Driving To BC Okanagan Valley

Scenic Western Canada Routes North & South

Are you driving to the BC Okanagan Valley from somewhere in Canada? Road travel to the southern interior British Columbia from other Canadian provinces is generally through one of two main routes...north through Banff and Revelstoke, or south through the Crowsnest Pass. And...

You just never know what you might see along the way!
a young moose spotted on a hillside on a road trip in bc

The northern route to BC through the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy 1), brings you here through Banff National Park, Glacier National Park, the Rogers Pass and Revelstoke. You'll arrive in the Okanagan Valley at Sicamous, where you either continue on south along Okanagan highway 97A, or you'll continue driving along the Trans Canada Highway 1 to Salmon Arm and the Shuswap.

Travelling to BC along the southern route, on BC highway 3, takes you through the beautiful Kootenays and the Crowsnest Pass through Fernie, Cranbrook, Cristina Lake and Rock Creek. And you'll enter the Okanagan at Osoyoos along the Canada-US border. We've traveled to and from the Okanagan on both routes, and both ways are equally beautiful to drive.

Driving From Calgary Alberta To BC Okanagan Valley

There are two straight forward routes you can take to the Okanagan BC from Calgary, depending on your preference. If you take the northern route through Banff it's about an 8 hour drive, unless you plan to make some stops for meals, sight seeing or just to take breaks.

The Trans Canada Highway connects to Highway 97A South to Kelowna BC (approximately 602 km or 361 miles). Once you get through the Roger's Pass, at the summit of Mount McDonald in Glacier National Park, and Revelstoke, BC, you're more than half way here.

BC highway roads can become congested in the summer time, mostly due to heavy traffic through the Roger's Pass. If you're driving this route in the winter, be prepared for extreme weather and road conditions. Proper winter tires are a must. And, you should have emergency supplies in your vehicle.

You'll also pass by the Spiral Tunnels near Field BC, in the Yoho National Park, which is a great place to stop for some amazing views.
spiral tunnels at field british columbia

Driving From Southern Alberta To The Okanagan

Traveling from Lethbridge, Alberta, we've driven the 'Southern Corridor' route to and from the BC Okanagan Valley, through the Crowsnest Pass. It's a beautiful drive, the scenery much different than that of the northern route and this will take you through beautiful southern Alberta and through the Kootenays.

view of a wind farm in beautiful southern alberta en route to bcEnjoying The Wide Open Spaces As We Passed A Beautiful Wind Farm Somewhere In Southern Alberta En Route To British Columbia

Via Hwy 3: Map the southern route to the Okanagan from Alberta via Highway 3

Travel west through the Crowsnest Pass to Osoyoos BC, then follow Hwy 97 north to Kelowna. The distance of this trip is about 835 km, or 518 miles. It's just under a ten hour drive, but you should plan for a bit longer for windy highways, road construction, and weather. There are many beautiful stops along this route, so take your time and enjoy this drive!

coyote spotted along the roadside on a bc road tripThis Coyote Emerged From The Forest For A Brief Moment

Drive From Vancouver BC to the Okanagan Valley

There are two beautiful routes to follow if you're driving to the BC Okanagan Valley from Vancouver British Columbia. We've driven both ways, and our favorite is the Hope - Princeton highway (Okanagan Hwy 3) to Penticton. There are lots of places to stop for a rest, and the drive through Manning Park is beautiful.

The distance through the Coquihalla is a bit shorter, only by about an hour, but the drive through Hwy 3 to Hope and Princeton is incredibly scenic, for those who are not in any hurry.

Via Hwy 1 - East to Hope BC - Then follow either Hwy 5 or Hwy 3 to Kelowna. The Hope-Princeton Highway connects to Highway 97 North to Penticton and then on to Kelowna. The distance is approximately 460km or just under 300 miles. Driving time is between 6-6 1/2 depending on traffic and stopping for lunch or a rest. Map Vancouver To Kelowna BC via Hope Princeton Highway.

Via Hwy 5 - the Coquihalla Highway connects to Highway 5A/Highway 97C - the Coquihalla Connector - then on to Highway 97 North to Kelowna. The distance is about 395 km (237 miles) or about 5 hours. In the winter, these high mountain roads can be less than fun to drive. We mapped the Vancouver Kelowna route via the Coquihalla Highway in Google Maps Canada for you here.

view of mountains in manning park bcThe Incredible Cascade Mountains In Manning Park BC

Driving From Northern BC To The Okanagan Valley

The distance from Prince George to Kelowna is about 714 km, or an 8-10 hour drive in ideal road conditions.

Via Hwy 97 South & the Coquihalla Connector: View This Route In Google Maps Canada

Drive South on Hwy 97 (Cariboo Highway) to Cache Creek, then follow the Trans Canada Hwy 1 to Kamloops where it intersects with Hwy 5 (Coquihalla Hwy) south to Merritt. This connects to Highway 5A/97C - the Coquihalla Connector to Kelowna in the BC Okanagan Valley.

Need to keep little travelers busy while en route? Check out our Big Little Book Of Puzzles, Games & Other Really Cool Stuff for easy and fun printable pages of activities that everyone - except the driver of course ;-) - can do while on the road!

We wish you safe and happy travels and hope you enjoy your drive to the BC Okanagan Valley!

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