The old Kettle Valley Railway use to run through southern British Columbia and a 9 km section of it has been transformed into a bike trail that is great for families. It’s through the Myra Canyon where the mountainous terrain is so steep that when they built the rail line they had to include 18 wooden trestles and two tunnels—an engineering feat that was so outstanding that the Government of Canada made it a National Historic Site.
More than a century ago, rich mines were discovered in southern B.C. and a race was on to build a railway that would run from the mines to the Pacific coast. There was a big problem though—two mountains were in the way! So the railway took a long time to build and cost a lot of money. The Myra Canyon section of the track was finally completed in 1914 and trains ran on it until 1978 when it was abandoned.
The Myra Canyon section of the rail line soon became an attractive trail for bikers and hikers, although the trestles were deteriorating. In 2003 a fire seriously damaged the whole structure and that’s when the B.C. government stepped in and rebuilt it.
Today the trail through the canyon where steam trains once ran is open for bikers. It’s 12 km one way—24 km return—and overlooks the city of Kelowna and Okanagan Lake. Nearby Myra Canyon Bike Rentals has bikes and helmets.
This is a great way to show kids how building a railway across a country like Canada required a lot of sacrifice and skill.
See the ever growing: Bucket List for Kids in Canada
By Sylvia Fanjoy
Photo credits: Craig and Carla Reinhardus except for historic photo, “Train on the Kettle Valley Railway, 1916, Wikimedia Commons”
© Riding the buses™ 2015