The Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) spans the Southern Interior of the province, linking Vancouver Island, Vancouver and the Fraser Valley with the Rocky Mountains at Golden, including Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux Heritage Park, Shuswap Lake and Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Parks, and Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, and Yoho National Parks.
The 4,849-mile (7821-km) Trans-Canada is this country’s mythic highway, starting (technically) at Mile 0 in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and ending in Victoria, British Columbia (also Mile 0).
More than 500 miles (800 km) of the Trans-Canada run through the Southern Interior, Lower Mainland, and Vancouver Island regions of British Columbia. You can’t really say you know British Columbia until you’ve travelled the area covered here, certainly one of the liveliest.
Once you leave the Fraser Valley north of Hope, you’re suddenly into some great driving. When you pass delightfully named Spuzzum (don’t blink), you know that you’re on your way towards Golden, a distance of about 350 miles (560 km). In the short space of 25 miles (42 km), a series of seven tunnels interspaced by long sections of heavily forested roadway leads through the rock walls of the Fraser Canyon at Yale, Saddle Rock, Sailor Bar, Alexandra, Hell’s Gate, Ferrabee, and China Bar (at 2,000 feet/610 m, one of the longest highway tunnels in North America).
In 1986, the opening of the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) sharply reduced traffic on the stretch of Highway 1 between Hope and Kamloops. Today this drive is much easier to explore without fear of holding up a convoy of 18-wheelers, although a high percentage of the traffic is commercial traffic, with frequent mishaps involving big rigs and smaller vehicles. Truckers surely don’t miss this winding road through the canyon. However, anyone interested in a real motoring experience (instead of putting the car on cruise control) should drive this section of Highway 1. You’ll be doing so in the spirit of many pioneers who’ve gone before you under much more trying circumstances.
Once east of the Fraser Canyon, the Trans-Canada climbs onto the open Thompson Plateau. The arid, eroded windswept countryside here is one of the most unusually beautiful landscapes in British Columbia, and that’s saying a great deal. Thanks to widespread irrigation you’ll find roadside fruit and vegetable stands between Lytton and Cache Creek.
A series of gentle mountain ranges rolls between the Thompson Plateau in the west and the Shuswap Highlands to the east, then rises dramatically in the Selkirk and Monashee Mountains between Revelstoke and Golden near the British Columbia-Alberta border. Travellers between the two towns must negotiate Rogers Pass (elevation 4,534 feet/1382 m), one of the great mountain crossings in the province and certainly the Trans-Canada Highway’s crowning glory. The lofty sensation of crossing Rogers Pass is one of the rewards for travelling here.
Location: The Trans-Canada Highway 1 traverses Canada from east to west (and from west to east, actually), from Mile 0 at St. John’s, Newfoundland to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, and the other Mile 0. Almost every main road or highway in British Columbia intersects with the Trans-Canada at some point. On Vancouver Island, the Trans-Canada highway starts in Victoria and travels north to Departure Bay in Nanaimo, linking to the mainland by ferry to Horseshoe Bay, north of Vancouver. From Horseshoe Bay, Highway 1 passes through Vancouver’s North Shore before heading south of the Fraser River and into the Fraser Valley.
Highway 97 links the Central Interior with Highway 1 at Cache Creek. Highway 5 links Merritt in the Okanagan-Boundary to the south and Barriere in Central Interior to the north with Highway 1 at Kamloops. Highway 97 links Vernon in the north Okanagan Valley with Highway 1 at three points: Monte Creek, Salmon Arm, and Sicamous. Highway 23 links Shelter Bay in the West Kootenays with Highway 1 at Revelstoke. Highway 95 links Radium Hot Springs in the East Kootenays with Highway 1 at Golden. Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Revelstoke, and Golden are the four major urban areas along this route.