On this leisurely fly-drive through British Columbia's awe-inspiring Rocky Mountain region you'll explore four of the province's seven national parks, encounter endless wildlife, and experience a wealth of outdoor pursuits.
This southeastern area of British Columbia, bordering the Rocky Mountains, serves as an incredible backdrop whilst exploring the Okanagan region with its award-winning vineyards, boundless lakes, and scenic drives. Combine this with gentle mountain hikes, wildlife viewing, and the soothing mineral springs at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort and you've got a relaxing Canadian adventure that's hard to beat.
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Arrive Calgary early evening in time for a stroll around historic downtown and a spot of live music in Ranchman's cowboy bar. Here you can view Calgary Stampede rodeo memorabillla through the ages or check out your riding skills on the mechanical bull! Fancy something more sedate? You'll love the music scene at Beat Niq Jazz Club.
Distance: 165 miles
Travel along Highway 1 today, part of the Trans-Canada Highway, and head for the pretty mountain town of Golden.
Golden is your base from which to explore Yoho National Park. Here you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life with a gentle stroll around Emerald Lake. Consider a drive along winding roads to the impressive Takakkaw Falls , or take a guided hike to discover the world-famous fossils at Burgess Shale.
Closer to Golden, head to the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and enjoy lunch on the terrace of Eagle’s Eye restaurant where you can you take in the dramatic mountain scenery views. We’d recommend that you also hop on the scenic chairlift up the mountain to the Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge, the largest enclosed and protected grizzly bear habitat in the world.
Just a short drive from Golden is the Northern Lights Wolf Centre, here you can view wolves in their natural environment.
Distance: 93 miles
Take the scenic drive from Golden to Revelstoke today, heading through both Glacier and Mount Revelstoke National Parks.
At Glacier National Park hike along the abandoned Canadian Pacific Railway and learn about its historic roots at the Discovery Centre.
As you journey through Mount Revelstoke National Park, take a break and enjoy short self-guided walk along the Giant Cedars Boardwalk Trail. Here you can admire the height and girth of these impressive trees, estimated to be more than 500 years old.
From Revelstoke, you may wish to take a detour along the winding Meadows in the Sky Parkway Highway. This winding, paved road is a 52 kilometre round-trip journey and will start in alpine forests and end in rolling meadows of wildflowers. Be sure to watch for moose, bears and coyotes!
Distance: 90 miles
Today you'll travel from the wild of the mountains into the serenity of the sunny Thompson Okanagan region, famed for its abundance of lakes and award winning wineries. Follow Highway 1 and head towards Sicamous, a small town on Shuswap Lake. Try your hand at some of the water activities such as canoeing or kayaking. You might want to consider hiring a boat and heading off to a secluded beach for a relaxing picnic? (Optional overnight in a houseboat is available here for a minimum stay of 3 nights).
The Salmon Arm Wharf is the longest inland wooden curved wharf in Canada and offers a great view of the bird sanctuary and the ecological reserve. Enjoy a scenic, relaxing walk and view a glorious sunset during the evening.
During late-September to early-October head to Roderick Haig Provincial Park to see the fascinating Adams Run, one of the largest sockeye salmon runs in North America. There is also 24km of hiking available along the Wade Road and Flume trails.
Distance: 119 miles
As you travel through the beauty of British Columbia’s interior, you'll pass farms, orchards and vineyards. Follow the endless lakes into the small town of Vernon, making sure you stop on the way to sample local produce such as honey wine at Planet Bee, freshly-picked fruit and veg at Davison Orchards Country Village, or some classic red at Turtle Mountain Winery.
Head through the Monashee mountain range to Needles for the ferry, which runs every 30 minutes to Fauquier. Then head up the eastern shore of Arrow Lake to Nakusp. The journey will take you through McDonald Creek Provincial Park, with a fine sandy beach, great for swimming boating and fishing.
Distance: 92 miles
Continue through British Columbia's mountain ranges to the historic town of Nelson nestled on Kooteney Lake. Along the way stop at Slocan Lake and Valhalla Provincial Park to explore the varied wildlife viewing along the trails, remember to stay bear aware as black and grizzly bears have been spotted here along with elk, mountain goats and many different bird species.
For something a little more relaxed take an alternative route to Nelson via Ainsworth Hot Springs. Take highway 31A along the western shore of Kootenay Lake, with the option to stop at Kaslo to see the world’s oldest intact passenger sternwheeler boat, before soaking in the Ainsworth Hot Springs. Owned by the local Yakan Nukiy tribe, the site has both a pool and cave where visitors can enjoy the 40°C mineral-rich waters.
Spend the day exploring the historic mountain town of Nelson, a small city with a big personality nestled in the Selkirk Mountains. To see the best of this town opt for the self-guided tour and stop for a coffee downtown at Oso Negro. The mining history of Nelson is brought to life in Touchstones Museum of Art & History or enjoy Lakeside Park where you can take a ride on Streetcar #23 along the edge of the lake, or hire bicycles to meander the shoreline all the way to West Arm Bridge. For a great vantage point over the town walk or bike to the scenic lookout at Gyro Park.
Distance: 161 miles
In the morning head to Balfour and catch the ferry to Crawford Bay, the views from the crossing are spectacular. In Crawford Bay, stop at one of the small artisan stands before winding along Highway 3A next to the lake and then onto Highway 3 to Cranbrook.
Follow the ascending road into the alpine village of Kimberley, a picturesque little city with a Bavarian feel and incredible views. Stroll the Platzl, a pedestrian-only area with many cafes and restaurants, a perfect place to enjoy the mountainous setting in the centre of the resort. Surrounding the town are three championship golf courses, the Lois Creek Trails for some great hikes and Cominco Gardens' variety of 45,000 wild flowers annually.
Distance: 60 miles
Head along Highway 95 which runs up the Columbia Valley, following the winding river. Spend the next few days exploring Kootenay National Park, one of British Columbia’s seven national parks. Some of the ‘must sees’ include: Sinclair Canyon at the southwestern entrance to the park, Olive Lake, Kootenay Valley Viewpoint, Numa Falls and Marble Canyon.
Your home for two nights is the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort , Canada's largest hot springs. End the British Columbia portion of your fly-drive adventure with a soothing soak as you gaze out over the Rocky Mountains.
Distance: 79 miles
It's a short drive today through picturesque Kananaskis Country to Calgary Airport for your early evening flight home.
Want to extend your time in Canada? All Bon Voyage holidays are tailor-made, call the experts on 0800 316 3012 to discuss your ideal holiday.