Begin your journey in Golden. Set on the banks of the Columbia River, this tranquil town offers endless outdoor adventures. Enjoy the thrill of whitewater rafting on the Kicking Horse River or quietly watch for birds in the world-renowned Columbia Wetlands. Ride the gondola to the top of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort for panoramic mountain views and enjoy a memorable meal at Canada’s highest restaurant, the Eagle’s Eye, which sits at an elevation of 2,346m/7,700ft. The mountain’s great hiking, mountain biking and “champagne powder” skiing may entice you too.
Just east of Golden on Highway 1 is Yoho National Park, which has astonishing landscapes with craggy peaks, glacial lakes and Takakkaw Falls, one of Canada’s highest waterfalls. Take the circle trail around spectacular jewel-coloured Emerald Lake, visit the Natural Bridge, or view the Spiral Tunnels. These train tunnels were carved in 1909 to avoid steep descents on the treacherous “Big Hill.” Stop for a few minutes and you may see the front end of a locomotive emerging from the upper portal, while the back end of the train enters the same tunnel below.
Following the Columbia River, drive south on Highway 95/93 for stunning Rocky Mountain views.
Along the Columbia River, play golf on top-rated 18-hole championship courses with dramatic mountain backdrops. Stop for a steamy soak at either Radium or Fairmont hot springs’ rejuvenating, mineral-rich pools.
Continue south to Kimberley.
Kimberley is a western mining town with a distinct Bavarian theme. See the world’s largest, free-standing cuckoo clock and explore the Platzl, a pedestrian area filled with unique shops and restaurants. Stroll through Cominco Gardens to take in scents from more than 48,000 flowers. Kimberley Alpine Resort is a four-season adventure spot not to be missed.
In Cranbrook, explore the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel, which features the only complete set of rail cars from the luxurious 1929 Canadian Pacific Railway Trans-Canada Limited.
Continue southwest on Highway 3 to the orchard town of Creston. Stop by Skimmerhorn Winery to taste wine paired with local cheese. Also visit the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area. This 6,879-ha/17,000-ac wetland habitat is home to more than 250 bird species, and has viewing towers and guided canoe tours.
Once you reach Salmo, drive north on Highway 6 to historic Nelson.
In Nelson, be sure to take the free, self-guided walking tour of 350 restored heritage buildings and homes. Ride Streetcar #23 along the waterfront, stroll down Baker Street and tour the studios and galleries of Canada’s finest small town arts community.
Highway 3A brings you to Castlegar, rich in history and Doukhobor culture; enjoy some time at the Doukhobor Discovery Centre and Zuckerberg Island Heritage Park. Take a short excursion south on Highway 22. In Trail, the Columbia Gardens Vineyard & Winery offers guided tours of the wine making facilities and serves up samples at the tasting bar.
Rossland, one of Canada’s top mountain biking spots, is home to hundreds of kilometres of mountain biking trails.
Drive on Highway 3B/3 to Hwy 97 and the Okanagan Valley’s orchards and vineyards to savour award-winning wines and take your pick of the season’s fresh crops.
Cradled between two mountain ranges, a chain of blue lakes and sandy beaches span the valley floor in this warm-weather region. Heading north from Osoyoos, you’ll pass through a true desert.
At Oliver, a tour of local wineries is a must – there are more than 20 in the area. Learn traditional wine-making techniques and sample your favourite Bordeaux, Cabernet or Chardonnay in the tasting rooms.
In Summerland, climb aboard the vintage Kettle Valley Steam Railway that travels along a 16-km/10-mi route. And be sure to play a round of golf at one of the area’s numerous championship golf courses; the holes are as spectacular as the scenery. In Kelowna, visit the BC Orchard Industry Museum and BC Wine Museum, located in a historic fruit packing house.
Cruise into the picturesque houseboat haven of the Shuswap Lake area. With 1,000-km/620-mi of shoreline, you’ll find ample space to play, whether your love is swimming, camping, fishing, boating, hiking or biking.
Follow the Trans-Canada Highway 1 to historic Craigellachie. In 1885, the “Last Spike” was driven into Canada’s first transcontinental railway, joining the west to the east. Stop in the alpine city of Revelstoke and tour the Revelstoke Railway Museum, a tribute to the workers that built the nation’s transcontinental railway through the difficult mountain passes.
Between Revelstoke and Golden, drive through one of BC’s great mountain crossings: Rogers Pass. Marvel at the engineering feat that forged a path through the mighty Selkirk and Purcell mountains, making way for the railroad and the Trans-Canada Highway.