Beer, deadly mountains, and river-side hot springs are just a few of the destinations on this circuitous British Columbian adventure.
The snow is melting and students are flocking outside to warm their torpid winter bodies in the sun, and that can only mean one thing: spring is here.
Lately, in lieu of studying, I’ve been daydreaming about going on a British Columbian road trip. So, I figured I could at least put my daydreams to good use. I have compiled here a list of five of my favourite destinations in British Columbia, all arranged into a neat road-trip-map. If you’re fortunate enough to have some free time between the end of exams and your summer employment, then maybe you could try it out.
Crannóg Ales, 706 Elson Road, Sorrento, British Columbia
I’ve started the road trip off nice and easy with a brewery. If you have spent any time ordering beers in the Okanagan, then you have probably at least heard of their masterpiece, The Backhand of God Stout. This brewery uses only organic ingredients, and they even grow their own hops. Its location right in the centre of the Shuswap means you won’t have any trouble finding somewhere beautiful to camp. If you’re looking for more luxurious accommodations, Salmon Arm is less than twenty-five minutes away. However, if nature camping is more your style, then there are few places better than the Shuswap.
Bugaboo Provincial Park
While Bugaboo Provincial Park may not be for the casual road-tripper, it is certainly worth mentioning. Head northeast from Salmon Arm on Highway 1 until you reach Golden, then drive south for approximately 76 kilometres until you get to Brisco, where the forest service road starts. You are definitely going to want to plan this one well in advance, though. BC Parks warns potential visitors that there are no supplies within or around the park, and therefore they suggest that people pack plenty of supplies—such as a tent, sleeping bags, water, and a cooking stove—before venturing into the park. All the dangerous bits aside, however, Bugaboo Provincial Park offers world-class climbing and picturesque, glacier-sculpted granite spires.
“It’s artsy, a little pretentious, and has a garden in the back.”
Lussier Hot Springs, Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park
Somewhat less risky, and certainly more accessible, is Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park, home to Lussier Hot Springs. Just over an hour and a half south of the Brisco turnoff to Bugaboo, these hot springs are an obvious next stop on this road trip. These hot pools are easily accessible from Whiteswan Forestry Road and are located right next to the Lussier River, in case you need to cool down. Bears, moose, mountain goats, and Park Rangers are said to frequent the area, so be on the lookout.
I can’t help but stop in Nelson every time I visit the Kootenays. Something about its iconic orange bridge, intimate neighbourhoods, and dauntingly steep hills remind me of a tiny San Francisco. Then there’s Oso Negro, the coffee shop every coffee shop in British Columbia aspires to be. It’s artsy, a little pretentious, and has a garden in the back. In the summer, Nelson is sultry and carefree; in the winter it’s quaint and friendly. There’s a campground right in the city, so if you can snatch a spot before it fills up, you’re set.
Spotted Lake, Okanagan-Similkameen
This place looks like it’s out of a science fiction movie. From Nelson, get on Highway 3 and take it all the way to Osoyoos, then go a little farther, about eight minutes. Spotted Lake is technically a salty, endorheic basin, meaning that its water does not flow anywhere—it just sits there. In the summer, after the water has dried up, the lake becomes dotted with numerous multicoloured pools. The colours come from the water’s high mineral content and the presence of other elements such as silver and titanium.
So there you have it: five solid destinations to fantasize about while you’re half-heartedly cramming for finals and finishing up terms papers. If you feel that my route misses some obvious gems, send me an email. I would be happy to check them out.