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British Columbia Driving Routes

    Destination BC has identified 64 routes throughout the province that will guide travellers to many of the most interesting and most spectacular locations. We have divided them here into 12 Major Circle Routes, 13 Other Multi-Day Routes, and 39 Single-Day Routes. Each of the summaries here give the time required, the mileage, and the main points on interest on the route, and clicking on the route name will take you to more information including a map. Other articles are being added to the route summaries as well, as they're discovered, as well as additional routes.

12 Major Circle Routes:

  1. Discovery Coast Circle Route: Vancouver - Bella Coola loop
    - 7 to 10 days, 2,116 km (1,315 mi)
    - This scenic adventure includes coastal villages, hiking amid volcanic mountains, fishing well-stocked lakes and discovering the Gold Rush Trail. Feel sand beneath your toes on sweeping beaches, see a village on stilts, relax on scenic ferry rides, and saddle up for a ride through grasslands.

  2. Pacific Marine Circle Route: Victoria - Port Renfrew Loop
    - 1 to 3 days, 289 km (180 mi)
    - This coast to coast journey on Vancouver Island offers panoramic views of the Juan de Fuca, Haro and Georgia straits as well as the Saanich Peninsula. Enjoy a quieter way of life while visiting spectacular provincial parks, pastoral landscapes and wineries.

  3. Coastal Circle Route: Vancouver - Duncan - Sunshine Coast loop
    - 3 to 7 days, 563 km (350 mi)
    - Uncover the places where many of British Columbia's artists and artisans live, work and showcase their art. This route passes through dramatic west coast landscapes, which are responsible for inspiring many of BC's past and present day artists.

  4. Coast Mountain Circle Route: Vancouver - Pemberton - Fraser Canyon loop
    - 3 to 7 days, 695 km (432 mi)
    - The Coast Mountain Circle Route combines the best of outdoor attractions, adventure and family fun to create an unforgettable vacation. Enjoy magnificent vistas, guided educational and historical trips, and arts & culture experiences. The trip is customizable and can take 3 days, 5 days, or 10 days, depending on how much time visitors have to explore.

  5. Ranchlands & Rivers Circle Route: Hope - 100 Mile House - Merritt loop
    - 3 to 7 days, 837 km (520 mi)
    - Travel across roaring rivers, delve into historic Gold Country and experience outdoor adventures. Enjoy dramatic scenery at every turn, whether rafting the tumultuous Fraser River or roaming high in the saddle.

  6. Mountains & Vineyards Circle Route: Kelowna - Golden - Creston loop
    - 7 to 10 days, 1,261 km (784 mi)
    - This is the ultimate escape to mountain grandeur, the succulent fruits of the Okanagan and endless outdoor adventure. Wander in wildlife-rich wetlands, soak in hot springs, play a round of golf and visit some of the country's finest wineries.

  7. Heritage Discovery Circle Route: Vancouver - Barkerville - Prince Rupert - Vancouver Island loop
    - 10+ days, 3,479 km (2,162 mi)
    - Discover the diverse culture of BC's Aboriginal peoples, catch the pioneer spirit on the Gold Rush Trail, journey to historic destinations and ferry through the Inside Passage. Heritage sites line this route, along with stops to see tunnels, fossils, totem poles and grizzly bears.

  8. Hot Springs Circle Route: Cranbrook - Golden - Creston loop
    - 1 week, 852 km (529 mi)
    - Journey from enchanting hot springs to rugged mountain wilderness. With stops to soak in luxurious, mineral-rich pools, this route is easy to travel and offers everything from railway history to outdoor adventure.

  9. Great Circle Route: Revelstoke - Trail - Cranbrook loop
    - 3 to 7 days, 1318 km (819 mi)
    - This loop encompasses the entire Kootenay Rockies region. Explore UNESCO Rocky Mountain World Heritage Sites, learn about mining and railway history, see incredible mountain scenery, soak in rejuvenating hot springs, and experience many outdoor adventures.

  10. Rockies & Ranchlands Circle Route: Cranbrook - Calgary loop
    - 1 to 3 days, 1,083 km (673 mi)
    - Drive through the famous Canadian Rocky Mountains to see magnificent peaks and lush alpine forests. Also experience Alberta's cowboy country foothills and prairies.

  11. Lakes & Trails Circle Route: Kamloops - Prince George - Mount Robson loop
    - 7 to 10 days, 1,048 km (651 mi)
    - Be immersed on a journey leading to stunning lakes, rivers and waterways. Travel across rolling ranchlands, rich valleys and pristine wilderness. Fishing, hiking, canoeing and bird watching are just some of the activities that will keep you moving.

  12. Great Northern Circle Route: Prince George - Watson Lake loop
    - 10+ days, 3,188 km (1,981 mi)
    - This spectacular road odyssey travels through the untamed wilderness and geological wonders of BC's magnificent north. Bountiful fishing opportunities and plentiful wildlife viewing are complemented with numerous natural and historical attractions.
    * Also see:
        - Driving the Great Northern Circle Route in the Winter

13 Other Multi-Day Routes

  1. Pacific Northwest International Circle Route: Vancouver - Victoria - Tacoma loop
    - 3 to 7 days, 617 km (383 mi)
    - Travel a marine-based loop from Vancouver and Victoria, BC to Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. Journey by car and vehicle-ferry, or bus, passenger-ferry and train. Explore bustling public markets, wander through stunning oceanside parks, and visit interactive aquariums. Choose from four different ferry options.

  2. Sea-to-Sky Highway Route
    - 1 to 3 days, 133 km (83 mi)
    - Travel along the Sea-to-Sky corridor (Highway 99) from Vancouver to just north of Whistler. Discover scenic ocean vistas, soaring mountains, dramatic waterfalls, bustling communities, parks and outdoor activities. Seven interpretive kiosks, designed in the shape of cedar-bark hats, are part of the Cultural Journey component of the route.
    * Also see:
        - Going Deep at the Britannia Mine Museum

  3. Vancouver to Tofino
    - 1 to 3 days, 303 km (188 mi)
    - The west coast of Vancouver Island is one of BC's most iconic destinations. This scenic journey takes you from the vibrant metropolis of Vancouver to the rugged coastline and sandy beaches of Ucluelet and Tofino. Viewpoints and attractions include the Coombs Country Market, the massive trees of Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park, the Ucluelet Aquarium, and the stunning scenery of the Wild Pacific Trail and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

  4. BC Ferries Route
    - 3 to 7 days, 1109 km (689 mi)
    - Travel from Vancouver to Port Hardy by car and ferry. Explore seaside communities, world-renowned gardens, and underground caves. From Port Hardy, choose one of two BC Ferries routes: the Inside Passage or the Discovery Coast Passage, both of which glide along BC's spectacular coast.

  5. Mighty Fraser River: Vancouver to Lytton
    - 1 to 3 days, 670 km (416 mi)
    - Drive a stunning route through undulating pasture land, next to the constant presence of the legendary Fraser River. Take side trips to lively communities, each with their own rich history and plenty of things to do. The entire Mighty Fraser Country destination stretches east from Langley and Pitt Meadows to Hope and Manning Provincial Park.
    * Also see:
        - The Highway Tunnels of the Fraser Canyon

  6. Gold Rush Trail:
    - 3 to 7 days, 473 km (294 mi)
    - Discover BC's historic gold rush past on this trip from Lillooet to Barkerville. This journey takes visitors past historic buildings, through unique geological landscapes, and to parts of the original Cariboo Wagon Road that were used by more than 10,000 pioneers during the 1860s.

  7. Golden Triangle: Golden - Banff - Radium Hot Springs loop
    - 1 to 3 days, 315 km (196 mi)
    - Journey through three national parks - Banff, Kootenay, and Yoho - with amazing wilderness and wildlife viewing opportunities. Notably, the route passes through the 26,000ha/64,000ac Columbia River Wetlands, home to thousands of waterfowl, great blue herons, ospreys, and eagles.

  8. Vancouver to the Rockies: Vancouver - Jasper - Banff figure-8 route
    - 7 to 10 days, 1,950 km (1,212 mi)
    - A visit to British Columbia is not complete without a trip to the Rocky Mountains, one of Canada's most iconic and inspirational destinations. Starting in Vancouver, this week-long driving trip takes you through British Columbia's varied landscape, across the Continental Divide to the Rocky Mountains and along the scenic Icefields Parkway.

  9. International Selkirk Circle Route: Nelson - Creston - Spokane loop
    - 3 to 7 days, 535 km (333 mi)
    - Explore the incredible Selkirk Mountain Range from Oreille Valley in Washington State to pristine Kootenay Lake in British Columbia. The route encompasses northeast Washington, northern Idaho, and southeast British Columbia.

  10. Silvery Slocan Circle Route
    - 1 to 3 days, 227 km (141 mi)
    - Travel through the the Slocan Valley to discover ghost towns and historic mines, heritage buildings and museums, hot springs and caves. The Slocan Valley grew from trees and mountains to a chain of small towns in the late 1800s, when - triggered by an 1842 photograph of a gigantic boulder rich in galena (an indication of significant silver presence) - thousands of fortune seekers flocked to what are now the communities of Nelson, Kalso, New Denver and Nakusp.

  11. New Hazelton and Area: New Hazelton - Stewart
    - 1 to 3 days, 539 km (335 mi)
    - From New Hazelton, drive to First Nations communities, totem poles and Gitwangak National Historic Site (also known as Battle Hill). The landscape includes lakes, the Bulkley River, Hagwilget Bridge and the Kispiox Valley. Stop at 'Ksan Museum and Historical Village to learn about the area's culture and history.

  12. Stewart-Cassiar Highway
    - 3 to 7 days, 1,634 km (1,015 mi)
    - Discover Northern British Columbia's vast wilderness, Aboriginal culture, and pioneering history. The Stewart-Cassiar Highway travels past deep canyons, totem poles, high glaciers and mountains. Start in Prince Rupert and end at Dease Lake.

  13. Alaska Highway: Tumbler Ridge - Dawson Creek - Watson Lake
    - 3 to 7 days, 1345 km (836 mi)
    - Travel along the popular and historic Alaska Highway through the untamed wilderness of BC's north, complete with hot springs, spectacular wildlife viewing, and mountainous scenery. Start in Dawson Creek, BC and end at Watson Lake, Yukon.
    * Also see:
        - Exploring Dawson Creek in the Winter
        - 4 Hidden Gems Along BC's Alaska Highway
        - The Alaska Highway by Motorcycle
        - Hiking the Summit Peak Trail in Stone Mountain Park

39 Single-Day Routes

  1. Comox Valley
    - A few hours, 27 km (16 mi)
    - The scenic Comox Valley is brimming with attractions and pretty seaside landscapes. Shop for First Nations artwork, walk the marina boardwalk, and take a picnic break in Filberg Park. Don't miss the Comox Air Force Museum and walking trails in Seal Bay Nature Park.

  2. Gabriola Island Loop
    - A few hours, 28 km (17 mi)
    - Loop around all of Gabriola Island to discover beaches, forests and incredible sandstone formations. This short driving route is also used by cyclists.

  3. Salt Spring North End Loop
    - A few hours, 27 km (17 mi)
    - Drive the north end of Salt Spring Island to see sweeping ocean views and rolling farm fields. Exquisite homes are tucked away on this end of the island.

  4. Salt Spring South End Route
    - A few hours, 10 km (6 mi)
    - From Fulford Harbour, explore the south end of Salt Spring Island. Watch boats pass by from the quiet setting of Ruckle Provincial Park, or hike up Mount Tuam or Bruce Peak for an even better view of the scenery.

  5. Langley Circle Farm Tour
    - A few hours, 58 km (36 mi)
    - Sample the bounty of Langley on these self-guided agritourism routes which connect farm-gate vendors, markets, quaint eateries, heritage sites, wineries and more. Spend a day in Langley's lush countryside sipping award-winning vintages, picking fresh berries, strolling through gardens, milking a cow, meeting alpacas and exploring a National Historic Site.

  6. Abbotsford Circle Farm Tour
    - A few hours, 66 km (41 mi)
    - Explore Abbotsford's beautiful countryside. These self-guided agritourism routes connect farm-gate vendors, markets, quaint eateries, heritage sites, wineries and more. Spend a day touring dairy farms, fresh produce markets, picking apples, browsing an antique store or sampling fresh honey.

  7. Pitt Meadows - Maple Ridge Circle Farm Tour
    - A few hours, 44 km (27 mi)
    - Sip and savour your way through Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows on these self-guided agritourism routes which connect farm-gate vendors, markets, quaint eateries, heritage sites, wineries and more. Enjoy blackberry wine, try artisanal fruit preserves, smell fragrant lavender or shop for produce at the Maple Ridge Farmers' Market.

  8. Chilliwack Artisan Tour
    - 1 day, 85 km (53 mi)
    - From pottery and paintings to aboriginal art and massive metal sculptures, experiencing the self-guided Chilliwack Artisan Tours are always memorable. The tours include 12 suggested stops all over Chilliwack.

  9. Chilliwack Circle Farm Tour
    - A few hours, 37 km (23 mi)
    - Sample the bounty of Chilliwack on a Circle Farm Tour. These self-guided agritourism routes connect farm-gate vendors, markets, quaint eateries, heritage sites, wineries and more. Spend a day in the countryside tasting fresh made cheese, stocking up on sweet Chilliwack corn, picking berries and touring cattle farms.

  10. Agassiz-Harrison Mills Circle Farm Tour
    - A few hours, 37 km (23 mi)
    - Tour the Agassiz-Harrison Mills region. These self-guided agritourism routes connect farm-gate vendors, markets, quaint eateries, heritage sites, wineries and more. Spend a day touring working farms, museums and historic sites or sampling honey, wine and sweet corn.

  11. Clinton Historic Route
    - Half-day, 153 km (95 mi)
    - Rediscover the gold rush and early wild west ranching with a drive through Clinton's mountains, valleys and canyons.

  12. Duffey Lake/Hurley River Road Loop
    - 1 day, 282 km (175 mi)
    - Drive the scenic Duffey Lake Road from Lillooet to access outdoor adventures such as fishing and rock hunting. The route travels along gravel, seasonal roads.

  13. Fountain Valley Loop
    - A few hours, 69 km (43 mi)
    - From Lillooet, drive through the scenic Fountain Valley to access meadows, forests, camping and lake swimming. The route includes travel along a gravel road.

  14. Armstrong Farm Country
    - A few hours, 19 km (12 mi)
    - Explore the countryside on a circle route from Armstrong. Drive past orchards and farms to see pretty valley views from the high benchlands. If time allows, pick up some fresh honey, pluck apples at a u-pick farm, or hike on local trails.

  15. Armstrong Nature and History
    - A few hours, 35 km (22 mi)
    - Start in Armstrong, and head out along country roads to spot horses and cattle in open grassland. Pick a pumpkin, stop in at Historic O'Keefe Ranch, and wander along wetland trails.

  16. Skaha Lake Circle
    - Half-day, 40 km (25 mi)
    - This tour circles Skaha Lake via Okanagan Falls, 18.5km/11.5mi from Penticton at the southern tip of the lake, and Kaleden, midway up the west side. Follow Eastside Road hugging the shoreline between the lake and the mountainsides with bold rock outcroppings, cliffs, dry ponderosa pine forest and grassland. Watch for cyclists, this is a popular route.

  17. Green Lake Road/White Lake Road
    - A few hours, 44 km (27 mi)
    - Travel from Penticton along Green Lake and White Lake roads. This driving route leads to wineries, artist studios and a unique astrophysical observatory, and can stand alone or be added to the Skaha Lake Circle.

  18. White Lake-Okanagan Falls
    - A few hours, 55 km (34 mi)
    - This circular route begins in Oliver and includes science and nature, arts and wine. Look for bighorn sheep on the cliffs and bring a pair of binoculars to spot birds in Vaseaux Lake Provincial Park. Pick up a bottle of wine from a local vineyard, and cool off with an ice cream in Okanagan Falls.

  19. Oliver Area Wine Tour
    - Half-day, 43 km (27 mi)
    - This circle drive starts from Oliver and passes a host of wineries on both sides of the valley. Stop at tasting rooms along the way and try to identify the effect of the different growing conditions. On the west side of the valley in the Golden Mile area, grape vines are planted in gravelly soil with a bit of clay and sand. Black Sage Bench vineyards on the east side of the valley grow in deep deposits of sand

  20. Greenwood to Midway
    - A few hours, 13.67 km (8.49 mi)
    - This out-and-back drive from Greenwood to Midway along Highway 3 is a good daytrip for railway fans with some mining history and excellent scenery along the way.

  21. Hardy Mountain Loop
    - A few hours, 15 km (9 mi)
    - Close to downtown Grand Forks, this short drive packs in a lot of discovery. Circling the western edge of town up the flanks of Hardy Mountain, it takes in agriculture, historic sites and dry grasslands scenery. Keep an eye out for deer.

  22. Houston/Granisle Circle Route
    - 1 day, 205.81 km (127.88 mi)
    - A one-day circle route that heads west along Hwy 16 from Houston towards Smithers. The tour travels to several small quaint communities in the area such as Telkwa, Topley, and Perow, along with lakes and agricultural areas. It passes by many lakes, where visitors can stop to take a photo, have a picnic or go for a swim. The drive heads through agricultural areas with authentic red farm houses and barns - great for photographs - and has stunning views of surrounding mountains.

  23. Interior Plateau: West from Williams Lake
    - Half-day, 316 km (197 mi)
    - The countryside surrounding Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake is vast, wild and perfect for exploring by car, truck or recreational vehicle. Cross the immense Interior Plateau to weave through classic ranchland and incredible wildlife habitat. Pull over at various stops for birdwatching or just to take in the stunning scenery.

  24. Farwell Canyon / Gang Ranch Circle Tour: South and west from Williams Lake
    - 1 day, 247 km (153 mi)
    - This addition to the Destination BC list takes you through a wonderful variety of country, including one of BC's most famous ranching areas. About 170 km of the route is gravel.

  25. Lillooet Pavilion Mountain Loop
    - 1 day, 181 km (112 mi)
    - Follow some of the Gold Rush Trail from Lillooet to Pavilion Mountain (elevation 1,520m/4,987ft), through the Diamond S Cattle Ranch, along the shoreline of Kelly Lake and Downing Provincial Park to Clinton.

  26. North Fork Loop
    - A few hours, 34 km (21 mi)
    - Starting in Grand Forks, follow the course of the Granby River on a drive that is all about the Monashee Mountain scenery. Make sure to stop for a picnic, a swim, or a mountain bike ride.

  27. Phoenix Mountain
    - Half-day, 62 km (38 mi)
    - Mining buffs will enjoy this route between Grand Forks and Greenwood. Tour past the Phoenix Interpretive Forest, and past mine tailings, homesteads, the Phoenix mine site and former town (now completely gone), and the Phoenix cemetery. Stops of interest are posted with signs, and roads vary between paved and gravel.

  28. Vanderhoof's Big River Country
    - Half-day, 207 km (128 mi)
    - Spend a full day exploring the area south of Vanderhoof, Big River Country, where sights include the former Rich Hobson ranch (now the HSP Ranch, a spiritual resort); the Kenney Dam; picturesque lakes; and Cheslatta Waterfalls (via a short hike).

  29. Francois Lake Loop
    - 1 day, 70 km (43 mi)
    - This day-long circle route travels through the back roads south of Houston and Burns Lake towards Francois Lake, one of BC's largest natural freshwater lakes. The peaceful scenery of huge farmlands and calm waters along the way is enchanting.

  30. Morice River and Buck Flats
    - Half-day, 77 km (48 mi)
    - This short circle route begins in Houston. A half-day of driving leads to the Morice River, world famous for steelhead fishing. Stretch and enjoy fresh air on the Buck Flats Walking Trails or in the Houston Community Forest trails.

  31. Smithers and Area
    - Half-day, 104 km (65 mi)
    - A popular drive near Smithers travels by the Village of Telkwa, Tyhee Lake Provincial Park, Driftwood Canyon and Moricetown. The route takes a half to full-day to complete, and much of it is along a scenic former highway.
    * Also see:
        - Exploring Twin Falls Recreation Site in Smithers

  32. Highway 16 Near Terrace
    - 1 day, 552 km (343 mi)
    - Take a scenic drive from Terrace west to Prince Rupert along Highway 16 or east to Smithers on the same highway. Enjoy views of the Skeena River, waterfalls and mountain peaks.

  33. Nass Valley and Lava Beds
    - 1 day, 146 km (91 mi)
    - A unique scenic drive and day trip is north of Terrace to the 18,000-hectare Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park. The park, which is part of the Nisga'a First Nations Nass Valley, was the site of a volcanic eruption 270 years ago. The route ends at the Nisga'a Museum in Laxgalts'ap (Greenville).

  34. Bear Glacier
    - A few hours, 37 km (23 mi)
    - Just north of Stewart is Bear Glacier, the most impressive glacier of the more than 20 ice formations that overlook Highway 37A between Stewart and Meziadin Junction. Bear Glacier is not as big as the Salmon Glacier, but it does have a unique blue tinge.
    * Also see:
        - Retreat of BC's Bear Glacier, 1975 - 2015

  35. Salmon Glacier and Granduc Mine
    - Half-day, 37 km (23 mi)
    - Drive from Stewart to see Salmon Glacier, an impressive centuries-old swath of snow and ice that cuts through mountains and valleys. The Salmon Glacier is the fifth biggest glacier in the world, and the most accessible via road travel.
    * Also see:
        - Retreat of BC's Salmon Glacier, 1975 - 2015
        - Exploring the Salmon Glacier Road at Stewart, BC

  36. Beatton River Valley
    - A few hours, 26 km (16 mi)
    - From Fort St. John, travel to Beatton River Valley with wide open agricultural views en route. This valley is a tributary of the Peace River, along which archeologists have found artifacts indicating the presence human inhabitants more than 10,000 years ago.

  37. Montney-Beatton Loop
    - A few hours, 29 km (18 mi)
    - From Fort St. John, drive by beautiful agricultural country with wide open views and the carved landscape of the Beatton River Valley. Stop by Beatton Provincial Park on the shores of Charlie Lake to swim, fish or hike.

  38. Peace River Valley Lookout
    - A few hours, 4 km (2.5 mi)
    - The closest lookout over the Peace River Valley is just a short drive from Fort St. John. The drive is mainly paved with a short graveled portion approaching the lookout.

  39. Peace River Valley
    - A few hours, 32 km (20 mi)
    - From Fort St. John, take in the serenity of the Peace River valley. The valley is main geographical feature of Peace Country, a 365,000sq km/22,680sq mi territory encompassing northeastern British Columbia and north western Alberta. Travelled by Alexander Mackenzie, the Peace River Valley is also central to the history of settlement in the area.

  40. Old Fort Near Fort St. John
    - A few hours, 6 km (4 mi)
    - Old Fort, historically its own community, is a small suburb of Fort St. John located at the bottom of the Peace River Valley. The drive passes through scenic areas of the valley.