Whether it’s summit beers or river-side brews, a crisp après ski or campfire cold ones, it goes without saying that not much pairs better with beer than the great outdoors. It only gets better when you get to spend the night in nature, a beautifully stocked cooler by your side or a brewery just down the road, ready to welcome you back to civilization.
With endless campgrounds speckled across the province and breweries within shouting distance of each, it’s easy to plan a craft beer and camping trip in BC. Whatever region of the province you’ve got your eye on, we’ve got the intel you need to start scheming.
If you’re looking for a place where beer meets adventure, then Fernie’s got you covered. Located at the base of countless trails sits Mount Fernie Provincial Campground – a site that is also the starting point for Fernie Brewing Co.’s Trail to Ale Challenge. The challenge is simple: check off three of Fernie’s best trails – Project 9, Hyperventilation, and Swine Flu – within 24 hours, and win yourself a well-deserved après at the brewery. While the adventure may not be for the faint of heart, beer always tastes better 40 kilometres and 1,200 metres of elevation gain later. Thankfully, however, you don’t have to smash out three peaks to indulge in FBC’s crisp brews. With 12 rotating beers on tap, and countless more available for pick up, a pit stop at the brewery is an essential component to every night spent under the stars – whether it’s covered in sweat or basking in relaxation.
Nestled in the midst of a Douglas fir forest on the Eastern shore of Lower Arrow Lake, lays Syringa Provincial Park: a road-tripper’s dream. Kick back for the day surrounded by sandy beaches, rocky bluffs and ample amenities. The best part? Not far from the lake-side campground is Castlegar’s Tailout Brewing, serving up locally-brewed lip-smacking pints, flights, and growler fills. Why just see the East Kootenays when you can taste them too?
What’s better than a campground near a brewery? A campground near three breweries. Earn your beers as your walk into Mystic Beach: a short but scenic two-kilometre wander through a coastal rainforest enveloped by salty air and moss-covered trees. Awaiting at the end is a dreamy campground located along the shore of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Think gentle waterfalls and misty ocean views, sand in your sleeping bag, and the gentle sound of waves lapping the shoreline as dream about beer. Except it’s not a dream. Because located a short 35-kilometre drive away is Sooke Brewing Company, the home of summer-worthy beers like the Mai Bock Lager and Mango Saison. But the fun doesn’t stop there because just a few minutes farther down the road is Bad Dog Brewing, an oasis full of good beers for even the baddest of dogs. And then there’s Sooke Oceanside Brewery, which is moving into a new space with a full tasting room and patio this summer.
Plopped on the shore of Lillooet Lake is Strawberry Point Recreation Site, a campground with views just about as sweet as its name. A short walk in from the road, adventure is never far from Strawberry Point, with a number of hikes, hot springs, and, of course, brews nearby. What better way to cap off a day of making memories than with a glass of hoppy, malty goodness? Waiting for you just 18 kilometres down the road is Pemberton Brewing Company. Tucked away behind alpine peaks, you’ll find a variety of curiosity-sparking beers like their Hello Sunshine Dry-Hopped Sour and Cream Puff Pale Ale. And if that wasn’t enough, you can also taste the local terroir at The Beer Farmers, where they grow their own barley and hops on a fourth-generation family farm.
If you’re the rustic, off-the-beaten-path type camper, then this is the spot for you. Nestled in Mount Robson Park on the edge of Yellowhead Lake, Lucerne campground offers the perfect combination of stunning mountain views, chilled lake swims, and peaceful serenity. An escape from the crowds typical of Mount Robson Park, this is a safe haven for campers looking to rough it for the evening. Less than an hour away awaits Three Ranges Brewing Company, putting the “ale” in Valemount. With a number of tantalizing beers on tap, like their Mt. Robson Kolsch and Ram’s Head Amber, a visit is the perfect way to ease back into civilization.
A stones-throw away from Prince Rupert, sitting along the edge of Prudhomme Lake, is the Prudhomme Lake Provincial Park Campground. A small and quiet site surrounded by coastal forest, it’s the textbook place to recharge following a day of fishing, exploring, or knocking back a cold one at Wheelhouse Brewing Company. Located just 21 kilometres down the road from the site, Wheelhouse Brewing Company boasts a range of seasonal brews, alongside their tried and true year-rounders like Blacksmith Brown Ale and Flagship Pale Ale. Radiating the essence of true Northwest coastal culture, Wheelhouse is a must-stop on any road trip to the coastal north.
For those looking to spend a little time in nature without compromising the comforts of the city, Bear Creek Provincial Park offers the best of both worlds. A mere 15-minute drive away from the bustling streets of Kelowna, Bear Creek has the stress-less lakeside camping, user-friendly trails, and sun-tan-worthy beaches you’ve been looking for. Sweetening the deal is a nearby canyon, etched into the bedrock by the creek’s running water. While this site can get quite busy, especially during peak season, it’s nothing a pint down the road can’t fix. Cue Shore Line Brewing Co. Sitting right at the water’s edge, Shore Line Brewing Co. oozes that laid back Okanagan vibe, while offering a wide selection of summery beers, many of which are made using locally grown ingredients. Beer, views, and camping – who could want more?
Travel in BC
BC has now entered Step 2 of BC’s Restart Plan; travel throughout the province is now encouraged. It’s time to #exploreBCnow as #newexperiencesarebrewing. Book your summer getaway now (at exploreBC.com) and let the BC Ale Trail be your guide for your next Ale-venture. Travel safely and responsibly this summer. For those outside of British Columbia – we look forward to welcoming you soon.