We Heard You! Rest Area Improvements on the Way in BC

Overhead view of facilities at the new Loon Lake Rest Area on BC Highway 97C.

This blog was last updated FEBRUARY 2018
Our 170 BC Rest Areas are the perfect spot to refresh and recharge before heading out on the highway, and they are about to get a whole lot better.

Since the beginning of 2016, we’ve been working closely with the BC Trucking Association on the BC Highway Rest Area Survey and report. We wanted to get the voice of the trucking industry – what they like and what they don’t like – about rest areas in the province. Their input is important to improving rest areas for everyone.

In total, 835 people took part in the survey. Of those, 72% were long-haul drivers, 19% were short haul drivers, and 9% were local delivery drivers.

Truckers Told Us What They Really, Really Want

Truck drivers were loud and clear about the improvements they want us to make, to create safer, cleaner and more convenient rest areas. These include:

  • Upgrading restrooms to flush toilets, creating more truck parking and installing improved lighting.
  • Adding new rest areas.
  • Offering commercial services at rest areas, like service stations, shower facilities, convenience stores, restaurants/diners, fast food restaurants and other amenities.

trucks & rec travellersHow We’re Responding to Truckers’ Needs

Rest areas are essential, particularly to long haul truckers who have mandatory hours of rest, to stay safe on our roads. These improvements are coming over the next three years:

  • Enhancing existing rest areas by upgrading washrooms to flush toilets, improving lighting, adding more picnic tables, and increasing accessibility and capacity.
  • Building a new Class A rest area at the Loon Lake Interchange on Highway 97C (Okanagan Connector) between Merritt and Kelowna. This rest area has heated restrooms with running water and flush toilets, separated parking areas for buses, commercial trucks and recreational vehicles, and lots of parking for commercial trucks.
  • Looking into commercial services at rest areas, by issuing a request for information on BC Bid, to gauge industry interest in providing goods and services at BC rest areas.
  • We will be offering free WIFI at select rest areas across the province. In total, 25 rest areas throughout the province will have Wi-Fi installed.
  • The following rest areas had Wi-Fi installed in 2017:
    • Britton Creek  Highway 5 – 67 kilometres south of Merritt
    • Mt Terry Fox   Highway 16 – 6km east of Tete Jaune
    • Galena Bay      Highway 23 – 49km north of Nakusp
    • Glacier View   Highway 16 – 7km north of Smithers
    • Taylor River    Highway 4 – 37km west of Port Alberni
  • The rest areas listed below are scheduled to receive Wi-Fi in 2018:
    • Hunter Creek on Highway 1 – 11 kilometres west of Hope
    • Bradner on Highway 1 – 53 kilometres east of Vancouver
    • Cole Road on Highway 1 – 73 kilometres east of Vancouver
    • The Last Spike on Highway 1 – 24 kilometres east of Sicamous
    • Slim Creek on Highway 16 – 120 kilometres east of Prince George
    • Mount Terry Fox on Highway 16 – six kilometres east of Tête Jaune
    • Boulder Creek on Highway 16 – 53 kilometres west of Hazelton
    • Loon Lake on Highway 97C – 40 kilometres southeast of Merritt
Garbage and Recycling Gobblers wait patiently for you outside the new Loon Lake Rest Area.

BC’s mountains, rivers, oceans and deserts make road trips here a wonderful thing. The province’s awesome size also means highway travellers of all kinds need places to take a break, to help them stay alert on their journey.

Do you have a question about BC Rest Areas that we haven’t answered here, or any other transportation related question? Let us know in the comments below.

Page 1 of 59 comments on “We Heard You! Rest Area Improvements on the Way in BC”

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    • Hi again Dave,

      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 lead to safety concerns regarding those camping overnight. BC Parks have many campsites available to travellers day or night and we encourage you to camp overnight there. Hope this helps.

      • Rest areas across the province. In other words, will there be more spaces available for truckers driving through the province or just better facilities for existing spaces?

        • Hi Tyson,

          Thanks for the clarification. BC on The Move committed $9M to be spent on rest areas between 2015/16 and 2017/18 (inclusive). This money is used to both rehabilitate and build new rest areas.

          One example of new spaces being created is the new rest area along highway 97C (https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2016TRAN0269-001721). An example of improvements that have been made is the installation illumination at Fish Trap rest area along H5 just north of Kamloops.

          Hope that this helps! If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to let us know.

    • Hi Kim,

      Thanks for letting us know. We will share this forward for follow up. You can also let the maintenance contractor know directly here:

      Emil Anderson Maintenance Company

  1. What about those of us who are not involved in the trucking industry? Has the tourism sector been consulted? Especially for overseas visitors traveling by RVs, a more rustic, non-commercial experience is desired by many. This means more rest areas, on lower volume highways, with minimal services (pit toilets and picnic table), in scenic locations. BC has much to offer!

    For commuters in the Interior of BC, the most important factor is frequency of rest areas, especially in difficult travelling conditions (winter storm), just to give a peaceful rest from driving. A move to keeping rest areas that do not need winterizing open longer in the season is also beneficial.

    • Hello Gundula,

      Thanks for your comment and your kind words about our beautiful province. We have shared your comments forward with the Rest Area program manager.