The Washington Post Sunday - - TRAVEL - — C.E.

When to travel

You can drive the Trans-Canada High­way any­time, but the best times of the year are dur­ing shoul­der sea­son — fall and spring. Dur­ing the sum­mer months, the roads are at their busiest. East­ern Canada, with its maple trees, is a prime view­ing area for bright-red fo­liage. Dur­ing spring, Vic­to­ria, the cap­i­tal of Bri­tish Columbia, flow­ers and cherry trees of­ten blos­som as early as March.

Pack well

Tem­per­a­tures can fluc­tu­ate dra­mat­i­cally, so pack for ex­treme heat and cold. And bring sun­glasses. Dur­ing the height of sum­mer, you can get as much as 17 hours of day­light along some parts of the high­way. If you’re a bird-watcher, you’ll def­i­nitely want to take your binoc­u­lars. Canada has 18 UNESCO World Her­itage sites, many ac­ces­si­ble from the TCH.

Driv­ing se­crets

The TCH strad­dles the U.S. bor­der some of the way, cut­ting through Canada’s most pop­u­lated ar­eas. Watch for traf­fic, par­tic­u­larly in Toronto and Mon­treal. As you head west, gas sta­tions are more spaced apart, so prac­tice the half-tank rule — if you see a ser­vice sta­tion and you’re be­low half a tank, stop and re­fuel. To ex­pe­ri­ence the full length of the TCH, be pre­pared for ferry cross­ings and the re­lated fees in ar­eas such as Van­cou­ver Is­land on the west coast, and New­found­land and Labrador.

Take your time

Most peo­ple cross­ing the TCH are in a hurry. Don’t make that mis­take. Canada is filled with na­tional parks and pro­vin­cial parks along the way or just off the high­way. They of­fer re­ward­ing views, nat­u­ral won­ders, wildlife sight­ings and other ad­ven­tures. And, of course, there’s the food. You won’t dis­cover any of it by eating ev­ery meal at Tim Hor­tons — not that there’s any­thing wrong with that.

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