Best of Kootenay Rockies

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Kootenay Rockies
Pasley Island near Vancouver
Guide to British Columbia's Regions

British Colombia has the perfect trip for everyone, any time of year. From cosmopolitan Vancouver to the vast tracks of wilderness in the north, from wine tasting in the rolling hills of the Okanagan to salmon-fishing in wild waters of Haida Gwaii, there really is something for everyone. To help you figure out your perfect trip, we've broken down the main regions for you to consider.

Tokkum Creek flowing through Marble Canyon, Kootenay National Park
Map of Kootenay Rockies: Hot Springs Circle Route - 12 Days
Kootenay Rockies: Hot Springs Circle Route - 12 Days

In 12 days, combine the best of the Canadian Rockies with the hot springs and lakeshore communities of the Kootenays. This route is perfect for those looking for an active holiday with time to relax and sit back, as well, without too much driving. You'll pass by numerous hot springs, historic communities, and lake valleys surrounded by dramatic peaks. You can undertake this route year-round, given the numerous winter and summer mountain resorts en route.

Lake Louise in Banff National Park
Map of Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Radium, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 9 Days
Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Radium, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 9 Days

In just 9 days, you'll drive the vast distance between Calgary and Vancouver, taking in the main highlights along the way. This specific route will have you spend two days in the Canadian Rockies before heading into the heart of the Kootenay Rockies to explore its small, historical towns. From there, finish your trip with a couple of days of enjoying the great wineries and restaurants of the Okanagan Valley before departing from Vancouver. 

McDonald Creek Provincial Park near Nakusp
Map of Kootenay Rockies: Hot Springs Circle Route - 11 Days
Kootenay Rockies: Hot Springs Circle Route - 11 Days

Explore the spectacular mountain scenery of British Columbia’s southeast corner, dotted with alpine towns and lakeshore communities. Besides a couple of long days of driving near the end, the majority of your trip will be spent on mountain trails or soaking in the highly-mineralized springs of resorts and riverside pools. You'll also learn about the region's rich mining and railway history which attracted early settlers. 

Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park
Map of Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Radium, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 8 Days
Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Radium, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 8 Days

This fast-paced road trip takes you from Calgary to Vancouver in 8 days. You'll pass through the dramatic landscape of the Canadian Rockies, the picturesque towns of the Kootenays, and the laid-back wine country of the Okanagan Valley. This itinerary is designed for people who don't mind driving long hours in order to cover a vast region with numerous highlights. 

Slocan Lake near New Denver
Map of Kootenay Rockies: Hot Springs Circle Route - 9 Days
Kootenay Rockies: Hot Springs Circle Route - 9 Days

Starting with a few days in the Canadian Rockies, venture south through the peaceful communities and impressive landscapes of the Kootenays. After long days in the outdoors, head to local hot spring resorts or backcountry pools where you can soak away the fatigue. This route covers a vast distance and involves driving most days, so is best suited for those who don't mind a faster-paced adventure.

Floe Lake, Kootenay National Park
Map of Canadian Rockies to Vancouver: Banff, Radium, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 7 Days
Canadian Rockies to Vancouver: Banff, Radium, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 7 Days

On this 7-day road trip, explore the ice-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies, the backcountry wilds and mountain towns of the Kootenays, and the fruit and wine belt of the Okanagan. The adventure begins in Calgary before leading you into Banff National Park and then south into Kootenay National Park, before arriving in down-to-earth Nelson. After Nelson, drive through the arid desert of Osoyoos before ending your trip in Vancouver.

The Columbia River and Kootenay Rockies, near Radium Hot Springs
Map of Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Radium, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 10 Days
Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Radium, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 10 Days

Drive through three diverse landscapes—the Rockies, Kootenays, and Okanagan—on this 10-day road trip. After getting a taste of Calgary's cowboy heritage, you'll weave your way through British Columbia's most beautiful parks, down through the untamed wilderness of the Kootenays, to spend two nights in Canada's only desert, Osoyoos, in the southern Okanagan. You'll end the trip with two days in Vancouver, a sophisticated city with world-class restaurants, dominated by mountains and the sea.

Abandoned train bridge turned biking trail near Slocan
Map of Kootenay Rockies: Hot Springs Circle Route - 10 Days
Kootenay Rockies: Hot Springs Circle Route - 10 Days

Discover the best of the Kootenay and the Canadian Rockies on this 10-day circuit. You'll have time to explore the mountains or paddle the lakes and rivers as you pass through some of British Columbia's most spectacular parks. In the evenings, head to the local hot springs and enjoy the peaceful vibe of the smaller, lakeshore communities. This route is perfect for those looking to combine both adventure and relaxation.

Natural Bridge, a rock formation in Yoho National Park
Map of Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Revelstoke, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 14 Days
Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Revelstoke, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 14 Days

Immerse yourself in the wild and rugged beauty of British Columbia on this two-week road trip that covers the province's best natural highlights. Carving an "S" through the Canadian Rockies, Kootenays, and the fruit belt of the Okanagan, you'll begin in Calgary, drive through Banff, Yoho, and Mount Revelstoke national parks, and end your journey along the southern border sipping some of the best local wines.

Peyto Lake, Banff National Park
Map of Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Revelstoke, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 13 Days
Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Revelstoke, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 13 Days

Starting in Calgary and ending in Vancouver, you'll cross the Canadian Rockies with ample time to explore beautiful Banff National Park. After the Rockies, wind your way south through historic mining towns and lake country to the province's famous wine region, the Okanagan Valley. Here, in Osoyoos, visit some of the best smaller local wineries that British Columbia has to offer before ending your trip with a day to explore Vancouver.

Autumn in Banff National Park
Map of Canadian Rockies to Vancouver: Banff, Radium, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 12 Days
Canadian Rockies to Vancouver: Banff, Radium, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 12 Days

Experience the best of the Canadian Rockies on this epic road trip from Calgary to Vancouver. Start by exploring famous Banff National Park before crossing over into British Columbia and heading south through interior lake country and historic mining communities. Finally, you'll have a few days to unwind and relax at the end of your trip by visiting some of the country's best wineries in the Okanagan Valley, surrounded by Canada's only desert. 

Two Jack Lake at the gulf of Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park
Map of Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Revelstoke, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 15 Days
Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Revelstoke, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 15 Days

From craggy snow-capped peaks to icy-blue glacial lakes and rushing streams, this epic road trip features a trio of Canada's famed national parks—Banff, Yoho, and Revelstoke—that highlight the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Starting in Calgary, you'll pass through the mountain resort town of Banff and Lake Louise before venturing into the dramatic landscapes of the less explored (and equally stunning) national parks of the Kootenays. Then you'll trace British Columbia's southern border and spend time in Canada's only desert, Osoyoos—the perfect locale to drink wine and discover Okanagan wine country—before ending your trip in Vancouver.

Alpine meadows blanket Mt. Revelstoke in the summer months
Map of Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Revelstoke, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 9 Days
Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Revelstoke, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 9 Days

This 9-day driving adventure focuses on the Canadian Rockies, including the Kootenay Rockies and the southern end of the vine-striped Okanagan. You'll explore British Columbia's impressive landscape from emerald-green lakes to glacial rivers and rugged mountain tops. Challenge yourself with a half-day hike in Banff National Park, canoe the Columbia River Wetlands amid wildlife near Golden, and discover wines of the snaking Similkameen Valley en route to Vancouver.

Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park
Map of Kootenay Rockies: Hot Springs Circle Route - 13 Days
Kootenay Rockies: Hot Springs Circle Route - 13 Days

Starting and ending in Calgary, this loop covers the entire Kootenay Rockies which combines dramatic mountain landscapes with lakeshore communities and plenty of hot springs. You'll begin with a few days in the Canadian Rockies before heading south to the hot springs and lakes of the Kootenays. Finally, you'll have a couple of days in Canmore to explore the underrated gem of Kananaskis Country.

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park
Map of Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Revelstoke, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 8 Days
Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Revelstoke, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 8 Days

Explore the beauty of southern British Columbia, from the stunning peaks of the Rockies to the fertile valley of the Okanagan. This 8-day drive begins in Calgary and ends in Vancouver and offers the outdoor enthusiast numerous opportunities to get into the rugged wilderness as well as indulge in more refined cultural experiences. You'll visit the small communities of the Slocan Valley, see the impressive Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park, and hike through the old-growth forests around Revelstoke.

Mt. Assiniboine and Lake Magog, Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park
Map of Canadian Rockies to Vancouver: Banff, Radium, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 11 Days
Canadian Rockies to Vancouver: Banff, Radium, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 11 Days

Highlighting the towering Canadian Rocky Mountains, the wild and rugged Kootenays, and the vineyards of the southern Okanagan, this 11-day road trip takes you from Canada's cowboy capital of Calgary through to the cosmopolitan city of Vancouver. You'll cover significant ground in some of the country's best national parks from hiking around the deep-teal Moraine Lake in popular Banff to soaking in the natural rock-lined hot pools of Lussier Hot Springs. Hike, bike, and white water raft your way around glacier-fed lakes, alpine meadows, and turbulent rivers.

Wine vineyards near Penticton in the Okanagan Valley
Map of Vancouver to Calgary Road Trip: Okanagan Valley & Canadian Rockies - 14 Days
Vancouver to Calgary Road Trip: Okanagan Valley & Canadian Rockies - 14 Days

With 2 weeks, this itinerary covers the best of British Columbia's wine region and the Canadian Rockies. You'll have short driving days and will base yourself in a number of great locations for multiple nights, where you can immerse yourself in the surroundings. This route is a great option for those looking to combine great wine and food outdoor adventure and dramatic scenery.

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park
Map of Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Revelstoke, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 10 Days
Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Revelstoke, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 10 Days

With 10 days, you'll have just enough time to drive across British Columbia without feeling too rushed. You'll start with a few days of exploring the iconic Canadian Rockies before heading into the heart of the Kootenay Rockies, famous for its beautiful mountain towns and historic communities. End the trip with a couple of days of wine and relaxation before departing from Vancouver. 

Naramata Bench with Okanagan Lake in the background
Map of Vancouver to Calgary Road Trip: Okanagan Valley & Canadian Rockies - 15 Days
Vancouver to Calgary Road Trip: Okanagan Valley & Canadian Rockies - 15 Days

With 15 days, you'll have enough time to explore the hundreds of wineries and fruit farms of the fertile Okanagan Valley and immerse yourself in the dramatic scenery of the Canadian Rockies. Along the way, go swimming in freshwater lakes, hike through cedar forests, and drive along some of the most iconic roadways in Canada. Finish your trip by exploring one of the Rockies' most underrated regions in Kananaskis Country.

Sunrise over Bow Lake, Banff National Park
Map of Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Revelstoke, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 11 Days
Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Revelstoke, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 11 Days

Spend the first half of your trip exploring the mountains and lakes of the Canadian Rockies before veering south through the beautiful wine region of the Okanagan Valley. Here, hit the bike trails, beaches, and check out the great local wineries in this desert-like region of Canada. Finally, end your trip with a couple of days to shop and eat out in Vancouver.

Three Valley Lake near Revelstoke
Map of Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Revelstoke, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 12 Days
Calgary to Vancouver Road Trip: Banff, Revelstoke, Nelson, & Osoyoos - 12 Days

This route takes you through the best of the Canadian Rockies to the wine country of the Okanagan Valley, where you can relax and unwind after your adventures in the mountains. Along the way, you'll pass through historic communities and the natural hot springs around Nakusp, Kaslo, and Nelson. Finally, end with a couple of days to explore Vancouver's great dining scene and local neighborhoods.