Getting to the Okanagan Valley BC
The Okanagan Valley lies approximately 400km east of Vancouver. The drive starts in rainforest country, rolls through Fraser Valley farmland, includes steep climbs through the Cascade Mountains and ends beneath the parched hills of the Okanagan Valley.
Once you pick up Highway 1 heading east out of Vancouver you need little in the way of directions until you get to the town of Hope where you have a choice of two main routes into the Okanagan. You can head north and take the speedy, high altitude Highway 5 and the Coquihalla Highway for Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon.
If you’re heading to Osoyoos, the most direct route is via Highway 3 which includes a gentle scenic ride through E C Manning Provincial Park and a dramatic, twisty climb up to the town of Princeton.
Drive into downtown Hope for a rest stop and some fantastic views of the Fraser River. Osoyoos-bound travellers can stop off for a lakeside picnic or pub lunch at Manning Park Resort.
Expect drive times of 4 to 5 ½ hours.
Once you reach the valley, you’ll be travelling along Highway 97 which runs north to south joining all the main towns in the Okanagan.
Greyhound runs regular daily services to the Okanagan with stops in Kelowna, Penticton, Summerland and Westbank. The trips can take between 6-61/2 hours so try and book on an express service.
There is a Greyhound service to Osoyoos but with a long layover you’re looking at a travel time of ten hours plus.
Both Kelowna International Airport and Penticton Regional Airport are situated conveniently close to the cities they serve. Kelowna is the larger of the two airports with connections to Seattle and Canadian cities including Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto.
Tip: When travelling to the Okanagan during the winter months be prepared and drive on snow tires or carry snow chains. Winter storms make the Coquihalla Highway and sections of Highway 3 treacherous.