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North Thompson-Columbia Icefields Parkway Loop

1 week, 1451.03 km (901.63 mi)

Experience untamed wilderness and unsurpassed beauty on this tour through the Canadian Rockies.

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Part 1

Kamloops to Clearwater
(Wells Gray Provincial Park)

Alpine hiking at Sun Peaks Resort. Photo: Royce Sihlis

From Kamloops, follow Highway 5, the Yellowhead Highway, along the North Thompson River toward Clearwater. If time permits, take a detour to Sun Peaks, home to Canada’s second-largest ski area as well as alpine hiking and mountain biking in the summer.

From Clearwater, follow signs into Wells Gray Provincial Park, home to 526,000 hectares (1.3 million acres) of wilderness. The park is a favourite for camping, kayaking, and exploring, and no trip here is complete without stopping at 141-m (463-ft) Helmcken Falls. Wells Gray boasts an impressive 41 named waterfalls (and counting), with Dawson Falls, Moul Falls, and Spahats Creek Falls as highlights.

Part 2

Clearwater to Valemount
(Mount Robson Provincial Park)

Mumm Basin, Mount Robson Provincial Park. Photo: © Veer Incorporated

Continue northeast on Highway 5, and towering mountain ranges will mark your arrival in Valemount. Stretch your legs on a stroll through the Cranberry Marsh in search of some of the 140 species of bird that can be spotted here, or cast a fishing line at Kinbasket Lake. Feeling adventurous? Hit the trails at the Valemount Bike Park.

Another 30 minutes and you’re in Mount Robson Provincial Park, named after the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. This is the second-oldest park in BC’s parks system, and it’s part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are plentiful wildlife-viewing opportunities, including for elk, black bears, grizzly bears, caribou, mountain goats, moose, and 180+ species of birds. Mount Robson Provincial Park is also home to the Berg Lake Trail, a gorgeous backcountry hiking trail with a gain of almost 800 m (2,625 ft) in less than 25 km (15 mi).

Part 3

Valemount to Lake Louise

Robert W. Starratt Sanctuary, Valemount. Photo: Wendy Dyson

The 232-km (144-mi) journey from Jasper to Lake Louise takes you along one of the most iconic stretches of highway in the world. The Columbia Icefields Parkway extends through the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, passing through both Jasper and Banff national parks in our neighbouring province, Alberta. This is one scenic drive you’ll never forget.

Part 4

Yoho National Park

Canoeing on Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park. Photo: @goldiehawn_ via Instagram

On the western slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains you’ll find BC’s Yoho National Park, which got it’s name from a Cree expression of awe and wonder. The park boasts 28 peaks over 3,000 m (9,850 ft), vertical rock walls, glaciers, and dramatic waterfalls. Don’t miss towering Takakkaw Falls.

Part 5

Revelstoke

A lakeside hang with a mountain view. Revelstoke is an adventure playground for mountain lovers. Photo: @jamieout via Instagram.

Head west on Highway 1 and stop to explore Glacier and Mount Revelstoke national parks, as well as natural hot springs, en route to the mountain town of Revelstoke. Head to Revelstoke Mountain Resort to enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and the Pipe Mountain Coaster in summer, and ski or snowboard North America’s greatest lift-accessed vertical in winter.

 

Part 6

Revelstoke to Kamloops

Kamloops | Tanya Goehring

Travel west on the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy 1) to return to Kamloops. See some of the province’s most iconic residents at the BC Wildlife Park, play a round of golf with some spectacular views, and check out the local food, wine, and craft beer scene before you head home.

Driving Directions

Part 1 - Vancouver
  • 6.25 km
  • 12 min
Show Map & Driving Directions

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