By Powder Matt Mosteller
Still need to use that vacation time? Whether you’re planning for a couple days or a week, summer is moving full steam ahead and, we hate to break it to you, but soon we’ll switch back to our chilly Canadian temps. With all that’s going on, the last thing we want is to be stuck in planning mode, not knowing what to do.
Or worse, encounter that dreaded feeling of being overwhelmed while scrolling through friends’ previous vacation posts for ideas.
So here’s a quick list of ideas including a variety of BC regions and budget ranges. Keep in mind, if there was ever a time to feel the true, magical benefits of a getaway, now’s the time.
Wildlife. Grizzly Bear Refuge, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort – Golden, BC
The No. 1 reason people visit national parks is to see wildlife and in Canada, most want to see a bear – from a safe distance. A couple reasons that hinder this audience are the vast land expanse and the fact that most people don’t want to get up extra early in the morning for the best viewing opportunities. Why not combine a Yoho or Banff National Park visit with a stay nearby in Golden, B.C., and take a peek at Boo, the resident grizzly bear at the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort? Boo resides at their famous Grizzly Bear Refuge – be sure to book the guided interpretive tour in advance, to catch sight of Boo at the optimal time of day and learn about grizzly behaviours and habitats.
Spin your wheels. Ride new rails and trails or endless roads and new single track in lesser known places. Kimberley and Cranbrook, BC
Are some of your favourite trails getting busier? Need a new place to spin your wheels? Check out the massive variety of riding opportunities, from road to dirt in Cranbrook and Kimberley. Offering a delight for everyone, whether you’re a roadie or mountain biker, this is where the riding clubs have been busy building lots of new trails for your riding pleasure. Families will love the Northstar Rails to Trail, a 26km paved path, connecting the towns of Kimberley and Cranbrook. Downhill mountain bikers will thrive with more than 18 new trails added to the network of Bootleg Mountain Bike riding area in Kimberley. Roadies, you have so much pavement to explore here, but we recommend a great ride loop, Cranbrook to Wasa Lake and return through Kimberley (on the Northstar Rail to Trail).
Escape. Mallard Mountain Lodge, remote, fly in – Valemount, BC
Now you can’t get further away than this, and that’s the best part about it. Be whisked away by Yellowhead Helicopters from Valemount, BC, to Mallard Mountain Lodge, the most remote backcountry lodge in the Canadian Rockies. Located in a high alpine basin butted up against Jasper National Park, you’ll enjoy this place with your small, private group, hiking the mountain meadows and high ridges. Enjoy scrumptious meals, well-earned after a day of wandering and kick back for a snooze with the comfy sleeping bunks in the cozy log-sided structure.
Cool off with a swim. Camp in your own affordable RV or try rooftop tenting
Pick up a regional Backroads Mapbook and head out on your own camping adventure. Many are spending top dollar these days on RVs but a more affordable option – at least while you test the RV waters – may be to consider renting for a getaway or two. Or if ground-level tenting isn’t on your wishlist, check out the variety of rooftop tents for vehicles. Always research ahead of time if that gorgeous lake you want to check out has a campsite nearby. And it goes without saying – but we’ll say it again, just in case – always review the condition of the forestry road to make sure it’s ok for your vehicle – before you go. If so, load up your camping supplies, head out and be ready for ear-to-ear smiles and swim times that last from dawn until dusk.
Private cabin. Grizzly Basin Outfitters – Cranbrook, BC
Looking for something off the beaten path, but don’t want to hike or bike to get there? No worries, we hear you loud and clear. Grizzly Basin Outfitters is built for you. Offering sweet rustic cabins for rent, located in alpine basins high in the Canadian Rockies. You bring the groceries, they’ll bring the 4WD vehicles to shuttle you in and pick you up. Enjoy the altitude and feel like you can reach the starry sky, while hiking and enjoying the mountains come daylight.
Big lake time and so many good places to eat. Nelson and Kaslo, BC
Once you see this lake and its historic towns, you’ll want to spend more time here. Hot summer? No brainer, stay close to water. This can be easily done, so choose the cool digs of the The Adventure Hotel, or the antique charm of the Hume Hotel. Both are located in downtown Nelson where you can also wander historic Baker Street for a myriad of dining delights. Be sure to explore up lake too, Kaslo is calling. Wrapped by water, visit Angry Hen Brewing for a cold craft one and stay lakefront in The Sentinel to really absorb these vibes.
3 Places to let your hair fly and gallop away. These ranches are for you, urban cowboys and cowgirls – BC and Alberta
Stay under the stars. Upscale and super cool glamping tent and aptly named, visit the Siwash Star Camp to rest, ride away the day, fly fish or experience a bevy of other adventures. Downtime never felt better in the sweet AlumiTub, a wood-fired hot tub at Siwash Lake Wilderness Ranch, British Columbia.
Everyone loves horse pictures.
Sign up for the photography workshop at Three Bars Ranch in Cranbrook, from Sept. 13 to 19. Led by renowned equine photographer Ryan Courson, up the quality on your Instagram feed and leave with your inner horse spirit running free!
Cowboy trail. Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta
Hidden up in the mountains, your own private luxury lodge awaits at Thanksgiving Ranch, near the stunning scenery of Waterton Lakes National Park. This ranch serves up the ultimate combo for those wanting to ride horses on this 4,000-acre spread of land with the exclusivity of being the only guests in their luxury ranch house.
Powder Matt Mosteller is an adventurer, blogger, author and freelance journalist based in the BC Kootenays. Follow him @PowderMatt on Steller.co or Instagram