I also got interesting and good information from this site: https://offtracktravel.ca/
Gemma, from that site gave me the permission to publish the letter I received from her:
Thanks for your email!
There are definitely a lot of places like that in British Columbia but those that are easily accessible (via a paved road) usually have restrictions. The places most easily reached by vehicle need to have these restrictions as they are likely to receive more visitors than the areas only reached by unpaved roads. These restrictions are in place to protect the land and also provide better recreational opportunities.
To explore outside of developed provincial, national and regional parks, you would need extensive backcountry travel experience and equipment to keep yourselves, wildlife and the landscape safe. And you'd have to be ready to do a lot of bush whacking! The British Columbia landscape can be pretty wild. The further north you go, the easier it is to access wilderness.
Here are some ideas for you though, all accessible via paved roads:
Strathcona Provincial Park - Forbidden Plateau area has awesome hiking and three campgrounds (no reservation needed). In a different section of the park, the Della Falls trail offers completely free hiking AND camping, with no reservation needed
Juan de Fuca Provincial Park - Multi-day coastal hike with camping (no reservation needed)
Valhalla Provincial Park - Completely free campsites and hiking (no reservation), though you would need to rent or borrow a canoe to paddle across Slocan Lake
Sunshine Coast Trail - Long multi-day hike (which you could just hike sections of) with completely free cabin use, no reservation needed. Some sections are only accessible via gravel roads but you could definitely organise a 3-5 day hike from paved roads
E.C. Manning Park - Lots of different multi-day hiking options, none of which need a reservation. We really enjoyed the Heather Trail - note, the trailhead is accessible via a very short section of gravel road
I hope this helps!
I asked about the Rookies to, and she answered in a second email:
"Valhalla is the closest of these to the Canadian Rockies, if you're referring to the Banff/Jasper etc area. I'm sure that there are some other options but I haven't found or explore them yet. The closer you get to Banff, Jasper etc, the more likely you are to need reservations for hikes. One area that you should research is the Kananaskis Valley, the area on the Albertan side of the Rockies (beyond Banff). "
I mean all of those parks, also seem very beautiful if you look them up on google pictures!
Here for example:
Strathcona Provincial Park:
Juan de Fuca Provincial Park:
Valhalla Provincial Park :
Sunshine Coast Trail:
E.C. Manning Park:
Have you guys been to them?