3 BC Parks to Stop at Between Vancouver and Kelowna

3 BC Parks to Stop at Between Vancouver and Kelowna

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The drive from Vancouver to Kelowna is a popular and scenic route, as people head to enjoy the beauty, sunshine, fruit, and wine of the Okanagan region. Along with the incredible scenery, there are several provincial parks that make for great stopping-off points. Here are three provincial parks between Vancouver and Kelowna that make for an ideal spot to stretch your legs and break up the drive. 

1. Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park

A pedestrian bridge leads into a tunnel carved into a rocky mountain.

The entrance to Othello Tunnels at Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park near Hope. Photo: @mike_karas via Instagram

Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park is located just north of Hope, about two hours from Vancouver. The park is home to the iconic Othello Tunnels, built in the early 1900s by the Canadian Pacific Railway to allow a route between the coast and the Kootenay region. Today, there is no longer a track along the route, and visitors can enjoy canyon and river views throughout the easy, wheelchair accessible,  3.5-km (2-mi) return-trip trail, which is a part of the Trans-Canada Trail.

Insider Tip: Hope is a good place to grab breakfast or snacks for the road.

2. Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area

Two women hike along rocky mountain peaks.

Hiking at Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area north of Hope. Photo: @rjbruni via Instagram

Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area is nestled in BC’s Cascade Mountains, about 48 km (28 mi) north of Hope. The park comes with beautiful views of the Coast-Cascade dry-belt landscape, and is home to hiking trails ranging from a relatively easy 3-km (1.9-mi) up to a more strenuous 18-km (11-mi). The valley was once a part of the Kettle Valley Railway, and remnants of this iconic part of BC history can still be seen. The Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area is a great place to stop for a picnic lunch, or if you have more time, to camp at a hike-in site at Falls Lake.

3. Kentucky Alleyne Provincial Park

A star-filled sky over a small boat anchored close to shore.

A starry night at Kentucky Alleyne Provincial Park near Merritt. Photo: via Instagram

The 144-ha (356-ac) Kentucky Alleyne Provincial Park is located just past the city of Merritt and is considered a haven for hikers, fishers, and outdoor enthusiasts. Stroll through peaceful rolling grasslands and open forests surrounding by the park’s two large lakes. Fish for rainbow trout straight from the Summerland Trout Hatchery, or if you’re with children, head to the ponds between the lakes for the children’s-only fishing area. If you’re in need of a cool-off, there’s a 4-km (2.5-mi) trail that traces the edge of Kentucky Lake and offers access to the lakeshore and swimming.

Insider Tip: If you happen to get hungry around Merritt, Bramble Bakery is worth the stop!