Written for Kelowna Guide Magazine by – Aura Rose
Kettle Valley Railway
You may have seen pictures of, heard from friends or just are a little curious about what the Historic Myra Canyon on the famous Kettle Valley Railway is all about. With so much to do around Kelowna, and so little time, one of the must sees is a hidden jewel that lays just a little jaunt out of town and a short drive up some forestry service roads.
If your trek begins in downtown Kelowna, allow yourself approximately 30-40 minutes to drive a upward spiral of approximately 25 km. You’ll climb to an elevation of about 4000 feet. (Lake Okanagan is about 1400 ft above sea level). The absolute hardiest of cyclists can challenge this steep terrain, but it is best travelled in the comfort of a tour company shuttle, or in a well fitting vehicle.
Remember if you are renting a vehicle and plan on cycling the KVR you must have a means of transporting your bikes. Please remember to pack water, snacks and warmer layers of breathable clothing as the weather can be a little cooler at higher elevations.
On the drive up there are some historical sights to see, and you will cross the spectacular Mission Creek linear park. In the fall you can view the spawning Kokanee in action. You will pass by beautiful landscape and some magnificent overviews of Kelowna, overlooking golf courses such as Harvest and Orchard Greens. If you are looking for a meal on the way up or down, you will pass by the Bunkhouse Bar & Grill and McCulloch Station Pub at the intersection where KLO Road ends and McCulloch Road begins.
Keep your camera out, because as soon as you pass Gallagher’s Golf Course you will be passing though what one may mistake for the end of civilization. Be careful on your drive ahead. For a short stretch the road is one lane, circling around the edge of a very steep canyon. After you pass the switchback, keep an eye out on your left; you will soon be in clear view of Layer Cake Mountain, also known as the Devils Staircase.
You should have now turned up the recommended road of travel to the KVR, the gravel forestry road known as the Myra Forest Service Road which will take you up to the trail head parking lot at Myra Station. The little White forest service road is not recommended as the terrain and condition of the road is too challenging for most vehicles. You may see some local wildlife and even cattle grazing on the greenery along the road ahead.
Once you are at the parking lot, don’t forget to use the outdoor bathroom facilities, as it will be quite some time before you see another.
Kettle Valley Railway Cycling company offers Bikes, guides, snack and water and a shuttle you back to your hotel. Phone 250 862-2469. If you drive up via Myra forest service road you can rent bikes at Myra Station from Myra Canyon bike rentals, Phone 250 878-8763.