Backpacking in Southwestern British Columbia by Taryn Eyton is a fantastic guide for overnight hiking and camping trips. I bought my copy last spring when it was first published so have almost had a year to learn from it. Sometimes I have as much fun planning trips and anticipating them as getting out and exploring. This book is perfect for that! I have now visited 18 of the 40 areas so thought I should write a review.
Please note, I bought my copy with my own money, and I’m not sponsored in any way. I’m just sharing my opinions because Taryn did a great job with it. And I think it’ll help people find good ideas for Backpacking trips.
Backpacking in Southwestern British Columbia – the basics
The book contains 40 hikes that can will allow you to sleep under the stars and camp in the backcountry. They are mostly adventures you can complete in 2-3 days (rather than longer through hikes) Taryn has included information about where to camp (including the facilities for each site), how to reserve, how to reach the trailheads etc. She gives information about each hike as well as alternative routes and ways to extend your trip.
Like 105 Hikes, I really like the maps in the books published by Greystone and Backpacking in Southwestern British Columbia is no exception. The maps are clear, show the topography and are easy to understand. I never use them alone (we buy more detailed paper maps and use apps like alltrails) but they are useful for planning.
Leave No Trace
Taryn is a Leave no Trace Educator. So she has been careful to choose trails that are in parks or areas with land managers (rather than places on crown land that don’t have maintained trails, outhouses or bear caches etc.) I love that the leave no trace principles thread through everything; So when she lists campsites, she’ll include info about being careful not to crush vegetation etc. Some tips are obvious, like don’t litter or feed wildlife. But there are other important things you may not have considered like planning ahead, minimizing the impact of campfires and being considerate of others.
This is where Taryn’s writing really shines. You can tell she loves all of the trails she has suggested. Her descriptions are easy to follow and detailed enough to give you a good idea about what to expect when you’re out on the trails.
The hikes are located all over the mainland of Southwestern British Columbia (there aren’t any on on Vancouver Island.) There are multiple trails along the Sea to Sky between Vancouver and Pemberton. A bunch on the Sunshine coast that you’ll need a ferry to reach. To the east there are hikes in the Fraser Valley and over as far as Manning and Cathedral Lakes.
Hiking vs Backpacking
Several of the trails listed in this book are totally doable as day hikes. I like that the book includes some easier hikes that you could reach quickly; But that are even more fun if you take it slowly and spend the night in the scenery that you’d normally rush through.
Backpacking in Southwestern British Columbia views
I’ll share a few photos from the hikes in this book so you can get an idea about the treats Tayrn will introduce you to. From left to right (then top to bottom):
- The beautiful upper lake at Joffre Lakes (2)
- Cheakamus Lake view from the trail to Russet Lake (5)
- Camping at Russet Lake (5)
- Views from Black Tusk
- Helm Lake just beyond the Helm Creek Campground
- View from my tent at Little Douglas Lake
- Frosty Mountain when the larches are out
- Views from Lone Goat on the Skyline trail
- Steps down on the Heather Trail to Three Brothers Mountain
- Covile Camp on the way to Mason’s Ridge (30)
If you are thinking of getting into backpacking and camping in the back country in beeeeautiful British Columbia, I really recommend using this book to help you plan. Or, if you have a friend who likes to hike, this would be a great gift.
I hope this review will help more people find more incredible adventures in the wilderness. If you fancy your own copy, you can order directly from Taryn and get a signed copy!