Home Travel Inspiration

BC by road: Adventure on the Rainforest to Rockies road trip routes

Canada’s stunning Pacific Coast province of British Columbia has it all from epic wildlife to untouched wilderness in the Canadian Rockies that you can explore by road, rail and trail. Best of all, it’s easily accessible from Vancouver – just a direct flight away from Australia’s east coast.

Canada’s stunning Pacific Coast province of British Columbia has it all from epic wildlife to untouched wilderness in the Canadian Rockies that you can explore by road, rail and trail. Best of all, it’s easily accessible from Vancouver – just a direct flight away from Australia’s east coast.

British Columbia is big on adventure in all seasons with 10 mountain ranges, 25,000 km-plus of coastline and one-quarter of the world’s temperate rainforest to explore. You can also spot amazing animals such as bears, humpbacks, orcas, moose, caribou, wolves, birds and even rattlesnakes.

The wide, open road to Mount Robson – the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. Image: Destination BC/Robert Downie

There’s no better way to experience Super, Natural British Columbia than on a road trip. Hit the open road to venture from sea to sky at your own pace, taking in all the extraordinary sights and engaging with Indigenous cultures from the Pacific Coast to the Canadian Rockies.

Capilano Suspension Bridge’s Cliffwalk attraction. Image: Destination Vancouver/Capilano

Begin your BC adventure in the province’s largest city, Vancouver, where nature is all around. Buffered by lush rainforest and the Pacific Coast and boasting a vibrant downtown scene of its own, it’s naturally the ideal gateway to the Rockies.

Here’s a few of our fave ways to explore BC on the Rainforest to Rockies route.

Rainforest to Rockies: North to Mount Robson (709km)

Hiking in Mount Robson Provincial Park. Image: Destination BC/Megan McLellan

This seven- to-10-day itinerary rocks the Rockies’ highest peak, Mount Robson. The first leg from Vancouver along the iconic Sea-to-Sky Highway offers unmissable views of the UNESO-listed fjords and islets in the Howe Sound Biosphere Region, rising to the mountain town of Squamish (aka Canada’s Outdoor Recreation Capital).

Row a traditional First Nations canoe in Howe Sound with Takaya Tours. Image: Destination BC/Patrice Halley

From ocean to alpine, the vista changes again with glaciers on the way to Whistler. You can do it all at BC’s famous four-season mountain resort, from winter sports to ziplining and mountain biking.

Point your car north again to Mount Robson in the UNESCO Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks for glacier-fed lakes, soaring mountain peaks and cascading waterfalls. Book a helicopter ride to see the peaks and parks from above.

Find out more here.

Rainforest to Rockies: Along the Trans-Canada Highway (778km)

City of Revelstoke in summer. Image: Destination BC/Ryan Creary

Take the scenic route along the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) from Vancouver for a hitlist of BC’s highlights and highest peaks. From Vancouver, visit the fertile Fraser Valley aka BC’s agricultural heartland with U-pick berry farms and more, stopping at Hope at the base of the Cascade Mountains.

Swimming at Ainsworth Hot Springs with a view of Kootenay Lake. Image: Destination BC/Kari Medig

Travel past steep canyons, mighty rivers and grasslands to one of BC’s most popular mountain resort towns, Revelstoke, which draws hikers, bikers, skiers, boarders and backcountry explorers.

You’ll also tick off picturesque national parks such as Mount Revelstoke, Glacier and Yoho where you’ll revel in sweeping views, wildlife spotting, glacial lakes and fresh mountain air on this seven- to 10-day itinerary.

Find out more here.

Rainforest to Rockies: Crowsnest Highway 3 to the Canadian Rockies

Looking at street art mural in Vancouver's Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.
Looking at a street art mural in Mount Pleasant. Image: Destination Vancouver/Hubert Kang

Set aside another seven to 10 days for this cultural and culinary exploration from Vancouver to the Rockies, a veritable smorgasbord of landscapes. Start your engines in Vancouver, which now has its very own Michelin Guide, and travel on Highway 1 to the artisan farms of Fraser and Harrison River valleys where you can sample local wine and brews (coffee and beer), cheeses, pies and produce and learn about Indigenous cultures.

First Nations pit house at Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre. Image: Destination BC/Andrew Strain

Along Crowsnest Highway 3, you’ll find a fertile region full of vineyards, organic farming practices and orchards that’s earned it the title of Canada’s farming capital before swapping to a landscape of semi-arid desert in Osoyoos. Discover more about the unique ecosystem and the area’s Indigenous history at the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre.

The scenic drive through the Kootenays to Fernie in the Canadian Rockies yields peaks and valleys, forests and mining towns for captivating window-viewing before enjoying regional food and beer in the snow-capped mountain town.

Find out more here.

But wait, there’s more BC road trips

There’s multiple ways to get to the Rockies from Vancouver. Choose from 12 different itineraries depending on your timeline or interests.  It really is a choose-your-own-adventure road trip.

Rocky Mountaineer train crossing a bridge. Image: Rocky Mountaineer/Noel Hendrickson

Rail enthusiasts will want to take a slow and scenic Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tour, travelling on the famed luxury train from Vancouver to the Canadian Rockies on several dedicated itineraries for a different sightseeing perspective on the rails.

Meanwhile, hikers and bikers will enjoy setting out on the Trans Canada Trail and Kettle Valley Rail Trail. The reclaimed Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail is a section of the 28,000km cross-country Trans Canada Trail and involves a multi-day journey from Hope to Midway via Kelowna and Myra Canyon.

Walking through the vineyards at Corcelettes Estate Winery. Image: Similkameen Valley/Darren Robinson

Likewise, wine fanciers will raise a glass to the Valleys to Vineyards itinerary, a four-to-six-day indulgent exploration from Vancouver of the Fraser, Similkameen and Okanagan valleys for BC’s grape-growing regions and local viticulture traditions.

For more info and inspo, head to hellobc.com/rainforest-to-rockies

This article is brought to you by: