Eco-Experiences in British Columbia

With thousands of acres of forests, rugged mountains, alpine lakes and rushing rivers, British Columbia is host of many eco-experiences. From the ground or the air, there is a way to get your heart pumping, both with adrenaline and passion for the outdoors.

One of the most exciting experiences are the new treetop adventure parks, where visitors actually fly over the forest while harnessed to a zipline, or stroll among the treetops on aerial walkways. At North Vancouver’s Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, after swaying 230 feet over the raging waters of Capilano Canyon on the park’s namesake suspension bridge, you can frolic among the tops of trees, Ewok-style, in the Treetops Adventure, where bridges lead to viewing platforms suspended high in the trees. Ziplining is an exhilarating way to, literally, zip down from treetop to treetop, either right-side-up or upside down.

Another thrilling way to get an aerial view of BC’s stunning landscape is on a hang glider or paraglider. Head to Grouse Mountain, Lumby, Vernon, or Invermere and feel like an eagle as you soar and twirl high above forests and mountains.

For those who’d rather stay on the ground, and perhaps get into it, BC has plenty of spelunking options. At Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park on Vancouver Island, guided tours will take you into the caverns, some as long as 384 metres. The seven caves at Horne Lake are just a few of the more than 1,000 caves on Vancouver Island alone. Nakimu Caves, in Glacier National Park, is 5.9 kilometres, and is one of the longest cave systems in Canada.

Water babies will love visiting Tofino, the small surf town on Vancouver Island, that, in the winter months, is pummelled with crashing surf and furious winds. Storm watching has become the premier activity to do in Tofino in the chilly winter months, and you can witness Nature’s fury from the safety of a cozy lodge and a crackling fire. In the summer months, the waters of Tofino are dotted with surfers from all skill-levels and ages, and you can even grab a kayak and paddle out to see orca whales as they make their migratory journey along the island’s coastline.

Bonding with sea critters is one thing; spending a week on the trail with a llam is something else entirely. Several BC hiking outfitters have taken to employing llamas to help pack gear into the backcountry, not just for the novelty factor, but also because llamas are smart, reliable, sure-footed, sturdy and adorable. Strider Adventures, based in Prince George, is one company offering llama-supported hiking, from half-day walks on gentle trails to multi-day treks into the Northern Rockies.

Whether you call them nature tours, thrill rides, or eco-experiences, almost all of BC’s activities have one critical thing in common: they aim for minimum impact on the environment, and maximum impact on the visitors.

Ecotourism by Province

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