The drive from Vancouver to Revelstoke is a must-do Canadian road trip. Load up on your favourite snacks, fill up your tank,and grab your camera.
Banner Photo: @garypmartin
One of the cool things about this drive is that you have a few options. The quickest route takes you over the Coquihalla Pass on Highway 5, but you can also get to Revelstoke via the Fraser Canyon on Highway 1 or the Duffy Lake Highway on Highway 99. The best way to do the drive (in our humble opinion) is to mix it up and do one route on the way to Revelstoke and another on the way back! The quickest route, however, is via the Coquihalla Pass, so that’s what we’ve described here.
From Vancouver, Highway 1 winds through the agricultural landscape of the Fraser Valley. Look for views of Mount Baker/Shuksan on to the south. You’ll be surrounded by magnificent views of Cascade Mountains as you make your way towards Hope. From Hope you can choose whether to travel Highway 1, the slightly longer route that takes you through the magnificent Fraser Canyon, or Highway 5 and the high mountains of the Coquihalla Pass.
Hope is the gateway to the Coquihalla Pass, an infamous mountain pass on Highway 5. Make sure you are well prepared for mountain conditions and have enough fuel. As you climb to the summit, you’ll get amazing views of the granite walls of Yak Peak rising above you. Once you arrive at the summit and drop down towards Merritt, you’ll notice a change in climate. You’ve left the coastal rainforest behind and entered the more arid landscape of the Nicola Valley.
The sprawling landscape of the Nicola Valley is renowned for ranching and horseback riding. From the small town of Merritt, you’ll climb to a ranchland plateau. About half way to Kamloops, Lac Le Jeune is a great place to stop for a swim on a hot summer’s day.
Kamloops is the largest town you’ll pass on the way to Revelstoke. It’s a great place to fill up, stretch, and prepare for the next leg of your adventure. From Kamloops, Highway 1 extends east towards Shuswap Lake. Follow along the shores of this popular lake lined with cabins and houseboats. Once you get to Salmon Arm, you’re on the home stretch.
From Salmon Arm, Highway 1 winds its way from the lakes to the mountains. You’ll head past the historic spot of the last spike to be hammered into the railway connecting Canada. Make sure to stop at the rest stop at Craigellachie to learn more about the history of the railway (and follow up with a visit to the Revelstoke Railway Museum when you get to town!).
The valley closes in as you near Revelstoke. You’ll enter Revelstoke’s unique temperate inland rainforest and feel like you’ve truly reached the mountains. As you cross the bridge over the Columbia River, you’ll be treated to views of the Selkirk and Monashee Mountains. #TheRealStoke will be waiting.