Day 4: Osoyoos to Vancouver [396km – 4h39min]
Osoyoos to Spotted Lake
Just up the hill above Osoyoos is the Desert Center. It’s worth a wander to explore Canada’s desert and see if you can spot badgers, burrowing owls, or rattlesnakes.
On the way out of town you’ll see a sign for Spotted Lake. It’s an awkward turn off to with just a small driveway blocked by a gate overlooking this peculiar lake. Be careful getting back on the highway.
Spotted Lake to Keremeos
If you forgot to get your fruit in Osoyoos, Keremeos is your last chance to get a fresh taste of fruit from the Similkameen Valley. This area features a lot of organic growers, if that’s your vibe.
Keremeos to Hedley
We plotted our trip to have a lunch break in Hedley. There’s an old mine you can visit, some restaurants, and a small park next to a creek. Our visit was quick and easy, but once we pulled out of town I had rest stop envy. Bromley Rock is a provincial park and picnic area along the Similkameen River that makes a much better lunch stop complete with a beach for swimming and digging.
Hedley to Hope
This used to be the way people had to get to the Okanagan. Until the Coquihalla was built, it was the Crowsnest Highway that people had to take. It is a twisty highway with not much happening after Hedley.
Princeton is a place to make sure your tank is topped up. If you really need to stretch legs with the kids you could visit areas in Manning Park or the Hope Slide. If you can hang on through this stretch, take your break at the Othello Tunnels. You’ll have to do a hook in Hope to head up highway 5 to get to the entrance and then double back to Vancouver, but it’s worth it. The tunnels are long and dark, so bring a flashlight, but it’s a cool walk with the kids after a very long stretch of boring road.
Hope to Vancouver
Once you get beyond Hope, you’re done with the driving. There are many little side trips you could take to Harrison Hot Springs, Cultus Lake, or Bridal Falls, but really you’re done. You just want to get to the end. If you really need a stop, visit the Othello Tunnels and then suck it up for the last 2 hours or so until you get to the end of the line.
The scenic route is long. The scenic route along the Crowsnest Highway is 17 hours of car driving across 1300 km of highway. That’s a long time to be cooped up with kids. Hopefully these stops to take give you some fun ideas to take breaks with your family and see another side when you #ExploreBC!