Posts in Category: Travel and Holidays

Grotto Canyon Trail in Winter


The Grotto Canyon Trail, just outside of Canmore, is becoming increasingly popular in winter and for good reason. It’s easy and a lot of fun – plus it’s one of those rare hikes that is perfect for all ages. Accessibility is excellent with the trailhead about an hour’s drive from Calgary. The downside is that parking on winter weekends tends to be at a premium unless you visit early or late in the day.

On the Grotto Canyon Trail, you can expect to be wowed by impressive canyons, frozen waterfalls, an icy creek bed and ancient pictographs. You might even catch ice climbers scaling the frozen falls, or kids sliding down what looks like a river of ice. You need a couple of hours to do this trail justice. 

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Near the end of the Grotto Canyon trail with the icefalls in view

Finding the Grotto Canyon Trail

The Grotto Canyon Trail is super easy to find. Simply drive Highway 1A from either east or west and look for signage along the highway. From the intersection of Benchlands Trail and the Trans-Canada Highway in Canmore, it’s a 12-minute, 12.8-kilometre drive. From downtown Calgary, it’s a about an hour’s drive via the Trans-Canada Highway, Highway 1X and Highway 1A. The parking is beside Grotto Canyon Pond.

Note that it is illegal to park on the highway, and you will be ticketed. I recommend parking as close to the highway as possible if you’re visiting at a busy time. That way you won’t be caught behind a long line of cars when you’re ready to leave.

Should you get to the parking lot, and the crowds are nuts, turn around and go east about five minutes and do the Jura Creek hike instead. 

Before you go: Always check the trail report just in case there are any closures.

                       

Grotto Canyon hike details

Distance: Approximately 4.2 km return

Elevation gain: 115 metres (some sites report higher numbers but there is nowhere near 260 metres of elevation gain which is regularly reported.)

Rating: Easy

Time needed: 2 – 2.5 hours so you have time for stops.

Best time to do it: Wait until early January when there have been hard freezes and the waterfalls are larger. The later you go in winter, the better the Grotto Canyon ice walk will be.

Dogs: Allowed on a leash.

Washrooms: There are outhouses at the trailhead.

Don’t forget: Microspikes are a necessity if you want to prevent a fall. Buy quality. They shouldn’t be able to slip off easily. If you have kids, they should also have a pair, even though they don’t have as far to fall. Check out these ones.

Map: Gem Trek Canmore and Kananaskis

Tours: Although the Grotto Canyon ice walk is easy to do on your own, a tour will provide a pick up from Banff, ice cleats, a hiking pole, hot chocolate, and a professional guide so you won’t miss the pictographs.

Needed: You will need a Kananaskis Conservation Pass to park your car without getting ticketed. The area along the Grotto Canyon Trail is in Bow Valley and as such meet Alberta Park’s requirements for passes. Purchase one online here, either for a day or a year.

Food after the hike: I highly recommend heading to Valbella, Communitea, Rocky Mountain Bagel Company or Harvest Café.

Grotto Canyon Trail description

The beginning of the Grotto Canyon Trail is not the most beautiful – and its noisy. Fortunately, you can knock off the 0.8 kilometres in about 10 -12 minutes. The first part of the trail is under a powerline beside the Baymag magnesium oxide plant. 

From there you head into the woods for a short section before coming out to a wide area with a nice view towards Canmore. Then the fun begins and the noise from the Baymag plant disappears. Depending on when you visit, you will alternate between walking on packed snow or ice (unless its recently just snowed). The couple of times I’ve done it have been at least 90% ice.

As you head along the Grotto Canyon trail, the canyon walls increase in size. It’s very beautiful and a wonderful way to spend part of a winter’s day. In no time you’ll reach the ice falls – where you may have to wait in line to get a shot! To their right, you’ll also see a river of ice that was a surreal colour of blue in 2022. Follow it up – if you are well equipped with microspikes that bite into the ice, to reach another icefall. Perhaps you’ll catch some ice climbers in action here. 

The descent on the narrow trail back to the ice falls can be tricky. Some people were on their rears for short section but getting soaked because of a thin layer of water on top. There is a rocky trail that you can use to the side of this river of ice.

When you’ve had your fill, retrace your steps. Then come back and see how different the Grotto Canyon trail looks in summer.

You'll find signage where you need it
You’ll find signage where you need it
Enjoy this view towards Canmore before entering Grotto Canyon; there is a bench here too
Enjoy this view towards Canmore before entering Grotto Canyon; there is a bench here too
Once you reach Grotto Canyon there is the option to take a high water route - useful in spring and summer
Once you reach Grotto Canyon there is the option to take a high water route – useful in spring and summer
Grotto Canyon ice walk
Fun section on the Grotto Canyon trail
Quite the river of ice this year; there were ice climbers on these frozen falls
Quite the river of ice this year; there were ice climbers on these frozen falls when we arrived
We did take our dog and she had no problem on the ice
We did take our dog and she had no problem on the ice
The icefalls were far bluer this year than last
The icefalls were far bluer this year than last
Walking out on the Grotto Canyon trail
Walking out on the Grotto Canyon trail
Dwarfed by the canyon walls in places
Dwarfed by the canyon walls in places
It would have been fun to skate a few small sections
It would have been fun to skate a few small sections – a good warm up to enter the Crashed Ice contest
Back out to the open area and the noise from Baymag
Back out to the open area and the noise from Baymag

Looking for a longer hike?

From the icefalls there is an obvious trail to the left (if you’re looking at them straight on) through another canyon that continues for at most a few more kilometres. Walk through the canyon for about five minutes to reach a wide-open area. This is well worth doing as its very pretty. From there you can hike along a stream bed, passing a large hoodoo with a cave – that I wouldn’t recommend visiting. Remember, it’s always harder to come down a steep slope than it is to go up. 

From the hoodoo, we once walked for perhaps another 15 – 20 minutes. It doesn’t get any more interesting – and in fact in short order you’re into the trees. Most people turn back long before this point. In fact,most people turn around at the first set of icefalls – but at the very least hike up the short canyon just past them.

From the icefalls go left through a shorter canyon to an open area
From the icefalls go left through a shorter canyon to an open area
Reach an open area
Reach an open area
There's a cave some people check out but it's a steep climb up and a difficult descent
There’s a cave some people check out but it’s a steep climb up and a difficult descent
Looking through the side canyon to the icefall
Looking through the side canyon to the icefall
A different perspective when you;;re out of the side canyon
A different perspective when you’re out of the side canyon

Grotto Canyon Pictographs

It took three tries hiking the Grotto Canyon trail to find the famous pictographs. They’re easy to miss, partially because they’re quite faded. If you’ve arrived at the icefalls, you’ve missed them.

The pictographs are located near the end of Grotto Canyon before the falls. As you’re heading up the canyon there is one last turn to the left before the icefalls. They are on the narrow pinch point at eye level. 

The pictographs are thought to date back to somewhere between 500 and 1300 years ago. There are several prominent images and many that are faded. The clearest one shown below is of a man with a two-horned head holding a staff. Apparently near the base of the outcrop (which I failed to notice) there is “a grouping of three figures with triangular bodies and some type of headdress.

Most figures can’t be spotted by the naked eye. According to the Mountain Nature Podcast “over the centuries, a thin, translucent veneer of calcite has slowly been covering the face making them harder to spot, and the simple reality of time has also degraded some of the images.

According to researchers, these pictographs don’t resemble other rock art in the region. They have been traced to the Hopi people who lived in the Four Corners region of the US (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah). One image – the fluteplayer (known as Kokopelli), resembles pictographs found only in Hopi Country. 

Animal fat and ochre, possibly sourced from the Paint Pots in Kootenay National Park, is the main ingredient to the pictographs. For a very detailed explanation check out the article entitled Grotto Canyon Pictographs and Life with Less Snow.

Pictographs in Grotto Canyon
Pictographs in Grotto Canyon
If you're heading back to the parking lot you'll find the pictographs on the right and around teh corner from this photo
If you’re heading back to the parking lot you’ll find the pictographs on the right and around the corner from this photo

More fun winter hikes you might enjoy

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

The fun and easy Grotto Canyon Ice Walk near Canmore



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7 Day Alaska Itinerary – Road trip in the Kenai Peninsula


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Undeniably known as the Last Frontier, Alaska is one of the last truly wild places on Earth. From the vast varieties of roaming wildlife to the snow-capped peaks that span the state’s borders, there is no end to the adventures you can experience here. It would take one year to explore everything this expansive region offers. Still, in a 7 day Alaska itinerary, you can see a lot, especially if you choose to visit one or two regions.

That’s why I’m here to share with you my ultimate Alaska itinerary, a 7-day road trip in the Kenai Peninsula. A road trip where you’ll get to experience the best of Alaska without having to travel for months at a time.

But before we talk about all the incredible things to do in the Kenai Peninsula, activities, and places to stay (there is a list of the best hotels in Kenai Peninsula at the end of this Alaskan guide), let me share a few travel tips essential for planning a road trip in Alaska and visiting Kenai Peninsula.

Travel tips for your 7 day Alaska itinerary

Katmai National Park is waiting for you!

What is the best month to visit Alaska?

Whether you prefer to ski under the aurora borealis or trek through vast landscapes surrounded by wildlife, there is no bad time to visit Alaska.

But, depending on your preferences, there are a few things you should know when planning your visit to North America‘s 49th state! 

First, you should be aware that Alaska only has two seasons: winter and summer

Alaskan winters are tough, causing more than half of the people living there to retreat to the lower 48 (what Alaskans call the contiguous U.S.) at the sight of the first snowfall. 

This leaves the state almost barren, with just a few thousand inhabitants (locally referred to as sourdoughs: those who winter-over in Alaska) around to enjoy the breathtaking snow-capped mountains and unparalleled winter sports opportunities. 

Winter typically lasts from mid-September through early May, leaving only a few short months for summer. 

The summers are often rainy and overcast with the occasional bright, sunny day. Alaskan summers are the best time to spot wildlife since most local animals hibernate during the long, cold winter months. 

In the summers, tourists and locals alike relish in endless outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, boating, hunting, wildlife tracking, and more! This means that your summer vacation in Alaska will be packed with activities.

Most people prefer to visit Alaska in the summertime to take advantage of the plethora of activities and photograph the local wildlife. Still, Alaska is a beautiful state to visit year-round. 

So, if you’re planning to create the ultimate 7-day itinerary in Alaska road tripping the Kenai Peninsula, consider visiting in the summer if you prefer to do more wildlife viewing or in the winter if you want to participate in winter sports such as snowshoeing and dog sledding. 

Aerial photo from an airplane window. It shows the mountains in Alaska. The flight to Anchorage is how our 7 day trip in Alaska started.
Are you ready to take off and spend 7 days in Alaska?

How to get around Alaska?

Did you know that the state of Alaska is actually one-third of the size of the continental U.S.? Its massive size can make it challenging to get around, especially if you plan on visiting multiple regions of the state. 

The best way to get around central Alaska (and most of Alaska, for that matter) is to rent a vehicle (click here to check out the rates)

Alaska is home to primarily rural towns with only a few major cities offering reliable transportation options. 

The Alaska Railway, for example, offers a wonderful experience through the mountainous landscapes of the state, but it is also quite expensive and can fill up quickly.

A rental car will allow you to travel both on and off Alaska’s road systems (a 4×4 will be required in some regions) and will provide you with the freedom to move around at your own pace.

Suppose you do plan on visiting different regions (i.e., central vs. southeastern). In that case, you will likely need to book a flight (Juneau to Anchorage, for example) unless you have several days available for driving in Alaska upwards of 24 hours. 

Due to Alaska’s great magnitude, flights are the fastest way to get between the most popular regions. So, by using a combination of flights and rental cars, you can be sure that you can cover most of the amazing things to do in the Kenai Peninsula, and your 7 days in Alaska will be time and cost-efficient!

Photo of a glacier in Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. A region packed with natural wonders and the perfect place for your Alaskan road trip.
Your Alaska road trip must include the Kenai Peninsula and a visit to Aialik Glacier.

Where is the Kenai Peninsula?

The Kenai Peninsula is located in Southcentral Alaska, just over 50 miles south of Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska. 

It makes up a small piece of the state as a whole, but it is packed full of adventurous offerings and has earned its name as one of Alaska’s best places to visit. 

If you’re thinking about traveling to Alaska but aren’t sure where to visit, consider taking an Alaska road trip to the Kenai Peninsula where you’ll be rewarded with exceptional scenery and endless activities for every type of traveler. 

Is the Kenai Peninsula worth visiting?

In short, yes! The Kenai Peninsula is absolutely worth a visit, even if you are low on time. This small piece of Alaska is overflowing with beautiful scenery, endless wildlife, fast-moving glaciers, tranquil fjords, and hospitable people. 

Also, since this peninsula, in particular, is smaller in comparison to others throughout Alaska, you’ll be able to get around more easily and pack a lot of fun activities into a short amount of time!

If you can stay longer, this is the perfect palace for a 7 day Alaska itinerary or as part of a 2 weeks trip. 

Photo of a couple posing during a day cruise in Alaska. One of the many boat tours in the Kenai Peninsula where you see the glaciers.
Fjord Boat Tours are one of the top things to do in the Kenai Peninsula.

Can you drive on the Kenai Peninsula?

Yes, in fact, the best way to get around the Kenai Peninsula is to drive. Looking at the Kenai Peninsula map, you will see two major roads that run across the peninsula. The Seward Highway runs from Anchorage to Seward, and the Sterling Highway runs from Cooper Landing all the way down to Homer.

Since the Alaska Railway typically takes twice the amount of time to get from point A to point B and is far more expensive than the average rental car daily rate, the best way to get around Kenai Peninsula is by car. 

It is pretty easy to drive around Alaska if you are well-equipped with an up-to-date map and a general sense of direction. This makes a Kenai Peninsula road trip one of the most popular Alaska road trip itineraries you can choose!

And don’t forget to buy your travel insurance before traveling to Alaska; you need it. We use World Nomads and SafetyWings, check their policies and choose the one that suits your Alaskan adventure. For long-term travelers, here is an in-depth comparison between these two travel insurances


The Ultimate Kenai Peninsula Itinerary 

For your Kenai Peninsula itinerary, plan to arrive in Anchorage the day before your journey begins. Many flights arriving in Anchorage land in the late afternoon or evening, so you’ll want to plan for an easy evening in the city. 

Pro Tip: Head to Fletcher’s Restaurant or the 49th State Brewing Company for dinner! Located in the center of the city, you’ll be near to hotels, and they offer great food and drink. 

After a good night of sleep, you will be ready to kick off your Alaska itinerary, 7 days of unforgettable experiences, and a scenic road trip.

Photo of river and mountains in the background. It's one of the amazing views you can have during a 7-day road trip in Alaska.
Amazing views you will have while driving in Alaska, this is from Seward Highway 2.

Alaska road trip day 1: Anchorage and Girdwood

Your journey begins as you make your way from Anchorage along the Seward Highway towards the next major town of Girdwood. Along the way, you’ll come across the breathtaking Turnagain Arm and Beluga Point, where it is possible to spot… you guessed it – beluga whales, bald eagles, grizzly bears, moose, and other species of wildlife. 

The Seward Highway boasts some of the most spectacular sights and has been called one of the most beautiful highways in the United States! Enjoy spectacular views of endless glaciers, mountain peaks, and sparkling ocean scenery along the drive.

Pro Tip: Take advantage of the pull-off points along this scenic highway heading south to capture some incredible photos. When you drive north to Anchorage from the Kenai Peninsula, the pull-offs will be on the opposite side of the road and are harder to get to. 

As you make your way down the Seward Highway, you’ll come across the Chugach State Park, which is home to dozens of scenic hiking trails of all difficulty levels. 

Pop into one of the many scenic overlooks for the chance to spot a wild bald eagle perched on the top of a tree before continuing your way down towards Girdwood. 

Once you’re in Girdwood, you’ll be greeted with large signs pointing in the direction of Alyeska Resort and Spa (a great luxury accommodation in Girdwood). 

Continue 15 miles south, where you’ll find the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Home to several species of animals that were filmed in world-famous movies including Into the Wild, visitors can learn about the conservation efforts of local Alaskans and their duties to protect and release injured wildlife. 

Witness wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, foxes, reindeer, elk, porcupines, and moose up close and learn about how they survive in the wild! The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center makes for an excellent half-day trip from Alyeska and is the perfect Kenai Peninsula itinerary add-on for those traveling with children.

After a day full of exploring the state park and observing Alaskan wildlife, head over to one of the dozens of ski chalets, log cabins, or family-style resorts offering modern amenities and cozy campfires.

Photo of Seward harbor in the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. There is the river, and many boats moored at the piers.
Welcome to Seward, a must-visit town during your road trip in the Kenai Peninsula.

Alaska road trip day 2: Seward

Just under 2 hours from Alyeska, this charming fishing town is well-known throughout the state and is one of the most popular stops on any Kenai Peninsula itinerary.

Located on the stunning Resurrection Bay, the mountains meet the sea in this epic landscape. Visitors can take pleasure in outstanding wildlife spotting (especially bald eagles, whales, and sea otters), freshly caught seafood, and some of the most beautiful backdrops in the state. 

Start your day with a boat tour through the Kenai Fjords – the tour leaves at exactly 8:00 am (there is also an 11:30 am option) in the summer mornings for a 7-hour cruise through the fjords in search of marine mammals and the breathtaking Aialik Glacier. 

During these day cruises, you’ll get the chance to witness Dall’s porpoises, humpback, and migratory orca whales, stellar sea lions, sea otters, horned and tufted puffins, and seals in their natural habitat.

Watch closely as massive chunks of the glacier break off and crash into the ocean below due to its receding nature before returning to Seward Harbor in the mid-afternoon. 

Though the boat serves a small lunch, I suggest picking up some fresh oysters and a hot plate of seafood pasta at Ray’s Waterfront Restaurant. 

Pro Tip: Once you’ve satisfied your appetite, take a right out of the restaurant and head down the J-Dock – this is where the fishermen throw their filleted catch, so you can often find sea otters munching on mussels and fish carcasses!

The docks of Seward Harbor are buzzing with marine wildlife (whales have even been spotted very close to the shore). Spend an hour or so walking between the docks and looking at the catch the local fishermen have brought in from their day out at sea.

From the docks, make your way through the port and down to the southern tip of Seward town (about 1.3 miles; 25 minutes of walking or 5 minutes of driving). Here, you’ll find the Alaska SeaLife Center along with the sign marking the start of the Iditarod Trail!

There is also a small beach (known as Waterfront Park) home to stunning views of where the mountains meet the sea in this remote part of Alaska. 

The Resurrection Bay is another stop you must add to your road trip to Alaska. It fits perfectly on an Alaska 7 day itinerary. The photo shows the bay and a tiny rainbow forming between the clouds and mountains.
Can you see the rainbow?

Pro Tip: Pick up a gelato at Sweet Darlings on 4th Ave and bring it down to the beach… This is where I spotted a mother humpback whale and her calf swimming through the bay.

Also, if it happens to be a rainy day in Seward, be sure to come back to Waterfront Park and keep an eye out for the clouds to clear… you’ll occasionally be rewarded with rainbows as beautiful as this one! 

Other possible activities for your time in Seward include charter fishing trips, infinite numbers of hiking trails, and kayaking.


The dramatic Harding Icefield, another incredible stop in our 7 day Alaska itinerary.
The dramatic Harding Icefield, another incredible stop in our 7 day Alaska itinerary.

Alaska road trip day 3: Kenai Fjords National Park

On day 3, enjoy a hearty breakfast before driving 11 miles inland to the beginning of the Exit Glacier Trailhead. With plenty of free parking available at the end of Exit Glacier Rd., visitors can appreciate endless opportunities for short or long hikes through the marked Alaskan wilderness. 

Pro Tip: To reduce the risk of a bear attack, always make noise while hiking (talking and bear bells work well), carry bear spray, and carry as little food as possible with you. In the event you come across a bear, be sure to speak firmly and calmly while walking as far out of their way as possible. 

The trails within the Kenai Fjords National Park are very well marked and heavily trafficked in the summertime, so it will be difficult to get lost as long as you stick to the trail.

The Exit Glacier Overlook Trail is a short 2.2-mile loop trail offering exceptional glacier view for those looking for a less-strenuous viewing method than the Harding Icefield hike. It’s popular among couples and families, and it takes about an hour to complete.

For those looking for a full-day adventure hike, the Harding Icefield should be included in your Kenai Peninsula itinerary!

It offers wonderful panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountain ranges and the opportunity to hike along a mountain pass to the seemingly endless Harding Icefield. The route is quite difficult with a 9+ mile completion distance which takes between 6-9 hours depending on your pace. I found it to be one of my favorite hikes in Alaska, so I can personally say it will be well worth your efforts. 

After you make your way down the mountain and freshen up, enjoy a delicious meal at The Cookery before turning in and hosting a roaring campfire at one of the many cabins located around the shores of Resurrection Bay.

Photo of a glacier at Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. The photo was taken during a Lake Clark Bear Viewing tour.
Memories of our Lake Clark National Park Bear Viewing Tour with glacier spotting.

Alaska road trip day 4: Soldotna and Lake Clark National Park

A 2.5-hour drive east of Seward along the Sterling Highway will bring you to the small city of Soldotna. Here, you’ll find a buzzing group of chain restaurants and stores, but the city is best known for its close proximity to the shores of Lake Clark National Park. 

Soldotna is home to dozens of bush plane pilots with years of experience in landing on brown bear-infested beaches. While I’m sure many of them would make a great choice as a tour operator, I can personally vouch for Natron Air, Inc.

The husband and wife team, Tim and Janet, have been flying to the beaches of Cook Inlet for over 25 years and offer everything from bear viewing tours to fishing charters. Tim has years of experience in encountering wild brown bears and always ensures both your and the bear’s safety, so I can honestly say that you’ll be in for an adrenaline-pumping experience!

Along the journey, you’ll fly by two active volcanoes and find yourself surrounded by pure Alaskan beauty. Wildlife such as beavers, whales, bald eagles, wolves, moose, and brown bears are commonly spotted both from the plane and the beach making it the ultimate wildlife-spotting experience in Alaska!

In addition to Lake Clark adventures, Soldotna is also a common starting point for flights to the infamous Katmai National Park. Home to thousands of hungry grizzly bears and the renowned Brooks Falls, I can personally say this was truly the experience of our lifetime.

Pro Tip: If you want an opportunity to view grizzly bears in their natural habitat but are short on time, consider taking the Natron Air, Inc. tour to Cook Inlet. The trip lasts about 3 hours in total and is about half the price of going to Katmai National Park. A visit to Brooks Falls will also require a minimum of 12 hours of travel time, and spots can fill up 1-2 years in advance, so you’ll need to plan your travels accordingly if you plan to participate.

Photo of a hydroplane on the shore of a river in Alaska.
Flying over Alaska, not a bad activity to add to your itinerary.

Alaska road trip day 5: Homer

From the city of Soldotna, a 1.5-hour drive will bring you to the fishing town of Homer. Globally recognized as the halibut fishing capital of the world, there’s no doubt that fishing charters here are plentiful and it is one of the best destinations to include on any Alaska itinerary.

Take your pick of one of the dozens of local charters and try your hand at fishing for salmon, halibut, rockfish, and other trophy-sized fish. Want to ship your catch home?

Most people do! Luckily for you, several companies offer vacuum-seal freezing and shipping right from the docks. They’ll clean and filet your fish, seal it uptight, and it’ll be delivered right to your doorstep following your return home!

If you aren’t particularly fond of fishing, don’t despair. Homer is perched on the shores of the stunning Kachemak Bay and is home to a charming seaside town bustling with shops and great restaurants. 

Visitors can also enjoy sunbathing, kayaking, boating, shopping, and even some shorter coastline hikes. No matter how you decide to spend your day in Homer, be sure to head to the docks around dinner time to witness the enormous catch that the local fishermen bring in!

Alaska road trip day 6: Homer and Cooper Landing

If you choose to participate in a fishing charter on your first day in Homer, opt to spend some time in the morning strolling through town and photographing the beautiful scenery surrounding the Homer Spit. With a large population of bald eagles in the area, the Homer Spit is extremely popular on Southcentral Alaska road trips.

Following some time wandering the quaint streets of Homer, it’ll be time to hop in the car and head up to Cooper Landing a little over 2 hours north along the Sterling Highway.

Recognized for its numerous crystal clear lakes and waterfalls, Cooper Landing is a nature lover’s paradise!

Spend some time kayaking or fishing on Kenai Lake before choosing from the plethora of hiking trails dotting the area. 

Pro Tip: Be sure to make noise, as grizzly bears are commonly spotted along the shores of these lakes during the summers and can become territorial, especially if they have cubs or are looking for food. If you are catching fish, have a cooler ready to reduce the scent and be ready to cut your fishing line in the event that a bear wants your fish!

Choose from the numerous lakeside cabins in the area to rest your feet for the evening, or continue your drive north to either Hope or Whittier for a change of scenery. 

Photo of a road in Alaska. There are mountains in the background and some forests beside the highway. It's the typical scenery you see on a road trip in Alaska.
The scenic road to Anchorage.

Alaska road trip day 7: Return to Anchorage

After a week packed full of exciting adventures, it will be time to return to Anchorage for your return flight home. 

Most flights depart Anchorage in the evening or very early morning hours, so opt for one last Alaskan seafood dinner before beginning your journey home.


What to do if you have more than 7 days in Alaska?

If you happen to have more than one week for exploring, opt to continue your Alaska road trip north past the city of Anchorage! The two places I have mentioned below make for exceptional add-ons to your Kenai Peninsula Alaska itinerary. 

You could also choose to take part in one of the two bear viewing tours (Lake Clark National Park or Katmai National Park) that were mentioned if you didn’t have time during your first week. 

Pro Tip: Keep in mind that these tours also leave out of Anchorage, so you won’t need to drive all the way back to Soldotna or Homer to participate. You may just need to research some other companies that offer Anchorage departures. 


Photo of traditional Alaskan construction. It's a shop in Talkeetna town.
Talkeetna town, add it to your itinerary if you have more than 7 days in Alaska. 😉

 Visit Talkeetna

After leaving the city of Anchorage, you’ll head north on the Denali Highway where you’ll come across signs for a little town called Talkeetna about 2 hours into the drive.

The town is home to only about 1,000 people but continues to lure in travelers from around the world year after year. 

With its convenient location along the Alaska Railway, visitors can access this town via personal vehicle or train, with the train being the more scenic of the two options. If trains are your thing, you should check the Alaska Railroad website.

Spend some time strolling through town and consider taking one of the available bush flights around Mount Denali! 

Nearby, you can also find a short trail hike to where the Talkeetna and Susitna Rivers merge in a fast-flowing current underneath a beautiful suspension bridge. 

Talkeetna may be small, but it’s packed full of quirky shops, good food, and the most hospitable locals. 

Photo of a woman on a bicycle at Denali National Park & Preserve. One of the top things to do on an Alaska road trip.
Cycling at Denali National Park & Peserve was one of the most incredible experiences we had during our days in Alaska.

Visit Denali National Park & Preserve

Continue your journey from Talkeetna along the Denali Park Road for about 3 more hours to the world-renowned Denali National Park and Peserve, located in one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the US

Home to thousands of species of animals, visitors can spot everything from golden eagles, grizzly bears, and wolves, to caribou, elk, moose, and everything in between. You’ll also be surrounded by some of the largest mountains in the contiguous U.S., with Mount Denali peaking at 20,310 feet (6,190 meters).

Since personal vehicles are only allowed to drive up to Mile 14 of the park, consider taking a camper or shuttle bus to the Eielson Visitor Center at Mile 66. 

This will provide you with increased chances of spotting rarer wildlife species and panoramic views of one of the last truly wild places on Earth!

Pro Tip: Hiking in Denali is popular among experienced hikers, but animal education is the key to a safe trek. Understand how to act with each animal you cross before departing on your hike to avoid any unwanted wildlife altercations. You’ll also want to be wary of altitude sickness (also known as Acute Mountain Sickness) – headaches, nausea, and dizziness are common symptoms of ascending too quickly. If this occurs, you’ll want to ensure that you begin your descent down the mountain immediately to avoid more severe symptoms.

We opted to hop on the Eielson Visitor Center bus with our bicycles and ride them out of the park from Mile 44 (the prime mile for spotting wildlife). If this sounds like something you would like to do, book your tickets in advance here and select one of the few bicycle spots they have available.

If you prefer to join a  tour, here are a few options offered by GetYourGuide:


Where to stay on the Kenai Peninsula

When it comes to choosing your accommodations in Alaska, the sky is the limit. Airbnb’s are scattered across every nook and cranny of the peninsula, while high-end hotels and resorts are few and far between. 

As for cabins, you can find everything from rustic walls with only the bare necessities to deluxe, family-style lodges with full baths and fire pits! 

Along our travels, we’ve stayed in all of the above. So, depending on your preferences, these are the best places to stay on the Kenai Peninsula itinerary. 

Photo of Alyeska Resort and Spa facade. Shows the building and a lake in front of it.
Beautiful Alyeska Resort and Spa.

Alyeska Resort and Spa in Girdwood

You’ll find the beautiful Alyeska Resort and Spa along the Seward Highway just past the infamous Turnagain Arm. This grand resort is lavish in every way and famous for its top-notch ski trails, private cable car, mountaintop restaurant, and luxurious amenities. 

During our stay, we spotted a black bear right from our window! This resort provides the perfect combination of comfort and nature and is one of the best places to stay on the Kenai Peninsula for those seeking modern accommodation.


Abode Well cabins are a good option for hotels in the Kenai Peninsula. The property is located in Seward town.
Would you like to sleep here?!

Abode Well Cabins in Seward

Also known as the Ididaride Cabins, world-class dog musher Mitch Seavey (winner of three Iditarod Races and holder of the Iditarod Speed Record) and his family of championship mushers run this small group of modern cabins under 10 minutes from the town of Seward.

They provide the perfect escape from the busy downtown with their tucked-away location in the woods off Herman Leirer Rd. Fully furnished with a small kitchen, full bathroom, and comfortable queen bed, this is one of my favorite places to include on my Kenai Peninsula itineraries!


– Cusack’s on the Kenai in Kenai

A family-run lodge on the banks of the Kenai River home to incredible fishing and lovely rooms to suit your every need. This all-inclusive lodge offers everything from fishing and horseback riding excursions to home-cooked meals around a stone fire pit.


–  Kenai Peninsula Suites in Homer

Perched on the cliffs overlooking Kachemak Bay, the Kenai Peninsula Suites are a small slice of Alaskan heaven. With only 5 cabins in total, guests can enjoy peaceful getaways to the tip of the Kenai Peninsula where they’ll be surrounded by wildlife in the halibut fishing capital of the world. 

Guests can also enjoy a private hot tub, a large fire pit, and unequaled 360-degree panoramic views right from the property.

For more tips about finding and booking the perfect stay in Alaska or anywhere in the world, read this Accommodation Guide

Photo of a plate full of Alaska food. You can see some veggies, fish, and bread.
Yummmyyyy!

What to eat in Central Alaska

If you have ever watched any TV shows or movies or read any books on Alaska, you’ll know that they take their food quite seriously. In a land as wild as the Last Frontier, the locals prepare to survive year-round in a hostile environment. 

Luckily for the modern traveler, however, incredible food is readily available in all areas across the Kenai Peninsula. 

Owing to its entrapment by the Gulf of Alaska, the Kenai Peninsula is home to some of the best seafood in not only the U.S., but the world! 

Various types of salmon, including the King Salmon (also known as Chinook), the Coho Salmon, the Sockeye Salmon, and other species, as well as giant oysters, halibut, rockfish, cod, mussels, Alaskan king crab, shrimp, scallops, and other fish species run amuck in these bountiful waters. 

During your central Alaska road trip, I highly suggest trying at least one of the seafood varieties mentioned above. Even if seafood isn’t your typical food of choice, the seafood caught in Alaskan waters is ultra-fresh and free of added hormones – it’s truly some of the best seafood in the world! 

On the Kenai Peninsula, you can also find elk (it’s especially good in meatballs), reindeer, and locally grown fruits (especially berries) and vegetables. 

Alaska is also no foreigner to good beer and spirits, with dozens of breweries lining the Denali, Sterling, and Seward Highways. Between each of these breweries is a local coffee shack serving up strong-brewed espresso drinks and delicious coffees. 

Additionally, be sure to buy a bottle of local fireweed honey and Alaskan birch syrup for your tea and pancakes back home!

How many days should you stay in Southcentral Alaska?

When planning your central Alaska road trip, it can be hard to decide how many days you should spend on the Kenai Peninsula. 

Between the wildlife and the scenery as well as the infinite amount of activities, I suggest spending at least one week on the Kenai Peninsula! A 7 day Alaska itinerary is perfect.

This will give you enough time to take a renowned Kenai Fjords Boat Tour, go fishing in the halibut fishing capital of the world in Homer, and possibly even hop on a bush plane over to nearby Lake Clark National Park where you’ll have the chance to walk along the beaches scattered with wild grizzly bears!

With so much to see and do in this beautiful Alaska region, I highly suggest ensuring you have at least one week for a road trip on the Kenai Peninsula.

Creating the ultimate Alaska road trip itinerary can be overwhelming and daunting to say the least. But, by starting with a classic Kenai Peninsula visit, you can be sure you’ll witness some of the best sights and activities that the 49th state has to offer! 

Love this Alaska 7 day itinerary on the Kenai Peninsula? Pin it for later!

The Ultimate Guide to 7 Days in Alaska - Kenai Peninsula. Here are all the travel tips you need to plan your road trip in Alaska, from the best time to visit this great US state to things to do in the Kenai Peninsula, parks to visit, tours, and Alaskan cruises to join. Plus a list of the best hotels in the Kenai Peninsula and which city you should stop, sleep and eat.

7 Day Alaska Itinerary - Road trip in the Kenai Peninsula

Author: Emily Cuneo

Avid traveler, adventure-seeker, passionate animal lover… but, you can call me Emily! I’m the author behind the stories at Emily Embarks. In 2015, I got a taste for international travel and I’ve been jetting abroad ever since. Since then, I quit my 9-5 job and made it my ultimate goal to become a digital nomad who inspires people to get out of their comfort zones and never say “no” to new adventures. To join me on my journey, follow me on Instagram or Facebook!





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Things to Do in Golden BC in Winter


I don’t know about you but come winter I need something to look forward to on a regular basis. In the summer, we go away almost every weekend, but somehow in winter we only seem go away every month or so. John and I decided we needed a break and decided to head to Golden BC for a change – and avail ourselves of winter activities both in Golden and in nearby Yoho National Park. Most people I know head for Kicking Horse Mountain Resort but on this trip we were looking for quieter winter activities.

Over three days in winter we knocked off some cross-country skiing, several snowshoe outings along with a couple of winter hikes. We also enjoyed some good eating and a fabulous stay at Home Lodge, just 12 minutes from downtown Golden. Check out all the things to do in Golden BC we discovered over just three days. Everything is listed in chronological order so you can see just how much you can do if that’s what you want. Mind you, a day of reading and napping at the Home Lodge would have been nice too.

Getting to Golden BC

I’m not going to lie. It was a gnarly drive to Golden BC from Calgary on the winter weekend we chose. In fact, we almost cancelled because of the weather. Once we got past Lake Louise the Trans-Canada Highway was down to one lane in each direction and roads were snow-covered and icy. Still, we persevered, breaking up the drive with a stop for a few hours of cross-country skiing in Yoho National Park.

Normally it’s about a three-hour drive to Golden from Calgary. What is different now and for years to come is the construction upgrade to Kicking Horse Canyon, just east of Golden. There are frequent slowdowns and even complete closings so always check the Kicking Horse Canyon website before you go. Its updated daily with all the wait times and closure information.

At least the highways were quiet

Location map of things to do in Golden BC in winter

                       

Go cross-country skiing in Yoho National Park

I had read about some cross-country ski trails in Yoho National Park that I was keen to try. The one we did began at the side of the road near the Yoho Natural Bridge. The parking lot doesn’t seem to be plowed in winter but there is room to pull over and park.

We skied about 11 kilometres on a combination of the Kicking Horse and Otterhead Trails. Part of the trail is normally track-set but it had snowed so much that we broke trail the entire way. There was less than 50 metres of elevation gain.

The trailhead is near the washrooms on the north side of the parking lot. Ski a mix of wide roads and narrow trails through the woods, crossing both the Emerald and Amiskwi Rivers. Eventually you reach the Kicking Horse River where there are supposed to be wonderful views of the surrounding peaks, but we couldn’t see much.

We turned around before the light started to fade so we could get to Golden in daylight. We’d like to go back and do more skiing in this area as its in a snow belt and very peaceful.

Phenomenal ski conditions on quiet trails in Yoho National Park
Phenomenal ski conditions on quiet trails in Yoho National Park
Good signage at all intersections
Good signage at all intersections

Overnight at Home Lodge in Golden

We spent two wonderful nights at the Home Lodge in Golden run by Lynn, a Scot (fresh baked shortbread were waiting for us one evening) and Sigi a Swiss. Both are personable and welcoming – and know the region like the proverbial back of your hand. You can count on lots of local intel if you need suggestions on what to do, where to eat…

Even though the B&B is in Golden, it felt like we were in a nature sanctuary. The B&B sits on a large acreage with a view of the mountains – yet its just a 12-minute drive from the main street in downtown Golden. While you can still see a few other homes, mostly what you see when you look outside is either deer, birds or one of their photogenic Scottish Highland cattle.

We had the entire place to ourselves though there are four bedrooms. It was a treat to have a huge common area to sit and enjoy a glass of wine. And one night we brought a delicious Mexican dinner back from Reposados Tacos and ate it at their large dining table. Both nights we availed ourselves of their hot tub.

Breakfasts come with your stay. Not only are they delicious (fresh fruit, yogurt, bacon, pancakes…) but they’re fun and full of great conversation with Lynn and Sigi. And you get a view of deer checking you out as they walk by the kitchen windows.

The entrance to the Home Lodge
The entrance to the Home Lodge
Home Lodge sits on 40 acres, 12 minutes from downtown Golden
Home Lodge sits on a large acreage, just 12 minutes from downtown Golden
We had Home Lodge to ourselves
We had the place to ourselves including this common room – perfect for relaxing with a glass of wine
What a treat to enjoy a hot tub on a cold January night
What a treat to enjoy a hot tub on a cold January night
The bedrooms have a few Scottish touches
The bedrooms have a few Scottish touches
The view from our bedroom window
The view from our bedroom window
They have about 40 Scottish Highland cattle
They have about a herd of Scottish Highland cattle

Drive up Blaeberry Road and go snowshoeing

We wouldn’t have gone snowshoeing near the Blaeberry River if it wasn’t for Lynn’s suggestion. She did say we’d find lots of unmarked trails – and it would be beautiful. She was right.

To find somewhere to snowshoe, we drove down Blaeberry Road to the end of where it had been plowed. There’s a large parking area. From there you can do one of two things. Backtrack 150 metres to the bridge over the Blaeberry River. Cross it and then snowshoe on some forest service roads. That’s what we ended up doing for about 75 minutes. There’s a lot to explore and none of the terrain we were in posed any avalanche risk. As you can see in the photos, it was untracked and beautiful snowshoeing.

The other option is to continue up the unplowed Blaeberry Road to Thompson Falls. I don’t know if its 5.3 km one way – the distance marked on a sign we saw, but I assume that’s how far you’d have to go. I saw a photo on Tourism Golden’s Instagram feed of Thompson Falls – so I knew it was an option, though I know nothing about the trail itself.

It was a beautiful drive from our B&B to get to the Blaeberry River via backroads
It was a beautiful drive from our B&B to get to the Blaeberry River via backroads
The starting point for our snowshoeing outing near the end of the plowed road
The starting point for our snowshoeing outing near the end of the plowed road
Lots of exploring to do off of the Blaeberry Road
Lots of exploring to do off of the Blaeberry Road
Looking up the Blaeberry River into a mountain range I'd like to explore
Looking up the Blaeberry River into a mountain range I’d like to explore
Exploring forest service roads on snowshoe
Exploring forest service roads on snowshoe
You can see over to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
You can see over to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort
What a lot of snow for early January!
What a lot of snow for early January!

Eat lunch in Bacchus Books and Cafe in downtown Golden

Another one of Lynn’s recommendations was to enjoy lunch at Bacchus Books and Cafe in downtown Golden. It was a great suggestion as the food is delicious, portions are large, and I love a good bookstore. Look for secondhand books upstairs while the downstairs has both new and used books.

I also understand that one of the cooks here is non other than Katie Mitzel, the beloved cook up at Skoki Lodge for many years. We thoroughly enjoyed her cooking over one winter weekend years ago, so we knew we’d be in for a treat here as well. Everything we ordered was delicious.

Look over used books while you enjoy lunch at the Bacchus Bookstore & Cafe
Look over used books while you enjoy lunch at the Bacchus Bookstore & Cafe

Walk the Rotary Loop beside the Kicking Horse River in Golden

After lunch we hopped onto the Rotary Trail from the back door of the bookstore. After crossing the Kicking Horse River on the aptly named Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge, we hung a right and made our way down to Confluence Park where the Kicking Horse and Columbia Rivers meet.

What was most noticeable was the amount of ice on the Kicking Horse River. There was so much that they had to dredge a channel, removing ice, so water could flow. Note how high the ice is in relation to the pedestrian bridge. I hope this doesn’t spell trouble come spring.

This is an easy out and back walk. To get to Confluence Park you do have to walk on a short stretch of road.

Golden's pedestrian bridge is the longest timber framed clear span pedestrian bridge in Canada
The pedestrian bridge in Golden is the longest timber framed clear span pedestrian bridge in Canada
Note the ice levels on the Kicking Horse River in relation to the pedestrian bridge
Note the ice levels on the Kicking Horse River in relation to the pedestrian bridge
Walking beside mounds of dredged ice
Walking beside mounds of ice dredged from the river

Walk or snowshoe the Moonraker Trails near Golden BC

The Moonraker Trails are accessed off the road to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. From downtown Golden, it’s about a 10-minute drive. There are over 50 kilometres of trails that are heavily used by mountain bikers and hikers in summer but in winter many of the trails can be walked or snowshoed.

We walked quickly to Cedar Lake – post-holing only occasionally and arriving about 45 minutes after leaving the car. All told it’s somewhere between a 4 – 5 kilometre out and back hike. It was pretty with a lot of snow. In summer, the lake is a popular recreation site, offering 22 primitive campsites.

Starting off on the Moonraker Trails towards Cedar Lake
Starting off on the Moonraker Trails towards Cedar Lake
There's a fabulous amount of snow but most is well-packed down
There’s a fabulous amount of snow
Arrival at Cedar Lake
Arrival at Cedar Lake

Snowshoe or walk to Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park

We snowshoed to Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park on the drive home. The start of the trail, immediately off the Trans-Canada Highway, is about 30 minutes from Golden so it’s easy to do as a day trip.

It’s a delightful trail to the falls though it’s longer in winter as you must walk or snowshoe to the parking lot that is used in summer. All told it is 8.8 km return with an elevation gain of around 30 metres. Allow 3- 3.5 hours as you will want to spend some time at Wapta Falls, admiring the falls from different angles.

Unless there is a big fresh dump of snow, you should be able to hike to the falls though I would recommend that you throw some microspikes in your pack in case it gets icy. 

Pretty hiking right off the bat to the parking lot
It’s pretty hiking right off the bat especially when its a winter wonderland
First view of Wapta Falls
First view of Wapta Falls
Magnificent Wapta Falls
Magnificent Wapta Falls

Eating in Golden BC

We didn’t eat inside any restaurants while in Golden, but we did pick up food from Reposados Tacos on the Main Street. It was REALLY good. They have come up with a creative solution and are offering a dine-outside-in-a-heated-dome experience. You must reserve it. 

Other restaurants in Golden that come highly recommended are eleven22, Whitetooth Bistro, and the Ronin Noodle Bar.

Creative thinking on the part of Reposados Tacos offering a dining experience in this dome
Creative thinking on the part of Reposados Tacos offering a dining experience in this dome

More reading on things to do in BC in winter

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

Best things to do in Golden, BC in winter include snowshoeing and cross-country skiing , winter walks to waterfalls, lazy lunches at good restaurants along with a lovely stay at Home Lodge B&B

 



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What is Peru famous for? Interesting facts and attractions in Peru!


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When individuals think of locations to stop by in South The us for a getaway, Peru must be one of the closest to the leading of their minds. For the earlier several a long time, tourism has been a essential section of Peru’s overall economy. Just below fishing and mining, tourism is Peru’s third-most significant sector, employing up to 11% of the labor power and generating up 7% of the country’s GDP. It’s also recognised as a person of the most secure nations around the world to check out in South America. But what is Peru well known for? And why you should go to it?

The outstanding Machu Picchu.

Let us discover collectively the a lot of points that make Peru an amazing vacation spot. Discuss about Peru points of interest and amazing points you can only see and do there. Do you have an notion what is Peru well-known for? Ok, we all know Machu Picchu, but aside from the Dropped Metropolis, what else do you know, which tourist points of interest in Peru would you adore to visit? 

This guide will acquire you by way of 5 interesting facts about Peru, places, history, and encounters. And I wager that following studying this publish you will want to get started setting up your trip to Peru asap. I really don’t blame you, Peru’s renowned landmarks and all-natural assets are enchanting, and its delicacies and heritage maintain attracting visitors.

So let’s get commenced!

 What is Peru famous for? The remedy is right here!

1- Peru well-known food items and delicacies

A single unforgettable expertise that travellers chat about when they visit the nation is Peru’s foodstuff. Winning the World’s Leading Culinary Spot from 2012 to 2019, Peru delicacies is a fusion of several different cultures like no other. Customarily, indigenous and Incan substances and cooking tactics are applied to recipes from all around the world, developing a microcosm of flavor from various cultures in just about every chunk. From preferred dishes to gourmand ordeals, Peru will not disappoint you.

Peru is famous for its cuisine. One of the popular dishes in Cuy, a roasted guinea pig. The photo shows the cuy served with potatoes.
Cuy, a classic Peruvian dish.

Potentially a person of the most famed dishes that Peru is recognized for is their nationwide dish, Ceviche. The name “ceviche” will come from the Quechuan term “siwichi”, that means fresh new or tender fish which describes the dish perfectly. Fresh, raw fish is marinated in citrus juice, which cooks the fish without heat. It is also spiced with very hot peppers, onions, and coriander, forming a slightly bitter and spicy dish that preferences like sea. 

Like lots of other countries, Peru has their own delicacy meat. In Peru, it’s Cuy or guinea pig! It’s regarded that the Incas had been presently domesticating guinea pigs in the course of pre-Colombian periods, generating Cuy a beloved resource of food items relationship centuries back again. With the taste describe as akin to hen or rabbit, Cuy is most commonly eaten roasted or fried and served with potatoes or corn and their black mint sauce, Salsa Huacatay.  

The delicacies of Peru is absolutely sure to go away a mark in the hearts and stomachs of everyone who tastes it. It has distinctive flavors that captivate a lot of people’s desire. And do not ignore to test the Pisco Sour, Peru national consume. 

2 – Peru Heritage and Tradition

The lifestyle and record of Peru are a source of surprise and amazement to those that practical experience it. They are filled with vibrant new music and dances, beautifully woven ponchos and polleras, internationally-acclaimed cuisine, and rich historical past. 

Photo of a cathedral in Cusco. Peru is known for its colonial architecture.
A Cathedral in Cuzco

Numerous holidaymakers visit Peru to see the ruins of the Incan Empire these types of as the recognized and beloved Machu Picchu. Numerous other ruins from diverse civilizations also scatter the nation like the Caral, Chan Chan, and Sillustani ruins. Every single of these ruins will come from a distinctive pre-Colombian modern society: the Caral, Chimor, and Kolla people today, respectively. For extra guidelines about going to the ruins, read this guideline to the most effective items to do in Cusco and Machu Picchu.

The main cities of Peru also have magnificent Spanish architecture to pay a visit to these as the Cathedral of Lima. 

Examine out these pursuits you can do in Lima:

2 – Beaches in Peru

With a broad shoreline extending up to 1500 miles, the state of Peru has a lot of seashores to select from. Boasting a warm, tropical local weather and white sand shorelines, hundreds of travelers stop by Peru for the possibility to soak in the heat waters and sun. 

You maybe in no way believed about it, but Peru is famous for its beaches and it is quick to have an understanding of why as its coastal region is beautiful. Seashores like Máncora and Punta Sal are some of the much more popular seaside locations in Peru, bragging its turquoise seas and wonderful nightlife.

Positioned in the Paracas Countrywide Reserve, Playa Roja is a further vacationer attraction in Peru recognised for its reddish shade shore. Whilst no just one can swim on this purple beach front, its beautiful perspective always leaves its people in awe. It goes on the checklist of Peru renowned landmarks. 

Photo of the Red Beach in Peru another famous natural wonder in the country.
The Purple Seaside of Playa Roja in Paracas Nationwide Reserve

Browsing is also exceptionally well known at the coastlines. Malabrigo, also identified as Puerto Chicama, is famous for possessing the world’s longest remaining-breaking wave. Chicama Boutique Hotel & Spa is a fantastic place to remain, it’s found ideal in entrance of the beach front. 

Other great beach locations for browsing are the beach locations at Trujillo and Máncora. Peru is also the home region of Sofía Mulánovich, a three-time planet surfing champion and the very first Latin American to win the earth browsing champion title! She is one of the famed men and women from Peru that you most likely didn’t know about.

3 – Peru Wildlife

Peru is a nation of lush nature. It has a greater share of land safeguarded in reserves and parks than any other place in South America. All those that occur seeking for mother nature and wildlife are guaranteed to go away much more than information. 

Photo of butterflies in the Peruvian Amazon, they have green and blue colors.
Butterflies of the Peruvian Amazon.

Comprising 60% of the state, the Peruvian Amazonia is one particular of the most biologically diverse regions on Earth. This jungle is a must-visit for any fowl-viewing fanatic as it incorporates the most amount of bird species on the planet. Guests of this pristine, untouched rainforest can also see amazing animals these kinds of as the pink river dolphin. And if you visit the Tambopata reserve, there is a fantastic chance you’ll be capable to location a jaguar! Also, who can fail to remember the memorable large rodents, the Capybaras, or the Llamas of the Andes mountains?

Activities you can do in Peru:

Photo of a Llama at Machu Picchu. Two things that Peru is famous for, the lost city and the Llamas.
A Llama at Machu Picchu

 4 – Peruvian Land

From lush rainforests to sprawling deserts, heat shorelines, and substantial snow-capped mountains, a journey in Peru is a journey via a full earth of amazing web-sites as significantly as the eye can see. 

We talked about the Peruvian Amazonia, just one of the most pristine rainforests left in the world, as properly as its white sand shorelines along the coastline. In addition to that, Peru consists of numerous other diverse biomes to examine. 

Photo od a Huacachina Oasis in Peru.
The remarkable The Huacachina Oasis.

In the southwest of Peru is the Ica region. A stark contrast to the Peruvian jungles, the Ica region includes a dry, lifeless desert. Discovering the location, you can see the well-known Nasca Lines, a desert and its higher sand dunes as nicely as an precise desert oasis in the middle of it! 

A compact village designed all over a physique of water and surrounded by sand dunes, Huacachina is certainly an oasis in the center of the desert. Huacachina is pretty well-liked for each Ica locals and travellers, with the lake keeping lots of myths and legends. Sandboarding and buggy using are really well known below, taking edge of the huge dunes around Huacachina. But just climbing up the dry, lifeless dunes is also a lifetime-shifting practical experience on its possess! 

From the dry warmth of the desert, you can then go up in the direction of the Andes Mountains, one particular of the longest mountain ranges and home to the most popular Machu Picchu a UNESCO World Heritage website! Mountaineering up the sub-tropical highlands and exploring the ruins of the Inca civilization is a definitely amazing encounter. The Andes Mountains also comprise the funds of the Inca Empire, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a lush inexperienced valley surrounded by huge mountains. 

And we can not forget about the Rainbow Mountains, Lake Titicaca on the border of Peru and Bolivia. Peru is also renowned for its canyons, some of the deepest canyons in the environment. Incorporate Colca Canyon and Cotahuasi Canyon to your checklist of normal points of interest in Peru you will have to see.


So what is Peru popular for? There are so many aspects of Peru that stand out, from its food, background, wildlife, culture, and geography. These bring in the focus of so a lot of folks throughout the globe no matter where their fascination lies, creating it a location value arranging for

And probably this is truly why Peru is famous – it is a little something particular for everybody. No matter what you go to Peru for, it is positive to be a phenomenal working experience!

Ahead of we wrap up, in this article go a few travel tips to plan your go to to Peru:

Finest time to check out Peru

It will all count on what sort of things to do in Peru you want to do, but if you are preparing to go to Machu Picchu then the best time to stop by Peru is involving Could and Oct, the driest months. This also usually means that it will be winter (June to September). If you want to surf and discover Peru’s shorelines, then Summertime (December to March) may well be the finest possibility. 

Touring to Peru

Vacationers primarily get there in Peru by air, or in case they are touring as a result of South The usa, buses can be a different well-liked option.

You can search for the most effective flights to Peru on Skyscanner (click right here). If you are setting up to push all around Peru, here is a excellent web-site to assess motor vehicle rental prices

But if you strategy to journey inside of Peru by bus, we have the ideal manual for you. In this article is how to get from Lima to Cusco by bus (+ educate and flights tips), you can use this information to strategy Lima-Cusco route or other bus visits in Peru.

Accommodation in Peru

In Peru, you can come across any variety of accommodation, from hostels to 5-star inns, guesthouses, and Airbnbs. We have a guidebook that aids you find the fantastic room any where in the environment, go through our Lodging Information right before reserving any resort in Peru.

For resorts in Peru, also mattress&breakfast, guesthouses we recommend searching and scheduling by way of Scheduling.com or Agoda. They have a extensive range of lodging, they are trusted internet websites and often you can get wonderful offers.

Travel Insurance

Very last but not the very least, travel insurance policies. We suggest you to often journey with trustworthy journey insurance policies, specifically in moments like this. We use Entire world Nomads and SafetyWing, you can go through the comparison involving these insurances below

Carried out! Now it’s time for you to start planning your trip to Peru!

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Do you know what Peru is famous for? Here is a list of Peru's famous landmarks, places to visit, history, and food. Five reasons why you should travel to Peru asap and what you must add to your itinerary. Plus some interesting facts about Peru, its natural wonders and culture.

 


What is Peru famous for? Interesting facts and attractions in Peru!

Creator: Julien Mordret

Julien Mordret is the male driving Exploration Junkie. He loves to share his enthusiasm and activities with journey, mother nature, and photography. He’s crazy about all factors and his explorations are fueled by his endless curiosity. Comply with his adventures on Facebook and Pinterest.



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Nanaimo to Tofino Drive – 13 Fantastic Stops to Make


Tofino’s growing popularity has spurned a huge increase in people making the Nanaimo to Tofino drive. Even though you can fly into Tofino, it can be expensive and car rentals once you’re in Tofino are often an issue. The drive makes sense for the majority of people heading to the west coast of Vancouver Island and driving gives you the ultimate in flexibility.

I have done the Nanaimo to Tofino drive at least a half dozen times. Most of the time, I’ve been highly focused and have wanted to get to Tofino as quickly as possible. Granted I have done the obligatory stop at Cathedral Grove on almost every drive, but recently John and I stopped anywhere that looked interesting.

In theory, you can do the Nanaimo to Tofino drive in just over three hours, starting from the Departure Bay Ferry Terminal. Unfortunately, there is a massive construction project at Kennedy Hill that is a year or two behind schedule. You’re going to get held up here – no matter how good your timing is so BE SURE to check the BC Travel Advisory for Highway 4. It is updated daily so can figure out how to minimize your wait time. 

Now for some good news.

The Nanaimo to Tofino drive is quite wonderful. There are loads of stops to make, starting in Nanaimo itself. Perhaps make a couple of stops on the drive to Tofino and another few stops on the drive back – or take a long day and do them all.

Location map of stops on the Nanaimo to Tofino drive

                       

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13 Stops to Make on the Nanaimo to Tofino Drive

Enjoy an easy hike in Nanaimo’s Pipers Lagoon Park

If you need to stretch your legs after a ride on the ferry, I highly recommend a scenic walk in Pipers Lagoon Park, called one of “Nanaimo’s famous waterfront parks.”

The park, built on an isthmus that encompasses a rocky headland, features gorgeous trails with numerous ocean viewpoints. Some of the trails are flat but others require a bit of rock scrambling to get to the headland. From the headland, you can see out to historic Shack Island and the southern point of Neck Point Park. 

Shack Island, with its colourful cabins, that can only be passed down to family members, has an interesting history you can read about here.

The park is perfect if you’re into birding. Over an hour long walk, my husband saw oystercatchers, numerous types of gulls and ducks and a towhee. Its a park where you can usually find sandpipers, loons, kingfishers, and horned grebes as well. If you’re not into birds, you might enjoy beachcombing or even a brisk swim on a hot summer’s day.

A view to Shack Island from Pipers Lagoon Park
Lots of variety with the hiking trails in Piper's Lagoon Park
Lots of variety with the hiking trails in Pipers Lagoon Park

Take a hike in Moorecroft Regional Park

Most people are not going to go out of their way to stop at Moorecroft Regional Park on the Nanaimo to Tofino drive BUT if you have time to kill it’s a lovely, quiet oasis on the ocean. In fact, it’s managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

There is a network of trails in this park, the site of a former youth camp. The one I suggest you take goes around Arab Cove to Vesper Point. Look for Garry oak trees and coastal Douglas fir trees. Then find a log and enjoy a picnic while enjoying views of the Salish Sea and Coast Mountains.

On the Nanaimo to Tofino drive stop in Moorecroft Regional Park for a hike
Gorgeous hiking in Moorecroft Regional Park
Watching kayakers from the shore of Moorecroft Park
Watching kayakers from the shore of Moorecroft Park

Stop in Coombs for goats and gifts

Coombs is a popular stop on the Nanaimo to Tofino drive on account of a family of goats you can catch grazing on the grassy rooftop of the Coombs Old Country Market. I have stopped here on numerous occasions for lunch and to purchase food items but in September 2021, it was so busy that there was nowhere even nearby to park.

If you’re traveling in the off-season or at a quiet time of day, it is worth the visit. You can usually see the goats on the roof, even if you don’t stop.

Explore Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park

You’ll find Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park just 45 minutes outside of Nanaimo. The park was established in 1940 to protect old growth forest. It’s very much worth a stop as there’s a lovely 2 kilometre walk with a myriad of viewpoints to enjoy the sight of the impressive Little Qualicum Falls coursing through a rocky gorge. I’d recommend doing the loop hike from the upper falls to the lower falls (or vice versa).

Allow about an hour so you can get your shots and soak in the splendour of the landscape. Expect to share the trails as this is a popular destination, especially for families.

Viewpoints at the top of Upper Qualicum Falls
Viewpoints at the top of Upper Qualicum Falls
The Little Qualicum Falls are very impressive
Upper Qualicum Falls are very impressive
Notice the fencing all around Upper Qualicum Falls
Notice the fencing all around Upper Qualicum Falls

Stop at Cameron Lake’s Beaufort Picnic Site for a picnic and swim

Cameron Lake is a great place for a stop. On a hot day, cool off with a swim. Enjoy a picnic with cooling breezes and stretch your legs on the beach. 

 Beaufort Picnic area at Cameron Lake
Cameron Lake – especially the Beaufort Picnic area is a good place to stop for a swim or a picnic
The Beaufort picnic site offers a nice break on the Nanaimo to Tofino drive
The Beaufort picnic site offers a nice break from driving

Gawk at giant trees in Cathedral Grove – a must stop of the Nanaimo to Tofino drive

If you only make one stop on the Nanaimo to Tofino drive, make it Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park. It’s almost a religious experience walking among the giant trees in the grove, some of which are almost 800 years old.

The downside is just how busy the area is now. While there is lots of parking, you have to be so careful as people are backing up, kids are running around, and Cathedral Grove is immediately adjacent to Highway 4 – so there are impatient drivers that aren’t always paying attention.

There are trails on both sides of the highway – and both are worth walking. The largest Douglas fir trees, including one that measures more than nine metres in circumference is on the south side of the highway. Groves of ancient Western red cedar can be seen on the north side of the highway.

Awe-inspiring Douglas fir trees in Cathedral Grove
Awe-inspiring Douglas fir trees in Cathedral Grove
The Cathedral Forest on the way to Tofino
Stop in the Cathedral Forest on the way to Tofino

Hike the Hole in the Wall Trail in Port Alberni

The one sight we missed on the Nanaimo to Tofino drive was the Hole in the Wall Trail on the outskirts of Port Alberni. The trailhead is directly across the highway from Coombs Country Candy but there is room for only three or four cars. Alternatively, park in a lot next to the candy store.

The short hike (10 -15 minutes one way) on the Hole in the Wall Trail will take you through forest and deliver you at the Hole in the Wall, a man-made structure used at one point for a pipeline. When the pipeline was removed, the creek flowed again into the crystal-clear pool below. 

The Hole in the Wall near Port Alberni
The Hole in the Wall near Port Alberni Photo credit: Brian Manning on Flickr Creative Commons

Visit the Sproat Lake Petroglyphs

The Sproat Lake petroglyphs or K’aka’win are a rock art site on a slab of vertical rock on the shores of Sproat Lake in Sproat Lake Provincial Park. Reportedly these are some of the best examples of rock art in British Columbia but unfortunately part of the rock face has been defaced.

Access to see them is by a floating dock. You get close enough to see details, but also far enough away to make them hard to touch.

There’s an easy walking trail parallel to Sproat Lake to get to the petroglyphs. You’ll find signage pointing the way if you head down towards the lake from the parking lot. You can do the return walk with a stop to admire the mystical figures in 30 – 45 minutes, but if its a nice day I would also suggest a swim in the lake.

It's a pretty walk to see the petroglyphs in Sprout Lake Provincial Park
It’s a pretty walk to see the petroglyphs in Sprout Lake Provincial Park
The petroglyphs are best viewed from this dock
The petroglyphs are best viewed from this dock
Close-up of the petroglyphs
Close-up of the petroglyphs

Hike the Giant Cedar Trail

If you’re looking for big trees, a short hike and no people then do the short Giant Cedar Trail between Port Alberni and Pacific Rim National Park. 

When John and I did it in late September, we didn’t see a soul. It’s not a well kept up trail – so you could expect to get wet if it rained recently as you walk by ferns, under mossy branches and right beside small trees. It will take you about 10 minutes to get to the first of the big trees. And by big, I mean huge, crane your neck to see the top type of trees. I misplaced almost all my photos of this area so I’m not able to showcase just how beautiful and peaceful the hike is.

But do it – and enjoy the serenity of the forest. We did it as a loop and ended up on the highway about a half a kilometre from the car. I’d say just retrace your steps once you’ve passed the last of the giant trees.

The Giant Cedar is another inspiring sight
The Giant Cedar is another inspiring sight

Visit the Ucluelet Aquarium

The Ucluelet Aquarium is not like most you visit. First it features local creatures from Barkley and Clayoqut Sounds and secondly it is a collect-and-release aquarium. Displays change constantly and are dependent upon what life there is in tidepools, kelp forests and eelgrass beds.

The aquarium says they can never guarantee what they’ll have but you may see octopuses, jellyfish, sea cucumbers, squat lobsters, and grunt sculpins.

The Ucluclet Aquarium is worth a visit especially if you have kids
The Ucluclet Aquarium is worth a visit especially if you have kids
Get an up close view of the fish and invertebrates from Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds
Get an up close view of the fish and invertebrates from Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds

Walk the Ancient Cedars Loop Trail in Ucluelet

The Ancient Cedars Loop Trail in Ucluelet packs a punch considering it will only take you 15 minutes to hike – without stops. The trail features western hemlock, giant red cedars, and old-growth Sitka spruce. There are a couple of giant trees to behold, with one about 800 years old, measuring more than 12 metres in circumference.

According to a local website these old trees have withstood “gale-force winds, lightning strikes and perhaps even the local tsunami 300 years ago.

There is one fantastic lookout where you can watch the waves roll and then crash into shore, just off the trail. Other highlights of the old-growth rainforest include mosses, lichens, beautiful ferns, and giant nurse-logs.

The Ancient Cedars Trail is a good place for storm watching
The Ancient Cedars Trail is a good place for storm watching
Enjoy some dandy big trees on the Ancient Cedars Trail
Enjoy some dandy big trees on the Ancient Cedars Trail

Enjoy an easy walk on the Ucluelet Lighthouse Loop

The Lighthouse Loop hike is a 2.6 km section of the Wild Pacific Trail that is ideal if you want a taste of what the wild west coast of Vancouver Island can offer. Enjoy spectacular ocean views, massive trees with stories to tell, the squat Amphitrite Point Lighthouse, beachcombing, monster wave viewing, especially in storm season and the lovely bog interpretive loop.

You only need 45 – 60 minutes to walk the loop. It’s mostly stroller friendly and its certainly family friendly. There are some steep sets of stairs to get down to the ocean, but they can be easily bypassed.

You'll find lots of viewpoints along the Lighthouse Loop Trail
You’ll find lots of viewpoints along the Lighthouse Loop Trail
Spectacular scenery on the Lighthouse Loop Trail
Spectacular scenery on the Lighthouse Loop Trail
The lighthouse built in 1915 is still standing
The lighthouse built in 1915 is still standing

Check out Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park

Long Beach owes its name to the fact that it is the longest sand beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island. There’s room for everyone to do their thing – whether it be simply walking the beach, swimming, building sandcastles, surfing or kayaking. Don’t forget snacks and a picnic. It’s a great place to watch the sun go down while you stare into the embers of a beach fire. When was the last time you were allowed to have one of those?

If you don’t stop on the drive to Tofino, consider visiting by bike. There’s a new lovely multi-use path that you can cycle right from Tofino (and continue all the way to Ucluelet if you’re so inclined). Just don’t forget the bike lock.

Beautiful Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park
Beautiful Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park
This spot on Long Beach is easy to access from the parking lot
This spot on Long Beach is easy to access from the parking lot

Where to stay once you reach Tofino

On our most recent trip we stayed at Middle Beach Lodge. I’ve always enjoyed the vibe there – and now they have treehouses too. I also love Long Beach Lodge Resort and Pacific Sands Beach Resort, both of which offer easy beach access.

More ideas of things to do on Vancouver Island

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13 fantastic stops on the drive from Nanaimo to Tofino
13 fantastic stops on the drive from Nanaimo to Tofino including beaches, big trees, petroglyphs and waterfalls



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