The new Okanagan Rail Trail has really opened up a lot of new cycling terrain for us. A goal for this summer to cycle the trail from Oyama to Coldstream – we’d do the full Kelowna to Coldtream except there is a small portion in-between the airport and Oyama that is not open yet – so decided that we should do a shorter practice route first.
Wood Lake is a short drive from Kelowna with a number of parking areas to use as starting point for the loop. The 17.5 km bike loop circles the entire lake and includes residential road, separated paved bike path, hard packed dirt and a brief peddle on the highway. This ride took us just under an hour to complete at an easy pace.
We started by parking at Beasly Park in Lake Country and decided to ride counter clockwise around the lake, this means we did the residential road (Woodsdale Road) and highway riding first.
Setting out on Woodsdale Road is pretty easy, there is a bike path for most of it, when we rode there was some road construction so we did encounter a few areas where we were on the road. Drivers in the area seemed pretty used to cyclists so were paying as much attention to us as we were to them.
The highway portion is short, maybe half a kilometre, and is on a wide shoulder. So as long as you are comfortable riding close to traffic this portion is not a problem. If you are taking kids on the loop, just be sure they are aware of vehicles and keep them well to the right of the shoulder to incread the distance between them and the vehicles.
Once you clear that short highway ride part you are on the separated bike path right along the shore line of Wood Lake. This section has been recently paved so the path is a really nice ride. Port-a-potties (outhouses), picnic tables, and bike tool stations are placed along the pathway. There are also a lot of little paths down to the shore if you want to take a lakeside break.
The paves pathway ends just past Oyama, when the loop connects to the Okanagan Rail Trail (ORT). The ORT Is hard packed dirt so I would recommend a mountain or hybrid bike or a road bike with a wider tire. I did take my mountain bike for this ride but feel that my commuter bike would have held up just fine.
Although the paved part was a much faster ride I preferred the ORT section, more trees, no cars alongside, and a lot of nice little trails to the lake. There are also a number of interpretive signs along the way to provide a little history of the area.
If you just want to do the ORT section there is a large parking lot just off of Oyama Road by the Oyama Boat Launch, or you could park there and do the whole loop. This location had outhouses, picnic tables, a dog park, and the day were there some Okanagan Rail Trail volunteers set up to provide information on the trail.
More information on the rail trail can be found by clicking here.