Recently a tracksandtrails.ca visitor emailed the following question. If you can add to the information please post your information in the comments section below.
Question: Staying at Big White from June 5-10. Do you have suggestions on some good hikes in that area or down highway 33 etc? We are both in decent shape, but don’t have a GPS. We will take trail marking tape with us however. Also, is there a place to access the Kettle Valley Trestles from that end? Do we need to worry about bears or coyotes?
I have not hiked Big White myself in the off season but I am told that from the village you can take a trail that loops around the summit and comes back to the village. I am sure that the administration will have more details on that. I will continue to look for someone who has hiked the area in the summertime and give you an update if I can verify any hiking information.
Down highway 33 there is a plethora of summertime hiking and exploration possibilities. One hike that you may find out about is the Okanagan High Rim Trail. It is a hike that is 50 km long and crosses Highway 33 before you get to Big White. The trail is being worked on.
If you drive a little farther along Hwy 33 past BW (coming from Kelowna) you will see a sign for Idabel Lake Resort, Nordic Ski Trails, and McColluch Lake Road on your right. This road takes you to some very nice lakes if you like fishing or boating and Idabel and McColluch (McColluch is spelled several ways, McCollough, McCulluch, and is also called Hydraulic Lake) may have canoe/boat rentals etc. If you keep driving past McCollough Lake you can reach the old KVR bed (Kettle Valley Railway) and drive upon it until you get to the trestles.
To get to the other end of Myra Canyon you can drive towards Idabel Lake but keep going and head towards Chute Lake which is also located on the Trestles. From that point you would drive towards Myra Canyon and see the trestles from that side. This would be an all day excursion. But worth it. You would very likely see lots of deer in the area. From Chute lake you could take the trestles down to a good road that will take you to Okanagan Mountain Park (VERY AWESOME HIKING) and then to Naramata (VERY AWESOME orchard and WINE country absolutely beautiful area).
Now if you keep going just a little further down highway 33 you will come to Kettle River Provincial Park and Recreation Area http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/kettle.html
Also in this same direction you can explore old mines and even come accros a working ranch that has a lot of gold mining history along with a chance to pan some gold!
If you are staying at or around Big White in the Summer I suggest researching some of the above recreation ideas and sending me an email to help target some specific areas etc.
Bears and Coyotes? No do not “worry” about bears and coyotes but be aware of safety measures. Coyotes are no problem whatsoever. You will here them barking and howling at night just about anywhere in BC and they are kind of scary when you can not see them but can hear them howling and barking real close. But all they are trying to do is lure out your dog or pet….
Bears on the other hand you should be cautious of . In this area all that you will come across is Black Bears. I have come across many. They have almost always ran very quickly away in the opposite direction. You should never run though. If you are going in a remote area it is good to go with a few people but if that is not possible just rember a few safety rules. Make noise as you go. This way you will not surprise them. Pay attention to the direction of the wind – If you are walking with the wind the bears will smell you long before they see or hear you. (Actually Bears have quite bad vision) If you do come across a bear slowly back away get as big as you can to show a large adversary. As far as going up a tree….if it is a small black bear – I have seen them run up a tree with hardly slowing down. Quite remarkable actually! I never worry about bears but I do have Bear Spray (same as pepper spray or dog spray) and I always make noise (I am a real bad singer) when going upwind. A couple years ago I took a small group of teenage boys out to Hayman Lake and we had one bear making noise several times throughout the night so we kept a fire watch (wild animals do not like fire) but in the morning another bear showed up so we gathered our gear together and hiked out. When they hang around like that it is time to give them some respect. haha