Ski Northern BC this Winter
For a dusting of powder and charm.
The Thompson Okanagan region gets more sunshine than almost any other part of BC, creating prime conditions for outdoor activities – including cycling. Unique scenery, a multitude of vineyards and the many lakes to cool off in after a ride make exploring by bike even more rewarding. Here are three self-guided scenic routes, as suggested by our local experts at the BC Visitor Centre at Osoyoos:
The Kettle Valley Railway operated for more than 50 years, starting in 1915. In the early 1990s, it was developed as a trail system, linking a number of communities in the interior of BC via scenic trails, trestle crossings and tunnels. The Myra Canyon Trestles section of the KVR starts 25 km (15.5 mi) south of Kelowna, and takes you through 24 km (12 mi) of gorgeous scenery, over 18 trestles and through two tunnels. After your ride, head back to Kelowna for a dip in Okanagan Lake, or a meal at one of many farm-to-table restaurants; if locally made wine is of more interest, there are several wineries within a half hour’s drive of the trailhead, including Summerhill Pyramid Wineries, Calona Vineyards, and Tantalus Vineyards.
Ever biked through a vineyard? The Fairview Trail Network is a 10 km (6.2 mi) loop that begins at Tinhorn Creek Winery near Oliver. You’ll pedal through the vineyards, then pass by Fairview Townsite, a former Gold Rush town. The trail offers spectacular views of Oliver and the rolling hills that surround it. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, add a visit to the remains of the 100-year-old Stamp Mill located off the Golden Mile Trail, which connects to the Fairview Trail Network near Tinhorn Creek. The first section of the trail is quite steep, but soon levels out, providing incredible views of the Okanagan Valley and the chance to hear the lively sounds of Tinhorn Creek (from which the winery got its name). After your ride, stop in at the winery for a tasting, or if visiting between May and September, take in some live music as part of the Canadian Concert Series.
Wine touring, desert scenery & cycling route in one, the International Hike and Bike Trail runs for 18.4 km (11.4 mi) between Osoyoos and Oliver, taking you past 11 wineries – including Silver Sage Winery, Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, and Inniskillin Okanagan Estate – in Canada’s only true desert climate. Find the trailhead 8 km (5 mi) from Osoyoos at the north end of Osoyoos Lake, and make your way towards the end point at McAlpine Bridge on Highway #97 at the north end of Oliver. Local’s tip: pack a lunch and pick a spot to dine along the Okanagan River. Suitable for all ages and skill levels, with paved or gravel pathways for most of the route.
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