Some trips are meticulously planned several months in advance; others are quickly thrown together at the last minute. And while the final enjoyment of the trip usually doesn’t depend on the length of the planning period, the lead-up to it is a different story. I will share both our adventures and different hikes I completed on our 18 day adventure from Vancouver to Banff that was thrown together 45 days before departure, all on a whim that myself, two brothers and our families thought we may as well make the most of our Covid Summer 2020… which birthed our GET DIVOC OUTTA HERE tour (covid, spelled backwards).
This trip was a blend of preplanned travel, living in the moment and hoping miraculously that all the places we decided to visit would go as expected. I would also like to mention, this was our FIRST EVER camping trip!
As always, there is a little excitement thrown into every trip, especially if you are traveling with Cesar and myself. From the countless missed flights and almost cancelled trips this trip didn’t disappoint.
Our bags were packed, we were ready to go, and BAM the electric breaks wouldn’t work on our trailer! One call later, we had the most amazing trailer expert show up at our house to solve the issue and we were on the road, leaving a mere 8 hours past expected departure time. (very typical for anyone traveling with the Reaveley’s).
Since our departure was delayed, our first stop in Coldstream, BC didn’t happen, leaving us to camp on the side of the road for our very first trailer sleep. I am sure you all can imagine the excitement that arose in my children, when they found out our first stop was on the side of the freeway for a quick snooze before heading to the Alpaca Farm for our booked tour the next morning.
FIRST CAMPSITE: Dutch’s Campground, Coldstream
-Recommend for location and cute swimmable stream running throughout the campground.
5 hours of sleep later and on the road again we left landing at our campsite “Dutch’s” in beautiful Coldstream, which is central to Vernon. Dropped our things and off we went to the Alpaca Farm. Hanging with Alpaca’s was an experience in itself.
We then grabbed our bikes and headed down the Rail Trail, stopping every chance we had to jump in the lake and cool off.
BIKE RIDE: RAIL TRAIL
Skill Level: Rail Trail goes on for what seems like forever, but it is an easy ride for all levels. I also enjoyed running along the trail in the mornings.
Final Thoughts: I loved the trail and ability to just hop off, jump in the lake and continue our ride. I would love to go back to explore more of the trail to see where I end up.
Our days were filled from start to finish and this trip truly didn’t disappoint the soul. From learning about Bee’s, to visiting vineyards, traveling countless hours in the car soaking in the landscape that British Columbia has to offer, to hiking mountains, canoeing on lakes and rafting down them, this trip was everything and more.
Revelstoke was our next stop after Vernon.
CAMPSITE: Boulder Mountain Resort Campsite, Revelstoke.
- Very cute, very clean, and 3 minute drive into town. Loved this little campsite and would come back. They also had cabins and glamping tents to accommodate to all lifestyle choices.
I fell in love with this little town. It was cute and quaint, inviting you to explore its streets and boutique stores. We headed to the mountain of the Pipe Mountain Coaster – and let me say it was one of the TOP highlights of our trip. If you are driving through Revelstoke – LISTEN UP – STOP and let your inner laughter explode as you wind down the mountain, soaking in the views at top speed as you soar as fast as you can.
Up next, BANFF!
CAMPSITE: Banff National Park.
- Was disappointed. Did not have a good smell, I thought the area would offer more. Bonus – it was close to the HooDoo’s trail and a good view of mountains.
We headed out first thing the next morning to the Rocky Mountain Raft tours – this was a perfect excursion for all ages (littles included) but also offered a more advanced river rafting for the adventure seekers out there. We rafted down the Bow River, hoping to see a Grizzly or two but unfortunately none were spotted.
The town of Banff was even more stunning than Revelstoke but I think inhaling the Beaver Tails is what made it the more memorable. Those gooey, mouth-watering pastries are something I will never forget – and YES, add ice cream on top… don’t second guess it.
HIKE: Johnson Lake
Duration: 3km loop
We needed to burn off those Beaver Tails so we headed to Johnson Lake, after hiking around the lake, we jumped in its glacier waters and soaked in a little paddle boarding at the end.
Later, I hiked the HOODOO’s trail head which lead to the HOODOO’s. Hoodoos are composed sedimentary rock covered by harder rock that is harder to erode. Once softer sediment erodes rock needle, or tower like natural obstacles are left. We were camping right beside the start of the trailhead which made for a very scenic run every morning.
Final Thoughts: Worth the hike as I loved seeing the HooDoo’s and the view of the Bow River below with the mountain peaks surrounding it.
Our next adventure took us to the town of Canmore to explore the trails and town. This was a change in plans as we had planned to head up the Icefields for the day but the tour we planned to take was still closed, so the inconvenient 20 minute drive (which was beautiful) made its way into our schedule.
HIKE: Grassi Lakes
Distance: 3.5km loop.
Intensity: Easy to Moderate
Note: Do the difficult side. It’s not that difficult and offers much better views than the easy side that has a ton of coverage and vegetation. We did the easy way up and down as we had two strollers.
Final Thoughts: I found it to be pretty easy yet stunning all the way up to the lakes – but definitely take the “difficult” side and go on a sunny day so the sunlight reflects the beautiful blue hues of the lakes. The lake at the top is worth every step.
Canmore has great places to eat – we grabbed a pizza at the highly recommended Flatbread Co. and a beer to help swallow it down.
A fun little game if traveling with kids, is to set them on an adventure to find the Big Head, located on a side street in downtown Canmore. It also takes you to a beautiful loop trail and a stunning sneak peek of the 3 Sisters Peaks which we were on the hunt for.
And now… what we have all been waiting for.. LAKE LOUISE.
Words can’t even begin to capture the beauty of this place and to know it’s in my own backyard is unbelievable. The crystal blue waters, lush greenery, and tranquility of this place has your soul filled within moments of arriving. This was my first and will not be my last time here.
We had the advantage of experiencing Lake Louise without all the tourists and additional travelers as we went during Covid. I think this enhanced the beauty of Lake Louise that much more. We stayed at the Fairmont Chateau – yes, I recommend it! The views from the rooms, the lounge and overall feel of the hotel makes the experience – plus it heard it’s haunted which can make for some fun if traveling with older kids.
We checked in, immediately I dropped my things and headed up the mountain to fill my soul even more to the Lake Agnes Hike.
HIKE: Lake Agnes Hike
Skill Level: Moderate
This was my top hike of the trip. I enjoyed the sneak peek views of Lake Louise on the way up but even more, arriving at the top the Lake Agnes Teahouse. This made the trip worth every single step.
At the top, we sat, soaked in the views of Lake Louise, the Chateau, Lake Agnes and made friends with all the chipmunks who wanted to hang out with us. We did venture to the Little Beehive which was another 1km up, but didn’t have time for the BIG Beehive which I regret not doing. Next time.
Final thoughts: This hike came highly recommend by many. The tea house at the top definitely adds unique character here though, so be sure to bring cash so you can enjoy some tea or hot chocolate!
After a delicious meal at the Fairmont and a good snooze, we woke up early to hop in a canoe to complete my “Live It List” of canoeing on Lake Louise – It did not disappoint and should be on everyone’s “Live It List”. I still can’t absorb the beauty of what this lake has to offer.
We also couldn’t miss the opportunity to jump into the glacier fed lake of Lake Louise. IT WAS COLD! Breathtaking cold but worth every second of jumping in. Just be prepared to have a complete shock to your body and be highly awake afterwards.
Hike: Moraine Lake
We didn’t have much time to explore this area, but we did climb to the top of the rockpile to soak in the views while the sun was coming down. I knew I couldn’t leave without snapping a few photos here, and I was glad I did. It’s on my list to come back and explore this area more.
The next morning, Cesar and I woke up extra early to catch the sunrise. Photo’s do not do it justice. Capturing the sun coming up and shining on the mountain peaks was worth the loss of two extra hours of sleep.
Lake Louise, I will be back to explore more of your trails, soak in all your beauty and create more lasting memories.
Departing was a heart breaking, as we packed up and left for our 4 hour trek to Enderby.
Our last stop before finishing our trip off in Osoyoos for a week.
Campsite: Whispering Pines.
- Lots of bugs but very nice campground. Small river behind each campsite, allowing the littles to play in. Lots of activities and good location to the lake.
We stopped, dropped and floated our way down the Enderby River. As quickly as we arrived at our campsite, we grabbed our floaties, a couple Whiteclaws and off we went to float down the Enderby river, finishing off at the beach to watch the sun set, while munching on food truck burgers. Every part of this was amazing and enjoyed in its fullest.
With only one night here, we packed up early the next morning for our final descent to Osoyoos.
Campsite: Nk’ Mip Campground.
- Apart from the campsite we got being a parking lot without any privacy, the location of the campsite was good with its private beach and close to trails and activities. I would stay here again, but select a better site.
Having never been to Osoyoos before – I left loving this place. The wineries, rows and rows of vineyards, beaches and warm waters, there was so much to do to stay entertained. I was even able to coach my mom for her first half marathon, while we ran past the lake, throughout tons of vineyards and soaked in the views. I may have come home with 85 bottles of wine… which I believe calls for a girls wine night! Interested in joining me?
The trip was everything and more than I could’ve ever imagined. You will be catching us traveling more, sharing our experiences and loving every ounce of what mother nature has in store for us.
Until next time.