7 Fitness-Friendly Adventures in British Columbia
Regularly voted by outdoor magazines as a top spot for kayaking, cycling, running, surfing and hiking, British Columbia has a little something for everyone—from the novice runner to the avid mountaineer. Strap on a backpack, pack some energy snacks, fill up your water and hit the trail with these B.C. adventures.
1. “Do” the Seawall
Whether you run, bike, blade, or walk it, a trip to British Columbia would not be complete without a turn on the Seawall along Vancouver’s waterfront. The entire route—from Burrard Inlet to Kitsilano Beach Park—is 22-kilometres, but a great route takes you around Stanley Park and clocks a respectable 8.8-km! The outside track, closest to the water, is for inline skaters and cyclists; the inner track is for runners and walkers. Once you’ve pumped the park, explore the 1000 acres of woods, gardens, flowers and trails and beaches that make up Stanley Park.
2. Grind Up Grouse
Work those legs up Grouse Grind, the trail that is often called “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster.” This 2.8-km hike up to the face of Grouse Mountain will challenge novice and expert hikers with its rugged terrain and steep climb. Novice hikers should budget two hours to make it up the top, but competitors in the Grouse Mountain Seek the Peak have done it in 25 minutes! Once you’ve reached the peak take an eco-walk and learn about flora and fauna, and meet Grinder and Coola, the friendly resident grizzly bears!
3. Cycle Kettle Valley Rail Trail
Across Canada, abandoned railway tracks offer great cycling opportunities, and the renowned Kettle Valley Rail Trail in the Thompson Okanagan region of B.C shouldn’t be missed. The trail covers 455-km of easy to moderate terrain between the cities of Grand Forks and Brodie, B.C., with diverse landscapes—from beautiful mountain forests to Canada’s only pocket desert. The trail’s most notable section is Myra Canyon, which features 18 trestles and two tunnels.
(Related: The Awesome Health Benefits of Awe Walking)
4. Surf Tofino
Tofino, B.C., on Vancouver Island has some of the best surfing in North America. Explore 35-km of easy-access beaches for year-round surfing (though in wintertime, temperatures require a wetsuit). Beaches have sandy-bottoms and its safe waters also make Tofino a great place to learn to surf. Expert surfers will find more challenging remote reef breaks scattered along the coast, and Chesterman Beach provides good waves in summer and big winter swells.
5. Salute the Sun
Vancouver is a great place to explore yoga, and nothing connects you with your Zen and your environment quite like yoga outdoors. Canada Place hosts free outdoor yoga classes in the summertime. You can also buy a Passport to Prana—a yoga pass that allows the user to take classes (indoor and outdoor) at more than 40 yoga studios throughout the Greater Vancouver Area. Om!
6. Kayak the Lakes
Dip your paddle into breathtaking scenery along the 48-kilometre Sayward Forest Canoe Route on Vancouver Island. A number of portage trails link a series of 12 lakes, with many accessible points for dropping in. The Great Campbell River Fire in 1938 destroyed much of Sayward Forest, but a year later a massive endeavor saw almost 800,000 Douglas-fir trees planted in one month, which are now in full view from the lakes. Although there are four sets of small rapids to be aware of, the waters are generally calm and it is recommended you traverse the route in a counter-clockwise direction.
7. Tee Off in Thompson Okanagan
You might struggle to keep your eye on the ball while golfing in British Columbia’s Thompson Okanagan region—stunning vistas, panoramic mountain views, and backdrops of orchards, vineyards and deserts could distract from your game. Renowned golf architects have designed many courses, and Kelowna’s Gallagher’s Canyon is rated as one of the best golf courses in the country, providing the quintessential Okanagan golf experience with incredible scenery along its 6,802 yards.