A Guide to SilverStar in Summer

A fantastic place to visit for mountain biking, hiking & wildflowers

Colourful mountain bikes in the colourful village of SilverStar Mountain Resort

SilverStar Mountain Resort, home to a charming, colourful European style, pedestrian friendly village, is best known as a long-time skiing destination. But Silver Star in summer is making its mark and is now a mecca for mountain bikers, hikers, wildflower lovers, and for anyone who is interested in some down time, especially with comfortable summer temperatures that are up to 10ºC cooler than the hot Okanagan Valley. 

In the village at Silver Star, everything you need is within the length of two city blocks.

What that means to you is a hassle free, stress-free vacation. What a treat it is to be able to pick up a rental bike, walk to your hotel, sip a latte or a cold beer, and pull up a chair to watch the world go by, all in the space of a few minutes. Literally!

Silver Star in summer shines when it comes to mountain biking. It’s home to Canada’s second largest bike park with a wide variety of trails including 70 km of cross-country trails and lift access downhill mountain biking, all without the crowds.

It doesn’t matter what level of mountain biker you are. Everyone from first timers who are happy with easy trails through wildflower filled meadows to the wild ass bikers you see going over big jumps and berms will find something here.

What you’ll also notice is what a family friendly destination SilverStar is in summer. I saw kids from about 5 years old and up having a blast – and doing moves fearlessly on their bikes I wish I could do.

The lucky ones live close by and sign up for summer long courses – but I’m betting the ones that are here just for a holiday make giant strides because of the friendly instructors.

If you’re after a fun, low key BC vacation that ticks off all the boxes – easy to get to, a good selection of fun activities, great eating and drinking at numerous locally owned restaurants, then it’s time you planned a summer visit to SilverStar Mountain Resort. From my experience, here’s what you can do in just a couple of days.

Enjoying the backdrop of the cross country mountain bike trails
Enjoying the backdrop of the cross-country mountain bike trails

Take a downhill mountain biking lesson in summer at Silver Star

Before I showed up at Silver Star, I received comments on my social media channels on how brave I was to heading to Silver Star in summer to mountain bike.

Maybe it’s my age or perhaps a lot of people have a skewed impression of what mountain biking is or can be. For me, it’s all about having fun outside in nature. I choose not to do jumps, or anything looks sketchy.

But the mountain biking I do is as much fun to me as the crazy stuff is to the 20-something. The bottom line – try it, and see how you like it.

I have been mountain biking for years and I don’t really get better, but that’s okay.

I’ve done some cool rides I’m proud of including the famous Slick Rock trail in Moab (carrying my bike where necessary), the Maze in Canyonlands, the 4-day White Rim trail near Moab, and some fun mountain biking in New Hampshire. Thrill Me Kill Me in Whistler just about did me in – so I can’t count that one.

I’m always game to visit somewhere new and check out what they have to offer. So, on my second day at SilverStar in summer, I met up with Evan Sheridan, a low key, doesn’t-get-too-fussed-up-about-anything 27 year old. (Ask for him when you book a lesson because he’s great!!)

After getting my fancy bike and massive helmet, we biked down to the Comet chairlift via Challenger. There was nothing sketchy on the trail we biked, but I was initially cautious. The next time, less so and on the third time down, I was keen for more speed.  

I think the beauty of a multi-day stay at Silver Star is exactly what I experienced – more time in the saddle translates to more confidence.

I would never have signed up for the downhill mountain biking – but I am so glad it was part of the itinerary. It’s fun and empowering – and if you have a sense of adventure and like to try new things, book a lesson, and get out there. I bet you finish with a smile plastered on your face.

Read: Fat Tire Biking Tips for Beginners

Getting fitted for a bike at SilverStar Mountain Resort
Getting fitted for a bike at SilverStar Mountain Resort
We load our mountain bikes on the chairlift and the attendant hands them to us at the top of the mountain
We load our mountain bikes on the chairlift and the attendant hands them to us at the top of the mountain
I'm playing follow the leader - and it really helps
I’m playing follow the leader – and it really helps
Lots of split trails so people of different abilities can still bike together and have fun
Lots of split trails so people of different abilities can still bike together and have fun
Stopping to check out the view at the top of the summit chairlift
Stopping to check out the view at the top of the summit chairlift
The heavy duty helmets make you look hardcore but they're just for safety
Heavy duty helmets make you look hardcore

Explore the cross-country trails at Silver Star on a mountain bike

I went out on a couple of occasions by myself to explore some of the 70 km of cross-country trails at SilverStar Mountain Resort.

There is quite a range from easy greens to gnarly black trails and everything in between. Seven of the 25 cross-country trails are multi-use trails meaning you might meet a hiker, but that was never the case for me.

On the first afternoon I took off to explore the trails below SilverStar Village on the recommendation of one of the fellows at the bike rental shop. I did a mix of Mountain View and Sidewinder as I wanted to check out the Mountain View Cabin.

The biking was easy – and I can say that because I never once had to get off and walk. In fact, I very much enjoyed the solitude, the exercise, and the stormy mountain views. 

The next day I decided I’d try something harder, as my confidence was building with time spent on the bike.

From the village, I took the easy Cross Mountain trail to the Cabin trail and then started climbing as I worked my way towards Paradise and ultimately the moderate section of the Beowulf trail. The Beowulf trail was harder than anything else I’d done, but again it was a confidence builder. I stayed on my bike save for one or two big roots until I got to Captik Log Cabin.

I had planned to head to the scenic Alder Point Lookout, but my pace was such that it would have taken me quite a while. I simply retraced my steps, feeling pleased as punch about my day on the mountain bike in summer at SilverStar.

Signage is excellent, so getting lost is never an issue. I would suggest slathering sunscreen on before you go, carry lots of water and a couple of energy bars.

Although I didn’t see so much as bear scat, black bears are in the area. At the end of one of my bike rides, I spoke with a woman who turned back on a trail after seeing Mama and her two cubs. Do the same if you’re in her situation, use your voice and make lots of noise. I’d also suggest you carry bear spray.

Heading off to mountain bike the moderate section of the Beowulf Trail at SilverStar Mountain Resort
Heading off to mountain bike the moderate section of the Beowulf Trail
Pick up a trail map in the village, follow the signage and you won't get lost
Pick up a trail map in the village, follow the signage and you won’t get lost
The cute Mountain View Cabin at SilverStar Mountain Resort
The cute Mountain View Cabin at Silver Star
Very pretty mountain biking on the way to the Beowulf Trail
Very pretty mountain biking on the way to the Beowulf Trail
It's easy mountain biking when you're fire roads
It’s easy mountain biking when you’re fire roads

Go on a wildflower-filled hike in the summer at Silver Star 

If you’re traveling with a group and not all members want to mountain bike, then I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the summer hiking options at SilverStar Mountain Resort.

Look for approximately 10 km of wildflower-filled hiking trails including scenic loop options with panoramic views of the Monashees and the Okanangan Valley.

I hiked up to the summit of the SilverStar ski resort via Milky Way. The trail weaves up through the trees and across open patches close to the Comet Express chairlift, spitting you out by the Forest Fire Lookout.

From there you can do the 1.5 km long Attridge Scenic Loop or hook up with either the Ridgewalk or Villageview trails that will take you back down to the Village. I chose to do part of the Attridge Scenic Loop along with the Valleyview trail. This was hiking nirvana for me – no people around, wildflowers galore, and gorgeous mountain views.

With about 305 m or 1,000 feet of elevation gain, any of the hikes can be done over 1.5 – 3 hours. A few of the hiking trails like Prospector and Silver Queen meet up with multi-use trails. Mountain bikes were not allowed on the trails I did.

Not interested in a hike that climbs to the top of a mountain. At SilverStar, that isn’t a problem.

You can purchase a ticket for the gondola – and if it isn’t operating, you can take the Comet Express chairlift and get off at the summit. From there you can hike the easy Attridge Scenic Loop and then hop on the lift down – or walk down on one of three hiking trails.

Beautiful early morning light as I hike the Milky Way at SilverStar in summer
Beautiful early morning light as I hike the Milky Way at SilverStar in summer
At the SilverStar Mountain Resort fire lookout you can read numerous interpretive panels about wildflowers, forest fire lookouts, mining claims and ski trails
At the SilverStar Mountain Resort fire lookout you can read numerous interpretive panels about wildflowers, forest fire lookouts, mining claims, ski trails and more
Excellent signage on both the hiking and mountain biking trails
Excellent signage on both the hiking and mountain biking trails
Always a treat when you come across a huge swath of Indian paintbrush
Always a treat when you come across a huge swath of Indian paintbrush in the summer at SilverStar
Loved all the wildflowers framed by repeating mountains in the background
Loved all the wildflowers framed by repeating mountains in the background

Where to eat in the village of Silver Star in summer

At SilverStar Mountain Resort, restaurants and cafes are locally owned and operated by longtime locals. Over a couple of days, I sampled food at three restaurants.

Bugaboos Bakery Café

If you need a great coffee and a sugar hit, you must visit the Bugaboos Bakery Cafe – started by Frank Berkers, over 25 years ago. He is justly famous for his cinnamon rolls. I would put them in the top three of any I’ve ever eaten.

Fortunately, he tells me that because of SilverStar’s elevation (1,155 m at the base and 1,915 m at the summit) that there are no calories in it. As a former professional dietitian, of course I believe him and happily return to buy some for the drive back to Calgary.

The cafe also has a beautiful and very colourful outdoor patio.

Forget the gooey icing - this cinnamon roll from Bugaboos Bakery Cafe is one of the best I've ever had
Forget the gooey icing – this cinnamon roll from Bugaboos Bakery Cafe is one of the best I’ve ever had

Red Antler

There’s a reason I’m not a food blogger – and that’s because I am too busy eating to take pictures. When my Red Thai Coconut Curry Bowl at Red Antler arrived I dug in with gusto as it was delicious. You’ll just have to trust me. I had lunch here one day as well – falafels and sweet potato fries – all very filling and yummy too.

You’ll also find lots of salads and burgers, and many other Asian themed dishes. Their breakfasts are heavy on the eggs. The atmosphere is casual and laid back. In summer, their outdoor patio is the place to be!

The Bulldog Grand Cafe

Look for Thai-Indonesian and Dutch themed cooking with a hint of West Coast Fusion when you dine at the Bulldog Grand Cafe. I had the Indonesian Rendang, and I highly recommend it.

I also enjoyed sitting by the window, watching the bikers and hikers walking by. There’s a nice ambiance to the place, so be sure to include a meal here on a visit to SilverStar in summer.

SilverStar is a great place to eat with all restaurants independently owned
Silver Star is a great place to eat with all restaurants independently owned

Where to stay at Silver Star in summer

I had the pleasure of spending a couple of nights in the summer at Silver Star in a roomy condo at Snowbird Lodge.

It comes with a full kitchen, a large bathroom, a king-sized bed, and a balcony with its own hot tub. I loved the mountain view from my perch in the hot tub – which would be even better on a really cold day in the winter.

Snowbird Lodge is literally a few seconds walk away from cafes, restaurants, bike rentals, and the bike trails. It was fun to watch a steady stream of people – of all ages, come down the bike trail in front of the condo. 

My large condo with a view at Snowbird Lodge at SilverStar Mountain Resort
 My large condo with a view from Snowbird Lodge at SilverStar in summer

SilverStar Mountain Resort location map

From downtown Vernon it’s about a 25-minute drive up to SilverStar Mountain Resort via Silver Star Road. 

If you’re driving south on Highway 97, turn left or west on 48th Avenue to reach Silver Star Road. There is good signage.

From the Kelowna Airport, it’s a 75-minute drive via Highway 97 North.

                                               

A big thank you to Destination Silver Star for hosting my stay. I loved it – and all thoughts and opinions are mine alone.

More suggestions if you love to bike

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

What to do at SilverStar Mountain Resort in summer and fall - located near Vernon, BC

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