Hiking Kelowna & the Okanagan Valley

Hiking Kelowna & the Okanagan Valley

If you are looking for your next hiking adventure with stunning scenery and great amenities, then choosing Kelowna is an excellent choice. Kelowna is located in the Canadian Rockies along the shoreline of Okanagan Lake in the Okanagan Valley. The city boasts many attractions for outdoors adventurers throughout the whole year from skiing in the winter or camping, hiking, and kayaking in the summer months.

Kelowna, derived from the Okanagan language as “grizzly bear,” sits a region surrounded by three mountain ranges: the Cascade, Coastal, and Columbia Mountains, with a multitude of parks and trails to provide hikers of various skill levels an opportunity to explore the breathtaking landscape of the Okanagan Valley and beyond.

We’ve compiled around 30 parks, and trails surround the city of Kelowna based on their difficulty and duration to help you plan your next hike around Kelowna.

Looking for the Best Hiking Guide to Kelowna

You’re in the right place! In this guide we will be covering the following:

  • A history of the area
  • Our Family trail recommendations
  • Great day hikes!
  • Multi-day backpacking adventures

HIGHLIGHTs

  • Family Fun – Kettle Valley Railway that has been restored by volunteers to create an usual hiking and biking trail through Myra Canyon.
  • Day Hikes – Okanagan Mountain Park covers 10,000 hectares of rugged mountainside down to the shore of the lake in the valley below with lot of great trails.
  • Monashee Provincial Park has some great backpacking trails leading through alpine meadows, spruce forests and up to Mount Fostall.

LOWLIGHTs

  • Having to leave this beautiful area!

Kelowna & The Okanagan Valley

Kelowna is located about a 4-hour drive east of Vancouver, on the western side of the Canadian Rockies. Kelowna sits on the eastern shoreline at the roughly the north-south midpoint of Lake Okanagan in the Okanagan Valley. The metropolitan area of Kelowna has a population of close to 200,000 and has several neighboring smaller towns including West Kelowna (also known as Westside), Peachland and Vernon.

History

The Okanagan Valley is known to have been populated over 9000 years ago by the Syilx people following the last ice age that sculpted the valleys features. A French missionary became the first European to settle the area in 1859 with the town officially being incorporated in 1905.

Climate

Kelowna, with its humid continental climate, has warm, dry and sunny summers and relatively cold (but not perishingly cold) and cloudy winters, with four definite seasons.​During the summer expect the Okanagan Valley, and Kelowna to be hot, typically exceeding 32 °C (90 °F) during the day with heat waves that can persist for weeks. As such, the risk of wildfires is real so please take precautions.Despite the warm temperatures, please take care if backpacking though, as due to the lack of cloud cover, nighttime temperatures, particularly on the slopes above the valley can drop substantially. Kelowna is also an extraordinarily windless locale, with moderate precipitation (although, June is typically the wettest month of the year).Thanks to its location next to Okanagan Lake, Kelowna experiences a relatively warm winter due to the warming effects of the lake and the sheltering effect of the surrounding mountains, with typical average winter temperatures in the city around -3°C (26.6 °F). Temperatures in the surrounding mountains will typically fall to even lower temperatures with persistent snow cover. Arctic air masses will sometimes sit in the valley producing even lower lows.

Kelowna Climate
Climate Data for Kelowna International Airport, Canada

Hiking Kelowna & Surrounding Area

The area around Kelowna and Okanagan Valley has numerous parks, and trails for hikers and backpackers of all calibers, from very short scenic, walks that could be completed in under an hour to more grueling multi-day treks along the High Rim Trail. We’ve pulled together and categorized around 30 parks and trails for you to peruse.

Provincial & Regional Parks

There are approximately 30 regional parks around Kelowna operated and maintained by the Regional District of Central Okanagan. The regional parks tend to be smaller, generally covering less than a couple of hundred hectares, thus, having shorter trails. That said, there are some quick trail gems to explore. These parks do allow overnight camping (indeed most close after dark), and you should stay on the designated trails to protect the native wildlife. Most allow dogs on a leash.Within about an hours drive, there are eight provincial parks – the provincial parks are much more significant wilderness areas with some excellent trails and camping (both campsite and wilderness) possibilities.In all parks in the region, please be Bear Aware particularly in places such as trails along creeks during the salmon spawning season.

Family Friendly Short Hikes & Trails

If you are looking for shorter hikes with more established trails a stroller or tiny legs can tackle then we recommend the following routes. There are also some great trails here if you are short of time but want to get out of the city.

  • DILWORTH MOUNTAIN
  • BERTRAM CREEK
  • mission creek
  • ROSE VALLEY
  • SCENIC CANYON
  • KELOWNA MOUNTAIN
  • MYRA CANYON TRESTLES

Dilworth Mountain Park

Difficulty: Very Easy

Trail Length: 1 km

Location: East Kelowna

Dilworth Mountain is instantly recognizable from most parts of Kelowna, and offers several stunning views over the city and the Okanagan Valley beyond. The trail is suitable for strollers, kids and dogs (on-leash). The park is open till 11pm. More info.

Bertram Creek Park

Difficulty: Easy

Trail Length: Various

Location: 20min drive south of Kelowna

The Bertram Creek Regional Park is located about a 20 min drive south of Kelowna, along the shore of Okanagan Lake. The park consists of 17.9 hectares of land, suitable for walks with various easy trails of varying lengths. It is also possible to go swimming in the lake. You must keep to the designated trails and no dogs, smoking or fires are permitted. The park is open during daylight hours. More info.

Mission Creek Park

Difficulty: Easy-Mod

Trail Length: Various

Location: East Kelowna

Situated about a 10 min drive east from downtown Kelowna, the Mission Creek Regional park is a strip of parkland surround the Mission Creek. The park has several hiking trails of various lengths totaling 12km in all. The park is stroller and dog friendly (on leash). No camping or fires permitted. More info.

Rose Valley Park

Difficulty: Easy

Trail Length: 6 km

Location: West Kelowna

Across the river in the north of West Kelowna (about 10 min drive from downtown) is Rose Valley Regional Park. The 250 hectares of land have been left in a natural state and have several kilometres of hiking trails to explore. More info.

Scenic Canyon Park

Difficulty: Easy

Trail Length: 4 km

Location: 20min drive west of Kelowna

One of the newer parks in the region, Scenic Canyon is 90 hectares of natural parkland located about a 20 min drive west of downtown Kelowna. The park is home to several hiking trails, cultural sites such as the gold pits and has some spectacular geological features such as Layer Cake Mountain and Pinnacle Rock. Dogs are allowed in the park, but must kept on a leash and are not allowed to leave the marked trails. More info.

Kelowna Mountain Park

Difficulty:  Easy

Trail Length: 4 km

Location: 25 mins drive south

The Kelowna Mountain Park is a privately owned agribusiness park. The property was bought in the early 2000s following the 2003 wildfire, and has been involved in some controversy over the years. The park features several trails, including four suspension bridges (one is billed to be the longest in North America), with some spectacular views over the Okanagan Valley. More info.

Myra Canyon Trestles

Difficulty: Very Easy

Trail Length: 11 km

Location: 40 mins South West of Kelowna

The Myra Canyon Trestles is a 11km long section of the Kettle Valley Railway that has been restored by volunteers to create an usual hiking and biking trail through Myra Canyon. The hike will take you over 18 trestles and through 2 tunnels and can be used as a leaping off point onto other trails for a more serious adventure. The route is fairly flat, but beware if you have a fear of heights. More info.

Short & Half-Day Hikes

If you are looking for something a bit longer and/or challenging then try the following parks.

  • KALAMOIR PARK
  • KNOX MOUNTAIN
  • KUIPER’S PEAK
  • CANYON FALLS
  • BEAR CREEK
  • FINTRY PARK

Kalamoir Park

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length: 1-3 km

Location: West Kelowna

Covering over 27 hectares of land along the western shoreline of Lake Okanagan, the Kalamoir Regional Park offers several hiking trails, a beachfront swimming area amongst other amenities. Dogs are allowed with special designated dog area along the shoreline.

Knox Mountain Park

Difficulty: Easy-Mod

Trail Length: 1-5 km

Location: 20 Mins north of downtown Kelowna

Located north of downtown Kelowna, Know Mountain Park is the city’s largest park at over 300 hectares. The park stretches all the way from the lakeside up to the the top of Knox Mountain, some 300m above, with multiple different environments for the local flora and fauna. Knox Mountain provides breathtaking views over the city and Lake Okanagan. The park is open from Spring-Fall between 6am – 10pm. Dogs are allowed, and there are both on- and off-leash areas. More info

Kuiper’s Peak Mountain Park

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length: 1 km

Location: 20 mins south of downtown Kelowna

If you are looking for a short hike with some stunning views then Kuiper’s peak may just provide it. One of the smaller parks in the area at only 11 hectares, it does provide some short but moderately challenging trails for hiking or trail-running to the south of Kelowna. The park was hit by the 2003 wildfires and is a great example of an ecosystem in recovery. More info

Canyon Falls Park

Difficulty: Mod-Difficult

Trail Length: 2 km

Location: 20 mins south of downtown Kelowna

A fairly short, but sometimes slippery hike south of Kelowna, is a trip to Canyon Falls park. Simply follow the trail down from the trailhead and you’ll find yourself stood before the beautiful Crawford Falls. More info

Bear Creek Provincial Park

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length: 4 km

Location: 10 mins north of West Kelowna

The Bear Creek Provincial Park offers lakeside camping from Spring through Fall (although, make sure and reserve your spot in the summer as it gets busy). In addition to camping there are various trails around the park, from simple lakeside strolls to a longer, slighly more challenging trail loop up and around the canyon itself. More info

Fintry Provincial Park

Difficulty: Mod-Difficult

Trail Length: 2-3 km

Location: 40 mins north of West Kelowna

Formerly the Fintry Estate, the Fintry Provincial Park offers many amenities in it’s sprawling 360 hectares. The park has over 2km of shoreline which offers the opportunity for swimming, kayaking or just relaxing at the waters edge. In addition, the park has camping facilities from spring through fall and some short hiking trails. More info

Day-Hikes & Multi-Day Backpacking

For those serious about getting out into the wilderness for a longer trek, then we recommend the following Provincial Parks.

  • MYRA BELLEVUE
  • GLEN CANYON
  • OKANAGAN MOUNTAIN
  • MONASHEE PARK

Myra Bellevue Provincial Park

Difficulty: Mod-Difficult

Trail Length: Various

Location: 15 mins southwest of downtown Kelowna

The Myra Bellevue Provincial Park covers over 7500 hectares of wilderness between the eastern boundary of Kelowna and the crests of the mountains. The park is home to multiple trails, including the aforementioned Kettle Valley Railway Trail. More info

Glen Canyon Regional Park

Difficulty: Mod-Difficult

Trail Length: 8 km

Location: 20 mins southeast of downtown Kelowna

Covering 74 hectares, this green beltway protects an important wildlife corridor to the south of Kelowna. The park is home to a series of trails ranging from easy to moderately difficult. More info

Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park

Difficulty: Mod-Difficult

Trail Length: 2-41 km

Location: 25 mins south of downtown Kelowna

The Okanagan Mountain Park covers 10,000 hectares of rugged mountainside down to the shore of Lake Okanagan in the valley below. The park is a hikers paradise with much of the park only reachable by foot (or bike). Camping is possible, including in certain wilderness areas if you wish to do some backpacking. In addition, there are several opportunites to participate in watersports by the lakeside. More info

Monashee Provincial Park

Difficulty: Difficult

Trail Length: Various

Location: 2 hours northwest of Kelowna

A great backpacking (or day trip adventures) awaits at Monashee National Park (about 2 hours northwest of Kelowna). The park has some great trails leading through alpine meadows, spruce forests and up to Mount Fostall (for the technically more competent) with stunning views to boast of. More info

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Other Hiking Trails

If you are not already tired out by the numerous parks on offer in the area, there are also several possible trails to take that criss-cross the area. As with the parks, we have split them into length/difficulty.

Short Hikes (Under 2 hours)

If you are looking for a shorter hike, that will take you likely less than 2 hours (assuming you are reasonably fit), then take a look at the following three trails.

  • HARDY FALLS
  • CHRISTIE FALLS
  • PINCUSHION MOUNTAIN

Hardy Falls

Difficulty: Very Easy

Trail Length: 2 km

Location: Peachland (20 mins southwest of West Kelowna)

Located in Peachland, just south of western Kelowna, the Hardy Falls, named after Harry Hardy is a nice simple little trail that takes you along Deep Creek to a small set of waterfalls. It is a cool, shaded trail that is well maintained, so suitable for strollers. Spawning salmon can be seen in the stream come fall. More info

Christie Falls Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length: 1.5 km

Location: 1 hour north of West Kelowna

Another short, simple trail ending in a waterfall, the Christie Falls Trail is a great little hike that follows a forestry service road for approximately 30 mins. In addition to the waterfalls, there is also an accessible cave and cliffs often frequented by rock climbers. More info

Pincushion Mountain Trail

Difficulty: Mod. Difficult

Trail Length: 4 km

Location: Peachland (25 mins southwest of West Kelowna)

Pincushion Mountain is located about 25 mins south of Kelowna, on the western side of the lake. The mountain took its name following a wildfire in the 19th century which leaving the decimated tree stumps sticking out of the mountainside like a pincushion. The trail is moderately difficult with several steep gravel sections, that require appropriate footwear. More info

Moderate Hikes (2-4 hours)

If you have the time to spend several hours hiking the trail, then there are several options around the central Okanagan Valley.

  • TREPANIER CREEK
  • MOUNT BOUCHERIE
  • CARROT BLUFFS
  • SMITH CREEK
  • SPION KOP

Trepanier Creek Trail

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length: 6 km

Location: Peachland (20 mins southwest of West Kelowna)

The Trepanier Creek trail begins with an easy winding flat section along the creek before starting a moderately difficult, but steady ascent to summit Pincushion Mountain. Located in Peachland, about a 20 min drive from downtown Kelowna, this trail will take 2-3 hours to complete (roundtrip). More info

Mount Boucherie Trail

Difficulty: Mod. Difficult

Trail Length: 4 km

Location: West Kelowna

Located in West Kelowna, this short by quite tricky ascent up a 60 million year old stratovolcano will give you unobstructed 360 degree views of the Okanagan Valley below. There are two possible routes up, a short but intense hike almost straight up (right hand trail from car park), or a more winding longer trail that makes the ascent more manageable. More info

Carrot Mountain Bluffs

Difficulty: Difficult

Trail Length: 4 km

Location: 15 mins West of Kelowna

A somewhat tricky trail to navigate, it is best to try and follow the trail up the gully to the top where you are offered a great view over Westbank, Shannon Lake and Okanagan Lake. The trail will take you through dense woodland with plenty of potential for wildlife spotting. More

Smith Creek Trail

Difficulty: Difficult

Trail Length: 11 km

Location: 20 mins West of Kelowna

Primarily, a mountain bike trail, this route will take you through 11km of shaded forest trails if you are looking to escape the heat in the summer. More info

Spion Kop Trail

Difficulty: Difficult

Trail Length: 6 km

Location: 30 mins north of Kelowna

Name after the battle for Spioenkop in the second Boer war in South Africa, by one of its veterans, this well marked trail will take through dense forest and up to spectacular basalt cliff near the top. The summit has great views over the Okanagan Valley. More info

Day-Hikes & Multi-Day Backpacking

If you are serious about doing some serious day (or multi-day) hiking or backpacking then consider either the shorter McDougall Rim or the longer High Rim trails.

  • MCDOUGALL RIM
  • HIGH RIM

McDougall Rim Trail

Difficulty: Difficult

Trail Length: 22 km

Location: 20 mins West of Kelowna

The McDougall Rim Trail offers an intense uphill hike which flattens out through dense woodland before reaching stunning views of West Kelowna and Lake Okanagan. The trail is not well signposted, and is rather marked by usage instead so be sure to map out your route beforehand. More info

High Rim Trail

Difficulty: Difficult

Trail Length: 55 km

Location: 30 mins east of Kelowna

The High Rim Trail runs along the east side of the okanagan valley, from Vernon to Kelowna. There are camping spots along the trail, but with 5 or 6 access points, it can easily be hiked in stages. The hike has some gorgeous areas, cedar groves, monumental Douglas Fir, great lookouts, and also traverses active forest harvesting areas. More info

If there any trails or parks you feel we should include then please feel free to contact us.

* All trail durations and difficulties are estimates. Ground conditions are constantly changing, weather conditions and the groups fitness will all play factors. 

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