.  There are two areas for parking but make sure you come early to get a spot as it quickly fills up!  We were in an RV and the main parking lot was already full, but don’t fret as just up the Island Highway heading north not even an minute away there is another large dirt area that looks like an extension of the highways shoulder is a popular area for large vehicles and overflow parking.

Starting Your Hike to Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge

Once you have parked if you are coming from the main parking lot in the day use area heading north towards the Nature House and follow the trail into the forest.  You will come to a junction and turn left which will take you up a gravol path to a bridge where you will see a large tunnel that heads under the highway.  This is how you will cross to the otherside of the provincial park to start your hike.

If you are located in the overflow parking just up the Island Highway you have two options – you can either follow the shoulder of the highway up a ways and on the other side you will see an opening that goes up a hill onto the hiking trail.  You do need to cross the highway median and the highway is often very busy so be careful if this is the route you choose! The other option is to head north down a gravel path into the forest you will quickly come to the bridge on the right and the concrete tunnel that will take you under the highway.  *Note – we found it just as easy to take this path under the highway and less risky than crossing the highway*

Once you are at the concrete tunnel walk through it and you will enter a dried up creek bed and you can go several ways at this point.  You can continue to head up the creek bed and visit Niagara Falls or begin the climb up to the trestle bridge.  If you have just come out of the concrete tunnel the unmarked worn trail that heads up a steep hill will be the route you will want to take to get to the bridge.  This is a very steep hill that you will likely need to use your hands to get up.  If it has recently rained it can be increidbly slipperly on the entire trail so make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear.  Once at the top of the hill you will continue to follow the trail as it winds up in a series of twists and turns.  You will come to a chain link fence make sure to stop and look at Niagara Falls as it falls 47.5m down.  You will then cross the falls on the wooden bridge.

Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge

Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge

From here you will follow the series of wooden steps – make sure to hold on to the wire that runs along the side as the wood and mud are very slippery.  There are several sets of stairs you will climb – at this point you are over halfway there!

Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge

The trail comes to a junction where the sign points left to continue on the Gold Mine Trail – don’t be like us and head that way! We realized about 5 minutes down the trail we had gone the wrong way.  From this exact point if you look to your right you should be able to see the Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge hiding amongst the trees.  From the sign post take a right and head up the last steep hill to the top of the trestle bridge!

Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge

Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge

The Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge

We reached the top of the Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge probably after about 30-45 minutes of constantly pushing up the mud covered hills.  The trestle bridge is still technically apart of a working railroad but has not been used since 2015.  It is considered trespassing to cross the bridge but many people still cross the bridge.  If you choose to go out on the trestle bridge make sure you watch your step as there are gaps in between each of the boards and you could hurt yourself if you are not careful.  The view from the middle of the bridge is quite spectacular and you can see for miles both ways of beautiful lush green forest.

Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge


We spent about 2 hours total hiking and then spending about 45 minutes at the top.  Make sure to bring water and be ready for the conditions to be wet on the trails.  This was one of our favourite hikes on our time on Vancouver Island and if you have two hours to spare we highly recommend you check it out!  Make sure to check out Niagara Falls either before or after your hike up to Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge.

The Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge is a hidden gem located just outside of Victoria, British Columbia.  Tucked just off the Island Highway this is not a hike for someone looking for an easy walk.  The trestle bridge is the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway that has not been used since 2015.  The view from the middle of the trestle bridge is not one to miss!  Here is our guide to hiking to Goldstream Provincial Park Trestle Bridge!

A Fall Visit to Butchart Gardens

We recently visited the Butchart Gardens in October during the fall colours on beautiful Vancouver Island.  We were not sure what to expect in regards to how many flowers there would be throughout the gardens in the fall season considering everyones personal gardens had long died and retreated for the upcoming colder seasons.  Much to our delight as we pulled into the Butchart Gardens there was tons of flowers and plants alike welcoming visitors to the gardens with their bright and cheery colours.

butchart gardens

We visited on a Saturday morning in October and although it was still busy with tourists and locals alike it was not too crowded to enjoy each of the displays.  I could image visiting on a week day during the fall would be very peaceful.

The Butchart Gardens were started just over one hundred years ago by the Butchart Family.  Mr Butchart developed a quarry and built a cement plant on Vancouver Island to satisfy the Portland cement demand from San Francisco to Victoria.  As the limestone deposits dwindled his wife made plans to turn the exhausted pit back to a natural beauty by creating a garden – the Sunken Garden to be exact.  The garden now covers 55 acres and takes 50 full time gardeners, 12 part time gardeners and 550 staff during peak season to keep the place impeccable.

Receiving over one million visitors each year to the gardens it is easy to see why with the winding cobblestone paths through 55 acres of gardens that date back to 1904.  We had the opportunity to spend several hours exploring through the gardens and had a wonderful time.  If you are coming from the Swartz Bay ferry like we were Butchart Gardens is the perfect place to stop on your way into Victoria.

Consisting of several themed gardens including the Sunken Garden, Japanese, Rose and Italian along with lawns, lakes, fountains and so much more.  The colours and flowers vary depending on the season but the fall colours were so bright and great to see.  Plan to spend at least a few hours exploring all the gardens to get both your moneys worth and make sure you do not miss anything!

Riding with BC Ferries Vancouver to Victoria

We took the ferry from Vancouver (Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal) to Victoria (Swartz Bay) with BC Ferries and it was quite the pleasant experience.  From boarding on time, easy parking of our RV to the several surprises that awaited us when we boarded the ferry including several food options, an arcade for all ages and plenty of seating all with great views!  Our ferry ride to Victoria was probably the best ferry ride we have ever gone on! This one and a half hour ride offers breathtaking sights only seen from the water, a good chance of spotting marine wildlife and much more.

Here is our experience riding with BC Ferries from Vancouver to Victoria!

Riding with BC Ferries is one of the several ways to get from mainland British Columbia to Vancouver Island.  As you cruise through the Strait of Georgia the breathtaking scenery offered from both indoor areas as well as outdoors on the top deck either way it will be an experience you will not soon forget.  With a change of seeing marine wildlife including whales, seals and much more make sure to keep your eyes on the look out and cameras at the ready.

Your cruise begins at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal which is located thirty minutes south of Vancouver and lands at the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal in Sidney, located thirty minutes north of Victoria.  Reservations are not required but recommended especially if you are brining a vehicle or RV aboard the ferry to guarantee yourself a spot especially on weekends and busy tourist season.  If you are travelling without a vehicle you can either park your car at the terminals or there are buses that service the terminals.

There is plenty of things to do aboard the ferry on your one hour thirty minute ride including an arcade area for kids and adults alike, plenty of seating to read, relax or just watch the scenery pass by.  There is the Passages Gift Shop where you can by west coast jewellery, books, magazines, snacks, clothing and souvenirs.  If you are hungry then make sure to stop by one of the several food options including the Pacific Buffet that has a wide variety of options from sandwiches to a hot meal or the coffee shop.

About 45 minutes into the crossing the ferry begins to wind through the gulf islands.  This is one of the most picturesque parts of the crossing and we highly recommend going onto the top deck for the best view!

Driving the Golden Circle – Alaska & Yukon

There is no better way to see some of the most scenic highways in Alaska, Northern British Columbia and the Yukon than driving the Golden Circle Tour.  Encounter snow covered mountains, majestic fjords, well maintained roads, plentiful wildlife and so much more.  The tour can start from Haines, Whitehorse or Haines Junction or anywhere in between!  We started the loop in Whitehorse, Yukon where you travel west along the Alaska Highway towards Haines Junction, Yukon.  From Haines Junction, Yukon you travel through British Columbia along the Haines Highway to Haines, Alaska.  To get from Haines to Skagway, Alaska you have to take the ferry to cross the scenic Lynn Canal.  Then from Skagway you head north along the famous Klondike Highway back to Whitehorse.  Below is a detailed breakdown of all the places to stop along the beautiful Golden Circle Tour!


Whitehorse, Yukon

Start your Golden Circle Tour journey is Whitehorse, Yukon.  The capital city of the Yukon has so much to offer sitting along the bank of the mighty Yukon River.  From the steaming Takhini Hot Springs,  the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, Miles Canyon and   the S.S. Klondike National Historic Site there are so many things you will not want to miss in this vibrant city.  Here is our travel guide to visiting Whitehorse, Yukon to make sure all your questions are covered during your stop in Wilderness City.  Make sure to check out our Top 13 Things to do in Whitehorse, Yukon so you don’t miss a thing.  The hub of the Yukon has everything you need for a single night or multi night stop over including great restaurants, hotels, groceries and more.  The next stop on the Golden Circle Tour is Haines Junction, Yukon.


Haines Junction, Yukon

As you head long the Alaska Highway towards Haines Junction the snowy mountains of the St. Elias Mountian range will begin to come into view and offer an incredible view.  While in Haines Junction make sure to spend a day visiting Kluane National Park & Reserve.  From the many hiking trails in the area to the flightseeing tours that taking you soaring 6000 feet over the mountain tops your visit to Haines Junction will leave you speechless.  On your way out of town make sure to stop in Yukon’s largest ghost town, Silver City.  Haines Junction is where the Alaska and Haines Highway meet, next head down the Haines Highway for a drive you will never forget to Haines, Alaska.


Haines, Alaska

As you travel down the Haines Highway from Haines Junction, Yukon to Haines, Alaska on the Golden Circle Tour you cross through northern British Columbia.  The drive down the highway takes you along the border of Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site dubbed the Kluane/Wrangell-St.Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alesk UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Once you have arrived in Haines, Alaska ensure to check out the Bald Eagle Preserve, go bear watching around Chilkoot Lake and enjoy the beauty the adventure capital – Haines! Your next stop on the Golden Circle Tour is taking the ferry from Haines to Skagway.  The ferry terminal is located right in the harbour of the town and can either take the pedestrian fast ferry or the Alaska Marine Highway System that transports cars across the Lynn Canal.


Skagway

Once you have crossed the majestic fjords of the Lynn Canal on the ferry from Haines to Skagway you arrive in the gold rush town of Skagway, Alaska.  Make sure to spend a least a day in Skagway to enjoy the rich Klondike Gold Rush history.  Skagway was the boomtown gateway to the Trail of ’98 and the Klondike Gold Fields.  Skagway is the northern-most point in Alaska’s Inside Passage.  Home to the White Pass and Yukon Route one of Alaska’s most popular visitor attractions, as well as the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park and many more historical landmarks that bring the Klondike Gold Rush back to life for each and every visitor.  Take a step back in time and experience what it was like for each and everyone of the fortune-seekers that headed north in search of fortune and the new frontier.


Drive Back to Whitehorse

From Skagway you are less than three hours drive back to Whitehorse.  As you drive northbound on the Klondike Highway towards Whitehorse this highway takes you along the historical gold rush route.  You will be crossing back through the Canadian Border in Fraser, British Columbia make sure to pull over and take in the scenery and ever go for a quick kayak ride before you continue on towards Whitehorse.  Make sure to stop mid-way in Carcross for incredible First Nations culture as visit the worlds smallest desert!