SHUSWAP, ROCKIES, KOOTENAYS: Mountains & Vineyards
5 to 9 days
tour begins at the town of Osoyoos,
396 km/248 miles from Vancouver, the intersection
of Highway 3 and Highway 97. Osoyoos
is BC's "desert oasis", at the base of the
The northern end of the Sonoran Desert runs through
this area, a climatic zone which is not unlike the
arid landscape of Central Mexico.
in the Okanagan, visit a few of the area's vineyards
and the unusual wine
festivals that take place each Spring
and Fall throughout the region. Pick up a listing
from a local BC Liquor store and savour a few of the
grapes of the Okanagan.
(128 km/80 miles), is the hub of the Okanagan. The
Okanaganan Fall Wine Festival usually kicks off here,
and is a great way to sample some of Kelowna's
better continental cuisine. The area also offers mountain
biking and fresh water diving as well
with RV hookups.
(114 km/71 miles from Penticton),
at the northern end of the Okanagan, stop by the Historic
O'Keefe Ranch, a testimony to one of
BC's earlier pioneers. Just north of Vernon,
the road splits to Highway 97 (west) and 97a (east).
Continuing west on Highway 97a, you will come to Armstrong
(22 km/14 miles from Vernon), with its air balloon
festival, which takes place each Canadian Thanksgiving
(75 km/47 miles from Armstrong),
located at the southeast end of Shuswap
Lake, is the intersection point to
for Highway 97c and Highway 1 east. In addition to
rentals, there are several RV parks
and provincial campgrounds on the Shuswap.
Photo Courtesy of Don Weixl/Silver Star
wealth of winter activities exist in the Okanagan.
White Ski Resort, Sun
Peaks Resort, Silver
Star Mountain, Sovereign Lake Cross
Country Ski Area and Larch Hills Cross Country Ski
Area are popular locations. Snowmobile guided tours
are also available through Silver Star.
your journey takes you east on Highway 1 to Revelstoke
(71 km/44 miles from Sicamous), a fascinating monument
to early British Columbia history. Established as
a railway town in 1880, it maintains a railway museum
and provides a self-guided heritage walking tour for
visitors. Revelstoke Dam, five minutes north of the
town is Canada's highest concrete dam, another marker
of extraordinary human feat.
Revelstoke National Park and Glacier National Park
are two popular recreation areas east of the town.
Both offer camping. There are more than 400 active
glaciers in Glacier National Park.
(148km/93 miles from Revelstoke),
where your journey turns south again onto Highway
95, you will find opportunities for backpacking, horseback
riding and heli-skiing.
Approximately 35 km/22 miles further on Highway 1
is Yoho National Park, home of the famous Spiral Tunnels,
a testament to one of the steepest railway grades
in North America.
95 takes you to the Kootenays,
Hot Springs (105 km/66 miles from Golden).
The hot springs sit on the edge of Sinclair Canyon,
tall, rusty coloured walls that get their appearance
from the iron in the rock.
13 km/8 miles south, hosts the annual Treetop Artwalk.
An eclectic assortment of art from BC and Alberta
are featured each July and August.
different activities in British Columbia.
Photo Courtesy of Thompson Okanagan
km/56 miles south of Invermere
you will take 95a to Kimberly
(27 km/17 miles from the intersection). Kimberly
is the Kootenay's Bavarian village, with its decorative
alpine-like chalets and the world's largest clock.
This century-old town offers a restful respite with
German style cuisine and a world-famous accordion
festival in July.
(approximately 22 km/14 miles further south) houses
the Canadian Museum of Rail History, a marker to the
exceptional history of BC's Rockies.
you rejoin Highways 3 and 95, which take you southwest.
You travel through many small communities, each with
their own history and unique cultural heritage. You
will pass through Yahk (where the road splits and
you continue on Highway 3), with its historic hotel,
the home of Kokanee Beer. Tours and tasting are offered
in the summer.
short detour at Salmo
(83 km/52 miles from Creston)
via Highway 6 north takes you to Nelson
(41 km/26 miles north), the second largest collection
of heritage buildings in the province.
Highway 3a south from Nelson,
you will come to Castlegar
(41 km/26 miles from Nelson), home of the Doukobor
settlers who immigrated from Russia in the 1800's.
The Zukerberg Island Heritage Park, with its scenic
walking trails, was named after one of their more
west on Highway 3, your next main stop is Grand
Forks (94 km/59 miles from Castlegar),
also known for its Doukobor heritage. Its flavourful
Russian cuisine presents a worthwhile stop on your
way back home.
sure to browse the Points of Interest: