Summer and Winter Fun
In addition to Skiing and Boarding, Golf and Wine Tasting & Touring, there is almost an endless variety of Summer and Winter activities that can be enjoyed in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. Listed below are just a few of them.
Summer activities, including boating, water skiing, cycling, in-line skating, parasailing, hiking, fishing (in the many mountain lakes that are easily accessible from the Okanagan Valley), houseboat tours and more.
Boating: Okanagan Lake, which is approximately 120 km. (75 miles) long, is perfect for many types of boating, from sailing and power boating to canoeing, kayaking andhouseboat cruising. In addition to Lake Okanagan, there are a number of other large lakes in the Okanagan Valley, including Osoyoos Lake, Vaseaux Lake and Skaha Lake, in the south part of the valley, Duck Lake, Wood Lake and Kalamalka Lake, between Kelowna and Vernon and Swan Lake, Mara Lake, and Mabel Lake in the north part of the Okanagan Valley. Approximately 100 km. (60 miles) north of Kelowna is Shuswap Lake, which is as large as Lake Okanagan. In addition, there are countless smaller lakes in the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Water Skiing: This is another very popular sport in the Okanagan, with its plentiful lakes and warm summer temperatures. Several world-class water skiers have come from the Okanagan Valley.
Wind Surfing: Windsurfers can be seen on many of the lakes, during the warmer months. The combination of sunshine, warm water and good wind conditions is perfect for sailboarders.
Cycling and Mountain Biking: The Kelowna area is especially known for the Myra Canyon trestles bike route along . This is an old rail bed with 16 old railway trestles, which have been modified with railings and a riding surface. The rails are gone and the riding is easy, but the scenery is spectacular! The rail bed is about 700 metres (2,300 ft.) above Lake Okanagan, in this section, so temperatures are milder than in the valley. The whole Kettle Valley route can be ridden or hiked for several hundred kilometres, in either direction.
Kelowna also has a system of developed bike paths along most of the major thoroughfares, and the bus system is equipped to transport bikes, if you decide you have bitten off more than you can chew. There is also a bike path along the Mission Creek Greenway.
Kelowna and area offers superb mountain biking. Right near downtown are the Knox Mountain Trails, which are easily reached and convenient. The Crawford area, with a developed network of trails, is a popular area for many of the local riders. Other areas which offer more challenge include the McDougal Rim, Okanagan Mountain Park, and Bear Creek. For more mountain biking in the area, click here.
In-line Skating: As noted above, Kelowna has an excellent system of bike paths, along most of the major thoroughfares. This is an excellent place for in-line skating, as much of the area near downtown and out towards the Mission area is relatively flat.
Hiking: There is also excellent hiking throughout the Okanagan. The Kettle Valley route is an excellent venue for longer hikes, as well as day trips. There is also good hiking in Knox Mountain Park and Okanagan Mountain Park. Also interesting is Kalamoir Park, on the Westside and the Mission Creek Greenway. For those in the mood for a more leisurely stroll, there is a walkway along Lake Okanagan, in the downtown area.
Fishing: With hundreds of lakes, the Okanagan area is a fisherman’s paradise. Rainbow Trout are the most common fish, but Eastern Brook Trout and Kokanee (landlocked Sockeye Salmon), Dolly Varden, Lake Trout and Whitefish can also be found in many of the lakes.
Houseboat Tours: For the ultimate houseboat experience, families or groups can rent large houseboats, some of them with hot tubs, to cruise the waters of Shuswap Lake. Cruise the lake where much of the shoreline is inaccessible by road and enjoy the solitude of this beautiful area at the north end of the Okanagan Valley.
Winter Sports Activities
Other winter sports: Kelowna and the Okanagan alley also have excellent cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and ice fishing nearby.
Cross Country Skiing: Tracked cross country trails can be found at Nordic Cross Country Ski Club, Telemark Cross Country Ski Club, Beaver Lake and Silver Star Mountain”, near Vernon. There are numerous other places to cross country ski for more adventurous types.
Snowshoeing: This is another winter sport that can be enjoyed at a number of local resorts, or you can do your own program. Some of the areas offering snowshoeing include Silver Star, Beaver Lake Resort, and McCulloch Lake Resort.
Ice Fishing: Although Okanagan Lake doesn’t freeze in the winter, a very accessible ice fishing area is Duck Lake, located on Highway 97, just north of Kelowna Airport. A number of the resorts on the mountain lakes, including Beaver Lake Resort, McCulloch Lake Resort, Idabel Lake Resort offer ice fishing.
Dogsledding: Just to prove this is really Canada, you can enjoy a ride as a passenger in a dogsled, or take a turn “mushing” the team. Check out Silver Star for this sport.