Cycling in Myra Canyon was at the top of my Things to Do list, on my most recent trip to Kelowna.
Despite my high expectations, Myra Canyon surpassed them! I LOVED, LOVED cycling in Myra Canon and think you will too – no matter how old you are. It’s suitable for children and adults of all ages!
Here’s why I loved it so much:
1) The Views of Kelowna and Lake Okanagan
Views of the Okangan Valley from Myra Canyon.
At 1430m (4100 feet) up you have incredible views over the valley! Not only that, you have a view for most of the 12km trail!
2) Cycling along the Kettle Valley Railway, an Important Piece of Canadian Hstory and an Engineering Wonder!
Me cycling along one of the 18 trestle bridges
The Myra Canyon section of the railway was completed in 1914 and used until 1972. Building the railway was incredibly difficult. The canyon was steep and carved out by two main creeks. To get around this, chief engineer Andrew McCulloch built the railway to the sides of the canyon using 19 wooden trestle bridges and two tunnels to do it! It was referred to as McCuloch’s Wonder! It’s humbling to cycle along a railway that such played an important part in shipping in the early days of the Western Frontier!
3) Up-Close Chance to See How a Forest Recovers After a Forest Fire
Myra Canyon 12 years after the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire of 2003.
The Okanagan Mountain Park Fire in 2003 was fuelled by a constant wind and consumed 250 square kilometers of land and 239 homes. 12 years later you can still the results from the devastation. 12 of the wooden trestle bridges were burned, but have since been restored, tall barren tree trunks appear as skeletons in stark contrast to the bright green new growth that has since appeared. You can look at it and think, that’s coming up rather nicely, but when you compare it to the massive trees in the parts of the original forest that did survive, you realize that it still has hundreds of years to go before it’s fully recovered. Being a rather curious person, I relished the opportunity to get up-close and see how a forest recovers. Which species grow quickly? Which ones are most abundant? Which ones are slow growth? It’s fascinating to be right there and explore!
4) It’s Flat! Perfect for Enjoying the Views
One of the 18 trestle bridges you cycle over in Myra Canyon
While I love cycling, I prefer cycling on flat terrain and cycling along the trestles in Myra Canyon fits the bill! The railway was built with a maximum grade of 2.2 – all that the steam trains could handle! That way, instead of sweating so much and focusing on your burning legs, you can leisurely peddle while taking in the breathtaking views over the canyon!
5) Beat the Heat!
Being 1430m (4100 feet) higher than the valley means slightly cooler temperatures than what you’d find in Kelowna – something to be welcomed given how hot summers in the Okanagan can get!
6) 18 Trestles and 2 Tunnels
See you on the dark side! One of two former railway tunnels in Myra Canyon.
Check out the trestle bridges and stop and think that they were built by hand – it’s mind boggling! Similarly, can you imagine the difficulty of carving out a tunnel on the side of a cliff? What an adventure that would be – albeit not one that I’m up for! As a cyclist, the trestles and tunnels are just pure fun! I had a big smile plastered to my face every time I crossed a trestle! There are not many places where you get to cycle along a historic railway!
7) Opportunity to Extend the Trip From 12Km to 80km and Cycle to Penticton
While I didn’t have time for this option, I love the idea of cycling the 80km to Penticton! Leigh from Hike Bike Travel explains how to do it.
Re-built trestle bridge and recovering forest in Myra Canyon.
And that’s why I LOVED cycling Myra Canyon!
Want to check it out for yourself?
KNOW BEFORE YOU CYCLE IN MYRA CANYON
Weather in Myra Canyon
Kelowna can get very hot, so go in the morning before it gets too warm, or choose to cycle on a cooler day.
It’s 12km each way, so 24 km in total if you want to cycle across each of the 18 trestles. If that’s too much for you, you can just cycle until you’ve had enough, then return back. The views start from the beginning of the trail and the first tunnels and trestle are near the beginning, so you don’t have to cycle the entire way to get the experience – although I do recommend it if you have the time and energy.
How Long Does It Take
It Will take you 3-4 hours return cycling at a slow pace with plenty of photo and water stops.Bring water and snacks with you.
Renting a Bike
You can rent a bike at the start of the trail head from Myra Canyon Bike Rentals, which is what we did. It costs $39 for an adult bike for a half day and $30 for a children’s bike. In order to ensure you have a bike, I recommend making an advance reservation since they can be out of bikes. While the bikes were fine, I found this to be expensive, so bring your own if you have one with you. Alternatively, Monashee Adventures Tours or Outbound Cycle rent bikes for $40 for a full day (no half day rentals available).
Who Is the Myra Canyon Trail Appropriate For:
I saw people of all pages, from infants in strollers (the path is stroller friendly) to elderly couples. If you only want to do a part of the trail, you could also walk it, instead of cycling it.
How to Get to Myra Canyon:
You will need to drive, or if you were REALLY ambitious and don’t mind a steep uphill climb for 25km, you could also cycle. There are a few signs, but it’s very useful to have Google Maps. The address is: Myra Forest Service Road Parking Lot East Entrance, Kelowna.
Note: Don’t mistake this for Myra Canyon Adventure Park, as we did located on June Springs Road. That’s also worth a visit though. There you will find a climbing forest, slack line and disc golf (free if you bring your discs, but you can also rent them there)! The owner was very friendly!
Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains, an adventure travel blog and company that helps people plan their active holidays in a sustainable way. Although Canadian, she lives in Germany. You can find her in the mountains on most weekends.