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  • Writer's pictureDean Nelson, (he/him) CTC, LLD

5-Day Sunshine Coast Walking Adventure

Take to the road and sea on the west coast of Canada with a five-day winter adventure from Vancouver. Your knowledgeable leader will introduce you to the Sunshine Coast – a stretch of land that hugs the Georgia Strait and houses quaint seaside communities and a whole load of wilderness to explore.

Through your exploration, ferry across the Strait on a number of scenic rides, hike the Sunshine Coast and Willingdon Beach trails and discover the rush and roar of the Skookumchuk Tidal Rapids. This area may be less known that its other natural counterparts in BC and Alberta, but has so much to offer a North American explorer with some cushy inclusions as standard. Are you ready to witness its wonder?

Why you'll love this trip

  • Being less visited than the neighbouring Vancouver Island and other sections of BC, you’ll feel you’re hitting on something new in Canada. The Sunshine Coast is a stretch of coastline on the up.

  • You’ll not only experience south-western Canada by land, but also by sea. Voyage on a number of short ferry journeys which will get you from a to b, and in the meantime, provide some pretty epic vistas.

  • Embark on several scenic leader-led hikes, including along the Sunshine Coast and Willingdon Beach trails, and to check out the mighty Skookumchuk Tidal Rapids.

  • In the small community of Powell Island, gather with your group for an included beer tasting session and light dinner. It’s just as if you were joining the locals, so cheers!

  • With all of the ferry bookings taken care of and private transport arranged, you won’t have to stress about a thing. Your mind will be focused on finding the next place to eat or whether or not to book an optional kayaking adventure.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Please ensure you consult your local government’s advice regarding domestic travel prior to booking this trip.

  • The Wild West Coast can sometimes throw us some unexpected surprises. More often than not, it’ll be a great surprise. But every now and again there might be a hiccup. We like to think that’s what puts the ‘adventure’ in ‘adventure travel’.

  • Please note that this trip run in winter. Weather in Canada can sometimes be unpredictable, so some aspects of the itinerary may require slight adjustments to ensure the best experience.

  • Keep in mind that this trip includes a number of ferry journeys, and runs at a quick pace. There is a focus on walking and scenery, so be sure to pack accordingly.


Day 1 - Vancouver / Sechelt

Welcome to Vancouver! Today is an early start, meeting at Granville Square (located right by Waterfront Station) at 8:30 am for an all-important welcome meeting. With not a lot of time spent in Canada’s western hub, it’s highly recommended to spend an extra day or two here to see what Vancouver has to offer. The Gastown neighbourhood, Stanley Park, Granville Island – just some of the hotspots to check out if you have time. After your group briefing this morning, depart in a private vehicle towards Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal for a 1.5-hour transfer to Langdale. Back on land, grabs some lunch and take a 30-minute drive to tonight’s stop in sleepy Sechelt. Once you and your group are all checked in, head on a leader-led walk around town, then perhaps catch the sunset by the sea. With a free evening tonight, why not get some of the travel crew together and head out for a meal? Be sure to ask your group leader for their recommendations.


  • Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Sechelt - Leader-led Walking Tour

Meals Included

There are no meals included on this day.

Special Information

It’s very important you meet your group leader and fellow travellers this morning at the departure point – read the ‘Joining Point Instructions’ on your Essential Trip Information for further details. As it is an early start this morning, consider spending an extra night in Vancouver before your tour begins. We’ll be happy to organize additional accommodation (subject to availability).

Day 2 - Powell River

There are a heap of cafes and eateries around town, so be sure to hit one up for some breakfast this morning. Reconvene with your group mid-morning and hit the road along Canada’s Sunshine Coast. A scenic drive for around an hour will hug the coastline and offer up some pretty serene views of the shore and waterways. Stop for photos along the way, then board a ferry from Earl's Cove Terminal for a 1-hour cruise to Saltery Bay. After another half an hour drive, arrive in the historic town of Powell River – your base for the next couple of nights. Grab yourself some lunch then join your leader on a stroll around town and along the picture-perfect and lush Willingdon Beach trail. Afterwards, freshen up at your hotel, then get excited for a beer tasting experience – with some light dinner – at an establishment in town. You’ve covered a bit of ground in the past couple of days, so sit back and let the conversation (and beers!) flow.


  • Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Powell River - Leader-led Orientation Walk

  • Powell River - Leader-led Willingdon Beach Trail Walk

  • Powell River - Brewery Beer Tasting

Meals Included

  • Dinner

Day 3 - Powell River

Rise and shine, and be sure to get some breakfast, before heading off at around 8 am for a 3-hour hike with your group and local leader along the Sunshine Coast Trail. During the hike, you’ll walk through verdant rainforests and past some tall waterfalls. It’s one of Canada’s longest hut-to-hut trails, but you and your small group will just be taking on a small section. There will be plenty of stops to take some panoramic photos along the way. Keep in mind that you’ll arrive back in town around 1 pm, so it’s wise to bring some snacks with you this morning. With an afternoon at leisure, you’re able to keep exploring at your own pace. Perhaps try your hand at kayaking on the Georgia Strait. Otherwise, if sitting down is on the cards, there are plenty of breweries and distilleries to hit up with your travel pals.


  • Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Leader-led Sunshine Coastal Hike

Optional Activities

  • Powell River - Kayaking - CAD$85/person

Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 4 - Gibsons

Enjoy your own breakfast then hit the road by 9 am. Head south in your private vehicle and take the same ferry crossing back to Earls Cove. This time, however, you’ll make a slight detour to Skookumchuk Tidal Rapids for a 2-hour leader-led hike. You might even be lucky to catch the tides changing along the rapids, which is quite a sight twice daily. Some daredevils are sometimes seen battling the rapids, but during winter, it’s likely way too cold! Afterwards, find a local eatery to refuel with your group then head towards the small town of Gibsons by 3 pm. This afternoon is free for you to explore, perhaps visiting a brewery or local museum, or otherwise, make the short walk up Soames Hill for some wonderful harbour views. Tonight, your leader will offer an optional dinner to the group to celebrate your time along Canada’s Sunshine Coast. Gibsons has some fantastic seafood establishments, so why not join your crew for a night of eating and drinking.


  • Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Leader-led Skookumchuk Tidal Rapids Hike

Optional Activities

  • Gibsons - Soames Hill (aka Knob Hill) Lookout Walk - Free

Meals Included

  • Breakfast

Day 5 - Vancouver

Leave Gibsons in your dust, departing by 11 am, bound for Langdale to take the return leg of your 1.5-hour ferry ride across to Horseshoe Bay, and onwards to Vancouver. You’ll arrive back at around 4 pm, where the tour will end on arrival at Granville Square. With no activities planned after arrival, you are free to leave the group, continuing your own adventure or beginning your homeward journey.

Meals Included

There are no meals included on this day.

Dates for the 5-Day Sunshine Coast Walking Adventure

Tour 1 - Sunday, March 14 - Thursday, March 18, 2021 $1,805/person in a twin shared room

  • (CAD$2.785 solo private room)

  • flexibility to change your travel plans up to 21 days before your scheduled departure

Tour 2 - Sunday, April 18 - Thursday, April 22, 2021 $1,805/person in a twin shared room

  • (CAD$2.785 solo private room)

  • flexibility to change your travel plans up to 21 days before your scheduled departure

Physical rating

This is a winter walking trip. The walks are not long or difficult and do not require special training or skills, just a reasonable level of fitness and a willingness to participate along with the right clothing for winter weather. If you are in any doubt, please share these concerns or issues with your sales consultant so that your leader is aware prior and can pre-empt your needs.

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist.

Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organizing these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.


LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS: All luggage is carried in trailers or inside the vehicle so please don't bring more than one medium sized bag, backpack or suitcase (20kg maximum) per person. Your suitcase/rucksack may get some rough handling, so make sure it's a tough one. A small daypack and camera may also be carried inside the vehicle.

As well as your underwear, toothbrush and other items you always need to pack for travel, below are some items that you specifically need for this trip.

ESSENTIAL: - Reusable water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. Tap water in the US and Canada is safe to drink and there are many places to fill up along the way, so please save plastic by bringing your own water bottle. - Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses - Clothing you can layer. You may encounter a wide variety of temperatures en route due to altitude and unforeseen weather conditions - so be prepared! Make sure to pack a warm fleece and a waterproof jacket. We suggest you check the expected temperatures en route and bring clothing that you can layer. - Closed-in shoes. If you are planning on doing any hiking during your trip we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings from dangerous animals in this environment.

RECOMMENDED: - Power adaptor - Insect repellent - Spare camera battery. You should have access to electricity to charge your battery most nights, but it is always a good idea to carry a spare. - Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, anti-diarrhoeal, antibacterial gel, wet wipes, bandaids/plasters etc.

OPTIONAL: - Travel pillow if you like to sleep during long drives - Reusable coffee cup such as a travel mug or KeepCup if you are a coffee drinker. Not only is it much better for the environment, but many places in the US and Canada also give a discount for bringing your own cup. - Ear plugs to guard against a snoring room-mate - A good book, a journal or an Ipod for the long drives. - Swimwear - Head torch

Group Leader

Your leader will provide basic information about the sights and cities you'll be visiting but please note that our leaders are not 'tour guides' in the traditional sense. They are adventure travel specialists and are there to organize your trip, arrange activities and help with questions or problems you may have while on your tour. Your leader will provide you with all the important information you need to embark on your own explorations.

They are also responsible for driving the van and navigating across the country. The allowable driving times for drivers is strictly controlled in North America. This ensures our drivers are well rested and are not over-tired from too many hours on the roads.

While your group will have a minivan for all included activities on the trip, please note that the services of the van and the driver may not be available for your use during free time, or after you have arrived for the day. If you need a special trip into town you may need to arrange transport or a taxi.

We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

It's strictly forbidden for non-qualified rangers to present any information about some National Parks in North America, therefore we adopt a system (as requested by the park rangers) where our leader will encourage travellers to visit the information centres in the National Parks for details about the site.

All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialized knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Book your BC escape today. Click here to set up a consultation or to book today.

Interested in other dates? Let me know happy to look into for you.

departuresXdean - an independent agent with Personal Travel Mgmt. (BC Reg. 2806) proud members of the IGLTA and the Ensemble Travel Group.

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