British Columbia Highway 97

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Highway 97

Highway 97 highlighted in red.
Route information
Maintained by British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Length2,081 km (1,293 mi)
(1) Okanagan Highway between Osoyoos and Vernon

(2) Vernon-Monte Creek Highway between Vernon and Monte Creek
(3) Cariboo Highway between Cache Creek and Prince George
(4) John Hart Highway between Prince George and Dawson Creek

(5) Alaska Highway between Dawson Creek and Watson Lake, Yukon
Major junctions
South end US 97 at the Canada–United States border near Osoyoos
Major intersections
North end Hwy 1 at the Yukon border
ProvinceBritish Columbia
Regional districtsSummerland, Peachland, Lake Country, 100 Mile House, Chetwynd, Taylor
Highway system
Hwy 95A Hwy 97A

Highway 97 is a major highway in the Canadian province of British Columbia. It is the longest continuously numbered route in the province, running 2,081 km (1,293 mi) and is the only route that runs the entire north–south length of the British Columbia, connecting the Canada–United States border near Osoyoos in the south to the British Columbia–Yukon boundary in the north at Watson Lake, Yukon.

The highway connects several major cities in BC Interior, including Kelowna, Kamloops, Prince George, and Dawson Creek. Within and near these cities, Highway 97 varies from a two-lane highway to a freeway with as many as six lanes. Some remote sections also remain unpaved and gravelled. The route takes its number from U.S. Route 97, with which it connects at the international border. The highway was initially designated '97' in 1953.

Route description

The busiest section of Highway 97 is in West Kelowna, carrying almost 70,000 vehicles per day. Some sections in the northern regions of the province have as few as 250 vehicles per day.[1][2]

Okanagan Highway

Highway 97 in Lake Country.
Okanagan Highway passing through Lake Country, between Kelowna and Vernon.

The Okanagan Highway is a 189 km (117 mi) section of Highway 97 between the international border and the junction of Highway 97A north of Vernon. It is named for the Okanagan region of British Columbia, through which it largely passes. It begins in the south at the international border crossing north of Oroville, and travels 4 km (2.5 mi) north to its junction with the Crowsnest Highway (Highway 3) at Osoyoos. The highway travels north for 47 km (29 mi), passing through the Testalinden Creek Landslide and the communities of Oliver and Okanagan Falls. From Okanagan Falls, Highway 97 runs near the western shore of Skaha Lake before arriving at the locality of Kaleden, where Highway 3A diverges west.

13 km (8 mi) north of Kaleden, Highway 97 arrives at the city of Penticton. North of Penticton, Highway 97 follows the western shore of Okanagan Lake for 45 km (28 mi), through the communities of Summerland and Peachland, before reaching its junction with Highway 97C just south of Westbank. From there, Highway 97 passes through West Kelowna and reserve lands belonging to the Westbank First Nation until, 15 km (9 mi) northeast of the 97C junction, Highway 97 begins to cross Okanagan Lake via the William R. Bennett Bridge. The highway enters the city of Kelowna upon landfall on the east shore of the lake. 6 km (4 mi) east into the city centre, the highway reaches its junction with Highway 33. As the Okanagan is a very popular travel destination and also has the highest population in inland B.C. (about 300,000), this section of highway 97 is by far the busiest. Congestion is frequent - particularly near the William Bennett Bridge, and Southbound towards West Kelowna.

Four kilometres (212 mi) north of the Highway 33 junction, Highway 97 leaves the urbanized area of Kelowna (the municipal boundary is actually a further 12 km, 7 mi, north). For the next 43 km (27 mi), the route travels well east of Okanagan Lake, passing through the community of Winfield. Prior to 2013, the highway ran alongside the west shore of Wood Lake to Oyama. A new 9 km (6 mi) section of four-lane highway was constructed and opened to traffic at that time, which bypasses Oyama entirely to the north. The original section of the highway skirting the western shore of Wood Lake is now known as Pelmewash Parkway. Both Oyama and Winfield lie within the municipality of Lake Country.

Highway 97 then passes along the west shore of Kalamalka Lake before entering the city of Vernon and a junction with Highway 6 just south of the city centre. The highway then travels north for 10 km (6 mi) to a junction with Highway 97A near Swan Lake.

Vernon-Kamloops-Cache Creek

This diagram illustrates the wrong-way concurrency between Highways 5 and 97 through Kamloops.[3]

Highway 97 continues northwest from Highway 97A for 81 km (50 mi), past the town of Falkland, before it merges onto the Trans-Canada Highway at Monte Creek, and is known as the Vernon-Monte Creek Highway. The highway follows Highway 1 for 105 km (65 mi) west to Cache Creek. As it travels westward, Highways 1 and 97 parallel the Thompson River, passing through the city of Kamloops, where the route shares a 12 km (7 mi) wrong-way concurrency with Highway 5 (signed as 97 North and 5 South and vice versa) and intersects Highway 5A.

Cariboo Highway

The Cariboo Highway section of Highway 97, between Cache Creek and Prince George, is 441 km (274 mi) in length and named for the Cariboo region, through which it travels. Much of its length as far as Quesnel follows approximately the route of the original Cariboo Wagon Road, which was also known as the Queen's Highway. The Cariboo Wagon Road's lower stretches between Yale and Cache Creek were severed in many places by the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880s. That section, now part of the Trans-Canada, was rebuilt in the 1920s, when the name Cariboo Highway was first applied to the route, a designation which ran from Yale to Prince George, British Columbia (where portions of the route survive as the Old Cariboo Highway). Today the Cariboo Highway designation begins at Cache Creek, veering north for 11 km (7 mi) to its junction with Highway 99. North of Highway 99, Highway 97 travels 92 km (57 mi) through Clinton, where the British Columbia Railway begins to roughly parallel Highway 97, as well as through the community of 70 Mile House before reaching a junction at 93 Mile House with Highway 24 (the Interlakes Highway). The roughly 30 km (19 mi) section of highway between 70 Mile House and Highway 24 has been re-routed to a new expressway with a speed limit of 110 km/h.

Over the 100 km (62 mi) of road north of Highway 24, Highway 97 travels through 100 Mile House and 150 Mile House before reaching the city of Williams Lake and a junction with Highway 20, which runs west across the Chilcotin District to Bella Coola on the Central Coast. Over the next 120 km (75 mi) continuing generally northward, the highway passes through McLeese Lake and Marguerite. En route, Highway 97 follows the east bank of the Fraser River to the city of Quesnel, and a junction with Highway 26. Over the next 115 km (71 mi) north of Quesnel, after passing through the hamlets of Strathnaver, Hixon, Stoner and Red Rock, Highway 97 meets its junction with Highway 16 at Prince George. North of here, the highway veers away from the Fraser River, and the British Columbia Railway veers northwestward from it.

The term Cariboo Highway originally applied to the reconstructed route from Hope through the Fraser Canyon to Cache Creek and Prince George. Constructed in 1924-25, the new gravel toll highway opened in 1926, giving road access to canyon communities cut off since the destruction of parts of the Cariboo Road by construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880s. The Cariboo Highway designation for the Fraser Canyon portion of the route was supplanted with the completion and naming of the Trans-Canada Highway c.-1962. Portions of the old highway survive as local streets, some carrying the name Old Cariboo Highway (as in Prince George).

John Hart Highway

On B.C. Highway 97 (Alaska Highway) near Stone Mountain Provincial Park before Toad River

This 405 km-long (252 mi) stretch of Highway 97, named for former British Columbia Premier John Hart, begins at the John Hart Bridge crossing the Nechako River in Prince George, travelling for 152 km (94 mi) north through the small hamlet of Summit Lake, which is situated at the Continental Divide, as well as through Crooked River Provincial Park, Bear Lake and McLeod Lake, to its intersection with Highway 39. It then journeys northeast another 150 km (93 mi) over the crest of the Rocky Mountains via the Pine Pass, at which point the time zone changes from Pacific Time to Mountain Time. After descending from the Pine Pass, the highway generally follows the Pine River northeast to its intersection with Highway 29 at the town of Chetwynd. After a trek of another 97 km (60 mi) east, the Hart Highway terminates at Dawson Creek.

Alaska Highway

This northernmost section of Highway 97 is 965 km (600 mi) long, and travels north through largely unpopulated wilderness, intersecting the communities of Fort St. John and Fort Nelson, the latter being just east of the junction of Highway 77, travelling north to the Northwest Territories. Here, the highway veers generally northwestward into wilderness spotted with tiny localities. As it passes over the Rocky Mountains, the highway parallels the Liard River before terminating just over the BC/Yukon boundary at Watson Lake, where the Alaska Highway is numbered as Yukon Highway 1.

Major intersections

From south to north: [4][5]

Regional DistrictLocationkm[6]miExitDestinationsNotes
US 97 south – Oroville, Wenatchee
Continues into Washington; Okanagan Highway south end
49th parallel at Oroville-Osoyoos Border Crossing
Osoyoos4.502.80 Hwy 3 (Crowsnest Highway) – Grand Forks, Castlegar, Hope, VancouverFormer south end of Hwy 3A concurrency.
Oliver24.5315.24Fairview Road – Mount Baldy Ski Area
51.6732.11 Hwy 3A west – Keremeos, VancouverFormer north end of Hwy 3A concurrency.
Penticton60.4137.54Skaha Lake Road – City Centre
63.3539.36Fairview Road, Green Mountain Road – Apex Mountain Resort
65.1940.51Eckhardt Avenue – City Centre, Naramata
Summerland80.9850.32Rosedale Avenue – Town Centre
Central OkanaganPeachland101.8163.26Princeton Avenue, Beach Avenue – Town Centre
103.9164.57Ponderossa Drive, 13th Street – Town Centre
Peachland–West Kelowna boundary109.0167.74 Hwy 97C west (Okanagan Connector) – Merritt, Kamloops, VancouverDrought Hill interchange
West Kelowna111.1469.06Glenrosa RoadGlenrosa Road interchange
One-way pair through Westbank
119.8174.45Hudson Road, Westside RoadWestside Road interchange
124.3377.26Campbell RoadCampbell Road interchange
Okanagan Lake124.74–
William R. Bennett Bridge
Central OkanaganKelowna126.3278.49Abbot Street
126.5678.64South end of HOV lanes[7]
Pandosy Street, Water Street
129.5880.52Spall Road
132.3682.24 Hwy 33 south – Big White Ski Resort, Rock Creek
137.0985.18Edwards Road
North end of HOV lanes[7]
138.1985.87John Hindle Drive – UBC OkanaganNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
139.0886.42University Way – UBC OkanaganNo northbound exit
140.3187.18 Airport Way – Kelowna International AirportInterchange proposed (no timeline)[8]
Lake Country148.2992.14Beaver Lake Road, Glenmore Road
152.6794.86Pelmewash ParkwayWood Lake interchange
Northbound exit and southbound entrance
160.5199.74Pelmewash Parkway, Gatzke RoadGatzke Road interchange
North OkanaganVernon179.34111.44 25th Avenue (Hwy 6 east) – Lumby, Nelson
181.44112.7448th Avenue – Silver Star Mountain Resort
183.02113.7227th StreetSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
Spallumcheen188.97117.42 Hwy 97A north – Salmon Arm, SicamousSwan Lake interchange
Hwy 97 branches west; Okanagan Highway north end; Vernon-Monte Creek Highway south end
Columbia-Shuswap207.65129.03Salmon River Road (Hwy 922:1126 north)
Thompson-NicolaMonte Creek269.71167.59399 Hwy 1 (TCH) east – Salmon Arm, Banff, CalgaryMonte Creek interchange
East end of Hwy 1 concurrency; Vernon-Monte Creek Highway north end; exit numbers follow Hwy 1
271.74168.85396[lower-roman 1]
397[lower-roman 2]
Hook RoadHook Road interchange
Kamloops278.29172.92390[lower-roman 1]
391[lower-roman 2]
Lafarge RoadTumbleweed interchange
281.98175.21386[lower-roman 1]
388[lower-roman 2]
Kokanee WayKokanee Way interchange
286.65178.12384Kipp Road, Dallas Drive, Barnhartvale RoadNina Place/Kipp Road interchange
Westbound exit and entrance
287.05178.36384Kipp Road, Dallas Drive, Barnhartvale RoadEastbound right-in/right-out
Gap in freeway; 6 signalized intersections
295.26183.47375Battle Street – City CentreValleyview interchange
No eastbound exit
295.71183.75374 Hwy 5 north (South Yellowhead Highway) – Sun Peaks, Jasper, EdmontonYellowhead interchange
East end of Hwy 5 concurrency
299.20185.91370Summit Drive – City CentreSpringhill interchange
Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
300.13186.49369Columbia Street – City CentreSagebrush interchange
Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
301.08187.08368 Hwy 5A south / Hillside Way – MerrittSagebrush interchange
301.87187.57367Pacific WayPacific Way interchange
303.55188.62366Copperhead Drive, Lac le Jeune RoadCopperhead interchange
307.78191.25362 Hwy 5 south (Coquihalla Highway) – Merritt, Kelowna, VancouverAfton interchange
West end of Hwy 5 concurrency; Hwy 1 / Hwy 97 exit freeway
Savona343.74213.59Savona Bridge (Kamloops Lake Bridge) across Thompson River
Cache Creek379.77235.98 Hwy 1 (TCH) west / Hwy 97C south – Hope, VancouverWest end of Hwy 1 concurrency; Hwy 97 branches north; Cariboo Highway south end
390.79242.83 Hwy 99 south – Lillooet, PembertonScenic route to Vancouver
Cariboo483.10300.18 Hwy 24 east – Lone Butte, Bridge Lake, Little Fort
100 Mile House491.57305.45Horse Lake Road (Hwy 924:1290 east)
494.80307.45Canim Hendrix Lake Road (Hwy 927:1142 north) – Forest Grove, Canim Lake, Hendrix Lake
150 Mile House568.44353.21Likely Road (Hwy 928:1143 north)
Williams Lake582.63362.03 Hwy 20 west / Oliver Street – City Centre, Alexis Creek, Bella Coola
Quesnel699.43434.61Northstar RoadNorthstar Road interchange
700.22435.10Quesnel River Bridge across Quesnel River
701.25435.74Carson Avenue, Moffat Approach – Nazko
706.93439.27 Hwy 26 east – Wells, Barkerville
Fraser-Fort George809.32502.89 Old Cariboo Highway (Hwy 941:1156 north) to Hwy 16 (TCH) – Airport, McBride, JasperFormer Hwy 97A
Prince George814.84506.32Boundary RoadProposed Hwy 16 bypass[9]
700.22435.10Simon Fraser Bridge across Fraser River
819.72509.35Queensway, Ferry AvenueGrade separated
821.04510.17 Hwy 16 (TCH) – Terrace, Prince Rupert, Jasper, Edmonton
821.74510.61Massey Drive, Pine Centre RoadMassey Drive interchange
823.00511.3915th Avenue
824.14512.105th Avenue
824.77512.49John Hart Bridge across Nechako River;
Cariboo Highway north end; John Hart Highway south end
825.32512.83North Nechako RoadNorth Nechako Road interchange
977.42607.34 Hwy 39 north – Mackenzie
Fraser-Fort GeorgePeace River district line1,015.72631.14Pine Pass – el. 933 m (3,061 ft)
Peace RiverChetwynd1,125.54699.38 Hwy 29 north – Hudson's Hope, Fort St. JohnSouth end of Hwy 29 concurrency
1,128.46701.19 Hwy 29 south – Tumbler RidgeNorth end of Hwy 29 concurrency
1,205.75749.22 Hwy 52 south – Tumbler Ridge
Dawson Creek1,225.37761.41 Hwy 2 east to Hwy 49 – City Centre, Grande Prairie, EdmontonJohn Hart Highway north end; Alaska Highway south end
1,257.17781.17Kiskatinaw Bridge across Kiskatinaw River
Taylor Bridge across Peace River
Fort St. John1,297.04805.94100th Street – Cecil Lake, FairviewConnects to unofficial Hwy 103
1,309.56813.72 Hwy 29 south – Hudson's Hope, Chetwynd
Northern RockiesFort Nelson1,676.71–
Passes through Fort Nelson
1,706.521,060.38 Hwy 77 north (Liard Highway) – Fort Liard, Fort Simpson
1,819.571,130.63Summit Pass – 1,267 m (4,157 ft)
1,985.481,233.72Liard River Bridge across Liard River
2,045.671,271.12Coal River Bridge across Coal River
1.2 km (0.7 mi) section in Yukon (Remains as BC 97)[10]
8.4 km (5.2 mi) section in Yukon (Remains as BC 97)[10]
2.4 km (1.5 mi) section in Yukon (Remains as BC 97)[10]
(Stikine Region)
2,159.231,341.68Hyland River Bridge across Hyland River
2,189.471,360.47 Hwy 1 (Alaska Highway) – Watson Lake, Whitehorse60th parallel; Continues into Yukon
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
  1. ^ a b c Eastbound exit number
  2. ^ a b c Westbound exit number


  1. ^ "Traffic Data". British Columbia Ministry of Transportation. 2021.
  2. ^ "Traffic Data". British Columbia Ministry of Transportation. 2021.
  3. ^ Example of road sign
  4. ^ Tourism British Columbia. Super, Natural British Columbia Road Map & Parks Guide (Map) (2010-2011 ed.). Davenport Maps Ltd. §§ A-5, A-6, A-7, A-8, B-8, C-8, D-8, D-9, E-9, E-8, F-8, G-8, H-8, H-9, J-9, K-9, K-10, and L-10.
  5. ^ British Columbia Road Atlas (Map) (2007 ed.). Oshawa, ON: MapArt Publishing Corp. pp. 9–11, 15, 18–19, 28, 34, 44, 56–59, 70-71. ISBN 1-55368-018-9.
  6. ^ Landmark Kilometre Inventory (PDF). British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (Report). Cypher Consulting. July 2015. pp. 42–49, 401–461.
  7. ^ a b "HOV Kelowna". British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  8. ^ "Kelowna International Airport". Airport Technology. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  9. ^ Chahal, Tony (29 April 2015). "New Bypass In Prince George?". CKPG-TV. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  10. ^ a b c Google (4 July 2016). "Alaska Highway near Yukon border" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 4 July 2016.

External links