5 Places to Experience BC’s Kettle Valley Rail Trail 4

Places to Experience BC’s Kettle Valley Rail Trail

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Myra Canyon on the Kettle Valley Railway | Kari Medig

Hiking or biking the Kettle Valley Rail Trail is a good way to travel through British Columbia’s wild spaces and learn about the province’s history. The original Kettle Valley Railway opened in 1915. Now, the decommissioned tracks are home to an extensive recreational trail that provides almost 650 km (400 mi) of connected pathways from Hope to Castlegar.

You can experience the trail on your own or as part of an organized tour; rent a bike for the day or take a multi-day tour. If you’re looking for more than a hike or bike ride, tour operators will often pair cycling trips with brewery tours or wine tastings.

Most commonly used for cycling and hiking, certain sections also allow horseback riding, motorized vehicles, or snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. You can even take a train ride on one section.

You can access the trail throughout the entire network from established parking areas. Pick a section to explore or ride the whole distance.

A map with a route outlined in blue.

A trestle bridge passes over a mountain valley, the sun setting on the left of the frame
Myra Canyon | Kari Medig

Myra Canyon, Kelowna

The route through Myra Canyon required the construction of 18 trestle bridges and two tunnels, and is now a National Historic Site of Canada. Located south of Kelowna, it remains one of the most popular sections of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail for sightseeing, hiking, and cycling.

A steam train crosses a raised trestle bridge. Forests are visible in the foreground and background.
Kettle Valley Steam Railway | Summerland Chamber of Commerce

Kettle Valley Steam Railway, Summerland

The Kettle Valley Steam Railway operates on the only remaining active section of the railway. Take a 90-minute journey back in time in a restored 1912 Steam Locomotive—the ultimate railway adventure. There’s even a special train robbery experience on select dates.

Person on a bicycle wearing an orange jacket stops along a scenic winding road overlooking a lake on the right with a rocky bluff on the left.
Kettle Valley Rail Trail near Naramata | @acbarry

Naramata, near Penticton

Follow the Kettle Valley Rail Trail in Penticton and tour through Naramata (also accessible from Kelowna), BC’s abundant wine region. Allow extra time as you’ll want to pause to take in the view and stop for a wine tasting or two along the way.

Midway, Near Mile 0 of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail

Midway is where it all started. Between the Kootenay and the Okanagan mountains, the first regularly scheduled passenger train departed in 1915 and the last in 1964. Be sure to visit the Kettle River Museum to learn more about the steam railway.

The camera looks down a wooden boardwalk that leads into a series of tunnels cut out a granite cliffs covered in moss. A turbulent river runs along the right of the screen.
Othello Tunnels on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail | @dutchie_in_berlin

Othello Tunnels, near Hope

This part of the trail takes you along the Coquihalla River to the historic Othello Tunnels in Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park. If the stunning cliffs surrounding the trail look familiar, it could be because they were the setting for the movie Rambo: First Blood.

*Note that the park is closed for the 2024 season due to extensive flood damage.

Travel Responsibly

While hiking or cycling the Kettle Valley Rail Trail is a great way to get outside, it’s important to check trail conditions before heading out, and brush up on your outdoor safety tips.

No matter what outdoor activity you are planning, be prepared. AdventureSmart and Leave No Trace are great resources to help you get informed before heading outdoors. Follow the three Ts—trip planning, training, and taking the essentials.

Originally published in May, 2017.

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