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BC Road Trip: Calgary to Vancouver via Highway 3

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Morrissey Ridge | Kari Medig 

The drive between Vancouver and Calgary is one for your bucket list. There are a few route options, with plenty to see no matter which way you choose to go. By following Highway 3, you travel over the mountains and into the desert, ending at the Pacific Ocean. Here are some worthwhile stops along the way.

A lush, mountainous landscape under a cloudy sky.
View of Crowsnest Pass. Photo: Luke Ratslakk via Flickr

Crowsnest Pass, Alberta

As you head towards the BC border from Alberta, you’ll encounter the spectacularly scenic Crowsnest Pass. Keep a look out for Turtle Mountain, which collapsed in 1903 causing the Frank Slide, one of the largest landslides in Canada. Visit the Crowsnest Museum and Frank Slide Interpretive Centre to learn more about the rich history of the area.

Fernie | Mitch Winton

Fernie

Surrounded by towering peaks, the small community of Fernie has enough big mountain adventure for everyone. Enjoy lift-accessed mountain biking at Fernie Alpine Resort, whitewater rafting, and endless hiking trails surrounding the town. Need to rest your head? Island Lake Lodge offers luxury in the mountains, and the Raging Elk Hostel is a good place to meet fellow road trippers. Grab a pint at the Kodiak Lounge and share stories of the road.

Visit Fernie
Cranbrook | Kari Medig

Cranbrook

In need of some vitamin D? Stop in Cranbrook, home to the most sunshine in BC. Golf fanatics will enjoy the options, with more than six courses easily accessible from town. Don’t miss Speaking Earth at St. Eugene Golf Resort to learn about the heritage and culture of the local Ktunaxa First Nation. Take a trip to Fort Steele Heritage Town to see blacksmiths at work and catch a show at the Wildhorse Theatre.

Visit Cranbrook
Osoyoos Desert Centre | Hubert Kang

Osoyoos

Osoyoos is a summer playground. Bask in the sun, jump in the lake, and snack on fruit from roadside stands. Don’t miss the Nk’Mip Desert and Cultural Centre and Desert Society Osoyoos to explore cultural exhibits and learn about desert wildlife. Check out the wineries around town and north towards Oliver, Okanagan Falls, and Penticton. Looking for adventure? Grab a bike and explore the Kettle Valley Rail Trail.

Visit Osoyoos
Manning Provincial Park | Similkameen Valley/Darren Robinson

E. C. Manning Provincial Park

Just before you reach Vancouver, take a break at Manning Park. Explore the many hiking trails, or nestle into a cabin at Manning Park Resort. Hop in a canoe, pack a lakeside picnic, cycle the trails, or spend a peaceful afternoon fishing. Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy backcountry trails to stunning meadows and peaks. Pack a tent, relax, and stay a while.

Visit Manning

Don’t-Miss Detours:

  • Nelson: This eclectic town nestled in the Selkirk Mountains is well worth the detour. Visit Ainsworth Hot Springs, and explore the Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History. The area is home to a thriving arts community. Browse local shops and farmers markets, or stop for a bite to eat along Main Street.
  • Kelowna: From Osoyoos, travel north through the Okanagan Valley to Kelowna. Laze around on the beaches of Okanagan Lake or take in an event around town in the Kelowna Cultural District.

Making the trip in winter? Be aware that road conditions can be dangerous and can change quickly. Check current conditions with DriveBC before you leave home.

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