Last Monday hubby, one of our grandsons (ten years old), and I headed up to Myra Canyon to spend a few hours riding along the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. The drive up to Myra Canyon takes you through orchards and vineyards with beautiful views of Kelowna.
The last seven kilometres is up a windy, gravel road but is easily traversable by any type of vehicle. There is a large parking lot at the Myra Station entrance and you can also rent bikes there if need be. Once we had unloaded our bikes we were off … this is an easy ride for all ages, as the grades never exceed 2.2%.
The City of Kelowna lies down in the valley. The Kettle Valley Railroad did not serve Kelowna directly. Passengers connected with the line by stage coach.
The Kettle Valley Rail Line was built between 1910 and 1915 after silver was discovered near Nelson, located in the Kootenay area of British Columbia. The steam trains of the time were a vital connection to transport silver and people from the Kootenay’s to the coast of British Columbia. The last trains passed through in the early ’80’s and by 1990 the last of the railway line was abandoned.
One of the most scenic sections to cycle is the eleven kilometre section from South East Kelowna through Myra Canyon to Ruth Station. This portion of the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) runs along a steep-walled canyon. Originally built by hand at the turn of the last century, this impressive landmark is highlighted by two tunnels and eighteen trestle bridges that are truly spectacular. In 2002 this section was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
In 2003 a massive forest fire burnt twelve of the trestles and blackened over 20,000 hectares. Through the efforts of the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society, private individuals and several layers of government, funding was secured and the trestles were rebuilt and reopened in 2008.
The Kettle Valley Rail Trail and the Columbia & Western Rail Trail is the longest rail trail network in British Columbia extending from Hope to Castlegar. Once a comprehensive railroad system, the decommissioned tracks are now home to an extensive recreational trail providing almost 650 km (400 mi) of connected pathways throughout the region. Hubby and I have ridden many sections of the KVR and hope to continue riding other sections of this awesome trail.
In 1930-1931 this wooden trestle was replaced with a steel structure. The steel trestle was built around the wooden trestle to avoid any interruptions to the trains.
This is the largest trestle in Myra Canyon. Its 200 metres (726 feet), and 55 metres (180 feet) high.
While some of the trestles along the route are a 1,000 metres in the air, don’t let that worry you, there are solid railings, planks along the center of the trestles, and the trails are smooth and easy to ride.
With a lunch break (we packed a lunch as there are no food facilities along the trail) it took us about three hours to ride the twenty-two kilometre return trip section (13.67 miles) … of course that included many stops for pictures 🙂
This trestle was saved from burning by the heroic efforts of firefighters in the 2003 forest fires.
Until next time …