Spring has arrived in the Okanagan. It’s time to grab the hiking gear and explore the diverse hiking and biking trails throughout Route 97.
Last Saturday I finally decided to leave my couch, take advantage of the good weather, and start the hiking season! Accompanied by the sun and a couple of motivated friends I headed to Myra Bellevue Provincial Park – just a half-an-hour drive from Kelowna and home to one of the most scenic sections of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail (KVR). The KVR, developed in the 1990s, is a historic railway that runs over 600 km (373 miles) from Hope to Midway in the Okanagan-Boundary region.
Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park, a relatively flat section of the KVR, runs along a scenic steep-walled canyon and consists of 18 trestle bridges and 2 tunnels. Along the 12 km trail from Myra Station to Ruth Station we fully enjoyed the beautiful scenery and spectacular views of Downtown Kelowna and the surrounding Myra Canyon Trestles. We could also feel the presence of wildlife around us as we spotted a chipmunk and the fresh tracks of a moose.
There were still patches of snow on the trail, so take caution when walking or biking as some sections may still be impassable. That being said, the trails are defrosting quickly, and conditions will only continue to improve over the next month. In the meantime, make sure you wear appropriate footwear for light snow or wet trail bed.
Over the next few months there are some exciting events taking place along and near the KVR:
The Tasty Chain – Penticton
On Saturday May 6th, the non-profit PACA (Penticton and Area Cycling Association) arranges The Tasty Chain, a fundraiser for youth cycling development. The 14 km ride goes from Penticton to JoieFarm Winery in Naramata with stops at Laughing Stock Vineyards and Elephant Island Orchard Wines. Wine tastings, lunch and a shuttle back to Penticton are included in the price of $95 per individual. (Limited space available)
Find more information and tickets here.
Okanagan Trestles Tour – Kelowna to Penticton
This year’s Okanagan Trestles Tour, a fun oriented non-competitive event on Sunday July 2nd, is dedicated to celebrating Canada’s 150th Birthday and the official opening of The Great Trail (Trans Canada Trail). There are different route options ranging from 20 km to 80 km, with food and beverages available along the way. The trails all end in Penticton where the bikers will be greeted with live music, a barbecue, drinks and more.
Registration closes June 25th or when sold out. Find out more information here.
The Kettle Mettle – Penticton to Kelowna
On Saturday September 23rd, the fourth edition of the Kettle Mettle Gravel Fondo, organized by Tri 1 Events, will showcase the historical nature of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail and the amazing scenery of the Okanagan while also providing a safe and challenging ride. Participants can decide between 3 ride distances: 50km Medio Fondo, 100km Full Fondo or 120+km Full Fondo Plus.
The main start is beside lake Okanagan in Penticton and finish is in East Kelowna where a wine festival awaits the cyclists. Registration fees include a t-shirt, a bottle of wine, a beer ticket at the finish, support on course and more. Find further information here or on facebook.
What trails are you excited to hike this Spring? We want to hear from you! Tag us in your adventures at @discoverroute97 or by using the hashtag #Route97.