- Best of Vancouver and Victoria
- Vancouver Island: High Tea to Low Tide
- Vancouver’s Totem Poles
- Vancouver’s Best Hiking
- Family Fun in Vancouver & Victoria
- Focus on Vancouver and Victoria
- Vancouver Weekend Getaway
- Victoria Weekend Getaway
- A Tour Through Time
- Inside Passage Cruises
- Outdoor Adventures
- Winter Fun in Vancouver & Victoria
This town of 8,000 in the Nicola Valley, 115 kilometers (71 miles) north of Hope, provides the only services along the Coquihalla Highway. It’s also the exit point for those heading east to the Okanagan on the Okanagan Connector. Make your first stop off the highway at Merritt Visitor Centre, on a high point east of the highway (250/378-5634, daily 9 a.m.–4 p.m., extended to daily 8 a.m.–6 p.m. in summer). Upstairs in this large log building is an intriguing forestry exhibition, and behind the building is the Godey Creek Hiking Trail, which takes you 1.4 kilometers (0.9 miles) one-way to a lookout cabin; allow one hour for the round-trip.
Since the Coquihalla Highway opened, many motels have been built around Merritt, but by far the best choice is one of the originals, the Quilchena Hotel (250/378-2611, www.quilchena.com, $79–149 s or d), on Nicola Lake, 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of town on Highway 5A (take Exit 290). Built in 1908 and still part of a working ranch, the property is a destination in itself, with golfing ($20 for nine holes), horseback riding ($45 for a 90-minute trail ride), spa services, swimming, biking (rentals available), canoeing, and fishing. Downstairs in the main hotel building is a saloon (complete with bullet holes in the bar) and a restaurant.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition