A Guide to British Columbia’s Most Instagrammable Natural Wonders
British Columbia is damn photogenic.
Experience Canada’s stunning natural scenery, vibrant cities, and warm locals for yourself.
Canada’s western province, British Columbia (BC), is so damn photogenic it’s hard to know where to point your camera. So, to make your job easy, we’ve profiled the most beautiful natural landmarks, wildlife and phenomena, along with tips to help you snap happy. Then, you can kick back and let the likes roll in.
#1 Get Lost In Yoho National Park
Sitting on the western slopes of the Canadian Rockies and right next to neighbouring province Alberta, Yoho National Park is a mountainous treasure trove of hikes, wildlife, waterfalls, emerald lakes, and fossil deposits. Get up close with relics from a past world and hold fossils that are over 500 million years old at the Visitor’s Centre. Is there anything more Instagrammable than that?
Yoho was named after a Cree (one of the largest groups of Indigenous people in North America) expression for “awe and wonder”, and can be visited year-round.
Take a YOLO mentality at Yoho the for best photography results.
#2 Stare At A Storm On Vancouver Island
The west coast of Vancouver Island faces straight out to the north-eastern Pacific Ocean, meaning that during storm season, you can watch the coastline get pummelled by wind and pressure systems that originate near Alaska.
The season for storm watching runs from November through to about March, and renowned hot spots for those wanting to capture the action on Instagram are Tofino and Ucluelet, located near the middle of the Island’s west coast.
Wander down to the beach to experience the turbulent sea and lashing wind up close, or admire the chaos from the comfort of your accommodation, which will likely facilitate a brilliant view of any storm.
#3 Enjoy A Spot Of Bear-Spotting
British Columbia is home to several bear species, all of which can be seen in their natural habitats throughout the province. Home to between 50 and 60 grizzly bears, the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary is a no-brainer. It’s Canada’s first grizzly bear sanctuary and is accessible only by water. No filters needed here.
At the Kitasoo Conservancy, you can spot a Kermode bear (also known as the Spirit Bear) a rare subspecies of the American black bear. There are believed to be less than 400 Spirit Bears left in existence.
Whistler Mountain, too, is home to around 60 black bears, and in the warm months between May and October, there’s a good chance you’ll see them hunting for food or nursing cubs.
In many of the parks where bears are found, you can also hike, camp, fish, and canoe, meaning you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see these amazing mammals in the wild. But be sure to follow BC Parks Wildlife Guidelines and Outdoor Ethics information for the bears’ safety – and yours.
#4 Journey From Sea To Sky
Fancy being shuttled from sea-level to an elevation of 885m in just 10 minutes? The Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish does just that. The ride up provides a magnificent view of Howe Sound, North America’s southern-most fjord and 42kms of expansive and glistening water, islands and mountains located in the Georgia Strait. Ensure your camera is charged and at the ready for the journey up, as you’ll be snapping the natural beauty from all angles.
The gondola operates year-round and is wheelchair accessible.
While you’ll easily meet your daily Instagram quota on the ride up, it’s at Summit Lodge where photo opportunities really abound. There are hiking trails, rock-climbing walls and backcountry ski routes suitable for all skill levels. For those who prefer to remain indoors, there are three restaurants to choose from at the summit, perfect for taking in a slightly different view.
#5 Settle In To Watch Northern Lights
From Squamish in the south to Muncho Lake Provincial Park right up north near Yukon Territory on the Alaska Highway, BC is regularly treated to shows by the dazzling Aurora Borealis. While successfully capturing the Northern Lights on camera can be more about serendipity than anything else, there are a few ways to give yourself the best chance of getting it right.
Start by following the Canadian Space Agency’s list of Aurora Viewing Tips. They provide 30-minute forecasts and updates on what the viewing conditions are like. Use the time-lapse function on your phone or camera to see how the lights dance and move and to capture any shooting stars in between.
Places like Muncho Lake Provincial Park and the town of Smithers, a short flight from Vancouver, make for perfect vantage points.
#6 Do Look Down At The Raven’s Eye Cliff Walk
Perched almost 2200m above sea level, the Raven’s Eye Cliff Walk offers 360-degree views of the stunning alpine vistas of the Whistler Bowl. It’s reached via a long suspension bridge that extends from West Ridge.
Those not afraid to look down (and up, and all around) will be treated to uninterrupted views of nearby Black Tusk and Rainbow Mountain.
It’s the crowing jewel in the region’s many hiking trails and is easily incorporated into one such walk or is totally worthy of a day trip all of its own. Your Instagram profile will thank you.
(All other images courtesy of Destination Canada)
British Columbia is a dream destination for nature-lovers and photography fiends alike. Make it part of your next Canadian adventure and thank us later.