Castlegar -> Penticton on the Columbia Western and Kettle Valley Rail Trails
|About to pedal off into the wilderness. From L to R: Jesse, Sean, Cory, and Tom.|
A handful of us went on a 6-day rail trail adventure from Castlegar to Penticton on the Columbia Western and Kettle Valley rail lines. We drove a car out to Penticton then shuttled back to Castlegar and left another car there.
Weather conditions were HOT! No rain at all and the smokey air was never an issue - in fact, it seemed to get better as the trip went along. Even crazier: the day after we rolled through the Myra/McCullogh/Kelowna area a huge fire erupted not far from where we had been. That was close.
Please enjoy this photo essay of the adventure. If you have any questions, leave us a comment below.
Castlegar Trailhead to Farron Summit 44km
|Jesse, doing his best troll with great teeth impression in one of the many fascinating rail line ruins that dot the route.|
Farron Summit to Greenwood 103km
|Lovely views of Christina Lake, Canada's warmest lake which frequently stays ice-free through winter. The Columbia Western was really fun to ride on with generally good surfaces, better then most of the KVR from our point of view.|
Greenwood to Kettle Recreation Area 48km
Kettle Recreation Area to Arlington Lakes 75km
|Reminders that this area experiences forest fires was all around us. And the Kettle River is so full of fish we all agreed that bringing fishing rods would have been a good idea (Cory had a mini-fly fishing rod that he used a couple of times).|
Arlington Lakes through Myra Canyon to Chute Lake 78km
|Sore. Dirty. Pretty much summed up what my whole body looked and felt like at the end of this day. Luckily, I managed to keep the leg cramps away today and for the rest of the trip.|
Chute Lake to Penticton 46km
|Getting close to Penticton and Lake Okanagan. What a view!|
- We all felt that the trip could have been done if 5 days instead of 6 but the relaxed nature on 2 of the 6 days made dealing with the excessive heat easier and was also a lot of fun.
- Besides the towns, there is no fresh water so bring your preferred water filtration system. We used tabs and had no issues.
- The red roofed huts along much of the Columbia Western rail trail were a really nice feature and would be even more useful if conditions were wet. Why are there none on the KVR?
- Surfaces on the Columbia Western were also generally much better then the KVR sections we rode. Why is that? Why do authorities allow OHV and vehicle use on these trails? All they seem to do is degrade the surface for cycling. This really needs to be reevaluated.
- The section from Chute Lake to Myra Canyon is a disaster. Only the most fit or experienced cyclists are going to be able to ride it. So is 4-5kms of the trail from Chute Lake down to Penticton. We saw lots of people struggling and walking.