6 Great Surprises along the Trans-Canada Highway.

My husband, myself, our 5 year old son, and 3 year old daughter traveled from Oregon to Ontario via British Columbia and Alberta. I had wanted to drive the Trans-Canada Highway for at least the ten years prior. It was everything that I hoped for and more!

We looked out the window and stopped when whenever we wanted.

Here are 5 unexpected things that we loved while traveling from Salmon Arm to Banff.

1. Revelstoke.

Are you kidding? Revelstoke is amazing!

It is like a mountain oasis on the banks of the Columbia River.

In 2016, when we were there, Revelstoke apparently had a population of just over 6,700 and by 2019 that increased to over 14,000. As far as I can tell, that is for good reason.

The town is full of local cafes and shops. Food options are endless. Whether you are looking for organic, homemade, local, vegan, vegetarian, grass fed, or just delicious, you will find what it! People are friendly and kind.

The mountain resort is modern and has views for miles. The mountainside lodging in June was too much of a deal to pass up. We signed on for a slope side 2 bedroom with a kitchen and patio. I recommend bringing food and drinks from town if you are staying more than a night but the room will not disappoint!

You will see bears if you are lucky. The mountain coaster is super fun. The views are remarkable.

2. Spiral Tunnels along the Trans-Canada Highway.

I had never even heard of a spiral tunnel. When we saw our first one we were amazed. Then we wanted to learn more!

There are two view points. One along the Trans-Canada Highway just over 7 kilometers east of Field.

Basically, an train leaves Field going eastbound and goes through two tunnels, under the highway, across the river and into the Lower Spiral Tunnel. The train spirals up and exits the tunnel higher than where it started. It crosses the river again, goes under the highway, and into a second tunnel. It exits that tunnel higher yet.

You have the opportunity to see each end of the train at different altitudes at the same time. Does that make sense? It does when you see it!

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3. Yamnuska Wolfdog Santuary

The kids were ready to stretch theirs legs. This was near the highway and so popped in.
The staff are kind and obviously care for the animals. The kids like it and I continue to find wolves kind of creepy.

It’s a nice stop and welcome rest break on the way east bound to Banff.

4. National Parks along the Tran-Canada Highway.

Mt. Revelstoke, Glacier, and Yoho are all packed into a short piece of the Trans-Canada Highway. I will let these parks speak for themselves. Stop at each one, especially Yoho. You won’t be disappointed.

5. Via Feratta,Banff.

Via Feratta is Italian for “iron way”. It is a climbing route with cables, ladders, and fixed anchors.

This is the view of Banff from the Via Feratta.

6. Banff: The Less Crowded Side.

Here is a picture of an afternoon away from main street, tour groups, and hotels parking garages. This side of Banff isn’t hard to find.

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Yosemite, Camp 4.

Do you dream about sleeping among the granite rock walls of the Yosemite valley? Have you heard of Camp 4?

Yosemite is impressive and beautiful.

We arrived in CD’s Honda civic. We had come from Colorado via Utah, Nevada, Southern California, and Highway 101. The mountains were a welcomed site. We were road weary and our legs were begging to hike all day.

We rolled into Camp 4. I can’t remember if we were seeking Camp 4 or if we just needed somewhere interesting to camp.

Welcome to Camp 4, Yosemite

Camp 4 is a campground and a community. It is a lifestyle choice than a housing choice and this is obvious when you are there. It is a famous home base for climbers.

The cost was $6 per person per night. There are 30 some walk – in sites. There are rocks for bouldering, granite mountain sides for climbing, and trail heads for hiking.

We were greeted with a list of rules. You must remove all food from your car and place in designated lockers. Camp 4 is loved by bears almost as much as by climbers.

We followed all of the recommended procedures. I cleaned the car, used the bear lockers, kept a clean campsite, and properly disposed of my dish water.

Camp 4, Yosemite

I convinced CD to use our largest tent. Who knows why we packed this way but we had CD’s sleeping tarp from the PCT, a new backpacking tent, and my old six person tent. It seemed logical that I would be less likely to be mauled by a bear in a six person tent than in a two person tent. CD didn’t agree but was kind enough to go a long, however.

camp 4, Yosemite. It is quiet in the afternoon.

Bears and Messy Campsites

The bears showed up at dusk, right on schedule. You could hear the classic: “hey bear” and “get out of here, bear”. Neither the bears nor the campers were particularly concerned.

The campground was relatively rowdy and a bit messy. Chip bags and beer cans were rolling around. Nobody really cared. Everyone was happy. I admit feeling a bit judgmental of the other campers food storage habits.

We passed by tons of climbers on our way to the trail.

A few hours later, the climbers from Camp 4 were below us and this was the view we found.

The view is spectacular, as you can see

Ultimately, I slept with one eye open but still felt rested. I reaped the benefits of being surrounded by free-spirits. They were having fun and it showed.

It is unlikely that I will stay at Camp 4 again since they don’t allow sleeping in the parking lot and the sites are not accessible to our van. If we sell the van, I will likely be too old and spoiled to sleep on the ground in Camp 4. I guess you never know.

As John Muir said: “And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul”.

Please check out our blogs for other National Park adventures.

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