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Vancouver to Sun Peaks 27/12/19

Southern...
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20 posts
Vancouver to Sun Peaks 27/12/19
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We plan to travel from Vancouver to Sunpeaks in late December.

A car seems the easiest option.

Is one of the routes more reliably open than another? Happy to take longer if its safer.

its hard to see economical options (ie bus/shuttle). Does anyone have any suggestions?

its 4 of us but only 2 will be driving.

Cranbrook, Canada
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1,932 posts
8 reviews
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1. Re: Vancouver to Sun Peaks 27/12/19
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More info pls - can you give us your entire itinerary? Are you going straight from your flight from Australia to Sun Peaks or are you spending a few days in Vancouver first? Do you have any experience driving in the snow?

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
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58 reviews
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2. Re: Vancouver to Sun Peaks 27/12/19
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It takes 5 hours to drive to Sun Peaks. Hwy 5 can be clear and dry or it can be a nightmare: snow fall, ice, black ice, slushy ice, collisions that close the road for 2-3 hours while police do a collision investigation or the tow trucks get up from Hope, BC to deal with righting a truck.

Your rental car would need to have winter tires installed. Most rental agencies have them installed and ready to go. Most Canadians will have pretty decent winter driving experience on our interior highways and will have the time to be flexible, have food, drink, blankets in the car, and be able to wait out any road closures along with everybody else.

Another option is to fly to Kamloops (45 minutes), then take a shuttle from there to Sun Peaks (50 minutes).

You can also take a shuttle from YVR to Sun Peaks. Website is here:

https://www.sunpeaksresort.com/explore/getting-here/airport-shuttles

Southern...
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20 posts
3. Re: Vancouver to Sun Peaks 27/12/19
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thank you. if the number 5 is messy in bad weather is the #1 whilst longer a better option? or are they much the same?

Southern...
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20 posts
4. Re: Vancouver to Sun Peaks 27/12/19
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yes we have snow driving experience - never in Canada though.

we fly into Vancouver and have an afternoon and next day to get to sunpeaks.

I'd love to know if one route is easier than the other (better maintained, easier in poor conditions) as time is not vital.

Comox Valley, Canada
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3,236 posts
210 reviews
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5. Re: Vancouver to Sun Peaks 27/12/19
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Sandy, Highway 5 is the fastest route if there is not significant snowfall. It is high elevation and can get very nasty at times. Highway 1 is longer but much lower elevation do doesn't normally get the same poor conditions that 5 gets. Part of it goes through semi desert. The important thing is to monitor incoming weather and road conditions the day before and day of travel. DriveBC is the government road conditions site and you can view live webcams there, of all the trouble spots.

Both routes are well maintained.

Edited: 1 year ago
Vancouver Island...
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5,177 posts
2 reviews
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6. Re: Vancouver to Sun Peaks 27/12/19
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>>>I'd love to know if one route is easier than the other (better maintained, easier in poor conditions)<<<

It is not about being better maintained or easier.

Both routes are maintained as well as conditions allow. On a bad day, 15 minutes after the plow goes by snow can blow right back in. Highway 1 through the Fraser Canyon may not get as much, but long stretches are shaded and wet, yielding black ice.

What you are missing Sandy, is you could drive all the way, on either route, in glorious sunshine one day and the next, be in the ditch an hour out of Vancouver. No one is going to give you a "better way."

1

https://globalnews.ca/video/3170805/dashcam-video-shows-dangers-of-winter-driving

5

https://youtu.be/oKo_YMs3hns?t=117

If you insist on driving, then you need to listen to the folks here, watch the weather very closely and do not push it.

Vancouver, Canada
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39,526 posts
60 reviews
46 helpful votes
7. Re: Vancouver to Sun Peaks 27/12/19
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HIghway 5 between Hope and Merritt is quite notorious and I would NOT go that way in poor conditions. If the weather is clear, you'll be fine and its faster. We had friends from Airlie Beach visit and the original plan was for them to leave in the afternoon for a late evening arrival at Silver Star, but the forecast was for a storm to blow in and so they left early in the morning instead to stay ahead of the weather. It only takes a day to clear the road typically, so if there was bad weather the day before, it should still be clear.

Highway 1 is a lower elevation road and will often be snow free when there is snow on the higher elevation Coquihalla. However, if the snow is all the way down to that level, then its probably a harder road to drive in the snow.

I would suggest getting out of Vancouver on arrival and aim to get to Chilliwack or Hope. Then do the mountain drive from there to Sun Peaks through the warmest part of the day and get OFF the road by 3 pm. This is when the shadows start to get long and ice starts to form on the road in the shaded parts. Can be patchy conditions with dry road in the sunshine and ice in the shade depending on the ambient air temperature, so watch for that.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
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78,222 posts
58 reviews
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8. Re: Vancouver to Sun Peaks 27/12/19
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Here is a link to the highway webcams set to the Southern Interior Region which include Hwy 1 and Hwy 5.

https://images.drivebc.ca/bchighwaycam/pub/html/www/index-SouthernInterior.html

For Hwy 1, the first five rows of cams to the one captioned Kamloops show the highway northbound.

For Hwy 5 (Coquihalla), all the cams in that section, but particularly the Coq Summit N and S, and the Coq Great Bear Snowshed N and S.

The cams are live and reload every 100 min. If you take a look from 7 am where you are, the cams will show the previous day's 1 pm cam shots here. Sunset through the month of December to the 20th (Winter Solstice) will be 4:16 pm, but 4:20 on the 27th as the days start to get longer. You'll have a 3+ hour window to see the cams in daylight.

Comox Valley, Canada
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3,236 posts
210 reviews
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9. Re: Vancouver to Sun Peaks 27/12/19
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Sandy, if you watch the second video that Tim posted,note the title referring to the "smasher".....this is the nickname of a notorious steep pitch where trucks jack knife and other mayhem occurs. Now you can see why many of us steer clear of this section of highway 5, aka the Coquihalla. Why drive a road with the name "smasher" associated?? ;>)

Southern...
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20 posts
10. Re: Vancouver to Sun Peaks 27/12/19
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fantastic answers everyone.

I appreciate the advice and the live links.

listening to locals is definitely than going in naïve.

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