Travelling the Trans Canada Trail (Kettle Valley Railway) in the Okanagan Region

Trails BC's Okanagan Region covers the area from Brookmere, south of Merritt, to McCulloch Station, east of Kelowna. It takes in portions of the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District and the Central Okanagan Regional District. To the west is the Southwest Region and to the east is the Boundary Region. The Okanagan is best known for being an area of desert-like grasslands, ranches and orchards, surrounded by softened mountain peaks and hoodoos. Within the region, the Trans Canada Trail lies entirely on the Kette Valley Railway. The KVR is a former CPR rail line that ran between Hope and Midway, BC. Out of the trail's total 500 km length, about 330 km of it is within the Okanagan.

The rail trail corridor is owned by the Province of BC's Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO), administered by the Recreation Sites and Trails BC department, which oversees trails, recreational sites and campsites on crown lands and other provincial land assets (excluding Provincial Parks). The trail was donated to the province by CPR with the vision of creating a non-motorized cross-country rail trail experience, particularly for bicyclists.

Trail conditions along the KVR are constantly changing and hard to predict - uncontrolled access to the trail by motorized vehicles in recent years has led to a major deterioration of the trail surface, and until a plan is implemented to solve this issue, trail users are encouraged to plan ahead for a challenging - but overall rewarding - journey.

We highly recommend bicyclists to use sturdy equipment on the trail. Mountain bikes are best, but a sturdy hybrid will be much lighter - an important factor when traveling long distances. Front suspension isn't necessary, but it can increase comfort on bumpy washboard sections. Tire width should be a minimum of 35-38mm, and wider tires (though slower) will be helpful when encountering deep sand. As a former railway, steep inclines are virtually non-existant. Snow can stick to the trail near McCullough (just east of the Myra Canyon) into mid May on north-facing slopes. We recommend wearing gloves (in addition to a helmet of course), as cyclists can lose their balance on soft sand and take the odd tumble - cuts on your palm can be painful during a multiple-day ride!

Have fun - and welcome to the Trans Canada Trail's "Wild West"!