A five-day Road-Trip: Vernon to Vancouver via the Okanagan

Photo by Chris McBeath

Slow Travel in Interior British Columbia

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Though the drive between Vernon and Vancouver can be done in under 5 hours (440km),  there are so many possibilities along the way – hundreds of wineries, extraordinary trails, lakes, gardens, desert and still more wineries, it’s easy to spread the journey over five enjoyable days.

Day 1: Vernon

Explore Vernon: stay at Sparkling Hill Resort, North America’s only European Kurspa resort with Cryo Cold sauna; golf at Predator Ridge; ski, bike or hike at Silverstar Ski Resort.

Day 2: Vernon to Kelowna (approx. 45mins)

Kelowna: stay at the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort or Hotel Eldorado; enjoy the waterfront; visit museums and gardens. In winter ski at Big White Resort.

Tip: For cycle enthusiasts, it doesn’t get much better that exploring the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. This long abandoned railway bed winds through 600 km of south central British Columbia with a range of different trails, each offering vistas to die for.  Bring your own wheels or book a guided tour.

Short of time? From Kelowna head for the Coquihalla Hwy (Hwy-5) and you’ll be in Vancouver in 4.5 hours, via the historic Fraser Canyon and Hell’s Gate.

Day 3: Kelowna to Osoyoos  (approx. 1hr 45min)

Tour the wineries to make this drive an all day affair; drop by Linden Gardens near Penticton, en route to Osoyoos, for a special treat.

Osoyoos: Stay at Spirit Ridge Resort; explore the much-acclaimed Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre; dine at the Nk’Mip Cellars. All three locales are within a 3-minute walk of one another and among the most successful First Nations developments in BC.

Day 4: Osoyoos to Harrison Hot Springs (approx. 3hr 30min)

The mountainous, curving road through E. C. Manning Provincial Park leads you to Hope, and Rambo (the film) country. Cruise and count the wooden carvings; stretch your legs at the Othello Tunnels. Drive on to Harrison Hot Springs (approx. 40mins).

Stay: Harrison Hot Springs Resort, and relax in its naturally warm, healing thermal springs.

Day 5: Harrison Hot Springs to Vancouver (approx. 1hr 30min on Hwy 1)

Idea: Opt for Scenic Route 7 and your meandering drive back to the city includes farmlands and plenty of stops to pick up local produce wine and handicrafts.

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