Canoeing and Camping in Wells Gray Provincial ParkBritish Columbia, Canada
Oh, Canada: is there no end to your beauty? No? Well, thank goodness for that, because we would've cried ourselves silly if there were – and you should, too: from the creative and culinary hub of Vancouver and Whistler's snow-covered maze-like streets, to national parks around every corner – Wells Gray, Jasper, Banff, Yoho and Glacier just to name a few – Canada is a dreamboat for nature lovers and city slickers alike. Thankfully, Intrepid Travel's Canadian Rockies tour is a slam dunk when it comes to taking the plunge into the great outdoors here.
While you'll get to hang out among the national park bigwigs like Banff and Glacier, Wells Gray Provincial Park in Canada's British Columbia region is somewhat of an underrated treasure, which makes canoeing along Clearwater Lake in the park's eastern reaches that much sweeter. Wend along the winding roads into the depths of Wells Gray until you arrive at Clearwater Lake. Here you'll pack your camping equipment into the canoes before they're launched into the aptly-named lake (on a sunny day you can see just how clear and pure the water is, so be sure to fill your water bottle along the way). After some instruction from your canoeing guides, you'll clamber into your vessel as push off along the glassy surface, moving deeper in the serenity with each stroke. The paddle takes between two and a half to four hours, leading you to the sandy beach where you'll set up camp for the night.
Once you're set up, spend some time splashing about in the water or exploring the forested surrounds before cooking dinner. The campsite is a little more basic; there's tables, fire-pits and tent sites, but only pit toilets and no showers. This will all pale in comparison to your surrounds though, as the stunning location more than makes up for the lack of facilities.
Wake up lakeside bright and early the next day – there'll be time to enjoy a short hike from the campsite or, if you'd rather spend the morning being still, chill by the lake while you tuck in to breakfast. Soon enough it'll be time to paddle back to the starting point, with a stop at another beach for a picnic lunch and exploring some waterfalls along the way.
- It doesn’t garner the crowds that other national parks in the country do, but Wells Gray Provincial Park hits all the right notes with its jaw-dropping waterfalls and scenery – sights that are all the more enjoyable when there’s fewer people around to cloud your view
- Tasting the elixir of the surrounding mountains in Clearwater Lake – be sure to fill a bottle before you leave, as you’re unlikely to encounter water this fresh again
- There’s nothing quite like getting back to basics with some good old fashioned camping, complete with a roaring fire, s’mores and stargazing
- We wouldn’t say this is entirely a downside as you’re here for the nature, but just in case you were wondering there’s wi-fi here due to the remote location (sorry tech heads, no gadgets for you)
- Pit toilets – it’s a small price to pay for the luxury of camping in a stunning serene national park… but a price nonetheless
The 15-day Canadian Rockies tour departs between June and September, and starts from US$2205.
No canoeing experience is needed as the canoe guides are also instructors and will help you to perfect the Canadian canoeing technique, but you will need a basic level of fitness.