Travelling by RV allows you to bring the comforts of home into the wild nature of BC, thanks to camping options that range from full-service glamping sites to rustic, natural retreats. Here are some ideas to help you plan an RVing adventure from BC’s Coast to the Rocky Mountains.
The Trans-Canada (also referred to as Highway 1) is a direct and well-travelled RV route. If you’re not comfortable with mountain driving, exit the Trans-Canada at Hope for the Coquihalla Highway. Connect back to the Trans-Canada in Kamploops, or continue through the Okanagan Valley via Kelowna and Vernon and reconnect in Sicamous. Spend time in the mountain parks; locomotive fans will want to check out the railway museum in Revelstoke and the Spiral Tunnels in Yoho National Park.
For a change in scenery, consider taking Highway 8 off the Trans-Canada at Spences Bridge, which traces the Fraser Canyon along the Nicola River.
This route travels BC’s coastline with breathtaking views of the ocean on one side and jutting rock on the other. Be aware that the road can be narrow and twisty, with sharp corners and some steep areas (especially the Duffy Lake section).
A more direct option is to take the Trans-Canada route, and then connect to Highway 5 in Kamloops.
The Highway 3 route from Hope and on through the Kootenays is a spectacular drive, passing through parks, small towns, and mountain ranges. Be aware, Allison Pass through Manning Park has some steep grades.
Consider these stops:
Depending on your route, driving from Vancouver to the Rockies is approximately 800 km (500 mi) —equaling eight to 10 hours driving time—up and over several mountain passes. Routes go from coastal waters, through rainforest, desert, wine and orchard country, mountain ranges, small towns, parks, and historic railway and gold rush sites. Give yourself time to stop, stay, and explore along the way.
Many RV rental companies allow you to pick up your rental in Vancouver and drop it off in Calgary (and vice versa). Click here for more tips on renting an RV in BC.
Find RV-friendly campsites here. After a long drive, avoid having to back in by calling ahead and reserving a site with a pull-through spot.
No matter the route you choose, you’ll pass through both provincial and national parks. Here are just a few to visit:
Spring, summer, and fall months are the best times to be on the road, but high-elevation areas are known to have snowstorms in April, May, and October.
Reserve your Provincial park campsite here.
Plan your Trans-Canada Highway route here.
For up to the minute BC road conditions visit Drive BC.
Explore other BC road trip routes.
Featured Image: Driving along Highway 3 next to the Kootenay River. Photo: Keri Medig.
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