RV Driving Tours
To show our appreciation to our valued customers and visitors, Canada RV Rentals is offering free driving tours for your RV rental vacation. We will be updating this page with more driving tours in the near future.
The Totem Circle
This breathtaking tour of Western Canada features the spectacular Rocky Mountains, the pristine waters of the west coast, and everything in between. Stops include Victoria, Comox, Port Hardy, Prince Rupert, Prince George, Jasper, Banff, Kelowna, and Hope. Suggested campgrounds each offer a wide range of services which differ from campsite to campsite. A portion of the trip will be in several of Canada’s national parks and, as a result, you’ll require a park pass which can be purchased at the entrances or in the campgrounds of these parks. In addition, contact BC Ferries for fee information and other details about the two ferry trips which are scheduled into your tour.
Day 1-2 ~ Vancouver to Victoria (69km)
Pick up your motorhome in Vancouver and head straight for the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and enjoy a two hour ferry trip across the Strait of Georgia and through the spectacular Gulf Islands to Vancouver Island. Once ashore it’s a short drive to the beautifully British flavor of the provincial capital city, Victoria.
Stay two nights at Goldstream Provincial Park Campground 16 km north of Victoria And experience all that Victoria has to offer. Enjoy a trip to the world renowned Butchart Gardens, take in afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel, or grab your binoculars and do some whale watching over the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Dozens of impressive waterfront restaurants just might lure you in for a night out on the town and afterwards enjoy a stroll through the picturesque Beacon Hill Park.
On the other hand, for your first two nights, you may simply want to enjoy the massive trees, majestic waterfalls and the flowers, birds, and fish that draw people to Goldstream Provincial Park. Surrounded by 600-year-old Douglas fir trees, cedar, hemlock, red alder, and black cottonwood, your first two nights on Vancouver Island will give you more than just a taste of what’s in store on your western Canadian adventure.
Day 3 ~ Victoria to Comox (220km)
Depart Victoria and head up the Island Highway (Highway 1) and through the city of Duncan, BC aptly named the “City of Totems.” Enjoy the many cultural displays of North Coast Indians’ culture and consider visiting the Quw’utsun’ Heritage Village. This site is dedicated to showing the rich artistic and cultural history of one of Canada’s proudest native communities. Continue your drive past the cities of Nanaimo, Parksville, and Qualicum Beach, and drive up towards what many western Canadians consider to be THE place to reside: the Comox Valley. The twin cities in this verdant valley, Courtenay and Comox, form the urban hub of this spectacular valley. Often termed a ‘mini-Vancouver’ for its artistic community and its proximity to the Island Mountains, lush green valleys, and pristine coastline, you’ll have a chance to visit and explore this rich land as you spend one night in Miracle Beach Campground located 20 minutes north of Courtney-Comox. During your stay, grab an old pair of shoes and consider heading off the beaten track to Seal Bay recreation area, an ideal place to explore marine life in an impressive area of tidal pools. After all, what would a trip to Vancouver Island be like without catching a glimpse of the colorful and abundant marine life along the coastline?
Day 4-5 ~ Comox to Port Hardy (284km)
Depart Miracle Beach and continue northward past Campbell River, to Telegraph Cove. A mecca for whale watchers, consider stopping for the day and book a whale watching excursion for an excellent chance to see the famed Orca, or killer whale.
Back on the road, drive to the northern terminus of Highway 1, Port Hardy. Overnight at the full service Sunny Sanctuary Campground just five minutes from the city of Port Hardy . Wake up in Port Hardy and enjoy the many displays of Native culture. If you’d like to experience an Eco-Adventure day, Port Hardy offers a full range of Kayaking Tours from self-guided hourly trips to full day paddles.
Before you retire for your second night in Port Hardy, visit the BC Ferry Terminal to check the departure time of your ferry to Prince Rupert.
Day 6-7 ~ Port Hardy to Prince Rupert (10km)
The next morning enjoy a 15 hour daylight cruise that will take you through part of the Inside Passage termed the Discovery Coast. As you sail along, have your camera ready as you’ll pass through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world including snow-capped mountain peaks, stunning glaciers, and untouched islands covered in evergreens. Porpoises, sea lions, eagles, and maybe even a few killer whales will share their habitat with you on your journey. Arrive in Prince Rupert and overnight at Prudhomme or Lakelse Provincial Campgrounds.
Wake up on day seven in Prince Rupert and drive 20 km south to visit the North Pacific Historic Fishing Village for a tour of BC’s oldest cannery village and enjoy the rich history and vital role that fishing has played in the history of the province. Other options include exploring more rich cultural displays of Canada’s west coast Indians. Learn the secrets of the totem, see carvers at work on their totems, and visit a traditional “longhouse” to immerse yourself in the culture of Canada’s First Nations people. Alternately, you can enjoy a cruise to nearby Pike Island once inhabited by the Metlakatla First Nations people where you can even enjoy a traditional Metlakatla salmon bake. Overnight again in Prince Rupert at the Prudhomme or Lakelse Provincial Campgrounds.
Day 8-9 ~ Prince Rupert to Smithers (353km)
Depart Prince Rupert and follow the Yellowhead Highway through the city of Terrace. Consider a stop at the Ksan Historical Village and Museum when you reach the city of Hazelton. This replicated ancient First Nations village takes visitors into the world of totems, architecture, and history of the Gitxsan people.
Your next destination is the quaint city of Smithers located in the heart of the Bulkley Valley. Along with the many outdoor pursuits available to you in Smithers, take a practical stop at Wash the Works, a rest stop for RV’ers located on Highway 16 near the A&W restaurant. Here, you can have a shower, do a few loads of laundry, and even wash your RV. 10 kilometers northeast of Smithers on Highway 16 is Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park, a fossil-lined canyon and considered one of the world’s most significant fossil beds. Babine Mountains Provincial Park (32,400 hectares), east of Smithers off Highway 16 offers some of the finest hiking areas in west central BC. Spend two nights in one of several RV parks available in Smithers.
Day 10-11~ Smithers to Prince George (371km)
Depart Smithers and continue traveling eastward on Highway 16. About halfway toward your destination of Prince George, turn north on Highway 27 and visit the Fort St. James National Historic Site, an area which shows the importance of the fur trade in the development of Canada. Visitors are treated to interpretive displays, replica buildings, artifacts, and trade goods from this fort once called ‘the Siberia of the fur trade.” Site interpreters dressed up in period costumes act out historic scenarios for visitors and demonstrate pioneer skills.
Continue driving until the mighty Nechako and the Fraser Rivers converge where you’ll discover British Columbia's "Northern Capital", Prince George. Boasting a population of over 70,000 people, Prince George is the largest of BC’s northern communities and provides visitors with all the major stores and outfitters you’ll need. Stay two nights in one of the many RV parks available in and enjoy all the attractions in Prince George from great fishing, hiking, and hunting, to jet boating, and even llama-trekking.
Day 12-13 ~ Prince George to Jasper, Alberta (376km)
Depart Prince George and continue east on the Yellowhead highway for a 370 kilometer drive through the Caribou and Rocky Mountains and across the border into the province of Alberta. Past the junction with Highway #5, if the sky is clear, look northward for the impressive peak of Mount Robson which, at an elevation of 3954 meters (12,969 feet), is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Better yet, stop and spend the day at Mount Robson Provincial Park, a region designated as a part of the Canadian Rocky Mountains World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1990.
Continuing eastward, arrive in Jasper and find a number of campgrounds from which to chose, in this, the largest of Canada’s Rocky Mountain parks. The rugged mountain terrain and vast valleys where First Nations people, fur traders, and prospectors once explored will undoubtedly leave you breathless. Some of Jasper’s natural features include the Athabasca Glacier, Miette Hotsprings, Sunwapta and Athabasca Falls, Mount Edith Cavell's impressive glaciers and the Maligne Canyon, all of which are accessible by road. Two must see’s in Jasper include a trip to Maligne Lake where you can paddle the turquoise waters of this gentle lake or take a cruise and visit a sacred Indian site, Spirit Island.
Better yet ride the Jasper Tramway to the top of the Whistlers to experience the alpine beauty and varied ecosystems of Jasper National Park.
Day 14-15 ~ Jasper to Banff (285km)
Depart Jasper heading south on highway 93 towards Banff National Park. About 100 kilometers from Jasper, stop and enjoy the breathtaking Columbia Icefields. One of the largest accumulations of ice and snow below the Arctic Circle, these icefields straddle the continental divide and its impressive waters feed into the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans. Take time to enjoy an Ice Age Adventure tour and head out onto the glaciers in special “Ice Explorer” vehicles and view the eight major glaciers.
Continue south on the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93) until you reach the junction with Highway #1, the Trans Canada Highway. A few minutes east and you’ll reach the townsite of Lake Louise a small mountain town nestled in the heart of Banff National Park. Take a drive up the lake itself, view the impressive Chateau Lake Louise, and enjoy a hike around the emerald waters of Lake Louise – its spectacular beauty is another must see when traveling through the Rockies.
About an hour’s drive east, you’ll reach the world renowned townsite of Banff. Having been discovered and laid claim to because of the discovery of bubbling hot springs at the base of Sulphur Mountain, Banff has been drawing in international visitors now for over a century. A paradox of sorts, Banff offers chic, upscale shopping and a variety of dining unparalleled for a town its size. At the same time, only minutes away you can cling to the summit of Sulphur Mountain inhaling the splendor of the Bow Valley and the surrounding mountain peaks. Other suggested activities include a boat cruise on nearby Lake Minnewanka, hiking, biking, or exploring in and around the townsite.
Enjoy the variety of camping in the Banff/Jasper area for two nights. You may wish to overnight at the Tunnel Mountain Campground, the only full service campground available in the park and which is located within walking distance to Banff.
Day 16-17 ~ Banff to Revelstoke (282km)
Having reached the farthest point east of your journey, it’s time to head back west along the Trans Canada Highway. Past Lake Louise you’ll leave Alberta, cross the Great Divide, pass by the Spiral Tunnels, and enter back into British Columbia. You may consider stopping at Emerald Lake and going for a short hike or visiting Takakkaw Falls, both short trips off the highway.
Driving past the town of Golden, and through the tunnels or ‘snowsheds’ along the narrow valley, you’ll reach one of the highest points of your trip at the summit of Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park. Stop at the summit and visit the Rogers Pass Visitor Centre to marvel at, among other things, the railway, avalanche control, and the wildlife which thrives at such a high elevation.
Choose from the many campgrounds in and around Revelstoke and spend two nights in this ‘alpine treasure’ nestled between the Selkirk and Monashee mountain ranges. A must see in Revelstoke is the quick drive up another National Park, Mount Revelstoke, to enjoy the abundance of mountain wildflowers in August and the wide range of hikes from short .75 jaunts to longer day hikes. Kayaking the glacier fed rivers and lakes around Revelstoke is one of the best ways to experience the wildlife in and around the Columbia Valley.
Day 18-19 ~ Revelstoke to Kelowna (192km)
Depart Revelstoke and head west on Highway #1 where your drive will take you past Craigellachie, the site which marks where the historic Last Spike was driven in 1885 to complete a transcontinental railway link from Atlantic to Pacific helping to unite Canada. At Sicamous, bid farewell to the Columbia Mountains and turn south on Highway 9, driving through the cities of Armstrong and Vernon until you reach the jewel of the Okanagan valley, Kelowna.
Long been known for its fruit orchards, vineyards, and wineries, the Okanagan Valley is a vacation hot spot, literally, for thousands of tourists during the summer months. Located on Okanagan Lake, Kelowna is the largest of the three major cities in this valley. Choose from the many campgrounds in Kelowna and stay two nights. Consider overnighting at Bear Creek Provincial Park, just south and west of Kelowna and enjoy camping along the sandy beaches of Lake Okanagan.
A stop in Kelowna without touring one or two of its impressive wineries would surely be a missed opportunity. Fast earning a reputation for creating some of the best vintages in the world, most Okanagan wineries offer free tours, taste testings, and fine dining, all among spectacular scenery in the hills above Okanagan Lake. Alternately, you can spend your time leisurely touring orchards, gardens, or heritage museums. For a faster pace, why not go parasailing, rent a boat, or try your hand at waterskiing.
Day 20-21 ~ Kelowna to Hope (245km)
Drive Highway #5A, the Coquihalla Highway (a toll highway), through the Coquihalla Pass and down through to the small city of Hope. Only two hours from the final destination of your tour, Vancouver, you will be spending the last two nights of your trip deciding which attractions, among the many, you wish to explore. Overnight in E.C. Manning Provincial Park in the lush Cascade Mountains.
Visit Hell’s Gate 52 kilometers north of Hope and see one of the province’s most awesome sights: the Hell’s Gate Gorge. At peak spring levels, 200 million gallons water surge through at a rate that surpasses Niagara Falls! A bit further north on Highway #1 in Boston Bar try your hand at horseback riding experience what it was like as a prospector in the Klondike gold rush riding up and down the Fraser Valley in search of the motherlode.
If you’d rather spend the last part of your journey serenely enjoying the splendor of the mountains, enjoy all that Manning Park offers from its own horseback riding to its many well marked hiking trails to its weekend amphitheatre shows.
Hope to Vancouver (150km)
Enjoy the last day of your trip traveling east of Hope, watching as the Fraser valley opens up to into some of Canada’s richest farmland. If time permits, consider stopping in Chilliwack and visiting Cultus Lake Park for a quick swim before you conclude your trip with about a one hour’s drive to Vancouver.
Wild Earth Adventures provides unique, adventure holidays, eco-adventures, and wildlife tours in Canada.