Hi fellow adventure-seekers,
We are planning our across Canada trip for this summer, leaving Victoria around May 8th. We are first heading to Revelstoke and wondering about the routes to take from Hope. I've read people saying that the Hwy 1 is longer but easier or take the Coquihalla Hwy 5 is shorter but can have more car traffic, has a steeper hill and some sketchy tunnels (+ the BC gov website says it is forbidden to cycle on it??).
Any advice also on Hwy 5a from merrit to Kamloops?
Any advice on clearwater road that follows the Hwy 5 from Kingsvale to Merrit?
Not on Front Page
From personal experience I would recommend the crowsnest hwy 3 from Hope to Princeton. It's a little quieter, more scenic than hwy 5. From Princeton you have a couple options, the Kettle Valley Rail Trail or Princeton-Summerland Road could connect you to Summerland then Penticton, or continue along old hedley road which follows the similkameen river and reconnects with hwy 3, then 3A and Green Mountain road to Penticton. Penticton to Vernon can be done almost entirely on beautiful rail trails as well. From Vernon you could take hwy 6 to Nakusp then up to Revelstoke.
This route will take a few extra days but you'll ride some very beautiful and quiet routes, would be a shame to miss out while you're here.
Hwy 5 as far as I know is open to cyclists unless that has changed recently, I have cycled this route, the shoulder is decent but traffic is heavy and non-stop, I found this whole section to be a bit boring comparatively. If you do take this route then clearwater road is very nice and I would definitely jump on that when you get there.
From Merritt the 5A is quite nice and recommended over the 5. From the 5A you could also take Douglas Lake road which connects to Westwold on hwy 97. Its unpaved but entirely rideable, maybe quite muddy or dusty depending on the weather. Westwold to Armstrong/Vernon then either Hwy 6 east or 97A North to Sicamous are options.
I have not cycled Hwy 1 between Hope and Spences Bridge... It's a scenic road but is a bit narrow and generally busy. The main issue I see is that once you end up in Kamloops the only reasonable route to Revelstoke is follwing hwy 1, many people do this on cross country rides but I feel like they're missing out on some excellent back roads in exchange for the quickest and easiest route through the province. Hwy 1 is always busy and you'll have semi trucks flying past you all day, but if you're on a schedule I can understand.
Are you planning to post your progress and experience anywhere? I've considered this area, and well, maybe next year if/when the border opens to USA.
Route 5A from Merritt to Kamloops is quite pretty. While it does have some truck traffic, the overall amount of traffic is quite small compared to Highway 5, etc.
Highway 5 is a major, 4+ lane divided highway - the Coquihalla - and I wouldn't want to cycle on it even if it was allowed.
I have friends in Kamloops. They're not on Warmshowers, but are avid cyclists. I'm not sure if they're up for hosting with Covid and all (they have received vaccinations w/in the past couple of weeks). They do have space in their home and would otherwise be happy to host. They could fill you in w/some local details, too. Let me know and I'll ask them for you.
Sorry, but I jumped the gun a bit by posting my first comment w/out reading all of Derek's. Highway 3 is quite enjoyable and his suggestions about taking a bit longer, but getting onto some of the quieter roads where you'll see a lot more make a lot of sense to me. I don't have as much experience as he does, but what he describes fits w/what I know about the area.