Curiosity takes me on hikes in Kelowna
I finally have time to explore the beautiful Okanagan Valley. Short trips out here for soccer tournaments or camping did not allow for much opportunity to hike, and often it was so hot that I would rather be in the water anyway. The cool and somewhat rainy weather so far in summer 2016 has been perfect for getting out into the hills. With the Tourism Kelowna Visitors’ Guide’s list of hiking and walking spots as a reference, I have put foot to trail in a few so far:
Okay, I will admit that we cheated a bit on this one (what a way to start the list!) as you can either hike to the top, or drive – we drove as we were a bit short on time and didn’t want to arrive at the restaurant all sweaty. Great views of downtown Kelowna and north up the lake with lots of benches strategically placed for sunsets and long conversations.
Rose Valley Regional Park
Who knew you could walk on a volcano in Kelowna (neighbouring Mount Boucherie was active about 50 million years ago). The cliff walls of Rose Valley are volcanic and the caves are thought to be large air bubbles in the lava. Chester and I set off from the parking lot, with the goal of making it to the top – round trip about 8 kms and 300 m elevation gain. Poor Chester didn’t last very long so I popped him into the backpack. Note to self: need to figure out a better way of carrying him in hotter weather! We made it though and the view was worth it from my point of view anyway. You can hike down to the water, but I didn’t think I would make it back up. I got a tip from a nice couple that you can drive to the north end of West Kelowna Drive and hike from there. It is fairly flat but the last part down to the water is steeper with switchbacks. I may try fishing there as it is apparently good for trout.
I didn’t see many birds, but did manage to get a few butterflies and grasshoppers.
Mission Creek Greenway
We stopped here after trying to go cherry picking at Arndt Orchards (sadly they turned us away as they were picked over, but we will be back for their release of staccato cherries). Nice trails by Mission Creek stretching 16.5 kilometres, including Scenic Canyon. I will return with proper gear for birding; mallard ducklings, cedar waxwings and huge dragonflies were tucked into small ponds rimmed by blue flowers but my 70mm lens could not do them justice.
Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park
The Kettle Valley Railway Trail is a wonderful biking and hiking trail for those who like great scenery and no hills to climb. It is 1000 metres up, so the weather can be quite different from Kelowna. Depending on when you go, it can be foggy, quite snowy, or hot and sunny. The fog made for some eerie moments, and brought me back a second time to see views of the valley.