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.

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.

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 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.

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POSTED BY: Tammy Gagne

Tammy is an avid yogi and road trip enthusiast. You will likely find her paddle boarding the early morning still waters of Deep Cove, or on a quest to find the perfect chai tea. Born and raised in BC, Tammy is also a Destination British Columbia staffer.