From the Bottom to the Top of BC

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Did you know that Highway 97 stretches from the United States border all the way up to the Yukon? Travelling this route takes you through sunny Okanagan towns, follows the historic Gold Rush Trail, and then becomes the epic Alaska Highway. Choose to explore one of these sections, or take the ultimate road trip from the bottom to the top of BC.

Okanagan

An illustrated map with a blue line indicating the route between Kamloops and Osoyoos.

A man wearing a backpack hikes through a rocky landscape.

The Hoodoos of the Okanagan Valley Photo: Grant Harder

A wooden box full of red apples with the words “British Columbia Apples” on the side.

Davison Orchard near Vernon Photo: Andrew Strain

Aerial view of a coastal city dotted with fall foliage.

View from Knox Mountain in Kelowna Photo: @okv_pix via Instagram

Silhouette of three people standing at the edge of a lake under an orange sunset.

Okanagan Lake Photo: @joel_hansen_ via Instagram

A coastal vineyard at sunset.

Lake Breeze Vineyard Photo: @LakeBreezeWines via Instagram

BC’s Okanagan is known for its picturesque vineyards and award-winning wines, abundant orchards with road-side fruit stands, lakeside towns, and for being where Vancouverites road-trip to get away from the city.

There’s also the Kettle Valley Rail Trail—decommissioned tracks that are now home to an extensive recreational trail. Explore the trail in Naramata by bicycle, with views of Lake Okanagan on one side and lush vineyards on the other, or explore the trail’s trestle bridges and tunnels via Kelowna’s Myra Canyon.

Places to visit: Osoyoos, Oliver, Okanagan Falls, Penticton, Naramata, Summerland, Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops.

Distance: Osoyoos to Kamloops is about 280 km (180 mi) and takes about 3 hours to drive. It’s ideal for an extended weekend trip, but there’s enough to warrant a week or more to explore.

Gold Rush Trail

Illustrated map with a blue line indicating the route between Prince George and Kamloops.

Three people on horseback ride through a lush landscape at sunset.

Echo Valley Guest Ranch and Spa Photo: Blake Jorgenson

A man drives a horse-drawn carriage down a country road.

Hat Creek Ranch Photo: Blake Jorgenson

A man in a top hat walks down a dirt road lined with historic buildings.

Barkerville Photo: Rob Lloyd

A stunning mountain landscape filled with pine trees.

Chasm Provincial Park in Clinton Photo: Michael Bednar

An RV travels down a highway, towards a mountainous landscape.

Gold Rush Trail Photo: Michael Bednar

BC’s Gold Rush began in 1858 and followed the Fraser—BC’s longest river. Now, the Gold Rush Trail is a popular road-trip route for people looking for a mix of history and outdoor adventure.

Places to visit: Cache Creek, Clinton, 100 Mile House, Lac La Hache, Williams Lake, Quesnel, Prince George, Huble Homestead, Barkerville, Wells, Likely, Horsefly.

Distance: Kamloops to Prince George is about 525 km (325 mi) and takes about six hours to drive. Give yourself a week to stop and explore the historic sites and maybe even stay a few days at a guest ranch.

Alaska Highway

An illustrated map with a blue line indicating the route between Watson Lake and Prince George.

A RV travels down a tree-lined highway.

The Alaska Highway Photo: Albert Normandin

A small log cabin nestled in the middle of the woods.

Cabin at Northern Rockies Lodge Photo: Emanuel Smedbol

A Big Horn goat stands in a meadow of long grass.

Stone sheep beside the Alaska Highway Photo: JF Bergeron

A man relaxed in a turquoise hot spring, drenched in sunlight.

Liard River Hot Springs Photo: Megan McLellan

A large moose crosses a lake in the forest.

Moose near Summit Lake Photo: Albert Normandin

Vehicles are parked in front of a log cabin with a sign that says “Fort Nelson Heritage Museum”.

Fort Nelson Heritage Museum Photo: Andrew Strain

A journey on the Alaska Highway through the untamed wilderness of BC’s north is a bucket-list road trip. History, adventure, hot springs, wildlife, and nature all add up to an experience you’ll tell stories about for a lifetime.

Places to visit: Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson, Fort St. John, Hudson’s hope, Pouce Coupe, Taylor, Tumbler Ridge, Muncho Lake, Liard River Hot Springs, Kiskatinaw Bridge.

Distance: Prince George to Dawson Creek is 400 km (250 mi), but allow time to visit Kinuseo Falls and the Geopark in Tumbler Ridge (about an hour from Chetwynd on Highway 29). Once in Dawson Creek, Highway 97 is also the Alaska Highway. The journey from Dawson Creek to Watson Lake in the Yukon is approximately 960 km (600 mi). That’s about 16 hours of driving, but plan for a week or two to explore this historic route.

Road-Trip Planner

Be sure to check the following resources to plan for the latest conditions:

Featured image: Liard Valley on the Alaska Highway. Photo: Emanuel Smedbol