When: Aug 01—Oct 31
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Self-Drive Tour: The Okanagan Valley

Any time, any day, any season, the Okanagan Valley offers a world of things to do. Your options are endless and there is something for everyone. You will find a wide variety of activities to choose from, including wine and beer festivals, culinary competitions, sporting events, live music and performing arts, seasonal craft fairs and so much more. Visit organic farms, explore the many Okanagan Vineyards, relax on the beach or hike at one of the beautiful parks. Start your tour in Kelowna, an energetic city surrounded by wilderness, mountains, vineyards and orchards, set on sparkling Okanagan Lake. Then continue on at your own pace to see the surrounding area.

Note: While roads are generally snow-free September and October, drivers legally need winter tires come October 1st when travelling on all BC highways.

At A Glance


  • Choose your own dates
  • August to October 2020
  • 10 Days

BookPricing

Itinerary

Day 1: Vernon

Drive or fly into Kelowna, the largest city in the Okanagan Valley. Pick up your car rental, then journey north to Vernon. Vernon’s proximity to both Canada’s largest salmon run in the Shuswap and the Okanagan harvest makes fall one of the best times to explore this North Okanagan community.

Day 2: Revelstoke

Vernon in the fall means taking in autumn colours along its many lakes and trails. Stroll through brilliant golden foliage along the north shore of Okanagan Lake at Kin Beach and go for lakeside nature walks in Kalamalka Lake and Ellison Provincial Parks. Enjoy an easy walk or bike ride along the Okanagan Rail Trail, which connects Vernon to Kelowna. Embrace the harvest season at the annual Apple Harvest Festival in September at Davison Orchards, or check out October’s month-long Vernon Fall Festival, which brings fall-flavoured fun from wild mushroom foraging and winemakers’ dinners to family-friendly farm events and even pumpkin boat races. Don’t miss Planet Bee Honey Farm & Honeymoon Meadery to learn about bees and to sample honey and mead by donation. Departing Vernon north along Route 97, you leave behind the sagebrush and vineyards of arid Okanagan Valley and transition into the lush farmlands and forests of the Shuswap. Heading east toward Revelstoke, make the short stop at Craigellachie where you can see the Last Spike, signifying the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885. Continue east before arriving in the mountain town community of Revelstoke.

 Day 3: Radium Hot Springs

A visit to Revelstoke is not complete without a tour of the Revelstoke Railway Museum, a tribute to the workers that built the nation’s transcontinental railway through the difficult mountain passes. Explore the unique shops, restaurants, and breweries in Revelstoke’s historic downtown core. At Revelstoke Mountain Resort, the Pipe Mountain Coaster thrills people of all ages until it closes for the season in early October. Drive to Revelstoke, passing through Mount Revelstoke National Park, Glacier National Park, and Rogers Pass. Adjust your clock ahead one hour; you’ve crossed from Pacific Time to Mountain Time. You are also now officially in the Canadian Rockies. The mountain town of Golden sits alongside North America’s largest wetland, the Columbia River. You can choose to stop at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort where you can tour a grizzly bear refuge or enjoy lunch at Eagle’s Eye Restaurant, Canada’s highest-elevation dining experience at 2,347 m (7,700 ft). Travelling south of Golden, visit a working farm at the Columbia Wetlands Outpost to see how organic hops, apples, and honeybees are cared for in an area of international importance for wildlife. Continue south following the Columbia River through the Rocky Mountain Trench for 78 km (48 mi) before arriving in Radium Hot Springs.

Day 4: Kimberley

Surrounded by the towering rock faces of Sinclair Canyon, Radium Hot Springs is a ruggedly beautiful spot located just inside Kootenay National Park. Beloved by hikers in September for its alpine trails of golden larch, Kootenay National Park celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2020. Visit in early November to take part in the annual Headbanger Festival and see the sheep in full rutting action as they battle for dominance. 37 km (23 mi) south of Radium Hot Springs along Highway 95, Fairmont Hot Springs provides another opportunity to enjoy a soothing soak on a crisp fall day. Continue to Kimberley.

Day 5: Nelson

Kimberley was made to be explored in the autumn months, where mountains of fall foliage greet visitors who venture in September and October. Kimberley Nature Park, a 840 hectare nature park in the foothills of the Purcell Mountains and its adjacent 200-hectare Horse Barn Valley Interpretive Forest, provide 50 kilometres (31 miles) of trails of forested wilderness and panoramic views, including easy to moderate hikes to see golden larch. In downtown Kimberley, take in the cozy fall ambiance of the village filled with unique shops and restaurants. Stroll through Cominco Gardens to admire any late season blooms. A short distance south of Kimberley is the city of Cranbrook, with excellent hiking opportunities to admire the fall colours. You could explore the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel, which features the only complete set of rail cars from the luxurious 1929 Canadian Pacific Railway Trans-Canada Limited. The area’s Indigenous population, the Ktunaxa First Nation, is also celebrated here, and there are many quaint 19th century heritage homes throughout the area offering great photography opportunities. Creston is situated on a fertile bench between the Purcell and Selkirk mountains, it’s immediately evident as you arrive in Creston that this is a major harvest region in BC’s Kootenays, with its many roadside farm stands, orchards and vineyards. Now with four wineries, Creston Valley is considered to be Canada’s next wine region. Take in the weekly farmers market, or visit the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area. The highway ends at Kootenay Bay where you’ll board the 35-minute Kootenay Lake Ferry across to Balfour on the west shore of the lake. Then, it is only 33 km (20 mi) to Nelson. Be sure to drop by Kokanee Creek Provincial Park for a short stop. In September, keep your eye out for kokanee, a lake-dwelling cousin to the Sockeye salmon, who return to these streams every fall to spawn.

Day 6: Osoyoos

Prepare to be charmed by Nelson where mountains of fall foliage meet 350 heritage buildings along the shore of Kootenay Lake. Grab a cup of freshly roasted coffee at Oso Negro, a local institution and one of Nelson’s many excellent eating establishments. Be sure to take the free, self-guided walking tour of its historic architecture, including the beloved Hume Hotel. Ride Streetcar #23 along the waterfront, stroll down Baker Street, and tour the studios and galleries of Canada’s finest small town arts community.  For panoramic views over Nelson, the steep hike up Pulpit Rock is worth the effort. After Nelson, continue on Highway 3A to explore Castlegar, rich in history and Doukhobor culture; enjoy some time at the Doukhobor Discovery Centre and Zuckerberg Island Heritage Park until the end of September. Take a short excursion south on Highway 22. In Trail, the Columbia Gardens Vineyard & Winery offers guided tours of the wine making facilities and serves up samples at the tasting bar. In Rossland, take in the spectacle of fall colours as you explore its charming historic downtown. Then on to Osoyoos in the Okanagan Valley.

Day 7: Osoyoos

Experience desert life in the autumn season at the southern end of the Okanagan in Osoyoos. Immerse yourself in local Indigenous culture at Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, learn about the antelope-brush ecosystem at the Osoyoos Desert Centre, then leisurely tour the region’s many award-winning wineries and restaurants such as Moon Curser and BC’s first Indigenous winery, Nk’Mip Cellars. Enjoy the slower pace of the autumn season along the shores of Osoyoos Lake.

Day 8: Kelowna

Venture further north along Hwy 97 into the heart of the Okanagan Valley, BC’s largest wine region and a major harvest destination in the fall. Travel through the vineyards, orchards and wineries of Oliver and Okanagan Falls, and through the lakeside communities of Penticton, Summerland, and Kelowna, the largest city in the Okanagan. Stop off at as many roadside farm stands as you can for fresh, seasonal Okanagan fruit and vegetables. Time your visit with the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival in October to partake in some of the 80 wine-filled events, including tastings, live music, food pairings and sommelier battles. Work off the seasonal treats with a cycle along the Myra Canyon Trestle or hike up to Kelowna’s Knox Mountain for autumn views of the city and Okanagan Lake.

Day 9: Kelowna

On your last full day in this beautiful region, participate in a full day wine tour.

Day 10

After your stay in Kelowna, return your car rental and return home.

 

Check the pricing page for what is included and excluded in the tour fare.