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Couple walking through the vineyards at Corcelettes Estate Winery

Rainforest to Rockies: Valleys and Vineyards

4 to 6 Days, 921 km (572.28 mi)

Explore the Fraser, Similkameen, and Okanagan valleys, desert landscapes, rolling hills, and the stunning Columbia and Canadian Rocky mountains in one journey.

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This Rainforest to Rockies route between the Pacific Ocean and the Canadian Rockies takes you through valleys and vineyards that will satiate your appetite for adventure and appreciation for food and wine. Travel through landscapes that transform from waterfront to valley floor, mountain passes to desert, and back again. Along the way, toast to your journey with a glass of something local and the very freshest fare.

Part 1

Vancouver to Hope

Celebrating Lunar New Year hot pot | Destination Vancouver/Rishad Daroo Photography

It’s always best to start a journey with a full belly, and Vancouver is a city that is serious about eating and drinking. Sample fresh seafood scooped from the Pacific Ocean, visit Granville Island’s colourful stalls, and sip at craft breweries and distilleries—the city’s diverse dining scene spans family-owned dumpling shops in Richmond to Michelin-starred restaurants downtown. 

The fertile Fraser Valley spreads out east of the city along Trans-Canada Highway 1. Backdropped by the Coast and Cascade mountain ranges, farms welcome you to try their freshest fare, like u-pick berries, corn from Chilliwack, and cheeses from local dairy farms.

Near Hope, the rushing Fraser River—BC’s longest—has special significance. It offers stunning scenery, hosts one of the world’s largest salmon runs, has deep cultural ties with Indigenous nations including the Stó:lō Nation and Nlaka’pamux Nation, and it played a pivotal historical role in the BC Gold Rush.

Part 2

Hope to Osoyoos

Osoyoos | Hubert Kang

From the rainforests of the coast to the semi-arid desert town of Osoyoos, this stretch of the journey shows how diverse and how striking the landscape in BC can be. The town of Hope, nestled within densely wooded mountains, is where the landscape starts shifting dramatically. The Crowsnest Highway 3 banks hard as it spirals around mountains, opening up in the valleys to provide glimpses of lakes before whisking you around yet another bend. Hikes in E.C. Manning Provincial Park can bring you to an alpine wildflower meadow, while a bit farther along, the former mining town of Princeton offers even more scenic trails. 

Not far beyond Princeton, the mountains part to reveal a green floor of farmland: Keremeos in the Similkameen Valley is known as the Fruit Stand Capital of Canada, and alongside orchards heavy with fruit are vineyards celebrated for their unique terroir, boutique wineries, and commitment to sustainable and organic practices.

Part 3

Osoyoos to Sicamous

Spirit Ridge Lake Resort near the Nk'mip Cultural Centre | Destination Canada

The Okanagan Valley stretches from Osoyoos past Vernon. This part of the journey offers up sophisticated sips, tasty treats, cultural experiences, and Rn’R in the great outdoors. 

In Osoyoos, Canada’s only semi-arid desert, colours shift from bright green to sage to dusty orange. The Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre is a great place to learn more about local Indigenous practices and wisdom, and the unique landscape. This state-of-the-art centre is built into the hillside within a large conservation area. Nk’Mip Cellars winery—an Osoyoos Indian Band venture—is situated next door at Spirit Ridge Resort.

The Okanagan is BC’s grape-growing hub with the town of Oliver named Canada’s Wine Capital. It’s also a hotspot for food and wine enthusiasts, who can explore by car, foot, boat, or e-bike—diverse tasting and dining experiences abound. 

Burn off any over-indulgence engaged in activities from golf to pedaling along the Kettle Valley Rail trails, which combine history with spectacular canyon, vineyard, and valley views. In addition to waterfront dining and a booming craft beer scene, the lakeside city of Kelowna boasts an emerging arts and culture scene. Travelling north through Lake Country and beyond Vernon, you’ll leave the Okanagan and enter the Shuswap, with lakes and ranchlands on either side of the highway towards Sicamous.

Part 4

Sicamous to Field

The Pipe Mountain Coaster, Revelstoke Mountain Resort | Kari Medig

Climbing through the Monashees towards the Selkirk ranges, you’re now firmly in mountain country with the clean scent of deep green conifers and glacier-fed lakes. Past Craigellachie, the site of the “last spike” driven into the Canadian Pacific Railway, Revelstoke is known for its small-town charm, cool cafes, and outdoor adventures. Explore its inland temperate rainforests, enjoy 360-degree views or relax with a beer on a patio. “Revy” is also the gateway to Mount Revelstoke National Park with the spectacular Meadows in the Sky Parkway and plenty of wildlife.

Surrounded by six of Canada’s most remarkable national parks, the mountain town of Golden makes an excellent base for exploring Glacier National Park and Yoho National Park on the western edge of the Canadian Rockies. These parks offer ancient cedar forests, tranquil lakes, trails, and waterfalls. Well-known attractions include Yoho’s Burgess Shale fossil sites that pre-date the dinosaurs and the aptly named Emerald Lake.

From fertile valleys to snow-capped peaks and desert hills to lush vineyards, a journey between Vancouver on the Pacific Ocean and the Canadian Rockies includes diverse flavours, landscapes, and communities connecting the coast to the mountain peaks. 

Please note: Remember to check for access information and note which parks or areas require advance booking or have other unique conditions.

Driving Directions

Part 1 - Vancouver
  • 6.25 km
  • 12 min
Show Map & Driving Directions
Header image: Corcelettes Estate Winery | Similkameen Valley/Darren Robinson

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