The Kettle Valley Rail Road was first built in 1915 throughout the Thompson-Okanagan region of BC to move mining resources but only lasted fully until 1961, when some pieces were starting to be shut down, and the final section shut down in 1989. Once shut down people started using the abandoned railway sections for hiking and biking, with them eventually being turned into a provincial park and the trestle section was declared a National Historic site in 2002.
Tim and I biked the trestles before a lot of the restoration work was done and both ATV’d and dogsledded the trail in 2001 and 2002 before the fires of 2003 that destroyed most of them. Biking the trestles with Hunter was top of our list of things to do in Kelowna as we figured he would love them.
The main trestle section is 12 km in length, made up of 18 trestles and runs from the Myra Canyon trailhead to the Ruth trailhead, which are just east of Kelowna.
We rode from Ruth to Myra Canyon and back which made it 24 km round trip.
The trestles themselves vary in length and height depending on the gap that they are covering – pretty amazing engineering from the early 1900’s.
There are also 2 tunnels in the trestle section, both of which were adapted and reinforced through the years.
There are some interesting historical remnants (this is an original stone oven for one of the railway camps) and plenty of educational sign posts to learn more about the railway, the local geography as well as flora & fauna.
Because this was a railway there is never more than a 2.2% grade in the trail which makes for an easy ride or hike for pretty much anyone. There are a number of scenic look outs and benches for resting along the way. It’s a must do for anyone travelling through Kelowna!