A Rejuvenating Road Trip from Kamloops to Vernon

Kamloops and Vernon, four and five hours respectively from Vancouver, are ideal for a weekend getaway. Outdoor enthusiasts will find all kinds of opportunities for adventure, sprinkled with culinary delights to indulge your palate. Here are some suggestions for three days of exploring.

Day 1: Kamloops

A man hikes a rocky landscape at sunset.

Garden of the Trolls is a short hike worth checking out in Kamloops. Photo: @see.roy.visualz via Instagram

Kamloops is a meeting place, where the North and South Thompson rivers meet, and a literal crossroads (Highways 1, 97, and 5 all intersect Kamloops). But if you’ve only known Kamloops as a pit stop for gas, you’re missing out. There’s so much more to this picturesque city.

On your next BC road trip, plan to overnight at Hotel 540 and hang out at the rooftop pool, or take a stroll down century-old Victoria Street. Visit The Noble Pig for a beer and one of the best soft pretzels you’ll ever try—sit outside on the patio and you’ll be lounging in what was once a swimming pool.

Hello Toast is a must for breakfast, and if you are looking for a dinner to satisfy even the most discerning foodie, Terra will not disappoint. Make your way to Riverside Park for an outdoor concert or a scenic walk along the river. For a guided experience, ACT Adventure Tours will reveal all the hot spots, with insider tales of Kamloops’ wild west history.

Looking for adventure? There are hiking and mountain biking trails to explore, or zip through Chase Canyon with Treetop Flyers. Slow things down by borrowing a fishing rod and tackle box from the Visitor Centre and getting out for a day of fishing.

Day 2: On the way

Some of the best road trip memories happen in between destinations. Here are a few stops you’ll want to make time for as you journey from Kamloops to Vernon.

A lush vineyard at the base of a mountain range.

Monte Creek Winery is part of the Kamloops Wine Trail. Photo:@valerievalero via Instagram

Just outside Kamloops, you’ll find two wineries. Harper’s Trail, the first winery to open in Kamloops, sits among rolling hills of sage and grass. They make a selection of bright, light, crisp wines from grapes grown in Kamloops, along with a Merlot made from Okanagan grapes. Monte Creek Ranch Winery offers both wines and farm fresh food, and The Terrace restaurant is a great spot for lunch.

Closer to Vernon, you’ll find Davison Orchards, where you can take a tour of the orchard and petting zoo, check out the vintage tractors, and top it all off with a piece of homemade pie. Stop in at Planet Bee to sample local honey (Wildflower and Multi-floral) sourced from bees spread out around the Okanagan Valley.

A young girl practices yoga outdoors with views of the mountains.

Predator Ridge is a great stop for golfers, but yogis can also enjoy the view from Predator Ridge’s new yoga deck overlooking Okanagan Lake.

Day 3: Vernon

A woman wearing a bike helmet pauses to take in sweeping views of the water.

Kalamalka Lake in Vernon. Photo: @gina_dawn via Inastagram

Vernon is the land of parks and lakes and all the fun that comes with being surrounded by nature. Four lakes equal no shortage of water activities and plenty of places to rent a boat, kayak, or paddle board. Kalamalka Lake hosts the Kalamalka Classic Stand Up Paddle Festival September 2nd—including a kids race and Dragon SUP team race. Three provincial parks mean an abundance of trails to climb, hike, or bike as you explore.

Get a taste of the area’s fresh bounty from more than 100 growers and artisans at the Vernon Farmers’ Market, one of the longest-running markets in the Okanagan (every Monday and Thursday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.).

Tea lovers will want to visit The White Heather Tea Room in Vernon, where they serve fresh house-baked goodies as part of their authentic afternoon tea experience.  At Wildcraft Forest, just outside Vernon, taste British Columbia’s wilderness with wild tea made from Okanagan wildflowers.

Map your route

An illustrated map with a blue line indicating the route between Vancouver and Vernon.

Know before you go. Be sure to check the following resources to plan for the latest conditions:

  • Drive BC is your source for information about road closures, major events, and transportation delays.
  • BC Parks offers information regarding provincial campgrounds and park closures.
  • Recreation Sites and Trails offers alerts, closures, and warnings regarding BC’s rustic campsites and recreational trails.
  • The BC Wildfire Service offers a variety of resources, including an interactive map of all active wildfires across the province.

Featured Image: Paddleboarders on Kalamalka Lake. Photo: Andrew Strain