3 BC Parks to Stop at Between Vancouver and Kelowna

3 BC Parks to Visit Between Vancouver and Kelowna

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The drive from Vancouver to Kelowna is a popular route characterized by beautiful scenery. As you make your way toward the fresh fruit and popular wineries of the verdant Okanagan Valley, consider stretching your legs at one of these stunning parks en route.

Othello Tunnels on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. Photo: @dutchie_in_berlin

Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park

Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park is located just east 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 (though bumpy),  3.5-km (2-mi) return-trip trail, which is a part of the Trans-Canada Trail.

Insider Tip: Hope is a great place to grab breakfast or snacks for the road. A coffee and a pastry or sandwich from local institution the Blue Moose Coffee House is a must.

*Note that the park is closed for the 2023 season due to extensive flood damage.

Visit Coquihalla Canyon
Hiking at Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area | @rjbruni

Coquihalla Summit Recreational Area

Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area is nestled in BC’s Cascade Mountains, about 45 km (28 mi) northeast 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 historic route 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.

Insider tip: There is no potable water available in the park, so be sure to bring your own.

Visit Coquihalla Summit
Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park |

Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park

Kentucky-Alleyne Park is located just east of the community of Merritt, and is considered to be a haven for hikers, fishers, and outdoor enthusiasts. Stroll through peaceful rolling grasslands and open forests surrounding the park’s two large lakes. You guessed it: Kentucky Lake and Alleyne Lake. Fish for rainbow trout stocked from the Summerland Trout Hatchery, and if you’re travelling with children, head to the ponds between the lakes for the kids-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 with access to the lakeshore and swimming.

Insider Tip: If you find yourself hungry as you near Merritt (or even if you don’t!), stop by Kekuli Cafe to sample some Indigenous staples. The specialty here is bannock, available in forms ranging from traditional frybread to bannock berry scones. Yum!

Visit Kentucky-Alleyne

Originally published in March, 2016.


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