As my wedding approaches at a ridiculous pace I have been trying to shape up. It’s one of the most important and memorable days of your life and so why not look good in the photos people will see for generations to come? Monday to Friday I work out with Tracy Anderson and diligently program my Fitbit to match my specific goals but come Saturday and Sunday the last thing I want to do is hang out in a gym or on a treadmill – especially when it is nice out.
Recently, I’ve taken to hiking and have discovered some glorious trails that have been offering me new sights and perspectives of Kelowna. I’ve lived here for over 10 years and only now am I hiking these both popular and lesser known trails. There are so many to choose from I didn’t know about despite the fact that I see them all the time – all of which are in the city limits! But, as with any hiking trail, take caution. Some of these can be treacherous when the weather isn’t cooperating, be bear aware and check yourself for ticks. I came back with a tick in my shirt the other day!
Layer Cake (in Scenic Canyon Regional Park)
As delicious as it may sound this is a hiking trail to punish you for any cake you’ve consumed in the last month. In my case, this is birthday season for my family with my sister’s in May, mine in June and my mom’s in July there’s plenty of cake to go around. Hiking up steep serpentine paths is just the thing I need to whip my butt into shape. The views are lovely looking towards the Black Mountain area and Layer Cake Mountain in a narrow valley following Mission Creek. Layer Cake Mountain itself is made of volcanic layers having cooled in a unique stacked pattern similar to formations in New Zealand but is considered the only one of its kind in the world!
Aside from the geological formations there are also traces of the gold panning age with old stone ovens used by Chinese labourers. I tried to find them myself but turned up empty handed. But then again I ended up taking a stroll along the river feeling a bit daring along the narrow path of slippery river rock and swooping trees. What a great swimming hole this would make in lower tide.
Fitbit steps taken: approx. 9000 over 2 hours
Paul’s Tomb at Knox Mountain
Considerably busier, Knox Mountain attracts both locals and tourists mostly because it offers the best view of Kelowna without being too far away from downtown. You can either walk up the steep hill from the lower gates by the beach or drive up to the second tiered lookout. You can also follow the road for a more gradual climb to the “entrance” of the Paul’s Tomb hiking path.
The views of the lake are gorgeous as sail boats, kayaks and local birds make rippling trails upon the water’s surface. Wildlife like deer are not uncommon but be bear aware.The trail is lined with the official flower of Kelowna, the Arrowleaf Balsamroot. This is a populated path on most days but the further you go the less people there tends to be, especially before noon. You’ll know you’ve arrived once you find the sign that explains a bit about the name behind the trail. There is indeed a tomb there buried by soil and a clearing with Lilacs where the cabin belonging to Rambler Paul once sat. One of the best swimming holes lies at the end of this trail once you reach Paul’s Tomb. The water is much clearer than the popular swimming beaches of Gyro and although there is no sand there are fewer crowds and dogs are allowed to accompany you on your swim.
Fitbit steps: 11,000 RT over 2.5 hours (approx.)
Kelowna Mountain Suspension Bridge Park
Despite the controversy surrounding this property the owner is pressing on and re-opening the park on Canada Day (July 1st 2016). One of the best views of Kelowna and an adventure for the family, you can cross up to 4 suspension bridges or you can just have lunch at the Tuscan visitor’s centre at 6,000 feet of seating area, shops and a small café. The cave does have a lovely picnic area with a chandelier if you want more privacy and shade. This hike is great for all ages and provides a fun family outing.
A photo posted by Murissa Shalapata (@wanderfulltraveler) on
If you don’t have time for a hike but want to check out the space they do hold orchestral concerts and even weddings there. Check their website, which should be updated soon, for concerts and events.
Fitbit steps: At your leisure