Road Trip: Route 97

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Route 97 is the longest continuous north-south highway in North America, stretching from northern California clear through British Columbia. In BC, Route 97 starts at the US-Canada border near Osoyoos and leads to all kinds of adventures.

Here are seven Canadian routes you can follow with Highway 97 as a jumping-off point. These road trips take you to Canada’s only desert and its warmest lake, lush temperate rainforest, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, and BC’s top wineries. Remember to designate a driver who won’t be sampling or enjoy worry-free touring by booking with a tour operator.

An illustrated map of Route 97 in British Columbia.

1. Okanagan Corridor

A young couple walks in the Evolve Cellars vineyard overlooking Okanagan Lake in Summerland, BC.

Evolve Cellars vineyard overlooking Okanagan Lake in Summerland, BC (Kari Medig photo)

Indulge in fresh local produce on a road trip through the Okanagan. Taste your way through the Okanagan Valley’s many wineries, or hike or bike the historic Kettle Valley Railway.

2. North Thompson and Columbia Icefields Parkway 

Helmcken Falls

Helmcken Falls (Andrew Strain photo)

Experience the untamed wilderness of Wells Gray Provincial Park. Marvel at Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, before exploring Yoho or Revelstoke national park.

3. Similkameen Valley

A hiker overlooking Similkameen Valley Loop

Cathedral Provincial Park (Johan Lolos photo)

Climb rugged mountain peaks in search of azure lakes in Cathedral Provincial Park, or take the Crowsnest Highway through one of BC’s wine regions. 

4. Boundary Country

Jerseyland Organics

Jerseyland Organics | Darren Robinson

The town of Greenwood

The town of Greenwood | Darren Robinson

Kettle River Provincial Park

Kettle River Provincial Park | Darren Robinson

Heading east from Osoyoos, explore the bounty of Boundary Country. Hike the Kettle Valley Railway or pan for gold before heading north to Nakusp to soak in natural hot springs. 

5. Monashees

Halcyon Hot Springs

Halcyon Hot Springs (Dave Heath photo)

The Monashees are bursting with adventure. Rock climb, hang glide, hike, or bike through the mountains. 

6. Shuswap

Sicamous, set along Shuswap and Mara lakes

Hang gliding platform above Sicamous (Darren Robinson photo)

Soak up the sun on the lakeshores of the Shuswap. Jump into warm waters off the deck of a houseboat or kick back and enjoy the sweet sounds of local musicians. 

7. Gold Country

Lac du Bois grasslands

Lac du Bois grasslands (Andrew Strain photo)

Head back in time as you drive through the golden grasslands and semi-arid landscape of the Thompson and Nicola valleys. Find adventure as you discover the shores of glacial lakes in cowboy country or gaze at hoodoos formed from ancient volcanic rock. 


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