British Columbia

B.C. hiking trails: 3 tips and suggestions from Sam Waddington

Experienced backpacker Sam Waddington shares some tips for new and veteran hikers embarking on multi-day hikes around the province.

Suggestions for new and veteran hikers embarking on multi-day hikes around the province

Sam Waddington of Waddington's Outdoors says there is no shortage of amazing hikes in B.C. (Inmist Media House)

Over 94 per cent of British Columbia is provincial Crown land, meaning that vast expanses of forests, lakes, mountains and coastline have remained wild and virtually untouched.

That leaves plenty for hikers to explore.

Sam Waddington says multi-day hikers have to make sure they have enough supplies. (Inmist Media House)

"B.C. has a lifetime of exploration to check out," said Sam Waddington, owner of Mt. Waddington's Outdoors in Chilliwack.

"There are trails winding throughout all of that backcountry land."

Waddington, an experienced backpacker, shared some tips with North by Northwest host Margaret Gallagher for those who want to undertake a multi-day hike.

3 tips for multi-day hiking

1. Get used to staying overnight

For those who are new to multi-day hikes, Waddington recommends starting by staying over for just one night on a familiar trail, and then working up to longer periods.

2. Get up-to-date information about the trail

Waddington said that almost all the established multi-day backpacking trips throughout the province are outlined in various guidebooks.

But he said it's also important to check online forums and websites to get current information — especially now, while drought and forest fires are rampant across the province.

"You might be in a place where you're supposed to pick up water at a creek only two kilometres into the trail. If you don't, you're going to be out of water where you camp, because that creek is dry in July and August," he said.

3. Bring enough supplies and take out everything you bring

Waddington said it's important to bring a good tent, warm clothing (especially since alpine regions feel cooler), enough food and water, and bear spray, among other items.

"When you're packing stuff in, pack it out, including things that you think are biodegradable because that attracts animals to the trail and will detract the experience for somebody else," he said.

"This province has just the most remote and wild places," says Waddington.

3 great multi-day hikes:

1. The West Coast Trail

"It is well-marked, you cannot get lost...there are park rangers who will help look through your pack and will tell you if you have what you need. So for a beginner that's a really good place to go."

2. The North Coast Trail

"The North Coast Trail I would highly recommend, especially if you've done the West Coast Trail. It's a lot more remote, but it's one of those most people haven't heard of, and you're going to get a totally different experience, and a little more wildlife interaction."

3. Tweedsmuir Provincial Park

This park is home to the Hunlen Falls, which, at 400 metres, is the third highest in Canada (in comparison, Niagara Falls is only 51 metres).

Wherever one decides to go, they can't go wrong, Waddington said.

"Every part of this province is so diverse that every trail will be totally unique."

To hear the full interview click on the audio labelled: Multi-day hiking tips from Sam Waddington.


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