Road Biking Routes in Okanagan Valley
Featuring 50 lakes, countless vineyards, and a picturesque mountain backdrop, the Okanagan Valley is the perfect destination in British COlumbia for a fun summertime adventure. So many Canadians and foreign tourists come here every year to experience this beautiful part of the country and it is for good reason, as there are so many different activities and stunning locales to explore.
In terms of cycling, the Okanagan Valley offers some of the best terrain that can be found in Canada, with many road and mountain bike enthusiasts flocking to the region to traverse its picturesque mountain passes and pristine lakeside settings. Areas like Kelowna and Penticton will be familiar to experienced endurance riders, as well-known events like the Iron Man Canada pass through the valley and make use of its rugged, yet beautifully scenic terrain. If you are after some epic rides with easy access to beautiful scenery and fantastic accommodation, then try planning your next cycling adventure in the Okanagan Valley.
7 Awesome Cycling Routes In the Okanagan Valley
Whether you are new to cycling or are on a search for your next big endurance ride, a trip to the Okanagan Valley will be sure to meet all of your needs. Long and challenging routes like the one through Richter Pass will provide the sense of competing in the world-famous Iron Man Challenge, while a more laid back adventure along Black Sage Road will allow you to explore some of the region’s most renowned and picturesque vineyards. No matter your age or skill level, the beautiful landscapes of the Okanagan Valley make road cycling easily accessible, so why not check out this fantastic list of 7 different road cycling routes that we’ve put together below:
- Giant's Head Climb: This is a beautifully scenic route that will take you to an epic viewpoint overlooking Okanagan Lake. Along the way, you will cycle through the charming fruit orchards and picturesque vineyards that characterize the landscape, making for an amazing day of cycling in the Okanagan Valley.
- Oliver to Okanagan Falls: Beautiful vistas and a healthy amount of exercise await on this amazing journey through the Okanagan Valley. Climbing uphill through the rural landscape, you will pass by several of the lovely lakes that make the landscape here so beautiful. Be prepared for a number of ups and downs along this route.
- Richter Pass and the Rollers: Famously known for being a part of the Iron Man Canada Challenge, this route will take you uphill through the mountainous terrain of Richter Pass, before traversing a series of rolling hills. Physically demanding and beautifully scenic, this route is one that you won’t forget any time soon.
- Naramata Bench Road Cycle: This lengthy trail sets out from Penticton and will lead you along the scenic shores of Okanagan Lake for some truly wonderful views. After passing by several picturesque wineries, you will make your return along the gravel expanse of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, so make sure that your bike is suitable for the conditions.
- Osoyoos to Jackson Triggs Winery via Black Sage Road: Arguably one of the best rides in the Okanagan Valley, this route is not one to miss if you enjoy cycling through picturesque vineyards. While making your way along Black Sage Road, you will pass by several of the valley’s most-renowned wine producers, including Jackson Triggs, Black Hills Estate Winery, and Le Vieux Pin.
- Anarchist Mountain: This beautiful trail from Osoyoos will see you climb uphill through vineyards and forests for some exceptional views overlooking Osoyoos Lake. Although the route will require a fair amount of physical effort, the stunning views and exhilarating downhill ride will be well worth it.
- Skaha/Green Lake Road: Cycling this stunning route will see you leave the town of Penticton behind to experience some wonderfully scenic views of the Okanagan Valley. While out on the trail, you will pass by the charming shores of the Skaha, Green, and Mahoney lakes, all while taking in the exceptional scenery that surrounds you, including lovely vineyards and rugged mountain peaks.
When is the Best Time to Cycle in the Okanagan Valley?
Planning a cycling trip in the Okanagan Valley largely depends on your tolerance for temperature, whether hot or cold. The most favourable time for outdoor activities is in the June to September window, as weather during this period is hot and dry; however, this could also mean cycling during periods of high temperatures that are in excess of 30 ℃. If you are looking for a bit of a cooler experience and don’t mind a few periods of rain, try planning your adventure between April/June or September/October, when temperatures are a fair amount cooler.
Other Outdoor Activities in the Okanagan Valley
In addition to cycling, the Okanagan Valley is a wonderful place to explore the natural beauty of British Columbia through a variety of other activities. Winding rivers and vast lakes offer the opportunity for a number of different paddle sports, fishing, and swimming through the region’s many waterways, and countless hiking trails provide the chance to explore the mountains, forests, and picturesque vineyards that characterize the landscape here. During the winter, snowshoeing, skiing and snowboarding are the most popular activities, with several resorts offering some amazing slopes to explore. Whether you are looking to check out Okanagan in the summer or winter, you can rest assured that you won’t get bored on your next big adventure here.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Okanagan Valley
What is considered the Okanagan Valley?
Stretching approximately 200.0 km to the north from the American border, the Okanagan Valley is a roughly 20.0 km wide tract of land that lies between the Cascade and Columbia mountain ranges. The main cities in the area are Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton, and Summerland.
How far is the Okanagan Valley from Vancouver?
Anyone looking to make the drive out to the Okanagan Valley from Vancouver can expect to cover about 380.0 km, which equates to about a 4-5h drive.
Road Bike Tours in BC
The Okanagan is a great place to ride your bike, but if you want somebody to do all the planning, be sure to check out these adventure tours in BC. If you are looking to explore the world, then these road bike tours will inspire you to book your next flight and explore the world from the saddle of your bike!
Best Road Biking Routes in Okanagan Valley
Giant’s Head Drive
The Giant’s Head Climb is a beautifully scenic cycling route in the Okanagan Valley that will see you climb uphill for amazing views overlooking Okanagan Lake. While out cycling this route, you will pass through lovely fruit orchards and vineyards before making the climb uphill to the top of Giant’s Head. After taking in the views, an exhilarating descent and beautiful lakeside ride will cap off your day. This is a fantastic route if you are after some decent climbs and picturesque views on your ride.
Oliver to Okanagan Falls Trail
Cycling from Oliver to Okanagan Falls is a great excursion that will allow you to experience some beautiful vistas within the Okanagan Valley and get a good amount of exercise in the process. While out on this route, you will climb uphill through beautifully scenic rural landscapes and make your way along the edge of White Lake Grasslands Protected Area before descending through Okanagan Falls for the return leg of the journey alongside Vaseux Lake. There are a fair amount of ups and downs along the way, but the views that sweep across the Okanagan Valley are well with the effort.
Richter Pass and the Rollers
Cycling Richter Pass and the Rollers is a lengthy adventure in the Okanagan Valley that will see you traverse a route that is most well-known for being a part of the Ironman Canada challenge. While out on the route, you will climb uphill through the steep terrain of Richter Pass and traverse some rolling hills on the way to Keremeos before turning back to do it all over again in the opposite direction. This is a physically demanding, albeit exhilarating, day out on the road.
Naramata Bench Road Cycle
The Naramata Bench Road Cycle is an amazing long distance cycling route that will lead you through the terrain to the northeast of Penticton for some lovely views overlooking Okanagan Lake. While out cycling this trail, you will pass by the various vineyards along the Naramata Bench before climbing uphill towards Chute Lake to meet up with the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. It is best not to attempt this route on a road bike, as the return portion of the journey along the Kettle Valley Rail Trail is made up of gravel.
Osoyoos to Jackson Triggs Winery via Black Sage Road
The ride from Osoyoos to Jackson Triggs Winery is a pleasant cycling adventure that will take you past the Okanagan Valley’s most well-known vineyards. While out cycling this relatively quiet route, you will make your way northwest along BC-97 and break off to the east along Black Sage Road, where you will pass through picturesque vineyards on either side until you arrive at the Jackson Triggs Winery. No cycling trip in the Okanagan Valley is complete without experiencing this breathtaking stretch of countryside.
Anarchist Mountain Trail
Cycling Anarchist Mountain is a great adventure that will take you uphill from Osoyoos for some breathtaking views overlooking the lake and surrounding Okanagan Valley landscape. While out on this classic climb, you will make your way across Osoyoos Lake and steadily uphill past lovely wineries and rugged mountain peaks before reaching the scenic viewpoints at the top of the trail. Be sure to set out early in order to avoid the traffic that will inevitably be on the road during later times of day.
Penticton to Skaha and Green Lakes Trail
Penticton to Skaha and Green Lakes is an amazing cycling route that will expose you to some truly stunning views of the Okanagan Valley landscape. While out on this route, you will leave Penticton behind and travel along the gorgeous shores of Skaha Lake before passing through Okanagan Falls. At this point, you will climb through the hillside to pass by See Ya Later Ranch on the way to visit the Green and Mahoney Lakes. While some out-and-back routes are a bit of a chore, this one is a true pleasure, allowing you to relive the stunning scenery all over again.
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