BC Rest Areas: 9 Things You Need to Know

A map of BC showing all the rest area locations
Information for Loon Lake Rest Area, opened in 2018.

If you’re like many of us in BC, on more than one occasion over the summer, you look out the window on a beautiful day and think ROAD TRIP!

To help plan your trip, and keep safety a priority, we recommend stopping at one of our BC provincial rest areas along the way. You will also see them on the DriveBC map, if you activate the Rest Area icon on the legend. They’re great for a quick stretch, washroom break, a place to sit and eat or just to get some of that fresh air in your lungs.

Here’s a breakdown of some basic rest area information:

  • The ministry has 170 rest areas around the BC.
  • They include large full-service heated facilities with flush toilets, sinks and other amenities, but there are also small pullouts with pit toilets.
  • A rest area is defined as a “roadside facility that is easily and directly accessed, offering the motorist toilets, picnic tables, litter containers and any number of amenities as may be available.”
  • Some rest areas now offer Wi-Fi and electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Click on the icons and you’ll find out more about the rest area. Added bonus for commercial vehicles: details include whether the spot can accommodate large vehicles over 20 metres in length, and if there are deceleration and acceleration lanes to enter and exit the area.
  • Ministry staff and maintenance contractors are responsible for delivering all aspects of maintenance at highway rest areas.
  • You are free to use any BC Rest Area to catch zzzz’s while you are travelling, but we try to discourage motorists from using rest areas for more than four hours at a time. Rest areas can be dark, secluded and remote which leads to safety concerns regarding those camping overnight. BC Parks has many campsites available to travellers (plus day use areas) and we encourage you to camp overnight there.

And here are some facts about rest areas you might not know:

  • Rest areas receive daily maintenance in the summer, while smaller pullouts are looked after three times a week.
  • Many of the rest areas are located between communities and tend to be in more remote areas. In addition to the scheduled maintenance, random inspections of rest areas occur regularly.
  • Ministry staff conduct audits of maintenance contractor inspection records to ensure inspection frequencies and maintenance standards are met.
  • If you have any concerns about our rest areas, you can contact our maintenance contractors, get in touch with our district offices around the province or phone in an issue with the facilities on the mobile Report-a-Problem website.

Part of the BC highway experience is stopping at one of our rest areas. It gives you a chance to take in where you’ve travelled to and where you’re going next. Do you have a favourite rest area spot?

For more information on B.C. rest areas, go to our Provincial Rest Areas page.

This blog was updated on March 2, 2020.

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Page 1 of 52 comments on “BC Rest Areas: 9 Things You Need to Know”

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  1. I simply cannot believe the complete shambles the Bradner Rest Area is in (Abbotsford). It has been over run with people living full time there. Needles on the ground, my kids and wife don’t feel safe stopping there anymore, neither do I. Something needs to be done before the 2022 travel season. The RV dump station as of 02/15/22 is destroyed, components broken / stolen. People dumping tanks in the paved parking areas. Common, how did it get like this? We deserve a safe place to rest, stop, dump etc..

    Reply
    • Hello David and thank you for sharing your concerns with us here. We shared your comments with our local area staff and they advised the Bradner Rest Area is very fluid situation, much the same as Cole Rd Rest Area, also situated within the Abbotsford municipality. The reality of these areas is that the transient individuals that frequent them are genuinely homeless people with no place to go essentially, which is exacerbated with current COVID protocols. Efforts are made regularly by our staff and the BC RCMP to remove any unsightly conditions and encampments at the site. Unfortunately, as one individual is moved out, another moves in shortly thereafter. This cycle unfortunately speaks to the current social environment rather than a lack of efforts from the ministry. The Fraser Valley has been inundated with a large homeless population that is ever expanding daily for a multitude of reasons including opioid and housing crisis. Motorists who feel unsafe or witness behavior unbecoming to a provincial rest area are encouraged to please contact local law enforcement immediately.

      The ministry is currently reviewing design upgrades for the Bradner Rest Area as it relates to the Hwy 1 expansion project from 264th to Whatcom Rd. and this will aid in providing a better experience to users. We hope to break ground on this work as early as this spring/summer 2022. We hope that this helps answer some of your questions. It is not an easy or pleasant situation all around and we appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with us here.

      Reply
  2. ARBUTUS rest area is absolutely disgusting. the point of a compost toilet is to compost waste, not soda bottles and trash (which there was) The smell was horrible and the flies are out of control. I could smell it from outside the building. Please service this rest stop.

    Reply
    • Hi there Diana,

      Rest areas are spots on BC highways for drivers to pull into and get rest. We don’t allow drivers to stay in these areas for more than four hours. BC Parks campgrounds are the best choice for overnight camping as they have more facilities and security. We hope that this is helpful.

      Reply
      • Well than what gives for the Bradner rest stop in Abbotsford? Tons of people living there full time, dumping tanks on the ground etc. Its super sketchy, unsafe and littered with full time residents who have been there for months on end…..

        Reply
        • Hello David and thank you for sharing your concerns with us here. We shared your comments with our local area staff and they advised the Bradner Rest Area is very fluid situation, much the same as Cole Rd Rest Area, also situated within the Abbotsford municipality. The reality of these areas is that the transient individuals that frequent them are genuinely homeless people with no place to go essentially, which is exacerbated with current COVID protocols. Efforts are made regularly by our staff and the BC RCMP to remove any unsightly conditions and encampments at the site. Unfortunately, as one individual is moved out, another moves in shortly thereafter. This cycle unfortunately speaks to the current social environment rather than a lack of efforts from the ministry. The Fraser Valley has been inundated with a large homeless population that is ever expanding daily for a multitude of reasons including opioid and housing crisis. Motorists who feel unsafe or witness behavior unbecoming to a provincial rest area are encouraged to please contact local law enforcement immediately.

          The ministry is currently reviewing design upgrades for the Bradner Rest Area as it relates to the Hwy 1 expansion project from 264th to Whatcom Rd. and this will aid in providing a better experience to users. We hope to break ground on this work as early as this spring/summer 2022. We hope that this helps answer some of your questions. It is not an easy or pleasant situation all around and we appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with us here.

          Reply
  3. There is a rest area on hwy 20 called Pollywog. It used to me the cleanest one around. It was serviced everyday and now it rarely is . Absolutely disgusting actually. Rest Area Maintenance is a routine activity that this Contractor is not providing according to the Maintenance Agreement. Why does the MOTY allow this negligence? They are getting paid but not providing the service.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Dave,

      Thanks for sharing your views about the Pollywog Rest Area on Hwy 20.

      I will be forwarding your comments to my ministry contacts responsible for that area.

      I suggest you also express your concerns with Dawson Road Maintenance Ltd at 1 800 842-4122 or via their website: https://www.dawsonroadmaintenance.ca/contact/ The contractor is required to log all complaints and we review their response to complaints as part of our audits.

      Reply
  4. The rest area out of kerameous going to Princeton is absolutely disgusting.Every time we go through it is fithey.These people are doing nothing and getting aid for it . You people have to get off your asses and police these caretakers. Tom Simm

    Reply
  5. Hwy 1 Bradner Rest Area there are trailers there that are obviously camping, disconnected from the tow vehicle. Same units every time we drive by. Why is this allowed?

    Reply
    • Hello Wendy – thank you for connecting with us here to share your concerns. We are aware of this issue and our local area staff continue to work closely with the BC RCMP and the Abbotsford Police Department to remove campers from these areas on a regular basis and with BC Housing to find permanent housing solutions for impacted individuals. We hope that this information is helpful. We appreciate that this situation is concerning and appreciate your patience as we try to find a solution.

      Reply
      • I am a commercial truck drive and every time I pull into Cole road rest area and for at least 6 months it’s the same campers and people living in the rest area l!
        Most days I cannot even park as all the stalls are full

        Reply
        • Hi Shari,

          Thanks for sharing your concerns about people using the Cole Road Rest Area for overnight stays. The ministry’s road area managers have consistently contacted Abbotsford Police, bylaw enforcement and RCMP to assist with enforcement and removal of overnight RVs on a weekly basis. And while these enforcement efforts work for short periods of time, new and or recurring offenders return, sometimes the same day, once enforcement officers leave the area. To try and address the increase in RV and homeless individuals in the rest areas, the maintenance contractor has increased services for litter removal, sani-dump/water/WIFI repair call outs, and its response to complaints by the public.

          Reply
  6. Who do I contact about the crappy mess at the sani station at the the Bradner rest station recently?The tanks were over flowing, the water was turned off, the hose was broken and there was a line up to use the one and only station. Obviously the province needs more and better stations in the Lower mainland. This is the only public one and has been in service since the 1980’s by my recollection.

    Reply
    • Hi Dave! Yuck – doesn’t sound too pleasant. Please connect directly with our maintenance contractor for the area, Emil Anderson. You can connect with them a number of ways to let them know.
      We will share your feedback about the line ups and request for more stations to our rest area folks.
      Here’s the info:
      Service Area 7 – Fraser Valley (Chilliwack)

      Emil Anderson Maintenance Co Ltd
      1 800 667-5122

      Website: eac.bc.ca/eam
      Twitter: @EAMOperations
      Facebook: @eac.bc.ca
      Instagram: @eac.bc.ca
      YouTube: Emil Anderson Construction (EAC) Inc
      Email: info@eac.bc.ca

      DriveBC also has a Report a Problem feature, which will help you identify who to contact for each service area across the province: https://www.drivebc.ca/rahp/

      Reply
  7. Who do we contact to seek permission to operate a food truck at salmon valley rest stop or brookeside rest stop hwy 16 west..

    Reply
    • Hello Jayson – thanks for your question. Please contact our staff in the Prince George office at the number below.

      360, 1011 – 4th Avenue
      Prince George, BC V2L 3H9
      250 565-4410

      Reply
    • Hi Todd – thanks for your questions. Our vendors have to go through a competitive process in order to operate at our rest areas and providing direct approval for a commercial operation without that process would not be fair. Would you like to connect with the person in charge of the permitting process for this? We would be happy to connect you.

      Reply
    • Good morning Phil – thanks for your comment. Provincial highway rest areas are open and our maintenance contractors are taking care of them. Safe travels.

      Reply
  8. The interactive map is a fantastic resource. One thing I would like to see is a quick link to which rest areas are open year-round, rather than having to click a bunch and hope to find one. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Bogdan,

      BC Rest Areas are not built to accommodate tents or overnight camping. We do allow travellers to rest for up to four hours at a time at these facilities but if you would like to tent or stay longer than four hours, we encourage you to pull into a BC Parks campground. Here’s a list for you to choose from: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/

      Safe travels!

      Reply
  9. There are NOT enough rest stops in B C!
    Driving distance and time between stops is quite often excessive, leading to an unsafe condition of driver fatigue.

    Reply
    • Hi Eric,

      We appreciate the feedback. Are there particular sections of highway you think should be considered for future rest areas? Let us know and we will relay to our maintenance department.

      Reply
  10. I read that the aim is for rest areas to be used for a max of 4h. If driving exhaustion is so severe, and I need to rest longer is there a fine? Or is the primary motivation due to the risks associated with seclusion and dangers of the dark?

    Reply
    • Hi H,

      We like to keep people from staying more than a few hours in rest areas, to allow others to also take a break for a few hours, particularly truck drivers. That said, you will not be fined, if you overstay.

      Reply
  11. Is the map not working this year? I’m getting a run-time error from the page with the map and although the google map is there, it does not indicate any rest stop icons.

    Thanks,
    J

    Reply
    • Hi Jon,

      Thanks for connecting with us here and letting us know about the map issue. Our tech crew is currently working on repairing the map and we hope to have it up and running very soon.

      Reply
    • Hi again Jon,

      The new rest areas map is now live on the site. http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/restareas/
      You may need to hit your refresh button if you’ve recently visited the page(our tech crew informed us that there is a known issue with Firefox not remembering user’s choices about sharing location.) Hope that this helps and safe travels!

      Reply