Cycling the KVR: Myra to Naramata

Originally posted on my other (retired blog) in 2017, migrated over here in 2020. https://shiftmama.typepad.com/blog/2017/07/cycling-the-kvr-myra-to-naramata.html 

We did it!  We rode our bikes on the KVR (Kettle Valley Railway) from Myra Canyon to Naramata.  If you are thinking, “Hey that’s cool, I don’t hear of many people doing that”  it’s because there’s a good reason.  It’s kind of a difficult ride.   Now you’re probably thinking, really how hard can it be?  Decommissioned railway tracks are pretty flat and I’ve ridden the trestles at Myra, or to the tunnel at Naramata and that was super easy!  And you would be right, those two stretches of the KVR are amazing – they’ve been beautifully restored and are restricted to non-motorized vehicles making them amazing places to visit and take the family. 

Here’s the thing about the KVR though – from just past Ruth to about 5km past Chute Lake Lodge the road is made up of loosely packed and sometime quite deep sand.  So although the grade is minimal, the road does incline pretty much the whole way to Chute Lake, it is still a challenging ride.  Unless of course you are in great shape and ride a lot. In which case, just disregard this whole post and just go for it!   If you aren’t one of those people read on (it’s a long one though, so grab a coffee, settle in and start planning!)

Getting Set Up:

We did a fair amount of research trying to find information about the ride.  I did stumble on a site that made brief mention of the sand, but I can’t find the site again so can’t attach it here.  We are extremely grateful for that little bit of info, as it prepared us somewhat for the sand (although I’m pretty sure they downplayed the length of trail that was sand covered).  We also reached out to the nice people at Discover Naramata who connected us with Forgotten Hill Winery and B&B for some recommendations on where to leave our vehicle, and had Monashee Adventure Tours shuttle us up to Myra the morning of our trip.  

We had a vehicle waiting for us at a parking lot if Naramata (on Smethurst road) so we didn’t need a shuttle back home but many companies including Monashee Adventure Tours can do that for you.  We opted to get a shuttle to Myra instead of driving ourselves up so that we didn’t have to go back up at the end of the day to pick up that car.  I highly recommend doing this!  We had an easy no stress ride and Trailhead Ed from Monashee kept us entertained on the ride up with local history and fun stories, it really started the day off on the right foot. 

Things to Bring 

  • Water – there isn’t anywhere to refill bottles on the trail, although you can purchase water bottles at Chute Lake Lodge (when we were there it was a boil water advisory so no options to fill your own water were available). 
  • Layers
  • Snacks and Lunch – you can purchase lunch at Chute Lake Lodge (see below)
  • Money
  • Camera/phone 
  • Bug Spray, Sunscreen 
  • Bike repair kit
  • Sense of Humour
  • Change of clothes (or at least shoes) packed in your pick up vehicle 

The Trail: 

Ok, now the breakdown.  Here’s the info you need if you are a recreational cyclist like we are.  

Trip Details: 

  • 65 (or 66 according to my husbands tracker) KM
  • 6 hours total trip including 4:45hrs riding time 
  • Bikes: early 2000s Rocky Mountain and Norco hard tail Mountain Bikes: full suspension would have been better I think
  • Padded shorts and gel seats recommended
  • Kids not recommended on this journey due to conditions and length

Myra to Ruth

If you live in Kelowna you’ve probably done this ride, it’s pretty easy and super scenic (check out an old post on this ride here: Cycle Myra).  A well packed and maintained trail takes you over several trestles, through a tunnel and along the canyon.  It’s an easy ride that anyone can do, we’ve seen all kinds of bikes on this portion – from serious hardcore mountain bikes, to townies, to kids riding with training wheels (that looked super hard though so I do not recommended it). 

Ruth to Bellevue Trestle 

Things get more interesting now.  Vehicles are allowed on this section of the road, actually from here to just outside of Naramata you are sharing the road.  Watch for ATVs, Dirt Bikes, Pick Up Trucks, SUVs and Cadillac Escalades (yes, for real, no idea how or why that guy was up there but he was).  This portion of the road is studded with pot holes but is still pretty hard packed so still enjoyable. 

If you don’t want to go all the way to Naramata, setting the Bellevue Trestle as a destination is worth the ride.

Bellevue Trestle to Chute Lake Resort  

Yeah, not loving this part of the road.  An uphill grade coupled with sandy terrain made for a long slow ride.  I guess on the positive side we were going slow enough that we did see some cool views? It was not fun. At all.  This was where we got passed by a couple of mountain bike groups though and they seemed to have no issues.  For the record, we’re talking about close to 20km of sand, I feel this is an important thing for people to know. 

Stop at Chute Lake Resort for a break and pie.  They had huge pieces of homemade pie and it was awesome.  Take a cue from the decor though – the Resort is decked out in retro decor and has a laid back feel to it, it’s a throw back to a slower more relaxed time.  Take the time to relax and wait for your pie.   

Chute Lake Resort also sells hot dogs, burgers, fries, pop, beer, and cinnamon buns so if you forgot your lunch, don’t worry, they’ve got you covered!

Update: Chute Lake Resort changed ownership since out ride – menu and decor may have changed.

Chute Lake Resort: A cyclist destination.

Chute Lake  to Just before Rock Oven Park 

Guess what!?  More SAND! This time you’ve got about 7km of really deep loose sand, and the trail has warning signs about the sand and recommends dismounting and walking.  This time though the road is finally declining so you can build up a little speed which was nice.  Oh yeah, and watch out for vehicles driving up to go fishing (or eat pie) at Chute Lake.

Rock Oven

Rock Oven Park to Little Tunnel

Sand finally stops just before Rock Oven Park.  The road is still motor vehicle accessible but is hard pack, and easy to get up some speed.  Make sure to stop and check out some of the scenic spots along the way though (and watch out for snakes?!)

Little Tunnel to Parking Lot at Smethhurst Road

At Little Tunnel there is a short distance of beautiful pavement to ride on.  The pavement takes you through little tunnel and then turns back into dirt though.  But at this point the road is really in decline so speed is up and the ride is easy.  Enjoy the views of the lake as you wind your way down towards Naramata and your parked car!  

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