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Scenic road in the Canadian Rockies during a sunny and cloudy morning with a panoramic view of the mountains and trees on both sides of the highway.

Edmonton to Kamloops: A Thrilling Road Trip Adventure

Embarking on a road trip from Edmonton to Kamloops takes you beyond just cities and scenery. It’s an immersive exploration, with changing landscapes, local culture, and a sense of adventure at every turn. This route is an underrated treasure, with so many hidden gems dotted along the way. So rather than trying to just reach the destination; embrace the journey itself. Here to make that as easy as possible, we’ve got your guide for seizing the best adventures this captivating road trip has to offer.

Preparing For Your Adventure

Packing the Essentials

Packing correctly for a road trip in Canada is crucial. Along with the safety basics, remember a camera for the breathtaking scenery and a swimsuit for impromptu dips in one of the many lakes along this route. Also, pack layers – the weather can be unpredictable, especially in the mountains. A portable charger is a lifesaver for your devices, and don’t forget snacks and a cooler for refreshments.

Vehicle Preparation and Safety Checks

A thorough vehicle check is non-negotiable. Ensure your oil and coolant levels are up to the mark, tire pressure is optimal, and brakes function well. A spare tire, jack, and basic tool kit are must-haves. Also, familiarize yourself with service areas along the route, as some stretches can be remote. Some areas may not have the best mobile coverage so be sure to download maps on your GPS or phone. If you’re travelling in an electric vehicle, be sure to read our EV Guide and if you’re planning this route in the colder months, learn how to prepare for winter driving

The Journey Begins: Edmonton’s Charms

Must-Visit Attractions in Edmonton

Edmonton is more than a starting point; it’s a treasure trove of attractions. The West Edmonton Mall has a variety of shops, as well as an indoor amusement park and a waterpark. The Art Gallery of Alberta and the Royal Alberta Museum are must-visits for a touch of culture. And don’t skip the chance to explore Edmonton’s river valley parks – they’re perfect for a pre-road-trip stroll.

If you’re not visiting Edmonton as a tourist, you’re probably going to skip the sightseeing and head straight to the highway!

Best Season for a Road Trip

Timing your departure can significantly influence your experience. Late spring or early fall is ideal – the weather is pleasant, and the summer crowds have thinned out. Plus, the spring wildlife or fall foliage in the mountains are spectacles not to be missed.

If you want to experience the colours during the day, depart early, and you’ll be blessed with a view of the rising sun hitting the Canadian Rockies and lush forests. 

The Scenic Route: Landmarks and Nature’s Beauty

 A road leading to snow-capped peaks of Mount Robson under a blue sky.

Jasper National Park: A Natural Marvel

Kick off your journey with a stop at the iconic Jasper National Park, located 4 hours west of Edmonton. Discover diverse attractions including the panoramic Jasper Skytram, stargazing at the Dark Sky Preserve at the Planetarium, and exploring the local arts and culture scene. Relax at the Miette Hot Springs, the warmest mineral springs in the Canadian Rockies, and keep an eye out for the park’s rich wildlife. 

Mount Robson and the Canadian Rockies

Mount Robson, the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies, is breathtaking. The Visitor Centre offers excellent insights and is a perfect spot for a photo op. If time allows, the Berg Lake Trail provides a challenging hike with rewarding vistas.

Clearwater & Wells Gray

For your next stop, head to the charming town of Clearwater and the stunning hidden gem that is Wells Gray Provincial Park. Stop in at the town’s Visitor Centre for helpful tips to plan your visit.

Spahats Falls By Holly Louwerse Photography
Spahats Falls/Holly Louwerse Photography

Discover outdoor adventures all year long – the salmon run in the fall, powerful snowmelt waterfalls in spring, vibrant wildflower hiking, paddling, and rafting in summer, and activities like skiing, snowshoeing, or ice fishing in the winter. While Helmcken Falls is a must-see due to being one of Canada’s tallest waterfalls, other remarkable falls here such as Spahats, Dawson, and Moul Falls are equally captivating.

Wells Gray’s Trophy Mountains By Holly Louwerse Photography
Wells Gray’s Trophy Mountains/Holly Louwerse Photography

Choose from a variety of unique accommodations to enhance your experience: a lakefront stay at Dutch Lake Resort or Alpine Meadows Lake Resort, a forest-immersed B&B at Moul Creek Lodge, a true horse ranch experience at Wells Gray Guest Ranch, or glamorous camping at Cedar Haven Resort. With its diverse activities and landscapes, Clearwater and Wells Gray are truly unforgettable. Find more accommodation options here.

Alpine Meadows Lake Resort By Holly Louwerse Photography
Alpine Meadows Lake Resort/Holly Louwerse Photography

Choose Your Own Adventure

Travelers venturing from Clearwater have two enticing routes ahead of them. Continue through the Lower North Thompson Valley via Little Fort and Barriere to reach Kamloops, ensuring you drop by the High Five Diner for a memorable meal. If you fancy a little detour, Sun Peaks Ski Resort awaits nearby, offering year-round delights — from skiing to hiking, and golfing in one of BC’s most cherished mountain resorts.

High Fiver Diner By Jonny Bierman
High Fiver Diner/Jonny Bierman
Sun Peaks Resort / Mary Putnam
Sun Peaks Resort/Mary Putnam

Alternatively, for a longer, scenic drive, take the Fishing Highway 24 at Little Fort and immerse yourself in a realm of countless lakes. This path is dotted with excellent fishing camps, some of the region’s top guest ranches, and lakefront lodging perfect for a serene retreat or rambunctious family vacation. 

Lac des Roches Resort By Destination BC / Andrew Strain
Lac des Roches Resort/Destination BC/Andrew Strain

On reaching 93 Mile at the end of Hwy 24, veer left onto Hwy 97 and cruise through desert-like landscapes toward Kamloops. Make time for a waterfront pause at Bruker Marina on Kamloops Lake, or enjoy a round of golf at Tobiano Golf Course

Tobiano Golf Course By Patrick Koenig
Tobiano Golf Course/Patrick Koenig

Kamloops: The Final Destination

Exploring Kamloops: Activities and Attractions

Whatever route and experiences you choose along the way, your journey culminates in Kamloops, where the diverse scenery and unique experiences create an unforgettable road trip conclusion. With its unique blend of urban and natural landscapes, Kamloops offers activities and experiences for every interest. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy hiking, biking, or cross-country skiing the local trails. At the same time, those seeking a more leisurely pace can explore the lively arts and culture scene through galleries, theatres, and local events that perfectly encapsulate the city’s diverse heritage. 

Kamloops Bike Ranch By Dylan Sherrard
 Kamloops Bike Ranch/Dylan Sherrard

Best Places to Stay and Dine in Kamloops

Kamloops has a variety of accommodation and dining options. Consider hotels like the Delta Hotels by Marriott Kamloops for a luxurious stay. For dining, local eateries offer everything from gourmet meals to hearty comfort food, showcasing the region’s agricultural bounty. Lovers of gourmet delights can embark on a wine-tasting journey through the region’s top wineries, while craft beer aficionados will be pleased to discover the city’s thriving brewery scene. 

Sagewood Winery By Royce Sihlis
Sagewood Winery/Royce Sihlis

The Cultural Tapestry of Alberta and British Columbia

Indigenous Heritage and Local Cultures

This journey is a deep dive into the rich tapestry of local cultures. Look out for Indigenous art and cultural exhibits en route. Small towns like Hinton and Valemount offer delightful glimpses into local life and history.

Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Powwow By Mary Putnam
Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Powwow/Mary Putnam

Local Cuisine Along the Way

Alberta and British Columbia boast a vibrant culinary scene. Farm-to-table restaurants, local wineries and breweries, along with quaint cafes dot the highway. Take the chance to try regional specialties like Alberta beef and fresh, locally sourced BC produce.

Outdoor Activities and Adventures

 A view of Sunwapta Falls surrounded by forests with a view of the mountains on the Icefields Parkway in Jasper.
Sunwapta Falls in Jasper

Hiking and Camping Spots

For the outdoor enthusiast, there are endless hiking and camping opportunities. Keep an eye out for Jasper favourites like the Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls for shorter hikes with stunning views. Be sure to also pitch your tent or park your RV at one of the 784 registered camp and RV sites in Wells Gray Country and Clearwater.

Wildlife Spotting Opportunities

Wildlife spotting is a highlight of this journey. Keep your cameras ready for moose, elk, bears, and eagles, especially in Jasper and Wells Gray. Remember to maintain a safe distance and never feed the wildlife.

Safety and Etiquette on the Road

Road Safety Tips

Safety is paramount. Adhere to speed limits, stay alert for wildlife crossings, and be aware of changing weather conditions, especially in the mountains. Regular breaks can help you stay refreshed and focused. 

British Columbia and Alberta are also pushing for sustainable and responsible travel. This is making road trips in EVs more popular in the region. The route from Edmonton to Kamloops is EV-accessible. While regular road safety tips apply, make sure to keep important considerations in mind when road-tripping in an EV.

Respecting Nature and Local Communities

Respect for nature and local communities is essential. Stick to marked trails, leave no trace, and support local businesses. Being mindful of your environmental impact helps preserve these stunning landscapes for future travellers. Learn more here.

The Return Journey: Tips and Options

Alternative Routes Back to Edmonton

The return journey can be an adventure in itself. Consider taking an alternate route, like the Trans-Canada Highway through Banff National Park, for a change of scenery and new experiences.

Reflecting on the Journey

As you head back, take time to reflect on the journey. Each stop, each view, and each interaction has added to your travel tapestry, enriching your experience and leaving you with stories to share Be sure to share those stories with us on social media, using the #HiddenWatersBC hashtag or tagging us at @landofhiddenwaters.

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Edmonton to Kamloops

The Edmonton to Kamloops road trip is an adventure that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a nature lover, a culture enthusiast, or just seeking a break from the mundane, this journey promises an array of thrilling and rejuvenating experiences. So pack your bags, prep your car, and set off on this unforgettable Canadian road adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions about a Road Trip from Edmonton to Kamloops

What is the best time of year to take a road trip from Edmonton to Kamloops?

The best time for a road trip from Edmonton to Kamloops is late spring and early fall. These months offer pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and scenic beauty in full bloom, enhancing the overall driving experience.

Are there any must-see attractions along the way?

Key attractions on the Edmonton Kamloops route include Jasper National Park and Wells Gray Provincial Park, both renowned for their stunning landscapes.. Each offers unique experiences, from natural wonders to local heritage but Jasper is more developed and typically busier, whereas Wells Gray is best suited for those looking for off-the-beaten-path adventures.

How long does the drive from Edmonton to Kamloops typically take?

The drive from Edmonton to Kamloops typically takes about 9 hours, covering approximately 800 kilometers. However, allocating more time to enjoy the scenic routes and attractions along the way is recommended. Not only does this allow for a more relaxed journey, enhancing your overall travel experience, but it also ensures safety by preventing driver fatigue. Moreover, it provides opportunities to experience fabulous accommodations along the route, turning a simple night’s rest into a memorable part of your trip.

What are some recommended stops for overnight camping?

Popular camping spots on the Edmonton-Kamloops drive include Jasper National Park and Wells Gray Provincial Park. These parks offer well-equipped campgrounds along with backcountry options, making them perfect for experiencing Canada’s natural beauty up close.

Can the Edmonton-Kamloops road trip be done with children?

Absolutely! his journey suits families with children perfectly. Attractions like the West Edmonton Mall, Jasper’s wildlife, and various activities in Kamloops cater to all ages, ensuring an enjoyable experience for the entire family.

© 2024 Land of Hidden Waters. All Rights Reserved.

Handcrafted by Eco Escape Travel & BLKWTR.

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