One great way to spend an afternoon is to enjoy the views over Kelowna and Okanagan Lake from the Myra Canyon. This incredibly scenic portion of the Kettle Valley Railway features 18 trestle bridges and 2 tunnels, originally built at the turn of the last century, and rebuilt again (near exact replica) between 2003 and 2008 when the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire claimed 12 of the trestle bridges. To ride in the Myra is to glimpse history - how a steam train would have made its way through this steep-walled canyon along a railroad that was no more than a 2% rail grade (to accommodate the steam train technology of the day), and how workers from around the world would have toiled to construct the original railway through some pretty uncompromising terrain. Amazing.
There are a few ways to enjoy the Myra Canyon, which stretches about 10 km from end to end (so double that for the return journey). You might choose to walk a portion of it by foot, as many visitors to the area do. You might choose to rent bikes up at the Myra to take in the full canyon. Or you might choose to enjoy a fully-guided tour of the Myra Canyon with a guide who knows his stuff.
If you wanted to rent bikes and cycle the Myra yourself, there’s a bike rental business conveniently located right at the parking lot from Myra Forest Service Rd. The rental company is called, logically, Myra Canyon Bike Rentals, and they have a very handy map on their website which shows visitors exactly how to get up to the Myra Canyon. Pricing for the rentals is very reasonable, allowing people to enjoy a wholesome family activity at their leisure. Click here for pricing.
If you prefer to get the background and history of the area while on tour, you might want to take a guided tour with Monashee Adventure Tours or through Myra Canyon Bike Rentals. Monashee’s Ed Kruger has been doing tours in the Myra Canyon for years, and he is a history buff who can regale you with all kinds of stories about the building of the railroad through the Myra Canyon. It’s a great way to get the inside scoop on this treasured piece of Canadian railroad history. Ed will provide transportation to the Myra Canyon as well as bike rentals through his tours.
The Myra Canyon portion of the KVR is quite high in elevation and really gives some beautiful valley views. You’ll find that the air is a little cooler up here than in town, which can be a nice bonus during the hot summer months for those looking to escape the heat. The 18 trestle bridges are spectacular and mind-boggling when one considers that the originals would have been built almost entirely by hand. This is definitely an inspiring and eye-opening half-day trip to enjoy when visiting Kelowna. For a bit of background on the Myra Canyon, Myra Canyon Bike Rentals has a great webpage dedicated to this.