Kettle Valley Midway Loop
A 352 km loop through the Carmi and Penticton-Osoyoos Subdivisions of the KettleValley Railway
Mapped by Penny Lawless
I cycle toured this division of the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) in June 2015 with two friends. We had prearranged our accommodation, so could keep our gear to a minimum. Although we chose to ride at a casual pace, you could quite easily power through this route in a couple of days. This section of the KVR is an easy/moderate loop that starts and finishes in Midway, BC (Mile 0). The route goes through both the Carmi and Osoyoos Subdivisions of the KVR and runs primarily along a packed gravel rail-grade trail until Naramata. Resupply points, as well as options for camping/accommodation can be found along the route in Midway, Rock Creek, Beaverdell, Chute Lake, Myra Canyon, Penticton and Osoyoos.
You can expect to be on and off your bike several times for the first 25 km as you make your way through farmland cattle gates. Once past the gates, the riding is straight forward as you continue to climb the low-grade trail to McCulloch/Myra. The highlight of this route is, of course, the Myra Canyon Trestles, which consist of 18 trestle crossings and riding through tunnels along a 12 km stretch high above the canyon. After this point, the ride is mostly downhill until Osoyoos.
At the 200 km mark, the views open up to a spectacular panorama of Okanagan Lake, Summerland, Naramata and Penticton. The gravel trail eventually changes to a smooth paved downhill path that takes you into Naramata. We chose to stop for a light snack and some wine at the Hillside Estate Winery, which is conveniently located next to the trail. You can expect to be on roads from this point through Penticton, until you join up with the KVR trail again at Skaha Lake. You’ll find plenty of fruit trees and vineyards along the route as you continue through Oliver on your way to Osoyoos. We were riding in 30ºc weather, so stopped at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards in Oliver for more refreshments before ending the day in Osoyoos.
The final section from Osoyoos to Midway follows along Highway 3. Knowing that we had a long, steep climb up to Anarchist Summit, we chose to leave at 5:30 a.m. to avoid both the heat and the traffic. I found the shoulder wide enough and the volume of traffic minimal, so had no concerns riding this section. Once you reach Anarchist Summit, you can enjoy a quick, smooth ride back to Midway.
Once back at Mile 0, we spent some time exploring the Kettle River Museum. It’s a wonderful little museum that is located in the original station house and contains interesting artifacts from the era. We ended the trip with a celebratory beer at the Hotel Midway (aka Hot-L). If you’re looking to take in the local flavour of a town, you’ll find it here! The Hotel/Pub is run by a very interesting couple who obviously love to share the history of both Midway and of their “haunted hotel.”
We stayed at the Mile Zero Motel at the beginning and end of the trip. It seems to be the “go-to” place for cyclists riding the KVR. The owner was extremely accommodating and had plenty of room in his large garage to store bikes. The motel also has a great little restaurant with amazing home-cooked meals and delicious desserts.
The best time to ride this route is June to October.