The Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) has a history dating back to the early 1900’s when silver was discovered near Nelson, British Columbia. In 1990 the railway lines were abandoned and converted to a trail with over 600 kilometers (360 miles) now available for backcountry use.
Since then, biking the Kettle Valley Railway has become super popular.
The Kettle Valley Rail trail is true wilderness. It winds through the backcountry of southern BC passing through a range of environments including vineyards, orchards, forests, lakes, deserts and mountains. Small centers are connected via the trail – places like Beaverdell, McCulloch, Chute Lake, Coalmont, and Brookmere which are mere dots on the map and at most have a few places to stay.
Tunnels, bridges, wild animals, rattlesnakes, extreme heat and thunderstorms are some of the hazards one might encounter.
Biking the Kettle Valley Railway Trail
The Myra Canyon Section of the Kettle Valley Rail trail is a very scenic and easy 2-4 hour ride. The trail takes you across 18 railway trestles (many of which were rebuilt after fire destroyed them in 2003) and through two tunnels over about 11 kilometers. Monashee Adventure Tours can provide rental bikes, guides and shuttle services or rent a bike for 4 hours and up to a day from Myra Canyon Rentals, conveniently located at the end of the Myra Forest Road. (National Geographic has recommended one of Monashee Adventure’s tours in the area!)
The other possibility is to cycle 80 kms from Myra Canyon to Penticton over the better part of a day. Chute Lake Resort is close to the halfway mark. Here you can buy lunch, cold drinks or pick up a freshly baked piece of pie. From Chute Lake it’s downhill all the way to Penticton which sounds easier than it is. The grade is 2.2% but there is quite a bit of sand to negotiate.
The views of Lake Okanagan and the wine country of the Naramata Bench area are particularly compelling the closer you get to Penticton. Stop at The Trail Store for a cold drink shortly after passing Hillside Winery or try The Bench Market for delicious food and drinks just as you enter Penticton. Monashee Adventures can provide a shuttle service that delivers you to Myra Canyon and picks you up in Penticton to return to the start.
Allow at least two weeks if you want to explore the full length of the Kettle Valley Railway. The book Cycling the Kettle Valley Trail by Dan & Sandra Langford provides detailed route notes and some maps for hiking the Kettle Valley Railway.