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Biking the KVR through a tunnel

Bike Rides in South Okanagan – 5 of the Best

Did you know that some of the best bike rides in Canada are in the South Okanagan area of British Columbia? May is an especially great time to visit as the weather is sunny and warm, the regions numerous wineries are open and the crowds have yet to materialize. There are also a couple of standout events like the Giant’s Head Grind that will appeal to both bikers and hikers.

I would suggest these 5 standout bike rides in the South Okanagan.

An Okanagan winery in a beautiful setting
An Okanagan winery in a beautiful setting

The Kettle Valley Railway from Myra Canyon to Penticton

My favourite bike ride so far is the Myra Canyon to Penticton section of the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR). You need a shuttle unless you want to ride up and back 160 km and most people don’t.

By starting in Myra Canyon the grade is a constant 2% downhill. Highlights include cycling over the railway trestles, the views, ice cream at Chute Lake Lodge, wildlife (we’ve seen black bears) and of course the wineries once you reach the Naramata Bench. On a hot day it’s a treat to cool off in the lake.

A shorter option is the out and back ride – on the bike trail between Penticton and Naramata. It’s a great one if you want to spend some time wine tasting.

View of Lake Okanagan across the vineyards
View of Lake Okanagan across the vineyards from the KVR

Penticton to Oliver via the KVR 

Enjoy some of the best of what the Okanagan offers when you do and out and back ride from Penticton to Oliver (or even Osoyoos if you’re up for a 100+ km ride).

This section of the KVR takes you past beaches, lakes, vineyards and the bird sanctuary at Vaseux Lake. Plan a stop in Okanagan Falls for ice cream.

There are loads of ducks in the Vaseux Bird Sanctuary
There are loads of ducks in the Vaseux Bird Sanctuary – lock your bikes up and take a side trip

Three Blind Mice Mountain biking trails

I haven’t done any of the trails that are part of the Three Blind Mice network but exploring these trails is next on my list.

Located high above Naramata, avid local cyclist Randy Brown told me that “there are over 100 kilometres of singletrack trails for every level of rider – and the views over Okanagan Lake are magnificent.”

He also recommends picking up a copy of SweetSingletrack. He calls it “the definitive guide for the close to 1,000 kilometres of trails in the south Okanagan.”

Okanagan landscape
Okanagan landscape near Naramata

The road to Apex Mountain Resort

A favourite of locals is the climb up Green Mountain Road towards Apex Mountain Resort. With a map and a sense of adventure you can explore the side roads – particularly Shingle Creek Road – and do a loop to return to Penticton.

The Trans-Canada Trail near Summerland

Some sections of the Trans-Canada Trail around Summerland are ideal for cyclists. Start near Conkle Mountain Park and head east towards Okanagan Lake. Continue to the Trout Creek Bridge and then pick up the KVR to continue to Penticton.

Special biking events in the South Okanagan in May

In May the annual Giant’s Head Grind, spearheaded by Ellen Walker-Matthews is happening. Ellen organized the event to honour the memory of her son Christopher Walker who died of colon cancer at 29. As she says “it’s a great way to keep her son close in a way that’s very positive.”

Fundraiser - Giant's Head Grind in the South Okanagan
It’s a steep hike/run or bike to the top of Giant’s Head – Photo credit: Vlado Zamecnik

If you need help with bike rentals, shuttles or bike tours check out Penticton based Hoodoo Adventures.

Further reading on biking

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest board.

5 of the best bike rides in the south Okanagan of BC

Leigh McAdam

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 61,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Did they put in more trail south of OK Falls? When we went there was a gap where you had to ride the highway. It was terrifying since the blind corners had no shoulder.

  2. This is amazing the adventurous life is like standing on a sharped pin but its joy is like out of this world

  3. How did you go from the rail trail along Vaseux Lake to Oliver? I am wondering if there is a bridge linking to Oliver now, there wasn’t one in the past? Can you please provide a gpx of your route from Penticton to Oliver?

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