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Are you ready for the Myra Canyon Trestles trail? This Canadian treat awaits you as the gravel road winds steadily, higher and higher, above the Okanagan Valley. The forest aromas are a mere teaser for the fun ahead. The Myra Canyon Trestles, perched between steep canyon walls, own a long history and a promising future.
The Myra Canyon Trestles, are part of the Kettle Valley Railway and comprise 18 relatively flat trestles to cycle over and two tunnels. Yes! You are going to be riding where once upon a time, trains made their solitary journey along the tracks.
Today, the Myra Canyon Trestle bridges make the perfect half-day bike ride for any age and if you’re not up for biking, it is also a beautiful walk.
Ride the Myra Canyon Trestles |Everything You Need to Know
1. What’s Involved With The Myra Canyon Trestles
The Myra Canyon Trestles trail is a 40-minute drive from downtown Kelowna. Follow McCulloch Road out of Kelowna to the Myra Forest Service Road. Passing vineyards and orchards, the final climb to the Myra Station Parking lot is on the service road, which is gravel. Bathrooms (well, pit toilets count – right?) are the only facility available.
The scenic ride along the Myra Canyon Trestles bike trail is 12 km (7.5 miles) in one direction. According to my math, it’s a 24 km ride if you complete it! Of course, even if you just do a portion of the trestles trail it is thoroughly enjoyable. And when riding?… Of course, the return trip seems much faster!
You need a car to get to the start of the Kelowna trestles. Bring your own bikes, rent in town at Monashee Adventure Tours or alternately rent bikes right in the parking lot from Myra Canyon Bike Rentals (more info below)
Bring water, snacks (or even a picnic), binoculars, and a camera on your Myra Canyon adventure.
3. Timing Is Everything
Early, early, early… Beat the heat and the crowds. Myra Canyon, due to its elevation, is cooler than the Okanagan Valley but Kelowna gets extremely hot in the summer so the earlier you can start along the Myra Canyon Trestles bike trail the better.
Alternately, an evening ride along the trestle bridges at sunset would be quite spectacular.
4. The Views Are Awesome
Kelowna can get smoky in the summer so watch the weather forecast and try for a clear day. On this particular day, I rode the trestles when it was a bit hazy from forest fire smoke. Despite the haze, the views over the valley are spectacular. The Myra Canyon trestles are high up so take your time, lean over a railing, and admire the scenery. Viewpoints and benches are spaced out along the trestles.
5. Questions And More Questions
What is the Myra Canyon Trestles’ history? Who built the Myra Canyon Trestles? How on earth did they manage it? Stop for a minute and wonder at this engineering marvel. Andrew McCulloch (remember the name of the road you drove up?) was the brains behind building this railway in such a steep canyon. The railway was key for transporting minerals and lumber to ports, like Vancouver, for shipping. This transportation route, through the Myra Canyon, was used for close to 60 years, from 1914 – 1972.
I also wonder who were the laborers that built these incredible trestles back in the early 1900s?
6. The Forest Fire That Devastated The Myra Canyon Trestles
You will notice when you are riding along the trestles that you are cycling past a lot of burnt trees and a forest that is in the process of regenerating. Forest fires are a real natural threat in the Okanagan Valley and in August 2003, lightning struck a tree and started a massive fire known as the Okanagan Mountain Park fire. Many homes were destroyed, 27000 people evacuated and hectare upon hectare of forest burned along with 12 of the Myra Canyon Trestles. It was a devastating fire.
It took five years before all the Myra Canyon bridges were completely rebuilt, restored, and open to the public.
7. Feel the Canadian Magic!
You are riding along lofty trestles where the trains, loaded with raw materials, used to chug along. The Myra Canyon Trestles are a Canadian Historic Site. Luckily they were deemed a Canadian Historic Site shortly before the fire in 2003 and thus were able to access federal and provincial funding for restoring the area.
Don’t miss the Myra Canyon Trestles near Kelowna!
Once back in Kelowna, head to CityPark beach for a swim.
And then top off the perfect day
My all-time favourite Kelowna ice cream shop is Moo-lix.
Why the rave reviews? Here one finds the one and only gluten-free waffle cone!
My search ends here.
Waffle cone perfection!
8. A Morning Ride Paired With An Afternoon Tour
Head out early for a ride along the Myra Canyon Trestles and return to Kelowna for an afternoon of touring vineyards. What better way to enjoy a day in the Okanagan Valley.