22 km out and back / 3 hrs on a bike with plenty of stops
Myra Canyon is a provincial park that almost didn’t happen. In 1993 the authorities decided that for the sake of public safety it would be better to deactivate and completely prevent access to an old rail road above Kelowna that has probably seen a few humans accidentally falling off its dilapidated wooden trestles.
Between 1993 and 2008 a group of concerned citizens formed Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society which undertook a massive effort to fundraise, plan and organize a reconstruction of this marvel of railroad engineering and turned it into a biking/walking path through a spectacular canyon. In January 2003 the Myra Canyon and its trestles were awarded a provincial park status and finally received the protection it deserved. Unfortunately, less than 8 months later a devastating fire ripped through the canyon burning through 12 of the 18 trestles.
At the east entry to the canyon an information kiosk features some images from that fire of 2003 and they are harrowing images indeed. Must have been heart-wrenching for the society volunteers to watch the trestles go up in flames after so much effort was put into renovating them.
Luckily for all of us and over the following years, the determination of restoration crew brought the trestles back into life and the Myra Canyon rail-to-trail fully opened again in 2008. Today, it is a lovely 11 km walk or easy bike ride, suitable for families with children and exciting for any history buff or budding civil engineer. The entry points are from the east via Myra Forest Service Road (a hard-packed dirt road, suitable for any vehicle) or from the west via Little White Forest Service Road. The best way to explore is on a bike as it allows you to take in the sites in leisure and still comfortable cover the full length of the canyon and back. Bike rentals are available in Kelowna or from Myra Canyon Bike Rentals right at the eastern trailhead.
Myra Canyon is just a small, albeit spectacular part of Kettle Valley Railway, a fantastic bikepacking rail-to-trail that spans 500 km from the Kootenays all the way to the coast that can be broken down into 5 segments. See my posts about biking the Carmi Subdivision and a Summerland portion of the Princeton Subdivision.