Hugging the sides of Myra Canyon, 18km south east of Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley, the Kettle Valley Railway walking and cycling trail is a spectacular way to enjoy a summer's day outdoors with all the family.
Eighteen wooden trestles spanning gaps in the rocky pathway, two tunnels through the mountain side and steep drops into the canyon add a frisson of excitement and adventure to this 12km section of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail.
The fantastic views are punctuated by reminders of the devastating forest fire which burned down the original trestles in 2003, in the form of black, skeletal trees sticking up from the sides of the canyon like burnt matchsticks. Determined to retain the heritage of the original railway line, Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society and British Columbia's provincial government set about replacing the wooden trestles and the trail was opened to the public once again in 2008. The trestles are a magnificent feat of engineering and workmanship, presenting plenty of great photo opportunities.
A chipmunk in Myra Canyon along the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, Kelowna
We saw families with young children cycling the route, but a word of caution – make sure you are confident of your child's ability to control their bicycle. Wobbly children on bicycles near steep drops and on trestles where there are gaps in the sides are not a good idea.
If you don't have your own bicycle and would like to cycle the route, you can hire one from Myra Canyon Bike Rentals, located in the car park on the Kelowna side of the canyon, who will also bring you back if you don't want to make the return journey along the trail.
Cycling through vineyards on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail from Penticton to Naramata
We saw quite a bit of wildlife along the Myra Canyon trail including inquisitive chipmunks, ground squirrels and gophers, some of which are so used to humans they will take a morsel of bread, biscuit or fruit from your hand.
The Myra Canyon is probably the most popular section of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, which follows the route of the former Kettle Valley Railroad, once part of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Another section of the trail we tried which is definitely worth a walk or cycle is the first 4km starting from Penticton at the southern end of Okanagan Lake, heading in the direction of Naramata up the east side of the Lake.
On this route you pass through vineyards and apple orchards and there is a great refreshment stop called The Trail Fruit and Veg store, where you can pick your own plums and peaches or enjoy an organic Ambrosia apple slushy sitting under the shade of the fruit trees.
A map of the complete Kettle Valley Rail Trail and information about other sections of the route can be found on the Kettle Valley Railway website.