Okanagan Rail Trail

On a random Tuesday in June we decided to head out for a ride. With COVID-19 restrictions still in place and a summer that doesn’t seem to want to arrive it makes for a perfect opportunity to get on the bike. Fortunately, we can load up in our driveway and within a couple of kilometres be at the trail head to one of the most amazingly scenic rides that British Columbia has to offer.

The Okanagan Rail Trail was an active CN railway line that travels north to south connecting Kelowna to Coldstream. It was originally developed in 1925 with its primarily used of transporting produce and timber to a connecting line in Coldstream then on to the rest of the country. In 2013 the line was decommissioned due to the operating costs becoming unfeasible. In 2016 government funding and a large fundraising campaign spearheaded by volunteers was started in order to purchase the land and resurface it to what it is today. We now have over 50 kms of both paved and crush rock path along the shores of what National Geographics pick as one of the worlds top 10 lakes in the world, Kalamalka along with Wood and Ellison Lake and finishing at the shore line of Okanagan Lake in urban downtown Kelowna.

We attached the trailer to our tandem bike and started at Km 0 in Coldstream heading south around 8:45am. With snacks and water in check we were set for a morning of fresh air and exercise. The first 2 kms have limited views due to the trail proximity and residential houses. Once you get past this point the crush rock path is only meters away from the beautiful shore line and the views vary from cyan water to steep rock face outcrops, grassy fields and the distant snow capped Monashee Mountains.

The 4 meter wide path has ample space for passing or getting passed by others, along with numbers of pullouts for stopping to enjoy the view, taking photos and even going for a swim in the refreshing waters on a hot summer day. After 8.5 kms and 45 minutes we turned off into Kekuli Bay Provincial Park. Here we found a picnic bench next to a playground with green grass and elevated lake and mountain views. We relaxed, drank some water and ate our small snacks while the girls stretched their legs on the playground. Then, 3/4 of an hour later we boarded back on the bike and returned back the way we came. We even came across the grandparents in the final stretch as they were out for a ride with some friends as well.

Returning back to our house around 11:30 was a race against the clock as the girls were closing in on their nap time and we wanted to be home rather then having them falling asleep in the trailer. Getting out for a morning ride is the best way to beat the heat and start your day off right. This trail is one of the many reasons why living in the Okanagan Valley makes life just that much better!

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