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Leisurely bike tour in Canada: The Kettle Rail Trail through the Myra Canyon

Updated: Apr 4

The famous Kettle Valley Rail Trail is a multi-day bike tour through southwest Canada. The most spectacular section of the trail winds along Myra Canyon near Kelowna.

Hike Bike Path Historic Wooden Bridge Kettle Rail Trail through Myra Canyon Canada

The 24km loop trail follows a disused railway line that winds through the mountains above the Okanagan Valley.

It can be explored by bike or on foot and is also manageable with children thanks to the gentle gradients (never more than 2.2%).

The bike tour on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail in Canada offers fantastic views of the Myra Canyon. Two tunnels and a total of 18 pillar bridges span the gorge, along whose rock walls the path leads. Right at the start of the tour you can see the next 10 km of the bike path, which hugs the steep mountains of the Myra Canyon in a U-shape.

The wooden railway bridges seem almost fragile in this mighty landscape. It's hard to imagine that locomotives and fully loaded wagons once ran here.

The largest of these wooden structures is 40 meters high and 150 meters long. How they were built into the impassable terrain is nothing short of a miracle.


Cyclist Railway Tunnel Kettle Rail Trail Myra Canyon Canada

Key facts for the bike tour along the Kettle Rail Trail through Myra Canyon

-Factor: ♡♡♡ ♡♡

Walking time: 4:00

Altitude: 357 m up and down

Length: 25 km

Accessible by public transport? No

Suitable for families? Yes

No stops along the way

BEST TIME All year round (in winter the route can also be done with snowshoes or fat bike)

Starting point car park Myra Canyon 1,262m

Note: The hike is only marked with cairns.

Alternative: If you want, you can follow the Kettle Valley Rail Trail to Chute Lake, 23 km away.



The History of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail in Canada

"A railway like no other"

The construction and operation of the Kettle Valley Railway, which opened in 1916, made headlines . It was one of the main political goals of the then Prime Minister Sir Richard McBride. For him, as for many others, the railway was a necessary link between the interior and the coast and a means of maintaining the interior as Canadian territory. Others saw the project as unnecessary competition fueled by too much emotion and pride. They felt the investment of public money was a waste.

The once 525 km long, winding railway was one of the most expensive ever built in terms of cost per kilometer. It was used to transport silver ore from the Southern Kootenays to Vancouver.


Historic wooden bridge Kettle Rail Trai, Myra Canyon Canada

The route was closed in 1989 - it had long since ceased to be profitable. Shortly thereafter, the tracks and dozens of bridges were integrated into the Trans Canada Trail, which runs 24,000 kilometers across Canada from the Atlantic in the east to the Pacific in the west. After the canyon and rail line were abandoned by the railway, the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society , a Canadian non-profit foundation, successfully advocated for Myra Canyon to become part of Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park and to become a National Historic Site in 2002 of Canada was declared. Since 1993, volunteers have been working to add railings to the bridges (otherwise the route would be impassable for people afraid of heights), build footbridges, improve the trail, build shelters and place benches along the trail. Thousands of hours of work were carried out to remove fallen trees and pave the path to make it passable.

With the bike on the railway siding

The fact that you can still cycle the entire stretch of the Kettle Rail Trail through Myra Canyon is nothing short of a miracle, as in 2003 twelve of the wooden structures were destroyed in a forest fire following a lightning strike. The reconstruction is largely thanks to the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society, whose website has downloadable maps and information.




INFO

Tips on restaurants, hotels, events and activities can be found on the British Columbia website.

Here you can find all my blog posts about Canada


GETTING THERE

The Okanagan Valley is approximately four hours' drive from Vancouver , where the nearest international airport is located. There are several scheduled flights from Germany to Vancouver every day. An electronic travel document (eTA) is required to enter Canada.


If you want to explore Canada further, it's best to book a rental car. These are available, for example, at www.billiger-mietwagen.de

The trail can be reached by car from Kelowna via a gravel road in about 40 minutes.


STAY OVERNIGHT

The self-catering Myra Canyon Lodge is located 4 km from the starting point of the cycle route and offers a variety of rooms and apartments.


A little further away, the historic Chute Lake Lodge offers cozy rooms, wooden cabins, yurts, camping tents and a restaurant. You can also book equipment and guided tours here.


EQUIPMENT

Bicycles (including children's bikes and trailers) are available directly at the Myra Canyon parking lot at Myra Canyon Rental (can also be reserved online). If you want, you can also book a guided bike tour followed by a wine tasting at one of the many wineries in the Okanagan Valley. Pick-up service, rental bikes and wine tasting approx. €175

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