Hikes in Okanagan Valley
Western Canadians love to flock to the Okanagan Valley during the crisp summer months—and for good reason, this British Columbian region boasts 50 lakes. Kalamalka, Okanagan, Skaha, and Wood are the most popular lakes, where people bask in the sun's rays along the many beaches lining the glistening waters.
But summertime bliss and watersports aren't the only outdoorsy activities spanning this area: you'll find a network of hikes in the Okanagan. Some walks sit deep in the backcountry, while other trails lead to unreal views of one (or more) of the many lakes nestled in the valley. The best part is that you don't have to drive far to lace up your shoes and wind to charming vistas!
Hiking in the Okanagan Valley is a fantastic way for all ages to immerse in nature and get moving! The inner town and nearby provincial parks offer relaxed walks that require little effort for a big reward. The Monashees, although further away, will satisfy avid hikers seeking a more rugged experience. You'll also find creekside walks—some that lead to waterfalls—tucked away in the trees near downtown cores.
The Okanagan Valley consists of several towns and cities, including Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton, Summerland, and Peachland. All encompass a similar family-friendly charm, but if you're looking for the perfect combination of city fun and outdoor adventure, Kelowna is your greatest bet. However, all cities and towns are in the thick of adventure hotspots or super close to hikes, biking trails, ski resorts, and the list goes on.
The Greatest Walks in the Okanagan Valley
Whether you're looking for family-friendly fun or challenging backcountry wonders, the best hikes in the Okanagan Valley have you covered. Kids will enjoy the trestles along the Myra Canyon Trail, and anyone looking for a leisure day will fall in love with the bright blue-green water flanking the Okanagan Rail Trail. For more intensity, the Enderby Cliffs are where to go. The views from the top will make you feel like you're watching a fairytale from a bird's eye view. Then there's the Monashees, where more hardcore hikers want to find untouched scenery along paths-less-travelled-by.
Looking for an unreal half-day excursion? The Enderby Cliffs Hike in Enderby is a fantastic option, especially if you're staying in Vernon or Armstrong. The steady elevation gain leads you to the top of a cliff face, where you can admire the Shuswap River crisscrossing through the valley below. Be sure to bring a lot of water and some snacks as you'll need to replenish at the top.
The Twin Lakes Hike is one of the best adventures in the Monashees! This 8.3 km hike leads you along a challenging 507 m elevation, but the reward makes the momentary pain worthwhile. Expect to marvel at mountains bordering glistening lakes! The Twin Lakes Hike is truly a backcountry wonder.
Located in West Kelowna, the Boucherie Rush Trail is a microcosm of a lot of hikes in the Okanagan Valley: it's not long and gets your heart pumping. Marvel at the glistening Okanagan Lake nestled between a metropolis and rolling hills. The sharp elevation gain in a short period may be too much for younger kids to handle!
Don't let the 24.9 km distance prevent you from taking on this phenomenal adventure—one of the best family-friendly experiences in the Okanagan. You don't have to do the entire thing to revel in exceptional scenery! Several people turn around at the 6.0 km- 8.0 km mark, making it a 12.0 km- 14.0 km walk. This is also a multisport trail, making biking an option.
You'll find a network of trails etched across Knox Mountain. And if you want a straightforward route that leads to a magical up-high perspective of Okanagan Lake and Kelowna's sprawling metropolis, this 4.0 km adventure is tailor-made for you.
Head out from Ellison Provincial Park along the Ellison Nature Park Trail towards a scenic swimming cove! This walk is an excellent summer-friendly activity that immerses you in nature and grants the chance to cool off the refreshing Okanagan Lake. The verdancy, wildflowers, and vistas of the lake en route make this walk extra peaceful.
Break up your beach day at Juniper Bay in Kalamalka Provincial Park with a quick walk to Rattlesnake Point. The best part is that you can always extend this walk along one of the many connecting trails after or before reaching the stunning viewpoint that unveils the ever-so magical Kalamalka Lake.
Want to escape the crowds? The Sugarloaf Mountain Hike gets you on a trail that doesn't attract a lot of traffic. But just because people don't flock to this area doesn't mean it's not worthwhile. The overlook of Okanagan Lake and the valley resting below are just as stunning as some of the best hikes in the Okanagan Valley.
Fuse exercise with exceptional valley views on this hike near Vernon! The Bluenose Mountain Hike may be short, but it's a great substitute for regular exercise, and it takes you to a vista of a puzzle of acreages carved across the valley. Admire the faded Monashees lining the backdrop, too! But that's not the only view you'll see. After this pitstop, opt to head back the way you came or continue towards a second vantage point, where rolling hills embroidered with trees captivate. Expect a lot of switchbacks!
Another masterpiece of an adventure tucked into the Monashees: Spectrum Lake Hike. This hike takes you along an easy-to-follow trail towards the mountain-backed Spectrum Lake. Revel in the refreshing wild air while you take a dip in this mountain lake before turning around heading back the way you came. Do note that you may need a 4x4 to reach the trailhead.
The Pincushion Mountain Trail in Peachland has you tackling an elevation gain of 245 m in 3.4 km! But don't worry. You'll have a chance to rest when you reach the vantage point opening up to an image of Okanagan Lake glittering below. Families and dogs will love this short, rewarding trail!
The Hardy Falls Hike takes you over a series of eight bridges en route to a waterfall. The 1.0 km distance and relatively flat terrain have worked together to cement this walk as a family favourite in the Okanagan's Peachland. Those with strollers can do this one, too!
Immerse in a heavily forested area and follow a partially maintained path to a roaring waterfall. Be prepared to cross the creek twice en route! While this 1.8 km hike is family-friendly, it's essential to keep an eye out for poison ivy and roots while you walk.
Peach Cliff Trail is a fun kid-friendly hike that takes you along an out-and-back route. Before you turn around, spend some time admiring the viewpoint revealing Skaha Lake glistening below. Turn this into an epic adventure by having a picnic at the top!
The Mount Kobau Hike sits an hour from both Oliver and Osoyoos, but the drive is definitely worth it—even if the hike is super short. However, the walk takes little effort—making up for the car ride—and unveils sweeping views of a lake tucked in the valley and peaks stretching into the horizon. Bring some food, games, and make a day out of it!
When Is The Best Time To Hike in the Okanagan Valley?
Most hikes in the Okanagan Valley grant year-round access. If you plan to hike in winter, be sure to pack along crampons to prevent slippage in the snow. While this area is the postcard of summer, the snowy views fall into the ever-so-lovely "winter wonderland" category, making hiking here in winter just as magical but in a different way.
Best Regions for Hiking in the Okanagan Valley
To find the most hikes within close proximity, head to either Vernon or Kelowna, where various walks and views await. But the most epic hikes are tucked into the Monashees. However, it's probably best to stick to the hikes in and around Vernon, Kelowna, or any of the towns in the Okanagan Valley if you're with your kids.
Other Outdoor Activities in the Okanagan Valley
You've probably already guessed the answer to this: water sports! In the summer, spend time kayaking, water skiing, paddle boarding, beach-lazing, beach volleyball, rowing, and the list of water-related activities goes on and on. But that's not all! There are many incredible lakeside camping spots, such as Mabel Lake Provincial Park, Fintry Campground, Bear Creek Provincial Park, to name a few. If you're renting or own a boat, you can always find some secluded lakeside spots inaccessible by car and stay there for the night. Just be sure to clean up after yourself and be mindful of wildlife.
When the snow blankets the area, head to either Big White or Silver Star Mountain Resort for high-quality skiing and snowboarding. Another option is to go snowshoeing or cross country skiing! A notable spot to snowshoe or cross country ski is Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre.
Road biking in Okanagan Valley is another outdoor activity that's rising in popularity and it's a great way to explore more hidden gems of the valley at your own pace. Check out our best road biking trails in Okanagan Valley.
And lastly, you can't go to the Okanagan without hitting up a winery. You'll find several vineyards stretching across slanted hills backed by lakeside views. Locals love to hop on their bicycles and create a makeshift wine tour. Try this out with the wineries in Lake Country!
Frequently Asked Questions
How far is the Okanagan Valley from Vancouver?
It takes around 4-5 hours to drive from Vancouver to the Okanagan Valley — not bad, right?! The distance by road is approximately 380.0 km.
What is the Okanagan Valley famous for?
The Okanagan Valley boasts of neverending fruit trees, ranging from apple to cherry to peach. Just imagine biting into a juicy peach on a hot summer's day while you sit lakeside. Talk about a dream!
What are the main cities in the Okanagan Valley?
Kelowna is the biggest city, thanks to its ability to cater to the young with its city fun and all ages with its beachfront activities and easily accessible hikes. Vernon, Penticton, Peachland, Summerland are all great secondary places to consider staying when you visit.
Find other amazing hiking regions in British Columbia
Best Hikes in Okanagan Valley
Enderby Cliffs Trail
The Enderby Cliffs Trail is an incredible hike in the Okanagan Valley! It's a fantastic half-day excursion, so pack a lot of water and snacks. especially if you're hiking in the summer heat. Get ready to wind up a steady elevation gain until you stand atop soaring cliffs. Here, you'll get a chance to walk along the ridge, providing ample opportunity to admire the views of the Shuswap River, twisting between layers of green in the valley below.
Twin Lakes Hike
The Twin Lakes Hike, carved in the Monashees in the North Okanagan, is a must-do hike if you’re an avid outdoor enthusiast! If you’re staying in Vernon or Kelowna, you will have to drive slightly further than the more popular tourist hikes stretched across the Okanagan Valley. Still, the unreal view of the intimidating mountains surrounding glistening lakes makes the entire drive (and intense walk up) so worth it.
Boucherie Rush Trail
The Boucherie Rush Trail is a popular hike situated in West Kelowna! This hike is a total bang-for-your-buck: it’s short, gets your heart rate up, and nothing beats the shimmering Okanagan Lake views flanked by the sprawling metropolis and rolling hills at the top.
Myra Canyon Trail
Myra Canyon Trail, located in Myra Bellevue Provincial Park, just over 30 minutes from Kelowna, BC, is an easy-going hike, tailor-made for families, mountain bikers, along with hikers seeking a relatively flat but long route. You can create your own itinerary by turning around whenever you want, which is what makes this a kid-friendly walk! However, those craving hours and hours in nature will fall in love with tunnels, trestles, wildflowers, and Okanagan Valley views painted across this hike.
Knox Mountain via Apex Trail
Take a break from the rolling vineyards and the sandy beaches for a short hike to a stunning view of Okanagan Lake and downtown Kelowna flanked by soaring hills. The best part is that you can create your own adventure, thanks to the network of trails carved around this area. Follow the standard Knox Mountain via Apex Trail out-and-back route or continue onward to create a loop and amp up your heart rate!
Ellison Park Nature Trail
The Ellison Nature Park Trail is a fantastic family-friendly hike in Ellison Provincial Park, which sits just outside of Vernon, BC. Expect to follow a scenic trail, flanked by lush forest greenery and fairytale-like wildflowers, to picturesque views of the postcard-worthy Okanagan Lake. The trail ends at a swimming cove—so don’t forget your bathing suit!
Rattlesnake Point Trail
Tack on a short hike to Rattlesnake Point in Kalamalka Provincial Park amid your day at Juniper Bay Beach. The best part about the Rattlesnake Point Trail—other than the exceptional view of the blue-green, glistening Kalamalka Lake—is that it connects to a network of different paths. You can spend hours walking around Kalamalka Provincial Park, stopping at various swim spots as you explore! If you’re looking for a short jaunt to get your legs moving, the Rattlesnake Point Trail is a great stand-alone adventure, too.
Sugarloaf Mountain Hike
Not many tourists know about the Sugarloaf Mountain Hike, making it a phenomenal, quiet hiking option for anyone seeking a scenic, secluded walk to an overlook of the shimmering Okanagan Lake and the valley sprawled below. Even though we’re bringing this hike to light now, we bet that you still won’t encounter a lot of people on the trail!
Bluenose Mountain Hike
The Bluenose Mountain Hike is the perfect place to hike near Vernon if you want to intertwine heart-pumping exercise with top-notch valley views. Expect to admire the carved-out acreages tucked into the valley while the Monashees line the backdrop at the first view and rolling hills, laden with trees, at the other vantage point. The switchbacks can be challenging, but most families can definitely tackle this one!
Spectrum Lake Hike
Spectrum Lake Hike winds to—you guessed it—the shimmering mountain-tucked Spectrum Lake. The easy-to-follow trail is great for all ages and skill levels. Plus, nothing beats the chance to cool off in the water amid the sweet smell of fresh mountain air!
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Other Activities in Okanagan Valley
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