This circle tour in British Columbia starts in Vancouver and begins by traveling east on Hwy 1 to the Fort Langley National Historic Site. Continue on through the rich farm country of the Fraser Valley to Hope, where you can walk through the Othello Quintette Tunnels, part of the Kettle Valley Railway built between 1910 and 1916.Continue on Hwy 1 to Lytton for a guided rafting trip down the Fraser River if you are hungry for some unforgettable thrills, then take Hwy 12 to Lillooet (lil-lou-ETTE) where you can try your hand at panning for gold. Take Hwy 99 east to Hwy 97 and travel north to Clinton and on to 100 Mile House. This town got its name because it was 100 miles from Lillooet on the old Caribou Wagon Road.
Here the only surviving stage coach of the Barnard Express and Stage Line is on display, complete with an authentic bullet hole from being held up for the gold dust it once carried. From here north to Williams Lake and Quesnel where you can take a short side trip east to Barkerville, an historic gold rush town built in 1862. It has over 125 restored heritage buildings.Back on Hwy 97 and leaving Quesnel, travel north to Prince George, a bustling city in north central BC.
Take Hwy 16 west to Hwy 27 then travel north on a side trip to Fort St. James, a restored Hudson's Bay trading post from the mid 1800s. Back on Hwy 16, going west again to Smithers where you can see the 50 million year old fossils at nearby Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park. Farther west, in The Hazeltons, you can visit the world famous 'Ksan Historical Village.
'Ksan is the Gitxsan name for the Skeena River. This replicated ancient Gitxsan village features house fronts and totem poles facing the Skeena River. Continue on to view the totems at Kitwancool and the Nisga's Memorial Lava Bed where a volcano erupted over two centuries ago, leaving a pocked lava moonscape.With Terrace as a base, you can take a side trip on Hwy 37 to Kitimat; a stunning playground in the coastal rainforest, its scenery is reminiscent of Norway's fjords. In Terrace you can hike a part of the Grand Trunk Pathway.
Now go west again on Hwy 16 to Prince Rupert, a seaport and a terminus for handling shipments of coal and grain from the Prairies. Here you can board a ferry for the Queen Charlotte Islands called Haida Gwaii by the local aboriginals. The Haidas were once a proud nation of seafaring warriors that controlled most of the BC coastline at one time and you can learn about them at the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. There is a 10,000 year connection between the land, sea and Haida culture.Back in Prince Rupert, you can take the BC Ferry down the Inside Passage through dramatic fjords and green forested channels to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island.
You'll probably get glimpses of whales, seals, porpoises and black bears on the full day's passage along the rugged coastline. In Port Hardy you can visit the Copper Maker Gallery, where you can savor the redolent smell of red cedar as the native carvers create beautiful original Northwest Native art works.Driving south to Port McNeill, where you can take a short ferry trip to Alert Bay on Cormorant Island. Here you can visit the U'Mista Cultural Center, which preserves the history and artefacts of the Kwakwaka'wakw Aboriginals and see the totems of a nearby burial ground.
Back on Vancouver Island, from Port McNeill you travel south through Campbell River to Courtenay where you can look for fossils in the 80 million year old sea bed at Puntledge River.Farther south you'll come to Qualicum Beach which is renowned for its flower gardens and also its fantastic views of the Georgia Strait. Sunny Parksville further south has 7 kms of sandy beaches and may offer the warmest saltwater swimming on Vancouver Island. In Nanaimo you can visit the Petroglyph Park to see 10,000 year old stone engravings of mythological sea creatures. The Nanaimo District Museum also provides a unique glimpse into the lives of Nanaimo's First Peoples dating back more than 2000 years.
The ancestral home of the Cowichan Tribe and the famous Cowichan Sweaters is in Duncan. In Victoria, plan to spend a few days visiting the many splendors of the city and its environs, including the famous Butchart Gardens. Then take the BC Ferry across to Tsawassen, south of Vancouver, where you started.This Circle Tour by car is designed to take from seven to fourteen days, more if you wish of course. Reservations need to be booked well ahead for the ferries from Prince Rupert to the Queen Charlottes and down the Inland Passage to Vancouver Island. Google "BC Ferries" for the websites and online reservation forms.
.Michael Russell.Your Independent guide to Canada Vacation. .Article Source: http://EzineArticles.
By: Michael Russell