Cycling the Kettle Valley Railway

Although you won’t be doing this as a daytrip from Calgary, it’s a worthwhile destination for a biking holiday. The Kettle Valley Railway(KVR) is an abandoned railbed in southern BC, snaking its way through numerous interesting locations such as the Okanagan, through mountains, over rivers, along orchards, across nearly-impassable canyons on towering trestles, but best of all, close to dozens of wineries. Every leg offers something new and exciting.

If you’re a history buff who enjoys a pleasant bike ride through a variety of terrain with magnificent scenery, this is an excellent choice. If you’re a manic biker who wants a vigorous workout, this may not be for you.

The most spectacular ride we experienced was through the Myra Canyon, and I’m going to give that section a post of it’s own. We didn’t bike the entire 800 kilometres; rather, with limited time, we selected some specific sections.

Some of the photos on this post include the section from Naramata to the Adra tunnel. Naramata is a famous wine-growing region a few Ks from Penticton. It’s 18K  one-way, with magnificent views of vineyards and Okanagan Lake and Valley.  Boy, was it hot. Although I grew up in  a hot, dry climate I’ve become used to the less scorching weather of Canmore. You also pass through Rock Oven Regional Park where you can see numerous old bread-baking ovens that were used back in the day to feed the workers.

As we were biking along, I couldn’t help but marvel at the engineering feats required to build this rail line. More fascinating to me, however, was the incredible hardships which the workers would have endured. Truly humbling.

It’s unfortunate that we had to see and hear motorized traffic on here. As we were setting out in the late afternoon, two quadders who had just finished were telling us that the trail above Castlegar was very dusty. We rode the trail for three hours. No quads. No dust.

If it’s your first time here, it’s a challenge finding some of the access points. If you go,  try to get explict directions. We were fortunate to have friends in Penticton who helped us with advice and directions. Thanks, Barb and Dave.

If you take the southern route on Hwy #3 through Grand Forks, be sure to stop in Greenwood at Deadwood Junction for cinnamon buns from the cappucino place. The best we ever tasted, along with the most pleasant people behind the counter.

You can read more KVR history or Kettle Valley Railway on Wiki or just Google it and you’ll find lots of good info.

Check back to see the spectacular Myra Canyon.

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