Historic Motorbike Routes in Kelowna: A Ride Through History

A gloved hand gripping the handlebar and brake lever of a motorcycle at sunset.

Embark on a thrilling journey through time and terrain as you explore Kelowna's historic motorbike routes. From the legacy of the Kettle Valley Railway to the winding trails of Westside Road, each route promises a unique experience, echoing the rich heritage of the area.

The Kettle Valley Railway Route

A Path Through History

The Kettle Valley Railway (KVR), operational in the early 20th century, played a pivotal role in transporting precious metals and passengers across British Columbia. Today, its legacy lives on in the paths that meander through the region. Imagine riding along routes that once echoed with the chugs of steam engines, where every turn tells a story of resilience and innovation.

The Journey Today

Your ride along the KVR route begins at Myra Canyon, leading you through diverse landscapes. Picture riding amidst grassy hills, transitioning into dry ponderosa pines, feeling the air grow cooler as you approach Okanagan Lake's eastern shores. As you navigate through Kelowna, Chute Lake, Okanagan Falls, Oliver, Penticton, the transition from rural serenity to urban hustle is palpable, yet the thrill of the ride remains undiminished. Further south, you're greeted by the transformed railbeds of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, now a destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Historic Westside Road

Tracing the Hudson Bay Trail

Westside Road, a fragment of the historic Hudson Bay Trail, tells a tale of early travel between communities. Once a rough wagon road, it's now an exhilarating path for motorbike enthusiasts. Your journey here is a ride that traverses through time, where every curve brings you closer to the stories of the past.

Riding the 'Tail of the Ogopogo'

As you ride along Westside Road, also known as the ‘Tail of the Ogopogo’, you're in for an experience that rivals the famed ‘Tail of the Dragon’ in the USA. This route boasts 330 curves, mirroring the mythical creature it's named after. Starting on the unique floating bridge over Lake Okanagan you're immediately plunged into a world of breathtaking views and challenging rides. This road is an homage to the adventurous spirit, offering motorcyclists a blend of beauty, history, and thrill.

Additional Historic Points of Interest

Laurel Packing House

Kelowna's first designated heritage building, the Laurel Packing House. Established in 1913, this historical place now houses the Okanagan Wine and Orchard Museum. As you ride through Kelowna, a stop here offers a glimpse into the region’s flourishing agricultural past and present.

Father Pandosy Mission

The Father Pandosy Mission, established in 1859 by French Oblate missionary Father Charles Pandosy, marks one of the first non-Indigenous settlements in the Okanagan Valley. Aimed at converting local indigenous peoples to Christianity, it also played a vital role in introducing agriculture to the region. The mission is a key historical site, preserving original buildings and artifacts that reflect the cultural interactions between European settlers and indigenous communities during the colonial era.

Myra Canyon: Engineering Marvel

Another unmissable stop is Myra Canyon, part of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. Here, you can marvel at an engineering masterpiece featuring 18 trestles and 2 tunnels. It's an example of human ingenuity and a perfect pause in your motorbike journey to appreciate the area's natural beauty and historical significance.

Planning Your Historic Motorbike Ride

Route Planning Tips

When mapping your historic motorbike route in Kelowna, consider the type of experience you’re looking for. From the engineering marvels of the KVR to the challenging twists of Westside Road, each route offers unique sights and experiences. Remember to plan for stops at historic sites like the Laurel Packing House and Myra Canyon to enrich your ride.

Safety and Preparedness

Safety should always be your priority. Ensure you're equipped with the right gear and familiar with the routes. Be mindful of the road conditions, especially on routes like Westside Road, which can have steep drop-offs and wildlife. Always respect traffic rules and enjoy the ride responsibly.


Kelowna's historic motorbike routes offer a unique blend of adventure, history, and natural beauty. The roads are gateways to the past, inviting riders to experience the region's rich heritage on two wheels. So, gear up, rev your engines, and prepare for a ride through history in Kelowna.