It says something about the magnificence of British Columbia’s interior that you can approach it from the Rockies or Vancouver and find landscapes every bit as spectacular as those you’ve left behind. That said, both major east–west routes across the region – Trans-Canada (Hwy-1) and Hwy-3 along the US border – skirt the real highlights. More rewarding are the two north–south routes: the easternmost snakes through the Kootenay region – an idyllic assortment of mountains and lakes and peaceful towns from the grand Glacier and Revelstoke national parks all the way south to the US border near the attractive old mining town and skiing and biking haven of Rossland. Roughly parallel to the west, the next major highway system travels along the arid Okanagan: a Californian-like enclave of orchards, vineyards, warm lakes and resort towns, whose beaches and scorching summers draw hordes of holidaymakers from all over Canada and the western US.
The unexceptional regional transport hub of Kamloops effectively forms Okanagan’s northern gateway. It’s also on the doorstep of the laidback Shuswap region – a medley of lakes and rivers loved by houseboaters and spawning salmon – and the magnificent Wells Gray Provincial Park, a remote collection of exceptional waterfalls and perfect canoeing lakes. And it’s from Kamloops too that the most spectacular portion of the Trans-Canada begins: though not really a destination in itself, the route along the awesome Fraser Canyon to Vancouver is as scenically spectacular as anything in this incredible region.