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Driving Banff to Vancouver via Kelowna ??

Northampton, United...
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Driving Banff to Vancouver via Kelowna ??

Hi... We'll be in the Banff/Canmore area during the first week of September, and would appreciate some advise on the best scenic route to drive between Banff & Kelowna en-route to Vancouver. We are heading to Kelowna for a night stop and would really like to take the most scenic route possible. Would rather not get stuck on the highway for hours and journey time is not an issue here.

Any suggestions would be very welcome so we have an idea of our route in advance..

Thanks in advance guys

Banff, Canada
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1. Re: Driving Banff to Vancouver via Kelowna ??

Because of the mountainous terrain, travelling in this area is not like travelling in Europe or the UK, where there will be the main highway and then many alternative "little" roads. In most cases, there are very few choices in how to get from one community to another.

From Banff to Revelstoke, your choices are ... Highway 1 (the TransCanada). From Revelstoke, you would normally continue on the TransCanada as far as Sicamous, then turn south on highway 97 down the Okanagan to Kelowna. This is, in itself, a very scenic route. However, an alternative for the Revelstoke to Kelowna leg would be Hwys 23 and 6 south to Needles (this involves a ferry crossing), then another ferry crossing to Fauquier, then the Slocan Hwy to Vernon, then south on 97 to Kelowna. The two ferry crossings make that a scenic and adventurous alternative, but pack a good picnic and gas up, as there are few services along the way.

From Kelowna, I would normally head down to the Coquihalla Connector 97C and then 5, and I would say that's a pretty darn scenic highway, even if it is the main and by far the fastest route. However, you could continue south from Kelowna to Penticton (or even Osoyoos), and then across the Hope-Princeton Hwy (#3) to meet up with the TransCanada at Hope.

However, I'm far from a BC expert. Ask the experts on the British Columbia forums what they think, if you have not already done so.

Penticton, Canada
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2. Re: Driving Banff to Vancouver via Kelowna ??

hi

this is the route from Banff to Kelowna as you will see it is 6 hrs of driving time with lots of opportunity to stop along the way to take in the scenery - http://goo.gl/maps/WzRtH

and this is the alternate proposed by banff - http://goo.gl/maps/IRfnR which is 8.5+hrs of driving alone.

I suggest that you take the direct route which then leaves you time to enjoy the wineries around Kelowna. If you have not booked a hotel yet you could look at the ones in West Kelowna which gets you closer to highway 97C for the drive the next day. and there are lots of wineries in the area.

this is the southern route http://goo.gl/maps/BPJ3Q which is 6 hrs rather than 4.5-5hrs via 97C/5 (Coquihalla Highway) referred to as "the coke" by locals.

Banff, Canada
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3. Re: Driving Banff to Vancouver via Kelowna ??

I hasten to mention that I'm not recommending one route over the other. The OP asked for routes that are different from the main route, irrespective of driving time. Myself, when I'm headed for the coast, I take the TcH, 97, and the Coquihalla, and get it over with!

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Driving Banff to Vancouver via Kelowna ??

IMO, the scenic route cannot be done in 1 overnight at Kelowna. It would involve a night south of Revelstoke in Nelson, a night in Osoyoos and finally to Vancouver.

Google The Silvery Slocan Circle Route, look for the Hello BC website.

Route map: http://goo.gl/maps/uICdm

Slocan Valley down to Nelson and the free Inland Ferry across the Arrow Lakes at Galena/Shelter Bay:

britishcolumbia.com/regions/towns/index.asp…

…gov.bc.ca/marine/…upperarrow

However with one night.

The only thing I would change about Banff's suggestion of Hwy 1, 97, 97C, 5, 1 would be to drive farther than Kelowna to Penticton, Osoyoos or Oliver and take Hwy 3 across the southern edge of the province. IMO, Hwy 5 from Merritt to Hope is a functional no frills highway, purpose built to get goods to/from the Interior in an hour less time than the other two routes, Hwy 1 and Hwy 3. Hwy 3 is quite pretty and scenic. It would take 5 hours from Osoyoos to Vancouver, 6 hours from Penticton. But it would take about 7 hours to drive from Banff to Osoyoos.

Here is an article about The Crowsnest Hwy 3. After the text are some blue print links to the towns along the way. Opening those links will inform you about what's along Hwy 3.

britishcolumbia.com/regions/towns/index.asp…

Edited: 22 June 2013, 06:27
Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Driving Banff to Vancouver via Kelowna ??

If you take a look at the Top Questions on the right side, you'll see one question about an itinerary for X days. This will take you to an article which includes a number of different itineraries, including plans between Vancouver and the Rockies. Once you scroll down to, and read, those itinerary plans, you will also find a link to an article in the BC forum about your main route options between the Rockies and Vancouver.

The short answers are

* not all that many roads to choose from

* its all scenic

* plan at least 3-4 days for this trip, although you could take a couple of weeks if you wanted to, so you'll have to browse through your options and decide on your priorities. A single overnight is a shame and a waste.

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Driving Banff to Vancouver via Kelowna ??

I like the disclaimer in the mix and match section of those itineraries. My concern remains that, as laid out, they seem prescriptive. I think the risk of people getting to the end of that page to the 14 and 21 day itineraries is that they may lose track of the "suggestion" bit and take them at face value for their plans. I think whoever reads those itineraries needs something to remind them to run their provisional itinerary by the regulars on the forums for comment.

Northampton, United...
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7. Re: Driving Banff to Vancouver via Kelowna ??

Thanks guys for all your input. I will digest and take a good look at the above suggestions.

I appreciate all your help with this !

8. Re: Driving Banff to Vancouver via Kelowna ??

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