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Okanagan Scenic Drives | 7 Places to Go on a Road Trip Near Kelowna, BC

Jessie Rivest

Jessie started as our Marketing & Listings Coordinator in 2019...

Jessie started as our Marketing & Listings Coordinator in 2019...

Sep 23 10 minutes read

With beautiful mountain scenery, freshwater lakes, pine forests, and abundant wildlife, The Okanagan Valley is a wonderful place to explore on a road trip.

This post shows you 7 scenic drives (the best road trips from Kelowna) that explore the stunning natural splendor of the Okanagan Valley. We'll take you through some of the most beautiful places in Kelowna and near Kelowna. If you keep your eyes open, you can spot deer, mountain goats, black bears, and over 321 species of birds found near the City of Kelowna, British Columbia.

From the hot South Okanagan deserts to the calming waters of Kalamalka & Okanagan Lake, there’s a scenic drive in the Kelowna area to fit any itinerary. You can find car lookouts in Kelowna that let you enjoy the views without getting out of your vehicle.

Tip: Before heading out, check the latest travel restrictions, road reports, and emergency notices.


The Westside Road Along Okanagan Lake

The tree-lined Westside Road is a favourite scenic drive for locals, and an adventure in itself.

You start off with awesome lake views at Traders Cove & Wilson Landing. Further on your road trip you’ll come across some car lookouts that see across the lake to Kelowna and Lake Country. To keep the trip exciting, stop for a dip in the lake at Raymer Bay or one of the many pull-out spots between West Kelowna and Vernon, BC. Lake Okanagan Resort’s Beach Club is a popular new spot where your passengers can enjoy a refreshing adult beverage.

About 40 minutes drive down Westside Road brings you to the quaint village of Fintry, a quaint blink-and-you’ll-miss-it spot on the shores of Okanagan Lake. Park your vehicle and hike Fintry Falls for a taste of nature and great photo opportunities. Not far past Fintry, Westside Road joins Hwy 97 where you can extend your adventure to Kamloops, Enderby, and Armstrong. Otherwise, continue through to Vernon and complete the full loop back down to Kelowna.

Caution: Westside Road has some sharp twists and turns, so drive carefully and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like deer and marmots.

Directions

Follow Harvey Avenue from downtown Kelowna across the bridge to West Kelowna. Take the second exit after the bridge and turn right at the lights onto Westside road.

Places to Stop

Trader’s Cove, Wilson Landing, Raymer Bay, Lake Okanagan Resort, Okanagan Beach Club, Fintry

Time: 2hrs

Distance: 133km


Lakeshore Road

Take a scenic cruise down Lakeshore Road for beautiful views, great wine, and gorgeous parks with car lookouts in Kelowna.

First you’ll pass Cedar Creek Park with walking trails, a rocky beach, and a boat launch. Further along you’ll reach Bertram Creek Park, an ideal stop to stretch your legs, have a picnic, take a swim, or use the washrooms. Finally, you’ll reach Okanagan Mountain Park - a popular area for adventurous hikers, mountain bikers, and view-seekers.

If you get thirsty, check out some of the great local wineries like St Hubertus and Summerhill to turn your road trip into a self-guided wine tour. Lakeshore road ends at a little tree-lined cul-de-sac making it easy to turn around and head back to town for a relaxing evening or a night out.

Directions

Take Pandosy St south from downtown Kelowna. When you pass KLO Rd, Pandosy St turns into Lakeshore Rd. Stay on Lakeshore Rd the rest of the way until you reach the cul-de-sac or your chosen destination.

Places to Stop

Cedar Creek Park, Bertram Creek Park, Okanagan Mountain Park, St. Hubertus Winery, Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Time: 1hr

Distance: 32km


Highway 33 To Rock Creek

For a wilderness experience, drive southeast into the British Columbia interior via Hwy 33.  This winding route takes you past Big White Ski Resort, an ideal stop for a summer hike. The dense pine forest, cool rock formations, and larch trees that turn bright yellow in the fall make this drive ideal for photography. 

Watch out for moose, deer and elk along this road, as well as bald eagles and other majestic birds of prey. Stop in Rock Creek in July or August for a cool swim in the river, or continue through the junction to keep exploring.

Afterwards, check out the Kootenay Boundary country - Grand Forks, Nelson, Nakusp, Kaslo and other sall interior towns, or head back west via Hwy 3 through the mountains. You’ll get to see beautiful views of Osoyoos from 4,000 ft before descending back into the valley. 

Directions

From Kelowna, take Hwy 33 east from the city. Hwy 33 takes you all the way to Rock Creek.

Places to Stop

Kelowna Rock Creek Summit, Beaverdell, Kettle Valley Recreation Area

Time: 3hr 15m

Distance: 270km


Southeast Kelowna to Myra Canyon & The Kettle Valley Railway

Southeast Kelowna is a quiet, low-traffic area known for long country roads lined by lush farms, sloped vineyards, and fruit orchards. As you drive higher, you’ll start to see fantastic Okanagan Valley views.

At the top of the hill, you’ll reach the Myra Canyon Trestles, where you can rent bicycles for a ride down the Kettle Valley Railway or stop for a photo. You can also experience the KVR trail on foot to take in the mountain views at a slower pace. Along Spiers Rd and McCulloch Rd and up to Myra Canyon you’ll find peaceful farmland, golf courses, and vineyards. Stop at Vibrant Vine or Frequency Winery to enjoy some secluded East Kelowna wine tasting before heading home.

Directions

Head south from Kelowna on Gordon Drive. Follow KLO road east until it meets McCollough at the four-way stop, or turn on Spiers road for a longer route and a view of Harvest Golf Club. Turn off McCollough Rd at June Springs Rd to reach the Myra Canyon / KVR Trestles.

Places to Stop

Vibrant Vine, Frequency Winery, Myra Canyon.

Time: 1hr 15m

Distance: 51km


Kelowna to Vernon via Hwy 97 & Glenmore

This drive from Kelowna to Vernon covers much of the central Okanagan Valley. Take either Hwy 97 straight from downtown Kelowna, or the quieter Glenmore Rd route that runs from central Kelowna to Winfield before linking up with the main road.

Lake Country, Winfield and Oyama - the smaller lakeside towns - have a lot of local hidden gems like The Jammery, Pane Vino Pizzeria and O’Rourke and Predator Ridge Wineries. 

On your way to Vernon, you’ll pass several great viewpoints to see the turquoise summer waters of Kalamalka Lake - a postcard perfect Okanagan photo.

Vernon has good food, great coffee at Ratio Coffee & Pastry, and a great selection of antique & thrift stores. Continue through the lakeside community of Coldstream, or drive east through Lavington. If you want to extend your trip, explore the North Okanagan Valley and the Shuswap Lakes region.

Directions

Follow Harvey Ave North from Kelowna all the way to your chosen destination, or head up Spall/Glenmore Rd until it meets the main road again in Winfield.

Places to Stop

Kalamalka Lake viewpoints, The Jammery, Pane Vino, O’Rourke Winery, Ratio Coffee & Pastry.

Time: 1hr 30m

Distance: 101km


Boucherie Road to Gellatly Bay Nut Farm

Boucherie Road to Gellatly Bay is a short, leisurely drive with gorgeous views, world-class wineries, and swimmable beaches.

The lakeside journey begins at the summit of Boucherie Rd (cross street Hudson Rd).

Once you start driving downhill, you’ll see vineyard views over some of West Kelowna’s finest wineries like Beaumont, Little Straw, Mt. Boucherie Estate, and The Hatch.

Once you round the first corner, gorgeous views open up above the lakeshore neighborhoods of Green Bay & Pritchard.

Boucherie then merges with Gellatly Rd leading to Okanagan Lake and the Gellatly Bay ferry docks.

Towards the end of the route, you’ll pass The Cove Lakeside Resort with a great waterfront restaurant. From there, you can take the beautiful waterfront boardwalk towards Pebble Beach Park and The Gellatly Bay Nut Farm.

Check out Powers Creek in September to watch the sockeye salmon spawn.

Directions

Take Harvey Ave west from downtown, then turn left onto Boucherie Road at the intersection. Follow Boucherie until it merges with Gellatly Rd, and keep going to the Nut Farm or Cove Resort.

Places to Stop

Westside Wine Trail, Quails Gate Estate Winery, Mission Hill Hilltop Winery

Frind Estate, Gellatly Beach, Gellatly Bay Nut Farm Regional Park.

Time: 20m

Distance: 19km


Highway 97 to South Okanagan Valley

This trip along Hwy 97 from Kelowna to Osoyoos passes through several towns in the Okanagan Valley including Peachland, Summerland, Penticton, Kaleden, OK Falls, and Oliver.

Each city has something unique to offer from local wine and beer to beaches and lookout spots with stunning views. Visit The Peach in downtown Penticton, a common photo stop or Summerland Sweets for a taste of local fruit.

The South Okanagan Desert is a semi-arid shrubland, scattered with sagebrush wildlife and staggering rock formations. Keep an eye out for wildlife along this route, especially around the Skaha Provincial Park area just south of Penticton between Oliver and Osoyoos. Close to the mountains look out for deer, elk and mountain goats.

The roadside fruit stands in Peachland, Summerland, Penticton, Oliver and Osoyoos are essential during the warm months. In winter, the views around Okanagan Falls are truly breathtaking.

Directions

Tale Hwy 97 through West Kelowna and follow the signage to Peachland, Summerland, and Penticton.

Places to Stop

Penticton, Skaha Lake, Tickleberry’s Ice Cream (OK Falls), Vaseux Lake Bird Sanctuary, The Town of Oliver, Osoyoos

Time: 3hr (Kelowna to Osoyoos round trip)

Distance: 250km

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