Myra Canyon by Bike on the KVR

You can also cycle 80 km from Myra Canyon to Penticton

One of the tunnels on the Kettle Valley Trail

If you’re visiting British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley and you love biking I’d recommend a full day on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail (KVR) or at the very least a bike ride over the Myra Canyon trestles.

The Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) is an abandoned railroad track that winds across the Okanagan and Similkameen region in southern BC. All told it offers over 650 km of cycling. The 80 km section from Myra Canyon near Kelowna through to Penticton is one of the most popular, though it’s the short 12 km (7.5 mi) Myra Canyon section that draws the biggest crowds of all.

The section through Myra Canyon has been termed the jewel of the Kettle Valley Railway Trail.

It was out of commission for five years after the 2003 forest fire destroyed 13 of its 18 famous wooden trestles. It didn’t reopen until June 2008 and since then it’s become tremendously popular, drawing up to 100,000 hikers and cyclists annually.

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Trestles in the canyon
Great fun biking over the trestles

History of the Kettle Valley Railway

The Kettle Valley Railway’s history date back to the early 1900’s when silver was discovered near Nelson, British Columbia. Years of surveying and building culminated in an official rail opening in 1915.

In later years the economic importance of the railway line decreased and some sections or subdivisions as they are called were phased out and by 1990 the last of the railway lines was abandoned.

Fortunately the railway line was converted to trail and now 600 km (360 miles) are open for backcountry use.

Where does the Kettle Valley Railway go?

The Kettle Valley Railway trail travels through true wilderness. It winds through the backcountry of southern British Columbia passing through a range of eco-systems including vineyards, orchards, forests, lakes, deserts, and mountains.

Much of it is very remote, so be sure to pack a Garmin InReach Mini 2 if you head off to bike the remote sections.

Small centers are connected via the Kettle Valley Railway – places like Beaverdell, McCulloch, Chute Lake, Coalmont, and Brookmere which are mere dots on the map and at most have a few places to stay.

Tunnels, bridges, wild animals, rattlesnakes, extreme heat and thunderstorms are some of the hazards one might encounter.

View of Kelowna from the Kettle Valley Railway
View of Kelowna from the Kettle Valley Railway

Myra Canyon by bike

The bike ride through Myra Canyon is glorious. Its gentle grade is easy so you can concentrate on the views including the airiness of some of the trestles.

When you reach Trestle #6, the longest and highest trestle on the line, you’re at the midpoint, 55 m (180 feet) above Pooley Creek below.

Absorb the history of the railway too. About a kilometre before Trestle #1 keep an eye out for a rock oven, used to bake bread for the crews building the railway. Loaves were reportedly 2.5 feet long and each worker would eat one a day.

The Myra Canyon section is suitable for people with a range of cycling abilities – from families to experts. Cycle over eighteen trestles and through two tunnels over 20 km (12 miles).

Trestles in canyon
Trestles in Myra Canyon
There are two tunnels on the canyon section & more if you continue to Penticton
There are two tunnels on the canyon section & more if you continue to Penticton

Biking from Myra Station to Penticton

If you have more than half a day then I highly recommend cycling from Myra Station to Penticton – a distance of about 80 km. Myra Canyon Bike Rentals organizes self-guided and guided tours. 

At about the half way mark Chute Lake Lodge appears. Stock up on cold drinks, burgers and homemade apple or rhubarb pie before continuing. Buy extra cold drinks if it’s a hot day. It took the better part of 6 hours to cycle the 80 km and the last two hours were 34°C and dehydration was definitely a problem.

Although it’s downhill all the way from Chute Lake to Penticton, on a railway grade of 2.2%, it’s by no means an easy ride. You have to deal with a great deal of sand which takes a light touch on the handlebars.

Biking towards Penticton on the Kettle Valley Railway
Biking towards Penticton on the Kettle Valley Railway
Stopping in at Abandoned Rail Brewing on the Kettle Valley Railway for an apple slushie
Stopping in at Abandoned Rail Brewing on the Kettle Valley Railway for an apple slushie

Look out for snakes

Watch for rattlesnakes through the Rock Ovens – especially if you’re moving quickly on the downhill. 

Shortly after you pass Hillside Winery look for Abandoned Rail Brewing – a perfect place for a summertime cold beer, cider, slushie, or choose some food off their menu. They have a lovely seating area outside under the shade of fruit trees.

The Kettle Valley Railway high above Penticton
Note the surface for cycling once you’re through with the trestles
Views from the Kettle Valley Railway near Penticton
Views from the Kettle Valley Railway near Penticton

Getting to Myra Station

It’s a 40 minute drive from downtown Kelowna to get to Myra Station. Although the road up is gravel, the drive shouldn’t present any problems during the summer and fall months. You’ll find a large parking lot at the entrance to the Kettle Valley Railway.

Cycling the entire Kettle Valley Rail Trail?

If you want to cycle the entire Kettle Valley Railway then it’s a good idea to purchase the book (even though it’s old) –Cycling the Kettle Valley Trail by Dan & Sandra Langford.

They provide route notes and lots of helpful information though their layout is confusing. 

The bike ride is mostly on gravel save for the trestles or bridges
The bike ride is mostly on gravel save for the trestles or bridges

A few things to take on Myra Canyon bike ride

If you plan to bike all the way to Penticton, you do not want to get stuck with a flat tire.

Don’t forget a patch kit, a bike pump and tire levers

Wear a pair of padded shorts especially for a trip of this length. Your butt will thank you the next day.

I’d also recommend a cycling jersey with back pockets for storing power bars and sunscreen.

Guided Myra Canyon bike tours

If you’d prefer a guided Myra Canyon bike tour check out Kettle Valley Railway Cycling Company.

One of the bike rental companies also contacted me and had this to say:

Some sections of the Kettle Valley Railway are truly first class and well worth cycling. In particular, you won’t go wrong with the Myra Canyon section.

If you're not into cycling you can walk a section of Myra Canyon
If you’re not into cycling you can walk a section of Myra Canyon

Further reading on the Okanagan

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

Biking Myra Canyon on the Kettle Valley Railway

  1. I want to bike the section from kelowna to Penticton with my husband for our aniversary. I thought i heaard a rumor that there was a place about halfway, but closer to Penticton that you could stay for the night and have a good meal and a cold beer, is this true and if so can you tell me the name?

    1. @Cerah – I’m running out the door but of you re-read the article I believe it mentions a place – Chute Lake Lodge I believe. It’s not fancy but it’s a good half way spot.

  2. If I was doing a bike tour through the okanagan and was looking at going from Naramata to Kelowna through the KVT rather than through Highway 97, would touring bikes be okay for that ride? Just curious if the trail is so rough that you would need a mountain bike.

    1. @Tdk We have hybrid bikes and managed OK. There are a few sandy sections where a mountain bike would come in handy – but you could always get off a walk that part. Enjoy – it’s a great trail. PS If you can go from Kelowna to Naramata because then you have the grade working for you.

  3. I keep reading comments that ATVs are allowed on the KVR. This is really putting my wife and myself off making the trip. Can this be true? It seems crazy.

  4. Leigh, this is beautiful! Would love to do this and wish I had more time when I was in BC this weekend. A shame that the fires destroyed so much of this area but glad to see it is growing back. Still a beautiful area to hike! WOW!

  5. I think it’s wonderful that abandoned railway lines are being converted into trails. This trail looks great. Love the photos — the Penticton area is beautiful.

    1. There are now nearly 600 kms of trail that have been turned over for recreational use that were all part of the abandoned Kettle Valley Railway. Many people cycle all or sections of it – with some sections being very remote. Around the Myra Canyon area you see hikers but elsewhere it’s primarily a biking destination.
      @Jeremy – it is a stunning area with such diverse scenery. I can’t tell you how much fun I had biking Myra Canyon & the ride to Penticton past the vineyards is so worth doing. Another time.

  6. There is something about the beautiful color of the water in Canada. Last summer I canoed Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada and these pictures remind me of the lakes there. Gorgeous photos.

    1. Lucky you canoeing Quetico. I have always wanted to go to that park. My husband & I have talked about going but the logistics of getting there are more complicated than many places.

  7. Hello! I’ve just been reading your article on the Myra Canyon/KVR and wanted to let you know I am in the early stages of creating a new and hopefully user friendly information site for the Midway-Penticton section of the KVR (plus additional info for Penticton – Osoyoos). I will be cycling the trail in early June this year and will be adding photos and information from that trip to the site. I hope to be able to help people with their cycling/hiking plans especially for multi day trips! The site is up and running at Although the site is not finished, I am more than happy to help people with their plans/questions about the trail as best I can!
    Paula Sheridan

    1. It’s popular for both walking & biking. The trestles burnt down a number of years ago and it reopened in 2008. The Myra Canyon area has become very popular now – and for good reason. If you go in the summer head off early in the morning before it gets too hot.

  8. Very cool! I’ve been wanting to get to BC for years and this is why. The trail looks amazing; I’m in love with those trestles.

  9. What a great adventure, whether by bike or foot. And from your description, there’s a little bit of something for everyone – half-day bike excursions, hard-core cycling trips, etc. I’m saving your post for future reference. Now that I live in Montana part-time, the Okanagan Valley is not that far away.

    1. There is a little bit of something for everyone. We saw lots of families heading out on short sections of trail, and plenty of young people too. By far the most popular thing to do is to cycle over the Myra Canyon Trestles & it’s super easy to do that in just half a day. That leaves you time to get back to Kelowna for a swim in the afternoon.

  10. It is a must do bike trip!
    We rented our Bicycles from Myra canyon Bike rental this summer when we went cycling for a day. The 24km circuit was perfect for our family. At one of the stop points, there were some ‘wild’ tame chipmunks that the kids could touch. We had a blast. I Would recommend this trip and Myra canyon bike rental to anyone. Plus Myra Canyon bike rental also has a consession stand and I have to say.. enjoying some cold drinks upon return was a great finish of the day.

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