Banff’s Marsh Loop Trail in Winter

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

A very popular short walk out of Banff townsite in the Canadian Rockies, the highlight is seeing song birds, waterfowl and amphibians.

Not so much in winter. 😀

Yet I’d argue it’s even more beautiful with snow and ice.

Click PLAY or get a glimpse on YouTube.

10 Adventures has a great write-up calling it the Marsh Loop Hike. (3.4km)

Dale Hodges Park, Calgary

by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta in the foothills of the Canadian Rocky mountains.

BEST urban hiking — in my opinion — is along the north bank of the Bow River in the NW of the city of nearly 1.3 million.

A new attraction has been added. Dale Hodges Park – stormwater wetlands, wildlife habitat, trails for cycling and walking, and lookout points across the scenic river valley.

Formerly a gravel pit, it won the highest award of honour from the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects for its use of environmental landscape design.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I’d never seen a muskrat (photos) in my home town. Until I visited Dale Hodges Park.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Bobcats in Calgary

In my travels around the world I’ve seen much elusive wildlife including snow leopards.

BUT I’d never seen more than bobcat paw-prints.

In recent years, bobcats have been moving into big city Calgary, population 1.2 million plus.

MyCalgary.com

The city offers plenty of squirrels and jackrabbits.

One took a nap in a city yard a couple of weeks ago.

I saw this one just after dawn in the neighbourhood where I grew up. It seemed totally unworried about me standing only about 2m distant.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Hole in the Wall, Port Alberni BC

Hole in the Wall, a short day hike, is a is fast becoming a major attraction for the Vancouver Island community.

The hole is all that remains of a decades old water line.

Check in at the Port Alberni Visitor Centre for directions.

Parking is difficult though the trail itself is only an easy 1.3km return walk.

Rather than following the normal route as posted on AllTrails Port Alberni Hole in the Wall, I walked instead from an industrial park end of Sherwood Road.

Definitely muddier and less traveled, I did find it interesting. Nobody else parked there.

Here are the rough trails as shown on Maps.me.

Click PLAY or get a glimpse of my hike on YouTube.

Glorious Rathtrevor Beach at Dawn

Dawn low tide at Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville on Vancouver Island.

I’ve been walking early morning at Rathtrevor for months during COVID lockdown. This edit gives you a good feel for the glorious setting.

I’ve not yet tired of taking a morning walk in exactly the same place each day. Every dawn is different.

Low tide here stretches nearly a kilometre out into the Strait of Georgia.

Thousands of birds are here Spring and Autumn during migration. This video shot in November.

Rathtrevor has a terrific campground, if you ever get the chance to visit.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Willingdon Creek Trail, Powell River B.C.

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.

If you ever get to the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, there are two unique attractions in Powell River you might easily miss:

  1. Powell River Giant Hulks breakwater
  2. Willingdon Beach Trail

First, Willingdon.

Though it’s an easy, flat 1.2km stroll one way, I still rank Willingdon one of the best hikes in North America because it’s so unique. Historical.

Started 1910 as a logging railway along the coast, today it’s an outdoor museum of forestry technology, gradually being consumed by temperate rainforest.

Start at the main coastal park in downtown Powell River and walk towards Willingdon Beach Campsite (excellent, by the way).

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

After you finish the trail, if you continue walking towards the Pulp Mill — staying as close to the water as you can — you’ll get some distant views of the largest floating Hulk breakwater in the world. Very cool.

It’s used to protect the Pulp Mill’s log storage pond.

While nine of these ten ships were built during the Second World War, the tenth ship, the S. S. Peralta, is the last remaining WWI concrete ship afloat.

Click PLAY or see them on YouTube.

related – trip report – Adventure Awaits – Willingdon Beach Trail

Best Pemberton B.C. hike – One Mile to Nairn Falls

I parked at the Tim Horton’s coffee shop in Pemberton near Whistler.

Hiked to Nairn via pretty One Mile Lake.

About an hour each way to visit both.

In fact, I enjoyed One Mile just much as the Falls themselves.

I do love boardwalk.

It’s a great family hiking option year-round. You can skate One Mile Lake during the winter.

From the end of the lake I connected to Nairn Falls via Lumpy’s mountain bike trail system. A bit rugged at points.

Nairn Falls themselves are busy during the summer. This is a very popular stop for tourists.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube. 

related – Outdoor Vancouver – Nairn Falls Hike in Pemberton