World Champion Professional Athlete Sonya Looney recently spent a day exploring outdoor adventure in Kelowna. She shares her experience on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, the Crawford Trail, and how to best wrap up the day with some tasty treats and craft brews.
The great expanse of Okanagan Lake anchors the agriculture-driven Valley which is home to many outdoor enthusiasts. Nestled along the shores of the 160km-long lake are the communities of Vernon, Lake Country, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, and Penticton. They are all connected by Highway 97, surrounded by both water and mountains, each range with its own unique character and ecosystem.
Kelowna is home to hundreds of kilometres of singletrack trails that both mountain bikers and hikers thoroughly enjoy. Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park is especially popular given its accessibility to Kelowna and is home to a favoured section of the Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail. The KVR’s railroad grade makes for a leisurely cruise. Take the family for a ride over the historic trestles, high above the canyons below. For a longer ride, continue on the trail through Chute Lake into Naramata and Penticton. Here are my recommendations for trails and brews once you’re there.
For those looking for more of a mountain-bike adventure, check out the Crawford Trail. The singletrack drops down from the KVR, following the ridge of Myra Canyon and giving way to three main lookout points. If you look up to your left, you’ll see a trestle connecting two mountain ridges. Look to your right and you’ll see dramatic canyon walls, and beyond that, the vastness of Okanagan Lake in the distance. The trail itself is challenging to start with some rock gardens to navigate and steep loose sections, but it’s well worth the challenge.
Both the Crawford Trail and the KVR are especially beautiful this time of year due to the dramatic change of season. Fall in the park is stunning with deciduous leaves and bushes brightening the forest like a beautiful painting. You’ll find every vivid hue of red, orange, and yellow – sometimes all on one tree!
Any well-seasoned mountain biker knows that bikes and beer go hand-in-hand. After a ride, quench your thirst with a visit to one of Kelowna’s craft breweries. My personal favourites are Red Bird Brewing and Kettle Valley Brewing. Red Bird Brewing was started by Adam Seminuk, a local, who literally built the brewery from the ground up. When you walk into the hip setting, you’ll find beautiful wood finishing that Adam fashioned himself and some great beer options. Even better, people won’t look at you funny if you show up in your bike clothes!
Kettle Valley Brewing is another great option just down the street. Treat yourself to a mini brewery tour, sample at both locations, and decide what you like best. Hungry? Hit up the taco truck outside Red Bird, indulge in the best of comfort food at Krafty Kitchen, or head to The Curious Cafe for wood-fired pizza.
Ready to start planning your outdoor adventure? I highly recommend the Trailforks app. It’s free and plays host to all the trail information you need, including location services and navigation.
What are your favourite things to do in Kelowna? Tag us in your photos @discoverroute97 or by using #Route97.