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#ExploreBC Road Trip: Mountain Peaks and Towns

5 to 7 Days, 1000 km (621.37 mi)

Mountain adventure road trip with Nathaniel Atakora Martin

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Experience BC’s diverse scenery—from dense forests and rich farmland to desert landscapes and awe-inspiring mountains—on a road trip from the Interior to the West Kootenays. Travel in the footsteps of Sechelt-based photographer Nathaniel Atakora Martin as he makes his way from the city of Kamloops to the mountain peaks and towns of Revelstoke, Nelson, and Rossland.

Part 1

Kamloops

Beer Tasting in Kamloops | Photographer: Jordan Dyck

Set on the confluence of the North and South Thompson rivers, sunny Kamloops is the Interior’s second largest city. Surrounded by an otherworldly desert-like  landscape of sagebrush and sandstone, Kamloops is the gateway to discovering the lunar-looking hoodoos (rock formations) and the hundred or so lakes that can be found within easy reach of the city. Take a self-guided tour of the city’s cool murals or enjoy a beverage from craft breweries such as Noble Pig and Bright Eye Brewing

Nathaniel’s highlights:
  • “We really enjoyed our self-guided tour of the murals in Kamloops, which were a great surprise.
  • There are so many beautiful hikes and stops along the Thompson River. I highly recommend Battle Bluff for sunrise or sunset, just be sure to pack some bug spray. We also loved our guided tour with ACT Adventures.
  • Mittz Kitchen has an amazing pork belly dish and the Noble Pig also has a great menu and some awesome beers on tap.
  • The mountain biking in Kamloops is world renowned so I was a little intimidated about the type of terrain we might encounter. But our guide, Ted Morton, did an awesome job teaching us the basics and challenging us to push a bit harder. He showed us a great network of beginner trails.”

Part 2

Revelstoke

Hiking in Mt. Revelstoke National Park

Leaving the lunar landscape behind, the drive east to the Kootenay Rockies takes you through the dry river valley towards the Shuswap region, where lakes are home to clusters of cottages and the houseboats that notoriously dot the waters here. Stop at Salmon Arm for a bite to eat or check out Crazy Creek Resort. Heading into Revelstoke the scenery becomes even more enticing as the highway hugs the southern shoreline of Three Valley Lake.

Experience the small-town charm of Revelstoke, tucked between the huge Monashee and Selkirk mountain ranges. This is also the ideal place to hike Glacier National Park and Mount Revelstoke National Park, and then rejuvenate tired muscles with a soak in a nearby hot springs. 

Nathaniel’s highlights:
  • “We stopped to check out Crazy Creek Resort, a boardwalk and suspension bridge park just off the highway with stunning views of a massive waterfall. They also light the falls and trails at night.
  • Riding Revelstoke Mountain with Wandering Wheels was definitely a highlight of the whole trip. It’s an awesome park with several options for every level of rider.
  • For cafes we loved Dose Coffee and Main Street Cafe. Revy also has some great street art downtown.”

Part 3

Nelson

Fishing in Nelson

Heading south from Revelstoke to Nelson there’s the option to take Highway 6 or Highway 31A, with the latter route including free car ferries. There are also opportunities to stop at viewpoints such as lone Falls, and cute and quirky towns like Kaslo, which is home to the historic S.S. Moyie, an old paddle steamer boat that worked on the lake as far back as 1898. Nelson’s picturesque downtown is home to 350 heritage buildings, most of which date back to the late 1800s Gold Rush era, but the artsy town is also home to a thriving culture scene and claims to have more restaurants per capita than Manhattan or San Francisco. Burn off some calories kayaking on Kootenay Lake or hike up to Pulpit Rock for a bird’s-eye-view. 

Nathaniel’s highlights:

Part 4

Rossland

Downtown Rossland

Just a short hop from Nelson is Canada’s mountain biking capital, where bikers can ride along old whiskey running routes, miners’ trails, and old railway beds. Hikers and runners have more than 200 km of trails to explore. Rossland comes alive in summer and fall with wildflowers springing up along the hikeable ridges of the old glacial valleys that make up the Kootenay Rockies. 

Nathaniel’s highlights:
  • “It was fun passing through the historic mining towns in the area, many of which—Castlegar, Trail, and Warfield, for example—have preserved historic buildings on the main strip.
  • There has been more trail development at RED Mountain Resort with the expansion of the Millennial Trail, it was a blast following our guides down the trails and watching them rip.
  • Rossland Beer Co. was fantastic and has a great patio space. We also really enjoyed Mook Thai Lounge, a new establishment housed in an old firehall.” 

Driving Directions

Part 1 - Vancouver
  • 6.25 km
  • 12 min
Show Map & Driving Directions

With smaller capacities and safety protocols in place, it’s best to book ahead if you want to visit a popular restaurant, and don’t forget to pack your mask and hand sanitizer. We asked Nathaniel how he prepared for the trip:

“With things opening up in the province it’s nice to finally be able to start travelling again. However, it’s important to keep in mind the safety of each community you visit. On our trip we made sure to bring masks and hand-sanitizer with us and we kept up with our social distancing. Every municipality has their own outlook on the gravity of this situation. Some places have large demographics of citizens who are more susceptible to COVID-19 and it’s important to respect their guidelines and procedures as you are visiting their home.”

 

This road trip was created specifically for the unique travel circumstances of 2020. Information is accurate at the time of publication; we recommend you contact businesses directly to confirm availability.

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