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Road Trip Kamloops to Fernie

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Road Trip Kamloops to Fernie

Aussie couple wanting to drive from Kamloops to Fernie early March 2014. We would like any suggestions of the best scenic route to travel and overnight accommodation along the way. (We are allowing 2 days to do the journey, mainly to allow for bad weather / road conditions).

Thanks

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Road Trip Kamloops to Fernie

You are going to have a couple of feasible choices. You could go east to Revelstoke and south to stay at Nelson, or you could go east to Golden to stay, and then south to Fernie. Nelson will have more population, more places to stay. Golden is tiny, not a lot there. You could try to get further to Invermere.

The main thing you will need to do is prepare yourself for winter driving. If you don't have experience driving in a Canadian winter, the Interior of BC is not a good place to be learning.

Winter driving: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g153339-c55003/Canada…

You will also want to watch weather and road conditions, then choose the route that the forecast says looks the less hazardous (ice, snow fall all day, black ice, avalanche, collisions that close the highway for hours.)

Highway web cams for the various highways in the Interior. The website should be open to SIR (Southern Interior Region.)

…drivebc.ca/bchighwaycam/pub/html/www/index-…

Typical winter driving inland. You might have to get rid of the m. at the beginning of the URL.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uP5EjeETHSI

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RnrJpcd7WrY

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2. Re: Road Trip Kamloops to Fernie

Thank you for the above information, precautionary advice and useful links.

Have looked at both routes you have suggested. We will review weather and road conditions prior to making travel decision.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Road Trip Kamloops to Fernie

I have friends and family in the Kootenays and I'm pretty sure that the winter driving route from Cranbrook to the coast is north to Golden and then west along highway 1. Hopefully Redtrail or EastBC will pop in here, but I would avoid highway 3 in winter.

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4. Re: Road Trip Kamloops to Fernie

Friends of mine from Cranbrook consistently drive to Spokane and west from there if they have to travel in winter. Much easier highway driving. They never drive 3 in winter.

Penticton, Canada
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5. Re: Road Trip Kamloops to Fernie

hi

having had to drive #3 in the winter from Osoyoos to Nelson for work I encountered all kinds of driving conditions. #3 which is very well maintained is no better nor any worse then going via #1. so this is the map if you decide to go via the Okanagan. It does not show as an option when you use google directions Kamloops to Fernie. http://goo.gl/maps/vKGpV It is not the shortest route. The shortest by 2 hours is via #1 to Golden and #95/93 south http://goo.gl/maps/ljgid

There is not much for accommodation between Osoyoos and Castlegar so on a nice day you could make it as far as Castlegar where there is a choice of hotels. Nelson even thought worth a visit in the summer is not worth a detour in the winter.

If you want to see the Rockies then going to Golden is the way to go. Checking the webcams on DriveBC before you leave in the morning will show you the best conditions. Daylight hours will be about 7:00am to 5:00pm; an early start is a good idea. for weather: weather.gc.ca/city/pages/bc-34_metric_e.html

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6. Re: Road Trip Kamloops to Fernie

The drive from here ( Radium Hot Springs) to Kamlops we only go #1 even when I lived in Cranbrook we took #1. The Skyway over the Salmo Creston summit is the highest mountain road in BC and can have the worse winter conditions. Also the drive from Revelstoke to Nelson can be terrible in the winter. Highway 1 can also have some bad days but it is the best option as it is the most heavily traveled.

I drive to Kamloops all the time and I would say if you are taking 2 days drive as far as Radium enjoy a soak in the Hot Pools then onto Fernie the next day.

Kootenays, British...
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7. Re: Road Trip Kamloops to Fernie

You've asked for the most scenic route. This may not be the best route given the possible weather concerns in March - but it IS scenic!

From Kamloops start out east on Hwy 1 then turn right on the Monte Creek connector (Hwy 97) to Vernon. From Vernon head east towards Lumby and Needles (Hwy 6). This is a pretty remote and windy road so be prepared. Take the free ferry across Arrow Lake at Needles and head north up the lake to Nakusp. At Nakusp head southeast (still Hwy 6) through the Slocan Valley. Spectacular views of the New Denver Glacier and the Valhalla Range - as well as beautiful Slocan Lake. At New Denver head across Hwy 31A to Kaslo (once again - isolated highway - be prepared for anything). You will be in great backcountry ski territory. I think you'll be too early for the grizzlies to be out - but be cautious around river bottoms since that is where the sows will take their newborns once they leave the dens high up on the mountains. At Kaslo you will see Kootenay Lake. Head south on Hwy 31 to Ainsworth hotsprings and then on to Balfour and take the free ferry across to Kootenay Bay. From there drive down the east shore (Hwy 3A) to Creston and turn east into the Rockies for a couple of scenic hours on Highway 3 to Fernie.

This is not the easiest or safest route but it offers unrivalled scenery and an 'off-the-beaten-path' experience second to none.

Penticton, Canada
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8. Re: Road Trip Kamloops to Fernie

Hi

for a winter excursion on the very scenic route outlined by redtrail you will need to have WINTER tires and it is highly recommended to have a set of chains, the latter not allowed on a rental car. This a not safe trip unless you have your own car and have driven it on winter roads + a flexible schedule to change directions should conditions change.

Australia
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9. Re: Road Trip Kamloops to Fernie

After reading all the replies Re: Road Trip Kamloops to Fernie', we have decided to fly to Cranbrook and hire a car. Fortunately, we have done Banff to Kamloops by Greyhound in winter a couple of years ago. An amazing trip during winter which left a lasting impression (and a very experienced coach driver)!

Thanks to all who responded.

Rockies BC
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10. Re: Road Trip Kamloops to Fernie

best idea of them all safety-wise, personally I just don't drive to Vanc from Cranbrook from Thanksgiving (2nd weekend in Oct) to Easter or April, whichever is later (and DH will never forget the time he was almost killed by a sliding jackknifed semi on the Salmo Creston one June). Just remember it's a pain in the neck to fly from Kamloops to Cranbrook, you have to fly either to Vanc first or Calgary first and then change planes. One option might be to fly to Calgary & drive from there, it's only a 3 hr drive or so from Calgary to Fernie, and the mountains aren't TOO bad (take the Crowsnest instead of going through the National Parks). Not sure how easily you can get snowtires in Calgary on your rental. if you fly into Cranbrook rent from Budget, make sure you do ask for snowtires, they do have them, and their service is very helpful. I agree with Redstreak that the trip over the Monashees from Vernon and up the Arrow Lakes & down through the Slocan/Kootenay Lake area is gorgeous but not one I'd take in winter......