A three month trip to Canada - where should I start?
That's what I asked myself before my trip. And to make it a little easier for you when planning, here are my ultimate tips for booking campsites, what you should definitely pack and what to look out for when booking a rental car.
Hiking tips for Canada in early winter? Does it make sense?
Absolutely! Because many of the hikes and especially the campsites are very popular. You can book them in advance using a reservation system.
There is no fixed date for 2024 yet, but the booking system is usually open from the beginning of the year, so it makes sense to think early about which hikes you want to do and at which campsites you want to stay overnight. The backcountry campsites and the campsites in the national parks in particular are booked up very quickly.
How can I book campsites in national parks?
The ParcsCanada website is your best friend when planning. The reservation system is a bit confusing at first, but after a while you'll find your way around.
It's best to first generate a login
You have four options here:
There is Frontcountry Camping, these are campsites that are located in national parks and can be reached by car. There are usually at least toilets, running water, shelters where you can cook if the weather is bad and bear boxes. Contrary to what it says on the website, many campsites have no showers and usually no mobile reception.
Parcs Canada Accomodations are accommodations such as glamping tents, yurts or cabins - you don't need your own tent.
Backcountry are campsites that you can only reach on foot or by canoe. There are only basic toilets without running water, bear boxes (check beforehand) and picnic tables. There is also firewood and fireplaces. Since there was a fire ban all summer when I was there, I didn't check. You have to bring everything you need here: tent and food. Most of the time the campsite is near a water source such as a river or lake. However, the water is not drinkable, which means you have to filter it, boil it or treat it with tablets. You have to take everything you bring with you back with you. This means there are no trash cans.
You can also book the West Coast Trail here, the only hiking trail (as far as I know) that has access restrictions.
Dayuse. Here you can, for example, reserve a shuttle bus to Moraine Lake, which is the only way to get there besides hiking.
Some campsites cannot be reserved (first come), i.e. first come, first served. Of course this has advantages and disadvantages.
These campsites usually have no reception. There is usually a wooden hut where you take an envelope with a form, fill it out and enter the desired campsite (the campsite always have a number), add money (between 15-20 Canadian dollars), tear off the receipt and throw in the rest. You hang the receipt on the post with the number of the chosen campsite. This system also works at campsites in provincial parks or in the Yukon.
Sometimes you have to be there very early and it's harder to plan. On the other hand, I didn't actually have any problems getting a campsite, only in the Rocky Mountains, for the West Coast Trail and the Tombstone Mountains (there's a funny story about that that I tell while writing the blog) I had reserved everything in advance.
Are there any other campsites?
Sure. The system described above only applies to the national parks. However, the most beautiful hikes are of course exactly in this Parcs. In provincial parks there is usually a local page like the one from British Columbia, or Yukon. And there are private campsites and RV parcs, which you can find on google maps for example.
The Map of Parcs Canada lists all the parks that are connected to the Canada Discovery Pass can be visited for free. If you click on the respective park or search for it, you will receive detailed information, such as local hiking maps or information about trail closures, etc.
There are several scheduled flights from Germany to Vancouver every day. To enter Canada, a electronic travel document (eTA) required.
I love public transport - but Canada is not a country for it. If you want to hike here, you need a car. I had spent a relatively long time browsing various internet forums to see whether I should buy one. That would certainly have been cheaper, but ultimately the risk of the car being left somewhere was too great for me. So I booked the smallest rental car I could get. Most travelers book campers, for me it was for the two months I had a car, too expensive. I got the cheapest offer from www.billiger-mietwagen.de
There are also a few things to consider when renting a car. Firstly, you have to make sure that the insurance is also valid if you are traveling for more than a month. Some insurance policies exclude roads (such as the Dempster Highway in the Yukon) or even entire regions (such as the Yukon). Be sure to check this, otherwise you may not be insured.
I lived in my car for almost two months and it was my best friend during that time and definitely worth every penny.
Roughly speaking, the best time to travel is from June to October. But even in midsummer it can snow in the mountains and on the coast it can be very uncomfortable if the rain continues.
ENTRY TO THE NATIONAL PARK
The national parks in Canada charge entry. Each day costs $10.50. If you're staying longer or want to visit multiple national parks, consider the Parks Canada Discovery Pass for $72.25, which is valid for one year at all Parcs Canada facilities.
PACKING LIST FOR MULTI-DAY HIKINGS
Your backpack should not weigh more than 25-30% of your body weight.
Well-worn in and, above all, waterproof hiking boots, warm and weatherproof clothing, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and an absolutely waterproof tent are essential. Useful: hiking poles and gaiters. Backpack with rain cover, pack things inside again in plastic bags. Stove, pot, cup, bowl, spoon, knife, hiking map, rope (clothesline, abseiling), first aid kit, cell phone, toilet paper, headlamp.
You can get a Download camping checklist at the Parcs Canada website. I would never take that much material with me, but it's a good guide to what you'll need. ... Here you can also find outdoor recipes