Our hiking trails are a delight at this time of the year, when mornings are a little cooler, and gentle breezes temper the heat of midday. The bunchgrasses on hillsides and along the trail shine golden in the sun and the towering Ponderosa Pines cast their generous shadows. The air smells of sage and pine.
The rewards of getting out on our trails are manifold, so here are a few off-the-beaten-track gems in the Kelowna area:
Angel Springs is a fun and moderate 4 km (one way) trail. Though the springs aren’t for bathing, the geological formations and mineral deposits are an interesting sight. The trailhead is located on the east side of Little White Forest Service Road at kilometre four. To reach the trailhead from Kelowna, take K.L.O. Road to McCulloch Road then to June Springs Road Follow June Springs Road to Little White Forestry Service Road.
In West Kelowna, Blue Grouse Mountain is a moderate to difficult hike that is about 6.5 km to the top. Take Hwy 97 crossing the bridge, then take your first right onto Westside Road and drive to the junction with Bear Creek Main by Traders Cove. Turn left on Bear Creek Main and follow it for about 3 km. Look for a sign that says “Grouse Mountain No. 1″ on the right. Park near the sign and begin your hike to the top. The elevation is 4,194 feet and the view is excellent.
Canyon Falls Park is in the Crawford Estates area of Kelowna. It’s a linear park (dogs allowed on a lead) and offers some breathtaking views over Okanagan Lake and Kelowna. Take Gordon Drive and turn left on to Dehart Road. Follow Dehart Road and turn right on Crawford Road. Turn right on Westridge Drive then right to Canyon Ridge Court. There is a small cul-de-sac at the end where you can leave your car. Look for the small pathway that leads to the trails and to Crawford Falls.
Cedar Mountain Regional Park is 79.5 hectares and overlooks Okanagan Lake on the east side of the lake. The park was severely impacted by the Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park fire in the summer of 2003. Please stay on the paths to prevent trampling sensitive, re-growing vegetation. Charred timber has been removed along the trail. To get here, head south on Pandosy Street, which becomes Lakeshore Road. Stay straight at the fork on to Chute Lake Road. Once on the gravel road, go about 7 km and watch for a dirt road on the right. Take this road to an old sawmill site and park your vehicle. As you hike, cliffs will come into view on your left about a half kilometre after you cross the creek and past an old cabin. You can hike down to the bottom of the cliffs (which are about 300 feet high). The trail leads up to the cliff top at the north end. It’s about a 6.5 km walk. The view from the cliff top is beautiful at about 2,500 feet.
These are some wonderful hikes that you can enjoy relatively near-in to Kelowna. Be sure to bring plenty of water and to wear comfortable hikers. A ball cap is also a good idea to keep your head protected in the sun. Then bring your camera and have a ball while you give yourself a great workout!
For more information on Kelowna and for maps of the area, you can ask a Visitor Counsellor at the Kelowna Visitor Centre run by Tourism Kelowna at 544 Harvey Ave.
If you have a favourite hiking trail, please send the tip my way at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll add it to our blog.