From Vancouver, head north along the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway. The road winds around rock faces, cliffs, and trees and offers incredible vistas of Howe Sound. Stop at the roadside Britannia Mine Museum on the way to Squamish.
Squamish bills itself as “Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada”. Look for bald eagles by the river, watch kiteboarders at The Squamish Spit, tackle the mountain bike trails, or try river rafting.
Make sure to allocate ample time in Whistler. Along with outdoor adventures such as biking, bear watching, hiking, or riding the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, there are also more urban pursuits such as shopping and dining.
Continue driving north of Whistler to quiet (and pretty) Pemberton. Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park is a nice side trip in this area. Or, drive on to Lillooet, which is known for being start of the road for the Cariboo Gold Rush. As a result, there are some interesting historic sites to discover in the area.
From Lillooet, there is the option to drive south to Lytton, or northeast through grasslands and canyons (the northeast option is shown on the map). If taking the northeast route option, visit Historic Hat Creek Ranch to sample pioneer life and then continue on to Lytton.
South of Lillooet, Lytton is known for being “Canada’s Hot Spot” and is also a huge river rafting destination. The Fraser Canyon scenery landscape here includes rivers rush past steep walls and gorges, and farmlands flanking the mountains. To gain appreciation for the power of the Fraser River, stop at Hell’s Gate to ride the air tram over the white water. Visit historic Yale before reaching Hope.
Hope is a major junction for road trip travellers, some of whom drive through and miss the unique attractions in the area. View the chainsaw carvings that are scattered throughout town, and walk through the nearby Othello Tunnels, which were blasted out of solid cliffs.
Natural mineral water at Harrison Hot Springs makes this a logical place to get out the car, stretch your legs, and then plunge into steamy pools. The beach is also a prime spot for relaxing.
From Harrison Hot Springs, choose to travel along either the northern or southern bank of the Fraser River to return to Vancouver. The northern route (shown on the map) follows scenic Highway 7 past Mission, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows while the more direct southern route follows Highway 1 past Abbotsford, Fort Langley and New Westminster.