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5 of the Best Bike Rides You’ll Want to do in the South Okanagan

Did you know that the South Okanagan offers some of the best biking in Canada? It’s especially great in May when the weather is sunny and warm, the regions 50 plus wineries are open and the crowds have yet to materialize. There are also a couple of standout events like the Giant’s Head Grind that will appeal to both bikers and hikers.

5 of the Best Bike Rides You'll Want to do in the South Okanagan

It’s hard to beat biking through the wine country of the South Okanagan

What are 5 of the best bike rides in the South Okanagan?

The Kettle Valley Railway from Myra Canyon to Penticton

My favourite bike ride so far is the Myra Canyon to Penticton section of the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR). You need a shuttle unless you want to ride up and back 160 kilometres and most people don’t. By starting in Myra Canyon the grade is a constant 2% downhill. Highlights include cycling over the railway trestles, the views, ice cream at Chute Lake Lodge, wildlife (we’ve seen black bears) and of course the wineries once you reach the Naramata Bench. On a hot day it’s a treat to cool off in the lake.

A shorter option is the out and back ride – on the bike trail between Penticton and Naramata. It’s a great one if you want to spend some time wine tasting.

5 of the Best Bike Rides You'll Want to do in the South Okanagan

Riding a section of the Kettle Valley Railway high above Lake Okanagan

Penticton to Oliver via the KVR

Enjoy some of the best of what the Okanagan offers when you do and out and back ride from Penticton to Oliver (or even Osoyoos if you’re up for a 100+ kilometre ride). This section of the KVR takes you past beaches, lakes, vineyards and the bird sanctuary at Vaseux Lake. Plan a stop in Okanagan Falls for ice cream.

5 of the Best Bike Rides You'll Want to do in the South Okanagan

Lock your bikes and take a side trip to Vaseux Lake

Three Blind Mice Mountain Biking Trails

I haven’t done any of the trails that are part of the Three Blind Mice network but exploring these trails is next on my list. Located high above Naramata, avid local cyclist Randy Brown told me that “there are over 100 kilometres of singletrack trails for every level of rider – and the views over Okanagan Lake are magnificent.” He also recommends picking up a copy of SweetSingletrack. He calls it “the definitive guide for the close to 1,000 kilometres of trails in the south Okanagan.”

5 of the Best Bike Rides You'll Want to do in the South Okanagan

Views of Okanagan Lake near Naramata

The Road to Apex Mountain Resort

A favourite of locals is the climb up Green Mountain Road towards Apex Mountain Resort. With a map and a sense of adventure you can explore the side roads – particularly Shingle Creek Road – and do a loop to return to Penticton.

The Trans-Canada Trail near Summerland

Some sections of the Trans-Canada Trail around Summerland are ideal for cyclists. Start near Conkle Mountain Park and head east towards Okanagan Lake. Continue to the Trout Creek Bridge and then pick up the KVR to continue to Penticton.

Special Biking Events in the South Okanagan in May

On May 21st the third annual Giant’s Head Grind, spearheaded by Ellen Walker-Matthews is happening. Ellen organized the event to honour the memory of her son Christopher Walker who died of colon cancer at 29. As she says “it’s a great way to keep her son close in a way that’s very positive.”

This year there are three options for up to 500 participants – hike to the top of Giant’s Head Mountain, bike the paved road to the top or if you’ve got the energy, do both. Funds raised are all tax deductible – and are used for improving the trails on the mountain and colon cancer research.

Fundraiser - Giant's Head Grind in the South Okanagan

It’s a steep hike/run or bike to the top of Giant’s Head – Photo credit: Vlado Zamecnik

Fur Brigade Park near Summerland will be dedicated as a BC Heritage Site and to celebrate hikers and bikers are invited to tea on Mother’s Day, May 8th. You’ll have to cycle eight rough kilometres return to enjoy the tea but there is a reward – one of the best views in all of the Okanagan. Register beforehand via email at trail.of.the.okanagans@gmail.com.

For further reading check out South Okanagan Chain of Events Kickstarts Stellar Cycling Season.

If you need help with bike rentals, shuttles or bike tours check out Kelowna based Monashee Adventures or Penticton based Hoodoo Adventures.

Have you cycled anywhere in the South Okanagan?

Leigh McAdam

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
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Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure - & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project - a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Doug D says:

    Did they put in more trail south of OK Falls? When we went there was a gap where you had to ride the highway. It was terrifying since the blind corners had no shoulder.

  • Top5ver says:

    This is amazing the adventurous life is like standing on a sharped pin but its joy is like out of this world

  • Colleen MacDonald says:

    How did you go from the rail trail along Vaseux Lake to Oliver? I am wondering if there is a bridge linking to Oliver now, there wasn’t one in the past? Can you please provide a gpx of your route from Penticton to Oliver?

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