British Columbia Driving Routes
Destination BC has identified 22 major 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, and 10 Other Multi-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:
- Discovery Coast Circle Route (Great Bear 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
10 Other Multi-Day Routes
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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