Myra Canyon near Kelowna, British Columbia, is a scenic cycle route along the historic Kettle Valley Rail Trail.
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You’ll cycle across 18 bridges and 2 tunnels with views over the Okanagan Valley! The views of the orchards and vineyards are simply stunning.
I had high expectations, but biking the Kettle Valley Rail Trail in Myra Canyon surpassed them! I LOVED, biking in Myra Canyon. 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) Amazing Views of Kelowna and Lake Okanagan 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 which not only includes views of Lake Okanagan, Kelowna but also orchards and vineyards.
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2) Biking the Kettle Valley Railway Means Discovering Canadian History and an Engineering Wonder!
The Myra Canyon section of the Kettle Valley 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 McCulloch’s Wonder!
The Kettle Valley Railway played an important part in shipping in the early days of the Western Frontier. It’s humbling as you bike along it to realize this.
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3) Myra Canyon Gives You an Up-Close Chance to See How a Forest Recovers After a Forest Fire
The Okanagan Mountain Park Fire in 2003 was fuelled by a constant wind. It consumed 250 square kilometres of land and 239 homes. More than 12 years later you can still the results from the devastation in Myra Canyon.
12 of the wooden trestle bridges in Myra Canyon were burned. Fortunately, they 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 quickly 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. It’s fascinating to be right there and explore!
Related Reading: Top 10 Places to Eat (and Drink) in the Okanagan.
4) This Section of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail Is Flat! Perfect for Enjoying the Views
While I love cycling, I prefer cycling on flat terrain. And cycling along the trestles of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail in Myra Canyon fits the bill! The railway was built with a maximum grade of 2.2. That’s the steepest grade that steam trains could handle!
The flat grad means that instead of sweating so much and focusing on your burning legs, you can leisurely peddle. All while taking in the breathtaking views over the canyon!
I’m not the only one who was impressed by it. My friend Leigh from Hike Bike Travel names it as one of the 19 Best Bike Rides in Canada that you can do in a day.
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5) Myra Canyon is Cooler than Kelowna!
Myra Canyon is at an elevation of 1430m (4100 feet) higher than the valley. That means slightly cooler temperatures than what you’d find in Kelowna. Something to be welcomed given how hot summers in the Okanagan can get!
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6) The 18 Trestles and 2 Tunnels on This Section of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail
Check out the trestle bridges in Myra Canyon 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 found in this section of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail 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!
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7) Opportunity to Extend the Trip From 12Km to 80km and Cycle the Entire Kettle Valley Rail Trail to Penticton
While I didn’t have time for this option, I love the idea of cycling all of the 80 km of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail to Penticton! Leigh from Hike Bike Travel explains how to do it.
And that’s why I LOVED cycling Myra Canyon!
Want to check it out for yourself?
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Know Before you Bike in Myra Canyon
Weather in Myra Canyon
Kelowna can get very hot. Go in the morning before it gets too warm. Alternatively, you can choose to cycle on a cooler day.
Length of this section of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail in Myra Canyon.
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.
That means 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 to Bike Myra Canyon
It takes ~3-4 hours to return. And that’s cycling at a slow pace with plenty of photos and water stops. Bring water and snacks with you.
Renting a Bike at Myra Canyon
You can rent a bike at the start of the trailhead 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. That’s why I’d recommend bringing 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).
Related Reading: Best Easy Hikes in Banff National Park.
Who Will Enjoy Biking in Myra Canyon?
I saw people of all ages enjoying the bike trails of Myra Canyon. 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 from downtown. 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 locate on June Springs Road. That’s also worth a visit though.
There you will find a climbing forest, slackline and disc golf (free if you bring your discs, but you can also rent them there)! The owner was very friendly!
If you don’t have a car or prefer to walk rather than cycle, then this Historical Walking Tour and Picnic is a good choice. It includes pick up and drop off from your accommodation.
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See Tourism Kelowna, or call 1.800.663.4345
Accommodation Near Myra Canyon
Kelowna makes a great central location and there are plenty of places to stay just outside the city along Okanagan Lake.
Check out the hotels below or for a unique experience book an VRBO. I love staying in a VRBO if I’m going to be staying in a place for 2 nights or more. Or if I’m travelling with several people since you can often rent an entire place giving your more space and a kitchen which I like having.
Hotel Eldorado is located next to the Okanagan Lake and features its own marina. The beach is just a short walk away from the hotel. The hotel offers an indoor swimming pool, steam room, hot tub, and a gym. There is also an on-site restaurant.
Coast Capri Hotel is located in downtown Kelowna just a few blocks away from Okanagan lake. This 4-star hotel offers 2 spas, an outdoor pool and a state of the art fitness center. The hotel also offers a choice of restaurants including the Vinter’s poolside grill that offers live jazz and blues.
Royal Anne Hotel is a 3-star hotel that offers comfortable rooms. The hotel has a gym and 2 saunas as well as a wine shop and Irish Pub where guests can enjoy light meals. It is located in downtown Kelowna.
What Else You Can May Enjoy Besides Cycling in Myra Canyon?
Kelowna Sightseeing and Wine Tour. You’ll get picked up and dropped off from your accommodation on this small group chauffeur-driven tour of Kelowna and then you’ll visit four wineries. I’m a huge fan of wine tours as then you’re free to sample to your heart’s content without having to worry about driving afterwards. Besides, wine tastings are always more fun with new friends.
Kayak, Wine and Cheese Tour. On this tour, departing from nearby Penticton, you’ll experience two of the things the area is most well known for, Okanagan Lake and its wine. And best of all? You’ll be driven back to your departure point so you won’t have to worry about driving in case you enjoy the wine tastings a little too much.