The Trestles Section
I would point anyone who only had one day in Kelowna towards the KVR trestle trail between the old stations of Ruth and Myra. This is an absolute must-do experience.
Many summer tourists drive up to Myra station for a short stroll to the first sets of trestles and possibly to the first tunnel if they have the time. Kelowna locals know that to do it right, you’ve got to cycle at least the 24km round trip between the two stations. To one up that experience you can continue on and cycle all the way to Penticton (80km, 5-8 hours).
Always wanting the full experience, we had to try the full journey even if it meant pulling kids in trailers the whole way.
One Way Logistic Hurdles
One way adventures in Canada are difficult and expensive. The most convenient option is to have friends/family who can shuttle you between start and front. The easoest but expensive option is to hire a shuttle company to take you to the start or finish. Always looking for cheap and interesting alternatives, here is what we finally came up with (for 4 adults, 3 kids). Vehicle # 1 drives from Kelowna to Myra station to drop off half the group then meets vehicle #2 at the Greyhound station back in town. Vehicle #2 is left and vehicle # 1 shuttles everyone remaining to Myra station. Biking starts early morning to Penticton and timed perfectly to take the Greyhound back to Kelowna. Since you can’t take bicycles on the bus, those who drew the short straws need to take vehicle # 2 to recover vehicle # 1 from Myra station as well as pick up bicycles from Penticton. A lot of work but well worth the effort!
Chute Lake Resort
Now for a saving grace for families who think 80km of cycling in one day a daunting venture. With a bit of research, we found out that you can rent cabins at the half way point, high in the hills between Kelowna and Penticton. Contrary to what the name might suggest, this rustic old revamped train station and cabins offers families wanting to break up the 80km into two doable-with-kids portions. The stop also offers the chance to delve into KVR history at the on-site railway perihelia museum.
The Ride Experience
To be honest, the beginning and ending 10km are some of the most scenic cycling in the region but in-between involves a fair amount of suffering. Between the Kelowna trestles and the Naramata vinyards, offroad vehicles, the elements and lack of upkeep have resulted in numerous bumpy washboard and sandy sections. The package as a whole makes for an unforgetable experience – an equal amount of breathtaking vistas, mountain wilderness, grueling monotony and self-induced suffering.
Can’t get enough cycling, trestles, and bridges? Well this stuff if all over the place as rail is ripped up for trail. You can ride the other direction south to Rock Creek and Midway. From there it turns into another great section – the Columbia and Western Rail trail (Grand Forks to Castlegar). Then there is the Slocan Rail Trail and the Othello Tunnels (Hope).