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  • Writer's pictureJeremy

Escape the Crowds: Discover 5 Scenic Drives in British Columbia for Your Next Camping Adventure

Updated: May 27

Looking for a unique road trip away from the usual tourist spots?

These lesser-known routes offer stunning views and a chance to explore the beauty of BC without the crowds. Get ready to discover five hidden gems that will make your next camping trip unforgettable.

1. Duffy Lake Road (Highway 99)

  • Distance from Vancouver: Approximately 190 km (118 miles) to Pemberton, then another 100 km (62 miles) to Lillooet.

  • Type of Road: Paved

  • Nearest Cities: Pemberton and Lillooet

  • Details: Starting from Vancouver, head north on Highway 99 through Whistler to Pemberton. From Pemberton, continue on Highway 99, also known as the Duffy Lake Road, which winds through mountainous terrain and offers spectacular views. This scenic drive passes through the Coast Mountains and alongside Duffy Lake, providing access to numerous outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing.


2. Highway 31A

  • Distance from Vancouver: Approximately 800 km (497 miles)

  • Type of Road: Paved

  • Nearest Cities: Kaslo and New Denver

  • Details: This route connects the small towns of Kaslo and New Denver in the Kootenay Rockies region. To reach Kaslo from Vancouver, drive east on Highway 1 to Hope, then take Highway 3 east to Nelson, and finally Highway 31 north to Kaslo. From Kaslo, Highway 31A travels through forested valleys and alongside alpine lakes. The drive is relatively short but packed with stunning views and historical charm.


3. Highway 6

  • Distance from Vancouver: Approximately 450 km (280 miles) to Vernon, then another 160 km (99 miles) to Needles

  • Type of Road: Paved

  • Nearest Cities: Vernon and Nakusp

  • Details: Starting in Vernon, Highway 6 travels southeast through the Monashee Mountains. The route offers a mix of mountainous terrain and scenic river valleys. A highlight of this drive is the free cable ferry crossing at Needles, which connects to the Arrow Lakes. Continue through the Slocan Valley, a region known for its natural beauty and recreational opportunities, ending in Nakusp, which is renowned for its hot springs.


4. Gold River Highway (Highway 28)

  • Distance from Vancouver: Approximately 230 km (143 miles) to Nanaimo (via ferry), then 90 km (56 miles) to Campbell River, and finally 90 km (56 miles) to Gold River

  • Type of Road: Paved

  • Nearest Cities: Campbell River and Gold River

  • Details: After taking a ferry from Vancouver to Nanaimo, drive north on Highway 19 to Campbell River. From Campbell River, Highway 28 heads west towards Gold River. The road is paved and winds through dense forests, offering access to Strathcona Provincial Park along the way. This route is perfect for those looking to explore the rugged interior of Vancouver Island and its pristine wilderness.


5. Bella Coola Road (Highway 20)

  • Distance from Vancouver: Approximately 450 km (280 miles) to Williams Lake, then another 456 km (283 miles) to Bella Coola

  • Nearest Cities: Williams Lake and Bella Coola

  • Details: From Vancouver, take Highway 1 east to Hope, then Highway 97 north to Williams Lake. From Williams Lake, Highway 20 heads west through the Chilcotin Plateau to Bella Coola. This route includes the challenging "Freedom Road," known for its steep gradients and switchbacks as it descends into the Bella Coola Valley. The road is primarily paved, with some gravel sections, and offers stunning views of the Coast Mountains and the Great Bear Rainforest.

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