Category: Getaways

BC Road Trip: Coast to the Rockies by RV

Travelling by RV allows you to bring the comforts of home into the wild nature of BC, thanks to camping options that range from full-service glamping sites to rustic, natural retreats. Here are some ideas to help you plan an RVing adventure from BC’s Coast to the Rocky Mountains.

Pick your route.

Trans-Canada Highway (Vancouver, Kamloops, Revelstoke, Golden, Banff)
Rogers Pass on the Trans-Canada Highway.

Rogers Pass on the Trans-Canada Highway. Photo: @_miss.mandy_ via instagram

The Trans-Canada (also referred to as Highway 1) is a direct and well-travelled RV route. If you’re not comfortable with mountain driving, exit the Trans-Canada at Hope for the Coquihalla Highway. Connect back to the Trans-Canada in Kamploops, or continue through the Okanagan Valley via Kelowna and Vernon and reconnect in Sicamous.  Spend time in the mountain parks; locomotive fans will want to check out the railway museum in Revelstoke and the Spiral Tunnels in Yoho National Park.

For a change in scenery, consider taking Highway 8 off the Trans-Canada at Spences Bridge, which traces the Fraser Canyon along the Nicola River.

Highway 99 to Highway 5 (Vancouver, Whistler, Lillooet, Clearwater, Valemount, Jasper)
Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99).

Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99). Photo: Destination BC

This route travels BC’s coastline with breathtaking views of the ocean on one side and jutting rock on the other. Be aware that the road can be narrow and twisty, with sharp corners and some steep areas (especially the Duffy Lake section).

A more direct option is to take the Trans-Canada route, and then connect to Highway 5 in Kamloops.

Highway 3 and the Kootenays (Manning Park, Osoyoos, West Kootenays, Banff)
Sinclair Canyon, the entrance to Kootenay National Park and Radium BC.

Sinclair Canyon, the entrance to Kootenay National Park and Radium Hot Springs.  Photo: Kari Medig

The Highway 3 route from Hope and on through the Kootenays is a spectacular drive, passing through parks, small towns, and mountain ranges. Be aware, Allison Pass through Manning Park has some steep grades. 

Consider these stops:


Make the time to take your time.

Depending on your route, driving from Vancouver to the Rockies is approximately 800 km (500 mi) —equaling eight to 10 hours driving time—up and over several mountain passes. Routes go from coastal waters, through rainforest, desert, wine and orchard country, mountain ranges, small towns, parks, and historic railway and gold rush sites. Give yourself time to stop, stay, and explore along the way.

Renting an RV? Make it a one-way trip.

Many RV rental companies allow you to pick up your rental in Vancouver and drop it off in Calgary (and vice versa). Click here for more tips on renting an RV in BC.

Where to camp with an RV. 

San Juan River on BC's coast.

San Juan River on BC’s coast. Photo: @theworldinwhich via instagram

Find RV-friendly campsites here. After a long drive, avoid having to back in by calling ahead and reserving a site with a pull-through spot.

Parks on the way.

No matter the route you choose, you’ll pass through both provincial and national parks. Here are just a few to visit:

  • Garibaldi Park off Highway 99. Hike to Garibaldi Lake for stunning views of the park.
  • Wells Gray Park off Highway 5. This is one of BC’s larger parks, at 541,516 hectares (1,338,115 acres), and it’s full of natural wonders like volcanoes, waterfalls, mineral springs, and glaciers.
  • Mount Robson Park off Highway 16 (from Highway 5). Here you’ll see the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies, and the view of Mount Robson does not disappoint.
  • Glacier National Park off the Trans-Canada Highway. Home to glaciers, old-growth forest, alpine meadows, and Rogers Pass, the final link in Canada’s national railway.
  • Yoho National Park off the Trans-Canada Highway on the western slopes of the Canadian Rockies.
  • Whiteswan Lake Park off Highway 93 (from Highway 3). On your way in, keep an eye out for Lussier Hot Springs, a natural spring set in the forest beside the Lussier River.  
  • Manning Park off Highway 3. In the heart of the Cascade Mountains, Manning is an all-season recreation destination.
  • Gladstone Park off Highway 3. A short hike to Christina lake, one of the warmest and clearest lakes in Canada.
  • Kootenay National Park on Highway 93 is home to Radium Hot Springs.


When should you go?

Spring, summer, and fall months are the best times to be on the road, but high-elevation areas are known to have snowstorms in April, May, and October.

Plan ahead.

Reserve your Provincial park campsite here.

Plan your Trans-Canada Highway route here.

For up to the minute BC road conditions visit Drive BC.

Explore other BC road trip routes.

Featured Image: Driving along Highway 3 next to the Kootenay River. Photo: Keri Medig.

The post BC Road Trip: Coast to the Rockies by RV appeared first on Explore BC.

Three Ranch Accommodations in BC’s Interior

If you’re looking to a true escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, a ranching vacation makes for the perfect getaway. British Columbia’s interior is home to many beautiful ranches with on-site accommodations to suit a wide range of desires. Here are some suggestions for guest ranches to stay at near the interior community of Merritt, courtesy of the staff at the British Columbia Visitor Centre @ Merritt:

Douglas Lake Ranch

Stoney Lake Lodge at Douglas Lake Ranch near Merritt BC featuring a red roof, wood building, trees in the foreground and a blue sky with white clouds above.

Stoney Lake Lodge at Douglas Lake Ranch near Merritt. Photo: Douglas Lake Ranch via Facebook

Located less than an hour’s drive northeast of Merritt, the Douglas Lake Ranch is Canada’s largest working cattle ranch with a history dating back to the 1880’s. From camping to lakeside lodges, yurts, cabins and a classic ranch house, this ranch has accommodations to suit everyone’s preferences. It provides an incredible opportunity to get in touch with nature, while enjoying incredible views, fishing and fine dining.

A-P Guest Ranch

A-P-Guest-Ranch-Cabin with a green roof and wood building set in the background of rolling hills and trees.

A-P Guest Ranch near Merritt. Photo: A-P Guest Ranch via Facebook

The A-P Guest Ranch is a western guest ranch located 54 km (38 mi) from Merritt. The ranch has a main lodge with eleven rooms, each detailing old west characters, and one cabin which comfortably sleeps four. Surrounded by rolling hills and picturesque lakes, this ranch offers activities for all ages. Guests can take advantage of trail riding, youth horsemanship camps, hiking and biking trails, angling and more. With country-western dances and barbecues happening throughout the summer, you’ll be caught up in the country lifestyle in no time.

Sundance Guest Ranch

One-level Sundance Guest Ranch in Aschroft, BC with a flat green lawn in front and rolling hills in the background.

Sundance Guest Ranch in Ashcroft. Photo: Sundance Guest Ranch

The Sundance Guest Ranch is located 98 km (61 mi) from Merritt in Ashcroft. This single-level ranch house offers 22 rooms, all with air conditioning and private bathrooms. There are over 100 happy horses enjoying thousands of hectares on the gorgeous grounds, making it a perfect destination for a horseback holiday.  The ranch’s dining room overlooking the pastures allows for peaceful admiration of the grazing horses as guests enjoy delicious foods from around the world. When it’s time to relax after a day’s ride, there are many outdoor decks, a heated pool and spa services on-site.  The games room is a great place to visit with the kids, as are the property’s walking and hiking trails. Sundance offers special deals throughout the spring and summer, including cowgirl getaways and gourmet weekends.

Related links:
Accommodations in Merritt, British Columbia
BC Guest Ranchers Association

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