Mountain Biking Magic: Tackling Kelowna's Rugged Terrain

A scenic sunset over a mountainous landscape with a narrow bridge and sparse trees.
Destination BC/Kari Medig

Embark on a thrilling journey through Kelowna's dynamic mountain biking trails, where every turn brings a new adventure and every climb rewards with breathtaking vistas. From the serene Knox Mountain Park to the challenging trails of Crawford, discover the magic that makes Kelowna a must-visit destination for mountain bikers of all skill levels.

Knox Mountain Park

Perched on the edge of Downtown Kelowna, Knox Mountain Park is an accessible spot for mountain bikers. The park boasts a variety of trails, catering to riders from novices to seasoned pros. Among these, the Shale Trail and Simpson Trail stand out. Shale Trail, a blue-rated path, offers a blend of chunky rocks, berms, drops, and jumps, challenging enough to intrigue advanced riders. At the summit, the trail opens up to stunning panoramas of Okanagan Lake and Kelowna's cityscape, making the ride up all the more worthwhile.

In contrast, Simpson Trail is a flow trail paradise, featuring rollable medium-sized berms, doubles, and tables. It's an ideal playground for beginners and intermediate riders, offering a smooth, exhilarating experience. What's more, these trails are among the first to open in spring, offering an early start to the mountain biking season. After a thrilling descent, you're just a short ride away from Kelowna's downtown core and brewery district, perfect for unwinding after a day on the trails.

Crawford Trail Network

The Crawford Trail Network, set within Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park, is a must-visit spot. This expansive network runs through a recovering forest, a reminder of the resilience of nature after fire. With over 100 trails listed on the Trail Forks app, Crawford offers a rich tapestry of experiences for every level of rider. From easy green trails to challenging black routes, the network is a microcosm of Okanagan's diverse mountain biking terrain.

Accessing these trails is a journey in itself. Riders can pedal up the Lost Lake Trail and Pink Highway, soaking in the scenic views of the lake and city skyline. The descent options are plentiful, ranging from smooth green trails weaving through young trees and shrubs, to adrenaline-pumping black trails with tricky rock gardens and technical drops. It's a network where every trail tells a story, and every rider can find their perfect path.

Gillard Trail Network

South of Crawford and across a scenic canyon lies the Gillard trail network, a cornerstone of Kelowna's freeride mountain bike scene. Currently undergoing development to enhance accessibility, Gillard is set to become an even more inviting destination. The trails here, best accessed via the Gillard Forest Service Road, offer a glimpse into the rich history of the local mountain biking community. The trails are steeped in the spirit of adventure, offering a mix of challenging descents and exhilarating climbs.

Smith Creek

Across Okanagan Lake, in West Kelowna, Smith Creek presents a unique biking experience. The Holy Pail Climb Trail, despite its uphill nature, is a favourite even among those who prefer downhill rides. Its engaging climb features, stimulating corners, and the 'Reward DH' segment provide a fulfilling experience. For the descent, 'Feel the Love' is a local favourite, known as one of the best flow trails in the region. This trail is a symphony of berms, jumps, and rollers, ensuring a joyous ride from start to finish. For beginners, the FOMO trail offers a gentler alternative to the more technical sections.

The Mountain Biking Community in Kelowna

Kelowna's mountain biking scene is as welcoming as its trails. The Crawford network, particularly popular for pedal-access, embodies this spirit. Here, the community thrives, sharing trails and experiences. Post-ride, the city offers a myriad of activities, from relaxing on beaches to exploring local craft breweries and wineries. For visitors, the city presents a range of accommodations, ensuring a comfortable stay after a day of adventure.

Kelowna's mountain biking trails offer a world of adventure, scenic beauty, and community spirit. With trails for every skill level and a landscape that constantly surprises and challenges, Kelowna is a destination that beckons to be explored on two wheels.