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A section of the Kettle Valley Railway

5 Awesome Hikes With a View Near Penticton

For the best views in the Okanagan Valley, take a hike. At town level, it can sometimes be difficult to fully appreciate the size and beauty of the sparkling lakes, rugged hills and endless vineyards of this area. Here are five great hikes in and around Penticton that showcase the best of the Okanagan Valley.

Giant’s Head, Summerland

One of the most distinctive landmarks around Okanagan Lake is Giant’s Head, an extinct 845 m volcano looming above the small town of Summerland. While the summit can rightfully claim wonderful panoramic vistas of the lake and nearby Penticton, the hike up also offers a glimpse of working vineyards and farms down below as well as snow capped mountains in the distance. Even on a cloudy day there is still plenty to see and be impressed by.

A short and straightforward 1.6 km ascent from the Milne Road parking lot, this is an easy hike. Greeted at the top by a huge granite boulder that holds a time capsule, hikers can also use telescopes set around the summit area for closer observation of the surrounding area.

5 Awesome Hikes With a View Near Penticton
The view from Giant’s Head in Summerland

Skaha Bluffs, Penticton

Hidden in the hills behind the eastern side of Penticton’s Skaha Lake is an international climbing mecca; Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park. Some of the best sport climbing in Canada can be found here alongside a variety of hiking and mountain biking trails through the rugged terrain. The elevation of the park provides incredible vistas of both Okanagan and Skaha Lakes no matter the chosen hike.

There are a multitude of trails and starting points to choose from, so hikers can simply pick how far or how long they want to hike.

The further from the parking lot, the more technical the hike becomes, with trails travelling through crevices, along cliffs and over talus. Regular outcroppings provide lots of opportunities for a break with a view, no matter whether you choose to hike 2 km out and back or an 8 km loop.

5 Awesome Hikes With a View Near Penticton
Skaha Bluffs

Kettle Valley Railway trail, Penticton to Naramata

The Naramata Bench section of the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) trail is the perfect introductory trail for any visiting hiker to the southern Okanagan region. This hike may not offer many technical challenges but more than makes up for it with stunning views of both shimmering Okanagan Lake as it travels alongside vineyards, orchards and creeks. Hikers can choose small sections or use multiple vehicles to complete the full 16km length.

Starting from the closest trailhead to Penticton (at the end of Vancouver Place), the trail slowly climbs into the Naramata hills and beyond.

This part of the KVR features a reconstructed railway trestle, a tunnel and a handful of rock ovens. These were originally used by railway engineers to bake bread while working. Hikers these days can choose to stop for wine tasting and ice cream en-route instead.

5 Awesome Hikes With a View Near Penticton
Hiking on the Kettle Valley Railway

McIntyre Bluff, Oliver

There’s something so appropriate about a great Okanagan hike starting in a vineyard. Being such an incredibly dry area, the views from the top of McIntyre Bluff (a large granite ridge) present an interesting contrast of lush green vineyards and orchards alongside parched brown hills.

Leaving Covert Farms’ vineyards quickly behind, the 7 km return trail has a fairly gentle ascent lined by brush, rock and the occasional tree.

Turning east at the sight of the very green Rattlesnake Lake, the trail has a couple of steeper sections before the broad summit area appears. Luckily it is not necessary to go too close to the edge for fantastic views in every direction. Don’t forget to stop for wine tasting on the way back.

5 Awesome Hikes With a View Near Penticton
The view from McIntyre Bluff

Rim Trail, Cathedral Provincial Park, Keremeos

A short drive outside the main Okanagan Valley is the vastly underrated and incredibly picture perfect Cathedral Provincial Park near Keremeos. Magnificent peaks surround a bowl of glittering glacial lakes, an almost overwhelming sight whenever you are in the park. The best views however are found on the Rim Trail, a moderately challenging 15 km circular route with a top elevation of 2650 m.

The Rim Trail is one of those hikes where the early switchbacks really pay off. Once the initial elevation is done (650 m up from the 2000 m base camp), the rest of the day is just one jaw dropping view after another.

Jagged peaks in one direction, the rolling hills of the Okanagan in the other, majestic lakes below; the Rim Trail has so much to offer hikers looking for a great aesthetic payoff.

5 Awesome Hikes With a View Near Penticton
Hiking the Rim Trail in Cathedral Provincial Park

This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a purchase via one of these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

5 things I like to have on a hike

I like something comfortable to sit on at lunch time. On a summer hike I swear by my almost weightless inflatable seat cushion

As I get older and I think about saving my knees, I find that hiking poles come on more and more of my hikes. Invest in a good pair that are collapsible, preferably made of carbon because of their weightless quality. 

No matter how the day starts I always carry rain gear. And I find a ball cap or brim hat with a chin strap invaluable in the rain or on a hot, in your face sunny day.

I always pack a buff as it’s a multi-purpose piece of cloth yet it takes up almost no room. It works well to keep blowing hair out of your face, as a neck or head warmer or even wrapped around your hand on a descent with sharp rocks.

I don’t pack gaiters on every trip, at some point on most hikes I usually wish I had them. In summer the half gaiters are ideal for keeping pebbles, sand and even some rain out of your shoes.

More hikes in British Columbia you might like

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5 awesome hikes with a view near Penticton, BC

Gemma Taylor

Gemma Taylor is an outdoor adventure blogger based in British Columbia, Canada. A lover of the backroads and beyond the beaten path places, you'll most likely find Gemma hiking, kayaking or camping in her converted van. Gemma's blog can be found at

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. We love the Okanagan and have been to two of these places – we’ll check out the others if we’re fortunate enough to make it there again on our travels.

  2. Where do I find the hike lengths? I want a decent sized hike like 2-3 hours but it doesn’t say distance or km for any of them as far as I can see

    1. @Nicole I heard back from Gemma – the guest poster. She suggest McIntyre Bluff for a 2-3 hour hike.The other hikes have lots of different routes so the amount of time varies wildly.Hope that helps.

  3. […] Head to the hot and sunny Okanagan in BC’s interior for wine tasting. There are over 100 wineries so there’s no shortage of wines to taste. The Mission Hill Winery is one that’s well known for hosting outdoor summer concerts. I’d also suggest a bike ride on the Kettle Valley Railway especially in the Myra Canyon area. Or try one of these 5 hikes with a view near Penticton. […]

    1. Hello from Penticton
      We wanted to reach out and point out that we are a luxury tour company (Epic Cycling + Outdoor Adventures) based out of Penticton. We specialize in catered luxury cycling, hiking, guided wine tours in the area.

      We are also going to incorporate winter sports next year. I see you love blogging on local things and all of your routes here are our highlights for tours. Our guides are coaches and seasoned athletes that know the area very well. We specialize in multi day adventure tours and so would love if you could let everyone know.

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