Vineyards, ranches, pioneer and First Nations history — there’s a bit of everything in this comprehensive circuit throughout the Thompson Okanagan.
The Thompson Okanagan region is home to a myriad of colourful orchards, charming vineyards producing world-class wines, captivating historical sights, and majestic scenery. The semi-arid, dry sunny days makes this area well suited for a diverse array of activities as well as a fascinating region to discover.
Day 1 — Vancouver to Osoyoos (4 hours)
Travel from Vancouver to Osoyoos along Highway #1 to Hope, and then on Highway #3, the Crowsnest Highway. You’ll know you’re in farming country when you see the fruit stands lining the road. Tour the historic Grist Mill and Gardens. This fully restored water-powered flour mill and garden take you back in time to the pioneer days of pack horses, gold miners, and wood stoves. Living history performers invite visitors to share in the daily homestead chores, offering a truly hands-on experience of early life in the Similkameen valley. The Grist Mill has an heirloom apple orchard, a Living Museum of Wheat growing on the upper fields, and one of the most diverse heritage gardens in Canada.
Stop at Harker’s Organic Farm and Rustic Roots Winery a few minutes east of Keremeos in Cawston. Tour the fields and orchard and pick up some freshly picked fruit and vegetables. Harker’s supplies produce to some of the most respected restaurants and organic grocers in BC. Try some of their fruit wines!
In Cawston, you’ll encounter Crowsnest Vineyards and the Forbidden Fruit Winery; the first indication that you’re in BC Wine Country.
Continue along Highway #3 to Highway #97 at Osoyoos. Spend the afternoon at the Osoyoos Desert Centre. The Osoyoos Desert Centre is an ecological interpretive centre on a protected portion of this habitat and has a carefully placed boardwalk around the area where visitors can learn about desert ecology, ecological restoration, and conservation of endangered ecosystems in the South Okanagan.
Overnight in Osoyoos.
Day 2 — Osoyoos to Vernon (3.5 hours)
Take the time to visit any of our many wineries along the BC Wine Route to sample award-winning wines and tour their lush vineyards.
Enjoy a tour at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards in Oliver where their tasting room boasts a panoramic view of vineyards and valley. Or, make this a lunch or dinner stop at Miradoro Restaurant. If time permits, you may want to tour Quail’s Gate Estate Winery in West Kelowna.
Continue on the “Wine Route” with a visit to Summerhill Pyramid Organic Estate Winery in Kelowna. Overlooking Okanagan Lake, this winery’s heartwarming charm makes an ideal location for lunch.
Gray Monk Estate Winery will be your host for an afternoon tour. Friendly, knowledgeable staff explain Gray Monk’s winemaking and grape growing processes as you tour through the winery.
Overnight in Vernon.
Day 3 — Vernon to Kamloops via Armstrong, Salmon Arm, and Chase (4 hours)
Depart to Armstrong, along Highway 97A, and visit The Village Cheese Factory which prides itself on using traditional techniques in creating award-winning, export quality cheese.
Continue on to Salmon Arm, via Highway #97B, and discover its rich history at the RJ Haney Heritage Park. Stroll through a pioneer Victorian home, school house, and church. A blacksmith shop, Salmon Arm’s first gas station and a vintage fire department are also located here.
Heading west from Salmon Arm on Highway #, the Quaaout Lodge Resort located three kilometers east of Chase, brings First Nations traditions alive. Experience a traditional native lunch of “Bird in Clay” or “Salmon in Clay”. Take a tour of the resort and visit the kekuli (winter home), sweat lodge, and teepees.
Overnight in Kamloops.
Day 4 — Kamloops to Vancouver (5 hours)
Before departing Kamloops, visit the Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park and experience the rich cultural history of the Shuswap People. Attractive museum exhibits, outdoor cultural displays, and a unique gift shop make this a can’t miss destination. Take the Trans Canada Highway #1 and plan a visit to Historic Hat Creek Ranch with its rich history as a Gold Rush Trail Roadhouse. There you will find a working First Nations’ village. This is also an ideal lunch stop at the ranch’s restaurant.
After lunch, continue west on the Trans-Canada Highway #1 to Vancouver.