If you love beautiful forests, mountain scenery, and visiting charming historical places, the road trip from Vancouver to Spokane is the perfect adventure. You'll drive through some of the best scenery in the Pacific Northwest, fantastic vineyards, hot springs, and even a Bavarian-style town!
The 790 km road trip from Vancouver to Spokane will take 9 hours and 20 minutes to drive. On the way you can visit Seattle, Leavenworth, Bellingham, Harrison Hot Springs, Kelowna, Fairhaven, Coquihalla Canyon, Myra Canyon and Clayburn Village.
Few places in America have this much natural beauty and non-stop adventure as this excellent road trip. Read on below to learn more about our recommended routes, top highlights, best places to stay, and the best seasons to make the journey.
How far is Spokane from Vancouver, and how long will the road trip take?
|9 hours 20 minutes
The Kelowna Route from Vancouver to Spokanecovers 790 kilometres and takes approximately 9 hours and 20 minutes to complete without accounting for any detours.
Alternatively, the Seattle Route covers a slightly shorter distance of 730 kilometres with about 8 hours of driving time.
Although you can complete these routes within a day, we recommend putting aside 2-3 days for this journey. This way, you'll get to experience all the amazing highlights each of these routes offer.
Best road trip route from Vancouver to Spokane
While both the Kelowna and Seattle routes offer breathtaking natural beauty and culturally rich stops along the way, they each have their own unique charms and experiences.
The Kelowna Route, with its picturesque landscapes, takes you along the BC-5, one of the most scenic roads outside of Vancouver. As you travel, you'll encounter two provincial parks, EC Manning and Granby, as well as the Colville National Forest.
A highlight of this route is crossing the stunning Okanagan Lake via the William R. Bennett Bridge, Canada's only floating bridge, just before reaching Kelowna. This route is ideal if you enjoy scenic drives, wildlife, and natural wilderness.
On the other hand, the Seattle Route takes you through awe-inspiring scenery of Washington State. Shortly after departing Vancouver, you'll cross the border into the United States, heading towards the breathtaking North Cascades National Park, which is worth a detour if you have the time.
This route offers spectacular mountain views to the left and the serene beauty of Puget Sound to the right as you approach Seattle. The journey between Seattle and Spokane is equally mesmerising, with sights such as the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
You will also get to visit the Bavarian-style Leavenworth on this route, which is famous for its fantastic Christmas celebrations and cheerful spirit.
How to drive from Vancouver to Spokane
The map above shows our suggestions for the best road trip routes between Vancouver and Spokane. Keep reading for detailed descriptions of both routes, where to stay on either, and the best things to do on the way.
Begin your journey on the Kelowna Route from Vancouver, heading east towards the Golden Ears Provincial Park. Next, travel southeast along the Trans-Canada Highway to the Fort Langley National Historic Site.
The trip continues eastward, passing through Tanglebank Gardens and the quaint Clayburn Village. As you travel further east, you'll come across the Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park. Then, stop at the Sasquatch in Harrison Hot Springs for a cosy meal and relaxing activities.
Further along, the route winds through the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park and the Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area, offering breathtaking views and outdoor activities.
Transitioning onto BC-97 East, the journey takes you to Kelowna, where you can visit the renowned Mission Hill Winery and enjoy the serene beauty of Okanagan Lake. Further on, you'll get to Myra Canyon, a must-see for its historic railway and scenic vistas.
The last leg of the drive heads across the Canadian/US border into Washington and you will soon reach your destination in Spokane.
Head south towards the US border. Continuing southward, visit the Canadian Museum of Flight in Langley for an aviation history experience. As you proceed along Interstate 5 (I-5), the scenic drive takes you through Skagit Valley, home to the stunning Skagit Valley Tulip Fields.
Further along the interstate, you can explore the historic Fairhaven Historic District, offering a glimpse into the area's past. From here, head into Seattle, where you can visit iconic landmarks like the Space Needle.
Leaving Seattle, travel east on US-2 towards Leavenworth. The charming town of Leavenworth, known for its Bavarian-style architecture, is a wonderful place to stop.
Continuing east, your journey takes you through the captivating landscapes of Cashmere Museum and Pioneer Village, followed by the beautiful Ohme Gardens in Wenatchee.
Your last leg to Spokane will take you through diverse landscapes before ending in beautiful Spokane.
Best places to stop between Vancouver and Spokane
Both routes on a drive from Vancouver to Spokane have so much to see and do along the way that you're going to want to split this drive up. For a relaxing stay with plenty of nearby highlights, we recommended staying at one of the amazing cities below.
Visit the famous vineyards of Kelowna
Kelowna, nestled on the edge of the breathtaking Okanagan Lake, is an ideal stopover on the Kelowna Route, approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes from Vancouver. Renowned for its vineyards, Kelowna lies in the heart of British Columbia's premier wine country.
Lush pine forests, abundant orchards, and stunning lakeside beaches all surround the city, set against a dramatic mountain backdrop.
Kelowna is not just a visual treat; it's a place where wine connoisseurs can indulge in some of the best vintages the region has to offer, with over 30 wineries located within a short drive of each other.
If you're seeking a mix of nature and culture, Knox Mountain Park offers scenic hikes and panoramic views of the city and lake. A visit to Mission Hill Winery is a must for any wine enthusiast, offering tastings and tours amidst its architecturally stunning grounds.
Our recommended accommodation in Kelowna is The Royal Kelowna - Bellstar Hotels & Resorts. This luxurious resort features mirror marble floors and an unparalleled level of luxury with uninterrupted views of Okanagan Lake.
You can enjoy a unique experience with a rooftop infinity pool and hot tub, perfect for taking in the stunning lake vistas. Each room's private bathroom includes a spa bath and complimentary toiletries, ensuring a relaxing and pampering stay.
Conveniently located, the hotel is in the heart of Kelowna's cultural district and just moments away from amazing lakeside beaches. Nearby, Tugboat Beach is a leisurely 10-minute walk from the hotel. The Waterfront Boardwalk is also a mere 10-minute walk away.
Take in the urban landscape in Seattle
Seattle is an unmissable stopover on the Seattle Route, just 2 hours and 30 minutes into the journey. Known globally for its exceptional coffee and music culture, Seattle also offers a rich culinary scene, a stunning coastal location, and proximity to the lush evergreen national forests of the Pacific Northwest.
As a hub of activity and culture, Seattle is home to the famous Pike Place Market, a bustling spot where you can experience the local flavours and crafts of the city.
Another highlight is the Seattle Aquarium, which offers insight into the marine life of the region. A quirky aspect of Seattle is its iconic Pink Elephant Car Wash sign, a popular subject for photographers and a unique symbol of the city worth seeing.
For your stay in Seattle, we recommend the luxurious Hotel Ballard. Situated in the historic Ballard area near the bay, this hotel combines modern luxury with the charm of an old neighbourhood.
The hotel stands out with its views of the Olympic Mountains from the furnished rooftop terrace, offering a stunning backdrop for relaxation.
Start your day with complimentary fruit and pastries available in the lobby in the morning, perfect for breakfast on the go. As a guest of Hotel Ballard, you'll also enjoy free access to the nearby Olympic Athletic Club, which offers fitness classes, saunas, hot tubs, and two lap pools.
In terms of local attractions, the National Nordic Museum is just a 15-minute walk from the hotel, showcasing the history and culture of Seattle's Nordic immigrants. Pike Place Market, a must-visit destination in Seattle, is a mere 15-minute drive away.
Where to stay when you reach Spokane
Spokane, once a bustling rail hub, has evolved into a dynamic gateway to the American West, offering plenty of activities set against a backdrop of stunning scenery.
Right when you arrive, Riverfront Park is a must-visit, offering leisurely strolls and picturesque views. Another highlight is the Spokane Falls, a large waterfall right near the city.
A quirky fact about Spokane is its claim as the birthplace of Father's Day, and the city is also celebrated for its variety of lilac bushes, inspiring the famous Lilac Festival.
When it comes to accommodation, the highly-rated Davenport Grand, Autograph Collection, can't be beaten. You'll love its sleek decor and friendly hotel staff.
After exploring the city, enjoy a cocktail at the on-site bar while taking in the city views. Afterwards, you can head nearby for some of the best dining experiences in the city.
Things to see on a road trip from Vancouver to Spokane
There is an almost overwhelming amount of things to do and see on your way from Vancouver to Spokane. To help you plan your ultimate road trip, we've included our favourite highlights below.
- Golden Ears Provincial Park - A natural paradise, Golden Ears Provincial Park boasts extensive hiking trails, picturesque campgrounds, and tranquil Alouette Lake, perfect for outdoor activities and relaxation.
- Fort Langley National Historic Site - This site offers a rich glimpse into Canada's fur trade history, featuring reconstructed buildings and engaging reenactments that bring the past to life.
- Tanglebank Gardens - A charming blend of manicured gardens and a boutique nursery, Tanglebank Gardens is a delightful spot for garden enthusiasts and those seeking a peaceful retreat.
- Clayburn Village - As British Columbia's first company town, Clayburn Village invites visitors to step back in time with its well-preserved heritage buildings and quaint village atmosphere.
- Abbotsford Castle Fun Park - This family-friendly amusement park offers a variety of attractions, including mini-golf, go-karts, and an arcade, making it a perfect stop for fun and entertainment.
- Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park - The park is renowned for its spectacular waterfall, which cascades over a smooth rock face, creating a veil-like effect amidst lush forest surroundings.
- The Sasquatch in Harrison Hot Springs - This unique attraction celebrates the local legend of the Sasquatch with various themed activities and exhibits, adding a touch of mystery to the journey.
- Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park - Famous for the Othello Tunnels, this park offers scenic hiking trails through a canyon carved by the Coquihalla River, with stunning views and historical significance.
- Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area - Offering breathtaking mountain vistas and a variety of outdoor activities, this area is a paradise for hikers, photographers, and nature lovers.
- Mission Hill Winery - Overlooking the picturesque Okanagan Lake, this award-winning winery is celebrated for its exquisite wines, stunning architecture, and panoramic views.
- Okanagan Lake - This expansive and serene lake is a hub for water sports, surrounded by vineyards and beaches, making it a perfect spot for relaxation and recreation.
- Myra Canyon - Known for its historic Kettle Valley Railway trestles and tunnels, Myra Canyon offers a unique hiking and cycling experience with spectacular views.
- Spokane River Centennial Trail - This trail stretches along the Spokane River, offering miles of scenic walking, biking, and rollerblading paths connecting natural, urban, and historical sites.
- Spokane Falls - Located in the heart of Spokane, these dramatic urban falls offer stunning views, especially from the surrounding bridges and gondola rides.
- Deas Island Regional Park - This tranquil park offers a peaceful escape with its lush forests, meadows, and river views, ideal for picnicking, walking, and birdwatching.
- Canadian Museum of Flight - Showcasing Canada's aviation history, this museum features an impressive collection of aircraft and artefacts, offering an educational experience for all ages.
- Fairhaven Historic District - Steeped in history, this charming district in Bellingham boasts vintage architecture, unique shops, and cosy cafes, making it a delightful stop for exploration.
- Lookout Arts Quarry - An artistic haven, this quarry-turned-arts-space hosts a variety of creative events and workshops in a scenic, natural setting.
- Skagit Valley Tulip Fields - These vibrant fields bloom in spring, transforming the landscape into a colourful tapestry of tulips, attracting photographers and nature lovers alike.
- Lincoln Theatre - A historic theatre in Mount Vernon, it offers a range of cultural experiences from movies to live performances, set in an elegantly restored 1926 building.
- Little Mountain Park - This park in Washington features panoramic views, hiking trails, and picnic areas, offering a serene natural setting for outdoor activities.
- Big Cedar Stump - A unique roadside attraction, this massive stump is a remnant of Washington's logging history and makes for an interesting photo opportunity.
- Imagine Children's Museum - Located in Everett, this interactive museum offers engaging and educational exhibits for children, fostering creativity and learning through play.
- Space Needle - An iconic landmark of Seattle, the Space Needle provides stunning city and mountain views from its observation deck and revolving restaurant.
- Barclay Lake - Nestled in the Cascade Mountains, this tranquil lake is a popular destination for hiking, fishing, and enjoying the serene natural beauty.
- Tumwater Canyon - This scenic canyon near Leavenworth offers dramatic views of the Wenatchee River, lush forests, and seasonal wildflowers, ideal for photographers and nature enthusiasts.
- Cashmere Museum and Pioneer Village - This museum offers a glimpse into the region's pioneer past with its collection of artefacts and a recreated pioneer village.
- Ohme Gardens - Overlooking the Columbia River, these manicured gardens feature lush greenery, tranquil pools, and stone pathways, providing a peaceful and picturesque setting.
- Lasting Legacy Wildlife Museum - Located in Moses Lake, this museum showcases the diverse wildlife of the region with its extensive collection of taxidermy animals and educational exhibits.
Best time to go on a road trip from Vancouver to Spokane
Spokane offers unique experiences throughout the year. With that being said, each season has its own charms and what you can do and see on the way from Vancouver to Spokane will differ according to which season you choose to travel.
In winter, Spokane sees temperatures ranging from the low 20s to the mid-30s Fahrenheit. If you are travelling on the Kelowna Route, be wary of snow and icy conditions, as mountain pass roads may be closed, and driving near Kelowna can be challenging.
For those on the Seattle Route, border crossing is smoother on weekdays, and roads are well-maintained, even in winter. Spokane in winter is a sight to behold, with its snow-covered landscapes and festive atmosphere, perfect for cosy city explorations.
Spring in Spokane brings milder temperatures, typically in the 50s and 60s Fahrenheit, ideal for outdoor activities.
On the Seattle Route, May is a bustling month with the Seattle International Film Festival and the Seattle Maritime Festival. In Spokane, the Lilac Bloomsday Run and the Spokane Lilac Festival in May are highlights.
Summer temperatures in Spokane can reach the high 80s, providing perfect weather for exploring Riverfront Park and cooling off at Spokane Falls. The Seattle Route is particularly attractive during this time, with North Cascades National Park being in its prime from mid-June to late September.
The Kelowna Route, with its scenic drives and lake views, offers a refreshing retreat from the summer heat. If you're travelling on the Kelowna Route, you can take part in the Kelowna Wine Country Half Marathon in June, an event that celebrates the region's rich wine culture.
Fall in Spokane and along both routes is a time of mild weather, with temperatures usually in the 50s and 60s, and plenty of beautiful fall colours. This season is an excellent time to explore Spokane's historical sites and enjoy the natural wonders along the way.