Mountain bike trails seem to be everywhere I hike in the Okanagan. I like to mountian bike but I would never take these crazy jumps and ramps that seem to be built in many hiking areas. I admire the passion that mountain bikers have for the sport. It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to accomplish what has been done in the Okanagan.
I was emailed this mountain biking question recently;
Q) I am interested in visiting Kelowna for the long weekend and doing some mtn biking. I really liked your website and found it very informative. What are the best maps for the area? What are the primo areas? Is it possible to ride around Okanagan Mountain Park in a day?
Any advice you can give me regarding mtn biking in Kelowna would be appreciated.
A) Thanks for visiting Tracks And Trails and emailing your question. Being that I am not crazy enough to take the extreme single tracks and crazy ramps and jumps that are out there, I have put together a Mountain Biking Resource for the Okanagan that you can view via this link. It includes where to get trail map info as well as fourums to get up to date mtn biking intel.
My thoughts on Primo areas are; (Okanagan Park does not have the jumps built)
1) Gillard Forest Service Road. Dude you just gotta be there. This place is alive bikes! (motor and non)
2) Powers Creek! Holy Smokes – you aint seen nothing till you been here. I think I noticed a forum (on PinkBike) that said there was a world class competition here at some point.
3) Glenmore Hills has lots to offer. Enter the hills at many points from Clifton to the Dog park just past the Kelowna Land Fill on Glenmore Road.
4) Okanagan Mountain Park could probably be seen in a day by ….maybe Phil, or someone else who bikes 400 km just for kicks so they can enjoy the feeling of thier lungs coming alive in agony and pain!
What you want to do here is enjoy the park. Start with a ride through Wild Horse Canyon, camp at one of the backcountry campsites, continue way up to any one of the several lakes and then loop back to Kelowna by taking the Old CN Trail or exit to the KVR along Mountain Goat Trail (you will have to carry your bike some parts) and ride down to the Kettle Valley Trestles. Please comment here when you are complete! I would love to hear about it.
I would have mentioned the Crawford Trail area but I have heard that mountian bikes are not allowed anymore??? Anyone care to comment.
Camp along the hemp creek. Hiking trails take you to explore, swimming lake, hot showers and much more
Wells Gray Golf Resort & RV Park located in central British Columbia approximately 50minutes by car from the town of Clearwater. Clearwater is the gateway to the world reknown Wells Gray Provincial Park and while you enjoy the area, Wells Gray Golf Resort & RV Park in Clearwater is the place to be!
Regardless of how you camp, this resort has it all, bring a tent, RV, or nothing and there will be a campsite, RV site or cabin just for you!
http://www.wellsgraygolfresortandrvpark.com/ at the website you can view a panoramic interactive 360 video. Check it out! Oh, and aside from world class kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, fishing and camping, yes there is Golf!
Yesterday I went up to Trepanier Road to look for the Lacoma Lake Trail that runs along the Lacoma Creek at the bottom of Trepanier Canyon. I have a few hiking pics of the area and while they are not published yet I need to let you know that as of July 27th, if you want to drive to the Lacoma Trail Head you will need to bring a power saw with you. About 2 km before the Trail Head a tree about 2 feet in diameter is blown down across the trail.
I was driving with my wife in our new car so I had to park on Trepanier Creek Forest Service Road at a nice pullout before that. The FSR pullout would be very suitable for some free camping – but situated a long ways before the Lacoma Trail Head.
After we hiked the 4.4 km to the Trail Head we only had time to hike another 1.6 km along the actual Lacoma Lake Trail. The one thing that I was surprised at is the fact that there really was no sign of a canyon. The topo maps show some very steep terrain though so I will have to go back with a power saw some time to make sure I can drive to the trail head, and hike all the way to Lacoma Lake at the head of the canyon. I have the the GPS coordinates for the trail head so if you want them just send a quick email or wait a bit and I’ll have them posted at my Canadian Hiking TracksAndTrails.ca Adventures Website.
In response to some discussion, I had to post, in my opinion, the 3 top Kelowna Mountain Biking day trips to take. My opinion on these top 3 Kelowna trails comes from a viewpoint of mountain biking for fun without having to worry about suiting up with armour that one would need for riding the more extreme singletracks. Although, the McDougal Rim, Mount Hayman trip would be the most dangerous with some steep skinny sections that I would prefer to hike down!
Myra Canyon on the KVR in Bellevue Provincial Park. – In a Provincial Park you know you will get quality trails and spectacular scenery. Now add the recognition of a National Heritage site and the fact that the KVR Myra Canyon Trestles are part of the Trans Canada Trail and you can’t go wrong with experiencing this historic area. You may want to look up McCollochs Wonder. The Trestles would be most enjoyable if you could catch a ride up to the North end and then bike over the trestles and down through Crawford Trails and into Kelowna or down through Little White Forest Service Road and into Kelowna. The Little White FSR would be a bumpy ride though and the Crawford Section may contain some steep single tracks that would prove difficult to ride for someone like myself – 40 years old and would rather walk down the steep trails than bike.
Okanagan Provincial Park – A Provincial Park that you will grow to love! Even though it was quite thoroughly burned in the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park Fire. The Wild Horse Canyon Trail is a popular OK Mtn. Park Trail and Divide Lake near the top of Okanagan Mountain is a real gem. Okanagan Mountain Park Map
McDougall Rim Loop. The true loop takes you through Mount Hayman, Swite and Carrot Mountain and would be around 50km. The 50 km ride would inlclude a lot boring flat logging roads along Swite and Carrot Mountain with no views so most people enjoy the shorter version of McDougall Rim Loop. So to sum it up, the series of logging roads that make up the western portion of the loop create a confusing matrix of trails…but the East side of the loop on Mount Hayman is incredible! Here is the Mount Hayman post with the pictures.
– In Kelowna, B.C., head south on Lakeshore Road. After you pass both Bertram Creek
Regional Park parking spots on the right, watch for another large unpaved pull out to your rigt. You will see the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park Trail Head and Information Gazebo on your left.
-travel south on Lakeshore Rd. past the main parking lot, to park on the side of the road and enter the Wild Horse Canyon Trail. GPS UTM point for the Gated entrance (the gate that shows on the map where Wild Horse Canyon Trail meets Lakeshore Road) to the Wild Horse Canyon Trail is; 11u 0311970E 5517284N
-Timberline Rd – park near the gate and walk up the forest service road to Okanagan Mountain Summit.
-To get to the South parking lot. Drive to Naramata, take Chute Lake Rd. North and watch for the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park entrance on your left.
-Travel by boat in the Okanagan Lake until you reach the backcountry camping areas and marine sites.
– Campfires are prohibited in Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park.
– only backcountry campsites are available at Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park. Backcountry campsites do not include pit toilets. From the north parking lot, follow Golden Mile-Boulder Trail (moderate; 2 miles/3.5 km) to the Wildhorse Canyon Trail (moderate; 3 miles/5 km) and finally the Buchan Bay Trail (easy; 1 mile/1.6 km) to reach the wilderness campsites at Buchan Bay.
Wilderness campsites are located near the south parking lot. More sites are located at Divide Lake on Okanagan Mountain, reached via the
Divide Lake North Trail (10 miles/16 km return) from the Timberline / Rimrock Rd parking lot, or via the Mountain Goat Trail (6 miles/10 km return) from the south parking lot. The campsites at Baker and Victor Lakes can reached by following the Baker Lake Trail (moderate; 2.5 miles/4 km return) from Divide Lake.
Hiking trails provide an excellent opportunity to ramble around and see unique plants and animal life in this semidesert wilderness region. The lake and mountain views are good from the top of Okanagan Mountain, but wear sturdy footwear (this park is in rattlesnake country) and carry water between camping areas – specially in summer! In addition to the backcountry campsites, facilities also include horse-loading ramps in the north and south parking lots, as well as marine campsites and mooring buoys on Okanagan Lake. Hike to the top of Okanagan Mountain on the Divide Lake
North Trail (moderate; 10 miles/16 km return) from the Rimrock Rd parking lot for beautiful views of the lake to the west and the Monashees to the east, and check out the four archaeological sites in the park.
The park is good for mountain biking. Remember that motorised vehicles are prohibited. Almost all the trails are open to mountain bikers. Popular trails include Commando Bay Trail (lengthy, moderate) and Bounder Trail (short, technical).
Okanagan Mountain suffered a wildfire in 2003
Memories of the Kelowna Okanagan Mountain Park Fire
(2003 first Grade Six Language Arts assignment of the year)
When I think about the Kelowna fire of 2003 I think about the smoke,
Smoke from Okanagan Mountain Fire
water bombers, helicopters, trestles, firestorm, incredible power, evacuations, neighbours, seeing the flames, wow, cool, scary, thankfulness, hiking, hot dry summer, renewing.
On the first day of the fire I was hiking at Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park, behind Crawford Estates, where many of the homes were lost. It was a great hike to Fraggle rock
Fraggle Rock sign - no longer exists.
and by the time we got home the smoke was really thick over the valley. Eventually Mom suggested that there might be a forest fire around Kelowna.
Smoke, the irritating thing from the fire that goes everywhere, you can’t get arid of it.
The smoke makes my throat hurt, eyes red, it makes the earth dark, and you can’t see the mountains. On the day of the firestorm the smoke was so bad it made me feel sick, it was so dark. I found ashes, leaves, pine needles, and other things from the fire.
The flames seemed so close to our house. The flames were, Wow cool but scary. I was amazed by the speed of the flames going across the mountain side. The flames were so scary and looked so close that everybody thought we were on alert and were packing up. The first time we saw the fire it was several whole mountains away and I could see it from my bedroom window, now the fire was only about 6km away and we had to look at it from the other side of the house!
Renewing, it’s a great thing the fire can do, how it can triple the deer population, and maybe because of the fire the bighorn sheep will move in. The ash works like fertilizer, the grass will be really good. The fire burns out the dead trees and mess, letting seeds work. With one tree if there isn’t a fire in 25 years the seeds won’t work. The fire will make the land fresh and new, more like a grassland.
I hope nobody plants trees there because that would wreck it. Okanagan Mountain Park was a class A Park, that means that it is ready for a fire and people want a fire there. I can’t wait to go hiking where the fire was.
after forest fire
(Dad’s addendum) We did go for a hike where the fire burned behind the Kettle Valley Development.
The first evidence of new Life after the fire was not a… Phoenix. No, it was a Squirrel, spreading the seeds from a fallen pine cone as she ate her hard earned dinner.
Thanks to one of TracksAndTrails.ca website visitors we have an update on the condition of the High Rim Trail section from Philpott to Beaver Lake Road. I hope pictures are forthcoming as anyone considering this hike could use any information available. It is easy to get lost when hiking in BC and any information like Grant has provided is a huge benefit to the rest of us – Thanks for providing such excellent detail in your hiking notes Grant! (And thanks for the comments on being prepared)
Hi Clayton. I read your details on the High Rim trail from Kalmalka to Damer Lake with much interest. I’ve wanted to do the High Rim trail for years..But maybe not all at once..
So this past Wednesday, July 16 I did the Philpott to Beaver Lake Rd section… What a hike!!! I wished I had a GPS, I did have a topo map and compass. Mostly not needed but did come in handy a couple of times…Generally the trail is well defined and flagged with the pink/black ribbon..
But in the Orchard Meadows there are few tough sections with little flagging and thick bush. I used up a whole roll of pink flagging to augment the lack of flagging.
After descending Orchard Meadows onto a logging Rd, the trail goes straight across with Orange flagging that says High Rim West Trail…that misguided me as I thought I should be heading a more Northly direction, according what other maps I had. So I hiked this logging rd for a few kms only to turn around and start at this Orange flagging of the “west” trail. There is a bit of blow down in this area. I lost my bear spray cannister around here crawling under one of several logs.
Within a half hour of this part is the very worst section , between 17 to 19 km,of the High Rim trail.. Bush is about 3-4 ft high,no sign of a walked on trail and pink/black flags about every 40-50 ft, if you can spot them..I found it quite difficult. Long pants are a must and so would a chainsaw and brushcutter.
Other than that I really enjoyed the trail. I think I did about 34km that day. I was well prepared with food,water (4 1/2L) and emerg supplies. Though I am kinda sore in the legs today.. Next time I will have a GPS..
sincerely and good hiking….grant
…update – Also there is a campsite with 2 tent spots and 1-2 pit toilets. It is at a spot labelled Grandview (of Kelowna).. Very nice valley view. It is about 5 1/2 to 6 hrs from the Philpott start point. It is located along a section where the trail parallels barb wire fencing, or about 20 minutes south after crossing a road with a green cattleguard. I will try to pinpoint it with Goggle earth..So this campsite would make a good stop from points north of Beaver Lake or those very tired from Philpott.
Portion of the High Rim Trail
Barriers on the High Rim Trail - may be cleaned out now.
The Central Okanagan Naturalists’ Club in Kelowna will benefit from $132,173 in funding which will create jobs and revitalize the Okanagan Highlands Trail Upgrades.
As well, the Kelowna Snowmobile Club will receive $110,000 in funding to help create jobs and revitalize the trails for the Okanagan Highlands Snowmobile Trails.
“Our government is pleased to provide $242,173 to the Central Okanagan Naturalist’s Club and the Kelowna Snowmobile Club in support of the development and upgrading of recreational trails across our country,” said Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Cannan.
“Through this initiative, our Government and the National Trails Coalition (NTC) are working together to create jobs, stimulate the economy and improve Canada’s stock of trail infrastructure for the present and for our future,” he said in a statement.
The project is being supported through the federal government’s $25 million investment in recreational trails, part of the Canada Economic Action Plan.
The investment will be matched by the trails coalition and their provincial, territorial, municipal or private funding partners.
A first federal payment of
via Kelowna Capital News – Two grants allotted to outdoor clubs .
Okanagan Highlands Trail is now the only verified route to backpack, hike, mountain bike or horse back to the summit of Little White. A Provincial Park Ranger spoke with my son yesterday (as he was getting unstuck from the Bellevue Creek Forest Fire Access road – which will be deactivated soon) and told him that the Upper Crawford Trail has been cleared in the lower sections by her and her crew. The Upper Crawford Trail can be accessed by hiking the dirt road found at the North end of the Bellevue Creek Trestle for a few hundred meters and watching for the Upper Crawford Trail that leads off the road and up the mountain.
If you use the Little White Forest Service Road to access the Little White Summit, then be forwarned that it is severely deactivated for several kilometers before the Trail Head.
If you are caught on an old road within the Myra Bellevue Park Boundaries (like the forest fire access road), you may be fined up to $2000 the Park Ranger said. At the point when she spoke to my son, she still did not have the sign up so she let him go this time. 🙂
The Okanagan Highlands Trail may also be accessed from Big Meadow Lake and Corporation Lake. The trail from that end may have much dead fall on it making it impassable.
Fall Season = Hiking Season! While I was working Saturday and enjoying the local regional parks on Sunday, Jesse and crew were out bagging Alpine Peaks. Below are Mount Severide pictures and pictures from the hike up. Jesse doesn’t use a GPS, he downloaded and studied all the map sheets from Google and took them with him. Good thing, a french hiking crew who were otherwise quite prepared for the backcountry, did not have proper maps to get the correct information to Twin Lakes, lucky for them Jesse had been there several years ago so told them how to get there and gave him the printed map sheets as well (he was on his way back)!
Standing at the Grand Hotel on Kelowna’s picturesque lake front, one looks west and views a silent mountain. Now I know mountains don’t talk, but there just doesn’t seem to be talk about the undescribable views that are found on the Mount Hayman hiking trails that lead to Hayman Lake.
Named after Mr. Hayman who captained the ferry that was used prior to 1968 and the construction of the Okanagan Floating Bridge, Mt. Hayman is a recreation area of all types.
For all the Mount Hayman hiking and biking info: see below…but first, check out these May 2010 Pictures from Nick (his comment below)
Deadly Poison Lizards on Mount Hayman – Beware – Stay away
Enjoying the Okanagan Views
Hayman Lake – Great pic!
Lake Okanagan view from Mount Hayman
Mount Hayman Trail Sign
Mount Hayman views on the hike up.
Mountain Views from Hayman.
Staying out of the mud from one of the 4X4 trails on Mount Hayman.
Views from Mount Hayman on the hike up.
Trail Head: Heading towards Westbank from Kelowna, turn Right onto Bartley Road and go about 3.5 km. The road turns to dirt and through a residential section that says private property. Respect the residents who do not want 4X4’s screaming through kicking up the dust and running over their livestock andbe careful. ****See Grant’s notes on the change in the Bartley Road directions and view map to trail head here****
When you have gone about 3.5 km up Bartley Road you will see a dirt parking lot, if you miss it you will stop in about 100 feet as this forest service road has been deactivated and a large dirt pile pretty much slows you down so just back up and park. You will see the trail going up.
It would be very difficult to get really lost on Mt. Hayman. If you go too far to the East you will fall over the edge of the cliff shown below. If you go to far West you will tumble down the mountain and splash into McDougall Creek. If you stay on the trails and small 4X4 roads that that follow the ridges and if you continue to higher ground you will find Hayman Lake. If you stay on the McDougall Rim Trail that leads along the Hayman Cliffs towards Blue Grouse Mountain, you will miss the lake but have a nice journey that leads to Bear Creek Main FSR or a really long journey that will eventually loop back 2 km upstream (up the McDougall Creek FSR – Forest Service Road) from where you parked.
Remember, the McDougall Rim Loop trail leads onto Mount Swite and across Carrot mountain and back down to the parking lot if you do not exit to Bear Creek Main. If you take that trail, I believe it is about 40 Km long. In addition to hiking and camping on Mount Hayman I have enjoyed a nice drive up Bear Creek Main to the 15 Km mark, and taken the logging road that makes the complete rim loop.
As soon as you turn off Bear Creek Main, the road winds up and over a bridge as you head towards Mount Swite. You then continue south towards Carrot Mountain but there are a number of logging roads that branch off so if you are hoping to make it all the way through the loop and down to McDougall Creek FSR I would highly reccomment a GPS with a few waypoints or POI’s entered into your GPS from Google Earth or other mapping system to keep you on course.
There is cell phone coverage in some of the areas so one can call home occasionally.
After parking on Philpott Road right where it meets Highway 33, we decided to hike down to Mile Zero of the High Rim Trail. You can see the sign for the Mission Creek Trail about 100 meters prior to Philpott Road if you are driving from Kelowna.
Mission Creek Trail Head
There is also a High Rim Trail Head sign right at the Philpot Road parking area that shows which way to take for Cardinal Creek Trail and Mission Creek Trail. Mission Creek Hiking Trail is only 1000 meters of hiking to get down to Mile Zero situated right on Mission Creek.
Mission Creek Trail Fence Crossing
From Mile Zero, you can travel up or down Mission Creek via the trails along the riverbank. I have yet to discover which way the Mission Creek Falls are and will let you know soon! If you know, please post a comment on my blog or send me an email via the contact tab above.
Mile Zero of High Rim Trail
The beautiful cedar trees, mossy ground, risk of surprising a black bear to keep you on edge as you stroll along the meandering trails along the banks of the historic Mission Creek make this hike one that begs to be taken.
Cedar Trees on Mission Creek near mile zero of the High Rim Trail
The fact that it is within a short drive from Kelowna, a very short 1000 meter walk to mile zero and the lack of bikes, joggers, and other hikers zooming by you every few yards makes this hike even more appealing!