After the spectacular that was the Icefields Parkway, we left beautiful Banff and headed down to Kelowna. This charming city sits on the shores of Okanagan Lake in the Okanagan Valley, in British Colombia and is known for its temperate climate and wineries. Myra Canyon Trestles
Having heard about a bike ride along an old railway track through the canyons, we were keen find out more and to give it a go. But it’s wasn’t just any old railway track, the historic Kettle Valley Railway snakes its way through the canyons over 18 trestles (timber bridges) and through 2 tunnels. The railway was hand built at the turn of the last century, today it’s a flat (ish) ride 12 kms one way and if you want to return to your starting point of course it’s 12 kms back.
How hard could it be?
Myra Canyon Bicycle Rentals operate from the carpark at the Myra Forest Service Road end of the railway. The bikes were in good condition with gears and some have ahem, good comfortable “lady” seats. The weather was perfect, except we didn’t expect it to be as cold as it was. My poor hands were rather “frozen” by the time we got to the finishing line, we were at altitude after all!
If you start at the Myra Forest Service Road end, then it’s downhill, at only a 2% gradient it doesn’t sound like much right?, but it’s still downhill. So the return trip is technically uphill, all the way. The first section of the ride went quickly as we were busy checking out the amazing scenery around us. The ground drops away quickly from the trestles and gives you the strange feeling riding in space with nothing supporting you. There were many burnt out areas of forest which are still recovering from a massive bushfire and off in the distance you can see the city of Kelowna lying far below.
We made it to about the 9 km mark and decided to stop and have something to eat and a much needed drink. We had taken along plenty of water and some mixed nuts, muesli bar and some fruit. We had company during our snack, no sooner had we sat down when we were joined by 3 little Chipmunks, begging for food. Obviously we had chosen a spot that they frequented in hope of a feed from generous weary tourists.
They were super friendly almost a little too friendly as we had to stop them from trying to run up our legs. Not being a fan of walnuts I was happy to share mine with them. They filled their little cheeks with their stash and proceed to fight if one Chipmunk should get too close or try and steal the other’s food. Cute and very entertaining!
Waving goodbye to our new furry friends we continued the ride to the end, the whole 12 kms and then of course the 12 kms back. We were really struggling the last 2-3 klms, well me really, I wasn’t very fit at the time, which didn’t help. We’re proud to say we have done it and would recommend it to anyone considering the great bike ride. The views are just spectacular through the canyons high over Kelowna and Okanagan Lake. Would I do it again? Yep you bet, in a heartbeat, next time I would however take gloves and maybe some more walnuts.