Put down the cocktail and walk away from the outlet store – there’s a new trend in travel and your wellbeing will welcome it. From hiking to horseback riding, biking to boating – adventure is officially on your annual leave agenda and British Columbia is a destination that’s got it covered (and then some).
Hike the Berg Lake Trail
This backcountry trek in Eastern British Columbia (around eight hours drive from Vancouver) is one for the bucket list. The world-renowned, multi-day hike winds through a range of diverse, jaw-dropping landscapes like turquoise lakes, lush forests, glaciers, waterfalls and around the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies: Mount Robson. Taking on this super popular trail will require a bit of prep, but trust us, it’s worth it. Not only will you need to reserve your spot in advance, you’ll also need to be a keen camper with all the gear and some idea. There are seven campsites options along the trail but other facilities (think drop dunnies) are few and far between. Oh, and you’ll also want a little fitness under your belt – the trail’s difficulty is rated moderate and it involves an elevation gain of 800 metres over 23 kilometres. If you’re not as game to embrace the great outdoors, there are plenty of shorter (and just as stunning) day hikes around Berg Lake trailhead.
Kayak through Desolation Sound
Get wet and wild in the Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park on British Columbia’s Central Coast, a spectacular six-hour road trip from Vancouver. This straight-up stunning body of water is home to a diverse range of wildlife including seals, dolphins and orcas, surrounded by the towering Coast Mountains and ancient rainforests. Its uniquely warm, sheltered waters make for excellent boating, swimming and snorkelling. You can approach it from three major destinations: Prideaux Have, Tenedo’s Bay and Grace Harbour. From these anchorages you can hire a kayak and explore the area’s multitude of islands, coves and secret camping spots yourself, or sign up for a professionally guided tour. Either way, it’s worth setting aside at least a few days to lap up (see what we did there) everything this spot has to offer.
Forest bathe on the Sunshine Coast
The ancient Japanese practice of Shinrin yoku – or forest bathing – is finally getting mainstream recognition for its major, research-backed health benefits, which include boosting the immune system, relieving stress and improving mental health. The term means “taking in the forest atmosphere” and all it really involves it getting a little mindful in some magnificent surroundings. Want to get your wilderness wash on? While you can DIY in any of British Columbia’s world-renowned national parks – from Yoho to Glacier – the Sunshine Coast is home to certified Forest Therapy Guide, Haida Bolton, who can lead you through the experience in the forests around Pender Harbour. Using a guide can help slow you down and offer unique ways to interact with the forest
Horse ride through Whistler’s wilderness
Hello world, it’s time to fulfil your childhood, Saddle Club-inspired dreams and try your hand at horse riding, which, by the way, Selena Gomez swears by for helping with her mental health. Whether you’ve only got a spare hour or you’re in the mood for a multi-day adventure, Copper Cayuse Outfitters (based in Pemberton, just outside of Whistler) has an option for beginners and experts alike. We suggest taking on the Historic Li-lik-hel Gold Mine Horseback Riding Expedition – a certified Canadian Signature Experience. Over three days and two nights you’ll explore British Columbia’s breathtaking Coast Mountain Range, riding around alpine meadows, rivers, lakes and forests on trails cut by miners in the 1900s. At night you’ll rest up in their wilderness base camps, preferably while smashing smores and stargazing. Heaven.
Find your Zen on Kootenay Bay
When returning to work after a break it takes us approximately 0.03 seconds for the emails to roll in and the holiday glow to wear off. But if you want to find your inner Zen and bring it home in your carry on, why not try a yoga retreat?. You’re seriously spoilt for choice in British Columbia, but you can’t beat Yasodhara Ashram, on the edge of Kootenay Bay in the southeast of the province. It doesn’t matter if you’re well-versed in warrior poses or you can’t even touch your toes, here you can spend a few days, weeks or even months learning the basics of this ancient practice or building on your knowledge with experienced specialists. But the main thing that sets this place apart? The deadset draw-dropping natural surroundings. When you’re not getting your downward dog on, you’ll enjoy calming meditation practice and nourishing, organic food with epic views over Kootenay Lake and Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park.