Winter Activities

Winter Hiking in Kelowna: Scenic Trails and Safety Tips

Three people walking on a wooden bridge in a snowy mountainous landscape with pine trees in the foreground.

Discover the serene beauty of Kelowna's winter landscape through hiking. As snow transforms the city's surroundings into a picturesque wonderland, the allure of its trails beckons adventurers. This guide explores the best trails for a winter hike and essential safety tips to ensure a memorable and secure journey.

Best Winter Hiking Trails in Kelowna

Spion Kop Hiking Trails

Perched above Lake Country, the Spion Kop trail system offers a winter hiking experience that caters to various skill levels. The trails weave through hills, revealing stunning views of Okanagan Lake, Kalamalka Lake, and Woods Lake. The well-marked paths, accentuated by the usage tracks in the snow, make navigation straightforward. However, hikers should be cautious on the summit trail, particularly after snowfall, due to its underlying loose shale.

John's Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park

For those seeking a moderately challenging hike, the Lebanon Creek trail in John's Family Nature Conservancy is an excellent choice. Spanning 4 km in one direction, it takes approximately two hours for a round trip. The trail ascends Cedar Mountain, culminating in a breathtaking panorama of the snowy Kelowna landscape and the wider Okanagan Valley.

Mill Creek Regional Park

A shorter but equally captivating hike can be found at Mill Creek Regional Park. This trail leads to a stunning winter waterfall, which, in the right conditions, transforms into a frozen spectacle. The round trip can be completed in about an hour. Hikers should exercise caution, as the paths can be slippery and icy, and are not maintained during the winter months.

Winter Hiking Safety Tips

Preparation and Planning

Safety in winter hiking starts with thorough preparation. Always check the weather forecast and plan your route in advance. Understanding the terrain and conditions you will encounter is crucial. Additionally, inform someone about your hiking plans, including your route and expected return time.

Essential Gear and Supplies

Dressing appropriately is vital for winter hiking. Layers are key, starting with a moisture-wicking under-layer, followed by insulating and weather-resistant outer layers. Warm hats, good boots, and gloves are also essential. For longer treks, consider spikes for your boots and hiking poles. Despite the cold, your body can still lose a significant amount of water through sweat, so carry ample water. Other essential items include a first aid kit, sun and bug protection, a flashlight, a fire-making kit, and a cell phone.

Respecting Nature and Wildlife

Kelowna's trails are home to diverse wildlife. Hiking safely means being constantly aware of your surroundings. In areas known for bear activity, it's advisable to hike in groups, make noise, and carry bear spray. Avoid leaving any food or organic material on the trails, as it can attract wildlife. Keeping pets on a leash and maintaining a respectful distance from all wild animals are also key practices.

General Outdoor Ethics

Respect for the environment and others is integral to a positive hiking experience. This includes adhering to fire safety rules, storing food properly, respecting trail signs and staff, and controlling pets. Importantly, practice the 'Leave No Trace' principles by taking only photos and avoiding littering.


Kelowna's winter landscape offers an enchanting backdrop for hikers. Whether you're an experienced trailblazer or a casual explorer, the city's trails provide a blend of scenic beauty and adventure. By following the safety tips outlined above, hikers can fully enjoy the serene winter trails of Kelowna, creating memories that last a lifetime.