Westside Hiking & Biking
Activities & Locations
We have a trail for every explorer and you don’t need to trek deep into the wilderness to reconnect with nature when you do some hiking in West Kelowna. When it comes to natural landscapes, we have you covered. From hillside hikes scented with ponderosa pine, to breathtaking waterfalls with steep-sided gorges, we have some of the prettiest landscapes in the Okanagan Valley.
What these trails all have in common is that they can whisk you away from reality, into a world of discovery and all of them have fantastic opportunities for wildlife viewing and picture taking moments. Here are some suggestions for experiencing some of the best that our natural playgrounds have to offer, no matter what your activity and skill level.
Top Hiking Trails in West Kelowna & Westbank
Other popular hiking or walking trails include Rose Valley Regional Park (see biking section), Glen Canyon Regional Park (North), McDougall Rim Trail/Hayman Lake, Fintry Provincial Park, Mt Boucherie (Eian Lamont Park), Shannon Lake Regional Park, Hardy Falls, and the Trepanier Greenway Regional Park (download trail map here.)
Best Waterfalls in West Kelowna & the Westside
Just blocks from downtown West Kelowna is a secret gem of a waterfall in Glen Canyon Regional Park (South). This 24 foot fall is viewed from the Powers Creek Falls (sk̓ʷlk̓ʷalt) Bridge and can be accessed from park entrance points at Glen Canyon Dr or Hebert Rd.
Bear Creek Falls (sənt̓ulc̓aʔtn) is a two tiered waterfall that can be seen from both the Canyon Rim and Mid Canyon Trails at Bear Creek Provincial Park. This provincial park is located along Westside Road, 7 km north of West Kelowna.
On a hot summer day, the light mist that drifts off of the Fintry Falls (sx̌ʷitkʷ) in Fintry Provincial Park is refreshing and beautiful. The deep cut canyon that Shorts Creek passes through is impressive and for those that are up for the 400 step climb (don’t worry there are many resting spots along the way!), the views are spectacular. There are three different viewing platforms of the falls, each offering a slightly different vantage point, perfect for those who love photography.
For an easy and pleasant walk, the trail to Hardy Falls (skʷəʕaʔ) in Peachland is well maintained and will take you along a series of bridges. It is well shaded and a great place to escape to during the heat of the day. An easy 15 minute walk leads you to the viewing platform. Just be sure you are ‘bear aware’ in this park! Download Hardy Falls Regional Park Map.
West Kelowna is one of the most popular areas in the Okanagan for mountain biking for two main reasons. The first is that the trail heads are close to the town centre with many of them being next to major hotels. What does this exactly mean? It means more time for hitting the trails and less time trying to get there!
The second reason is that the area is one of the only areas that has untouched pine forest – it hasn’t been hit by wildfires like some other areas in the Okanagan. The trails will take you on steep climbs for views and fast flows descents, but you can also find ones that cross the mountain and others that offer jumps and tricks.
The best way to experience the trails is to stop by one of the local bike shops and join in one of their group rides.
Top Mountain Biking Trails in West Kelowna & Westbank
Smith Creek Gruel
Duration/Distance: 15 km (various routes) /1-4 hours
Elevation Gain: 400-700 metres (depending on route taken)
Difficulty Level: moderate
Rose Valley Regional Park | also a popular hiking trail
Distance/Duration: 6 km /1-1.5 hours
Elevation Gain: 80 metres
Difficulty Level: moderate to difficult
Download Rose Valley Regional Park Map
Duration/Distance: various routes; 2 to 8 km
Elevation Gain: up to 600 metres
Difficulty Level: difficult
FLORA & FAUNA
Did you know that the bark of the ponderosa pine tree smells like vanilla? Rather than stopping to smell the roses, we like to suggest that people stop and smell the trees on their hikes. On those hot summer days the warm comforting scent of vanilla can be found nestled in the cracks of the bark of the long needled pine trees. We dare you to find out for yourself – go ahead next time you are on a hike. Go up to one of the Ponderosa Pine Trees (the ones with the long needles) and give the bark a little sniff. We guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised!
The Okanagan Valley was recently recognized as one of the most ecologically diverse regions of Canada. Due in part to this exceptional diversity, the valley has more threatened, endangered and rare species than any other part of British Columbia.
Some of the threatened and endangered species on the Westside and the Central Okanagan Valley include:
Painted Turtle, Western Rattlesnake, Kokanee Salmon, Great Blue Heron, Gopher Snake, California Bighorn Sheep, Badger, Flammulated Owl, Lewis Woodpecker and the Townsends Bigeared Bat