It always seems impossible until it is done.
– Nelson Mandela
Nestled nearly 1,000m (3,000ft) above Kelowna lies one of the most spectacular trails in all of Canada. Ranked as one of the most beautiful biking trails in BC, the Myra Canyon section of the former Kettle Valley Railway line is a 12 kilometre stretch that spans across 18 trestles and through 2 caves. Just 17 kms from downtown Kelowna this section of trail has virtually no variation in grade which makes it accessible for all ages whether on foot or bike.
Over the years, Myra Canyon has become one of the top tourist attractions in the Okanagan. In addition to the magnificent views that you will take in along the trail, the trestles are an engineering feat to behold. The longest trestle, Trestle #6*, is 220m (722ft) in length and 55m (180ft) in height. The views from this trestle, among all of the others, are astounding as you look over the valley and experience a feeling of flight as you suspend over a canyon.
The trail has a long and varied history. Originally constructed at the turn of the 20th century during the prospecting boom, the 1970s brought an end to the use of the rail line and decommission occurred thereafter. In the 1990s the trail began an official restoration project through the efforts of community groups and volunteers. With gaining popularity and a dramatic rise in visitors to the trail, this area eventually became part of the Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park and from there was officially recognized as a National Historic Site.
This designation proved to be critical as just months later the devastating fire of 2003 destroyed 12 of the trestles (along with hundreds of homes in the Okanagan). The trail qualified for disaster relief funding from both levels of government and by 2008 all of the damaged trestles were fully re-built. In fact, by many accounts the trail has since improved as the trestles were reconstructed to a higher safety standard with park visitors in mind.
Myra Canyon brings out a mix of both foot pedestrians and bike riders. With the exception of the trestles and a few other sections, the width of the trail is simultaneously accommodating to both hikers and bikers alike. And the trail offers a quick payoff as within the first 3.5 kms from the Myra Station Parking Lot you can access a total of 8 trestles and 1 cave. However, for those looking to experience all of Myra Canyon (24 kms roundtrip) biking is your best bet (and bike rentals are available at the Myra Station Parking Lot).
We visit Myra Canyon several times each year and along with the Kangaroo Farm, it has become one of the go-to attractions to take our out-of-town visitors. The experience never disappoints as the trail offers an accessible and free outdoor activity. So whether you are looking for a casual hike or a day adventure on bike, pack a picnic and head up to Myra Canyon to experience one of the best views the Okanagan has to offer.
For directions to the Myra Station Parking Lot or for more information on Myra Canyon in general please click here.
*From the Myra Station Parking Lot, trestle numbering starts at #18 and works down from there.