I've always had a thing for mountains.
Call it a love, call it an obsession, call it whatever you want — I get SO excited when I'm around snow-capped peaks.
So when my friend Stephanie from Twenty-Something Travel invited me to join her for a leg of a relay road trip that would have us exploring the Canadian Rockies, there was no way I could say no.
The Great Coast Road Trip (sponsored by Coast Hotels) is a really cool concept — it's a massive road trip stretching across western Canada and all the way down into California. For about 5 days at a time, bloggers drive around in a bright purple Coast-branded car, exploring a specific part of either Canada or the U.S. Once they are done, they hand the car off to someone else, who continues on the adventure.
Steph and I got the “Peak to Peak” leg of the Great Coast Road Trip. And, spoiler alert: I think it was one of the very best legs.
I'll be writing more about driving through national parks, feeding grizzly bears, and paddleboarding on mountain lakes later, but for now I want to share the highlights of our 5-day leg of the Great Coast Road Trip.
Our road trip technically began in Revelstoke, British Columbia, but we flew in to Calgary, Alberta, to pick up the car. Meaning that we had NO CHOICE (note: sarcasm) but to spend a day driving through the Rocky Mountains along the Trans-Canada highway. We stopped in the village of Banff, visited Lake Louise in Banff National Park, and made many photo stops in Yoho National Park at places like Emerald Lake and the spiral tunnels at Kicking Horse Pass. This was by far one of the prettiest drives I've taken in a long time.
We ended our long drive in Revelstoke, a little ski town on the edge of Canada's Glacier National Park. We split our time here between relaxation and adventure. We relaxed in our hotel's ski-lodge-like atmosphere, and also in Revelstoke's adorable downtown area. And we got our heartrates pumping at Sky Trek, where we took on a challenging high ropes course.
From Revelstoke, we were treated to a surprisingly gorgeous afternoon drive to the city of Kamloops. Neither of us had ever heard of this place before (and yes, we may have spent some time making fun of its name…), but it turned out to be one of our favorite stops! We were treated to two fantastic meals by Chef Romeo Oloresisimo of the Coast Kamloops hotel — one pan-Asian tasting menu for dinner, and one lunch at Harper's Trail Winery that ended with fresh ice cream made with liquid nitrogen. We also visited the BC Wildlife Park in Kamloops, which is a conservation and rehabilitation center for animals native to British Columbia. There, we got to meet Clover, a rare “spirit bear” (AKA a blonde black bear), got to go behind the scenes with one of the vets to see how she feeds and trains wolves and badgers, and even got to hand-feed carrots to grizzly bears!
We didn't really want to bid Kamloops farewell, but on Saturday afternoon we did, making for the ski resort of Sun Peaks. The town was eerily quiet in late May (summer season doesn't start here until June), but we still took a turn around town in a horse-drawn carriage, and enjoyed a morning paddle boarding lesson on Lake Heffley with Bodie of Paddle Surfit. We were kind of dreading the morning on the lake, mostly because the weather forecast was calling for cold and rain. Thankfully, we were met with sun — and neither on of us fell in!
Our adventure ended in the lakeside town of Kelowna. We didn't get to do much here except wander around downtown Kelowna and the shores of Lake Okanagan in between thunderstorms. But it was actually the perfect way to end our adventure.
Think this trip sounds like fun?
Here's the route we took:
And great news! You can actually WIN this leg of of the Great Coast Road Trip! Here are the contest details. If you enter, be sure to let me know! (You can actually win any leg of the trip, but let's be honest… our leg is the one you want to win!)
Which part of this road trip do you want to read more about?
*Disclaimer: This trip was sponsored by Coast Hotels (and Zipcar), though I was technically just the +1 and was not obligated to write a thing about it. All opinions are completely my own.