I love to travel. There is something about seeing new sights that makes you take notice of your surroundings and fully appreciate the beautiful details. I had been to British Columbia before and I was struck by the stunning wide open landscapes all set against the back drop of majestic mountains and contrasting colors. Needless to say, when I got invited by Ford to be a driver on the Explorer Platinum Adventure Tour, I said “Yes!” to this British Columbia, Canadian road trip adventure. The chosen route was from Vancouver to Kamloops, and what a scenic drive it was!
Press trip expenses were covered by Ford. I received no monetary compensation and all opinions expressed are my own.
I arrived in Vancouver and checked into the Red Rock Resort where we got to have a look at the new 2016 Ford Platinum Explorer and see all the features that make it special. The Ford Explorer is the #1 selling family adventure SUV and it is celebrating 25 years with the introduction of a Platinum model. As I listened to all the standard Ford Explorer features and heard about the features specific to the Platinum model, I leaned over and told the person closest to me, “I want one!”
It was so much fun to check one out the next day and embark on a girls road trip with my newest buddies, Ashely of Quirky Inspired and Lori of Well Connected Mom. We bonded straight away when we planned our trip together and we set out on our adventure tour at 7:30 AM in order to fit in as many things as possible along the way on our Vancouver to Kamloops drive.
Vancouver To Kamloops Drive By Car With 7 Amazing Things To Do Along The Way
How far is Vancouver from Kamloops?
Downtown Vancouver To Kamloops Distance To Drive:
The road distance depends which of these two routes is the best option for you.
SHORT ROUTE (Best Time/ Quickest Way)- 353.7 km driving distance via Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 E and BC-5 (Between Hope and Kamloops, Highway 5 is known as the Coquihalla Hwy) about 3 hours 45 minutes
SCENIC ROUTE (Best Way For Beauty)- 420 km driving distance via Route 99 about 5 hours 45 minutes
Total travel time should be expanded if you stop along the way for rest stops and/or adventure stops.
You may chose to take the scenic route there and the more direct route on the kamloops to vancouver drive back.
Alternatively, 253km distance as the crow flies.
You can get direct flights from Vancouver International Airport to Kamloops Airport with Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Pacific Coastal Airlines, and Central Mountain Air (CMA). The flight distance is only 1 hour for these direct routes but you will miss the gorgeous, scenic drive through the Canadian Rockies.
What is there to see between Vancouver and Kamloops? Plenty! There are some really gorgeous things to stop and see along the way. I have included all the relevant information for your road trip planning here.
The Most Scenic Road Trip From Vancouver To Kamloops By Car
Though it is possible to drive from Vancouver to Kamloops via the Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 and BC-5 in just about 3.5 hours, we choose to head up Route 99 for the most scenic route from Vancouver to Kamloops. The scenic route would take you about 6 hours if you don’t stop but there are so many beautiful sights along the way that you will want to stop! It was difficult to narrow it down but since we only had one day for the drive we chose these top 6 scenic route things to do from Vancouver to Kamloops by car. The trip took us about 13 hours with all the stops we made.
Vancouver Area Scenic Route Stops
1. Stanley Park
I climbed in the driver’s seat of the Ford Platinum Explorer to start off the first leg of the trip. After getting comfy in the Nirvana leather seats and adjusting my lumbar support, seat height, and mirrors, I played with navigation controls, and satellite radio. I started off on a short drive through Vancouver over to Stanley Park so we could catch some of the amazing views of the city, water, and mountains before we left. Though it was raining when we arrived at Stanley Park, it was too pretty to stay in the Explorer. We strolled along the water’s edge and we checked out totem poles of the indigenous people.
We stopped at Prospect Point where I was caught by beauty of the vibrant gardens and the iconic Lions Gate Bridge bridge which looks much like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
2. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
We weren’t sure what to expect from Capilano suspension bridge. It turns out that it is the oldest tourist attraction in Vancouver and worth the trip. However, the bridge itself has been replaced many times and is currently strong enough to hold a 747 airplane. Spanning 450 feet across a gorge and 230 feet above the Capilano River, the suspension bridge offers gorgeous views.
There are also bridges among the treetops so you can actually walk through the rainforest Western Cedar canopy. We also enjoyed the new CliffWalk which was against the side of the granite cliffs. Some areas of it featured metal grated walkways for an amazing but safe view down. Catch up on some history of the area and learn a little about the culture of the indigenous people through the educational exhibits. It was raining throughout our expedition but that didn’t stop us or plenty of others from exploring this gorgeous park.
Other Vancouver Area Scenic Drive Stops:
If you have more than one day for the scenic drive from Vancouver to Kamloops, you may also want to stop at Pixel Whale statue. It is right next to the Olympic Cauldron and Seaside Greenway, the world’s largest uninterrupted waterfront path!
Squamish Area Scenic Route Stops
3. Shannon Falls
A short walk provides amazing views of Shannon Falls, the third highest waterfall in British Columbia. The massive amount of water pouring down can only be described as powerful. The water spray off of the falls probably would have drenched us even if it wasn’t raining!
After this one, we settled in for a longer drive segment since our next stop was around Whistler. We made good use of the heated seats in the front and in the second row. They were perfect to warm up from the rain and dry off. Then we discovered what may well be my favorite Ford Explorer Platinum Feature- massaging front seats!! I know this is just a luxury feature that I could live without. However, it sure made the drive more relaxing and enjoyable! There were many features that I came to appreciate along our drive route like the blind spot information system system that lights up red on your side view mirror when someone is in your blind spot, smooth handling around the switch back curves, and a smooth ride.
Other Squamish Area Scenic Drive Stops: If you have more than one day for the scenic drive to Kamloops you may also want to stop at the Sea to Sky Gondola, as featured in NY Times “52 places to go in 2015” and the West Coast Railway Heritage Park if you are a train buff.
Whistler Area Scenic Route Stops (Perfect For A Whistler To Kamloops Road Trip)
4. Downtown Whistler-
We stopped in at the Mongolie Grill and Cows Creamery but there were plenty of other fabulous eating spots and gift shops to pick out some souvenirs of your Vancouver to Kamloops road trip!
Other Whistler Area Scenic Drive Stops:
If you have more than one day for the scenic drive from Vancouver, you can stop at more Whistler attractions. Check out Peak 2 Peak Gondola, the world’s highest above-ground cable car across the longest unsupported span between towers. There is also the Whistler Museum and Olympic Park.
Pemberton Area Scenic Route Stops
5. Nairn Falls
#nairnfalls #pemberton #exploremore #britishcolumbia #canada Nice hike! A photo posted by Family Focus (@familyfocusblog) on
Don’t miss Nairn Falls on your way from Vancouver to Kamploops. It is just stunning to hear and see that much water beating down!
6. Duffy Lake
There are lots of great spots to pull off the road and enjoy gorgeous views of glacier-fed Duffy Lake. The colors are astounding.
Other Pemberton Area Scenic Drive Stops
If you have more than one day to drive the scenic route from Vancouver to Kamloops, then you may also want to stop at Joffre Lake. Enjoy a hike to more beautiful lake views. Eat at Mile One Eating House, as featured on The Food Network.
Lilooet Area Scenic Route Stops
7. Seton Lake
More stunning views along the shoreline of this freshwater fjord contrasted by huge mountains.
Lilloet to Kamloops Scenic Drive
Then there was just gorgeous mountain scenery along the way that I admired from the window of the car. We also took advantage of a few pull over spots along the highway. The sun burst out from behind the clouds and the colors were spectacular. I don’t know what it is about British Columbia but I feel like the air is different. Everything feels more open and the size of the mountains are captivating. The mint green river waters stand out against the mist in a beautiful way. The blue sky against the yellow fields and oh so green trees just makes your mouth drop with awe. It is truly a feeling that is special of nature grabbing you. It fills me with gratitude for such an amazing world we live in.
Other Lilloet to Kamloops Area Scenic Drive Stops
Cache Creek is about half way along on the Trans-Canada Highway between Lilloet to Kamloops. So it could make a nice stopping point for a quick peek at the historic transportation junction.
8. Kamloops Riverside Park
The Riverside Park in the Centre of the City is a great spot. It offers a beautiful view of where the North and South Thompson rivers meet in Kamloops.
#ExploreMore was the hashtag I used to share my photos of the Vancouver to Kamloops drive on social media. It speaks to the spirit of the seeking adventure, of enjoying the moments, and being unstoppable! I am thankful to Ford for allowing me to be a part of the Explorer Platinum Adventure Tour.
The Vancouver to Kamloops scenic drive was just one leg of the Adventure tour. However, you can follow along the whole trip which ends in New Mexico by searching the #ExploreMore hashtag. You can find out more about the 2016 Ford Explorer Platinum on Ford.com. Believe me, you will love the Intelligent 4WD with the Terrain Management System™. Not to mention, the powerful 365 horse power 3.5L EcoBoost® V6 engine that made our trek through mountains smooth sailing. Add in the smart USB charger, power outlet, massaging seats and the 500-watt Audio System from Sony®, and it makes it one sweet luxury ride.
And so the ride begins w/Thelma & Louise! @quirkyinspired @familyfocusblog #ExploreMore A photo posted by Lori Cunningham (@wellconnectedmom) on
I hope that answers your questions about the distance from Vancouver to Kamloops by car, the different routes available, and how long it takes with the scenic stops. Enjoy the drive! Have you been to British Columbia before? Would you love to take a road trip along the scenic drive from Vancouver to Kamloops? Where would you stop along the route?