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  1. #1
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    Looking for information about the Kettle Valley rail trail

    My brother and I have been looking at riding some of the Kettle Valley Railway. I live in Wyoming and he lives in Colorado and we aren't familiar with the area.

    I have done some searching on the net and haven't found very much information. Can anyone give me some suggestions on what sections to ride? My brother is more of a touring rider than a hard core trail rider. We do gravel road century rides and we like that type of riding. That said, we both love single track as well, so any suggestions on good single track in the area would be appreciated.

    Pointers on camping, lodges, out and back rides or getting a shuttle back to our vehicle? Best places to stay, best places to eat, things to do in the area other than ride.

    Any information would be helpful.

    Thanks.
    I'm not very smart, but I can lift heavy things

  2. #2
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    Everything you need to know.... http://www.kettlevalleyrailway.ca/

    It's pretty easy (although bumpy in places where the ties are still in place) as the steepest grade is 2.2% (rail trail) but it's definitely not singletrack, (here's some photos from a Google search)

    If you're wanting to ride singletrack then you want to tackle Seven Summits at Rossland BC as one of the IMBA epic rides you have to do.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill
    Everything you need to know.... http://www.kettlevalleyrailway.ca/

    It's pretty easy (although bumpy in places where the ties are still in place) as the steepest grade is 2.2% (rail trail) but it's definitely not singletrack, (here's some photos from a Google search)

    If you're wanting to ride singletrack then you want to tackle Seven Summits at Rossland BC as one of the IMBA epic rides you have to do.

    Thanks for the reply. I am up to speed on the rail trail not being single track. We ride a century on one in South Dakota every year. It is not challenging other than being a long ride, but the scenery is very nice and we have a great time. I will look into the seven summits ride.

    Any input on camping versus hotel?

    I am headed to Florida on business tomorrow, so if I don't reply for a few weeks it is not because I am being rude.

    Thanks.
    I'm not very smart, but I can lift heavy things

  4. #4
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    On the Kettle Valley site there's a link to other websites for each stop along the route that outlines the accommodation and other features. Some of the links are broken unfortunately, but it gives you an idea of how far you have between major centres where you'd find a hotel/motel. It depends on how civilized you want the accommodation to be and how much stuff you want to carry on the bikes (and how far you want to travel per day).

    This might make some good fun research reading, even though it's a few years old now and many of the trestle and trail conditions have been improved....

    http://www.trailness.com/kvr/html/kvr_jour_intro.html
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill
    On the Kettle Valley site there's a link to other websites for each stop along the route that outlines the accommodation and other features. Some of the links are broken unfortunately, but it gives you an idea of how far you have between major centres where you'd find a hotel/motel. It depends on how civilized you want the accommodation to be and how much stuff you want to carry on the bikes (and how far you want to travel per day).

    This might make some good fun research reading, even though it's a few years old now and many of the trestle and trail conditions have been improved....

    http://www.trailness.com/kvr/html/kvr_jour_intro.html

    Thanks for additional link and information. I will look at it more when I get some time.

    I didn't spend enough time digging into the first site you pointed me to. I had found that one in one of my Google searches and scanned through it. I will dig into it a little more and maybe I can find some of my own answers.

    I am still open to any suggestions anyone wants to throw at me.


    Thanks again.
    I'm not very smart, but I can lift heavy things

  6. #6
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    One of my favourite rides last year! I rode the section between Penticton and Myra Canyon, did a quick return trip last year while my wife was in Penticton for Ironman.

    Penticton seems like a good place to start/finish, especially if you like wine. It is central to most of the trail sections. I remember some kind of local outfit were offering shuttles out to Myra Canyon, they might be able to do something else for you as well. Also, Penticton and Kelowna have some pretty great beaches.

    Myra Canyon is the crown jewel of the route with all of the trestles, so you should probably plan that in your route. It is also a very busy stretch, lots of people go up there.

    One thing I didn't realize from doing research on-line: a lot of the trail surface is quite lose and soft. I was on a cross bike and basically had to hammer the whole thing to keep my speed up. Some sections allow vehicles on them and can develop a lot of washboard, which is tiring. So, despite the easy grades the riding isn't always easy: I basically time-trialed it for 150 km.

    Some of the people I saw touring looked like they were having a bad time. I ran into an English guy who was really hating it and looking for a place to bail out and get back on the roads. On the other hand, saw some pretty happy people too. I just think that some people were expecting a faster, more packed-down surface.

    On the way out to Myra, I took the Naramata Road and then up the gravel road to Chute Lake, which was a ***** of a climb but way better than taking the switchbacks. Riding down a 2.2% grade that is all loose gravel means no coasting, and it adds on a ton of distance.

    Check out http://www.toomanybikes.com/ he has some good photos.

    Regards,
    Anthony

  7. #7
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    KVR sees a lot of quad traffic, so be prepared for some washboard.

    Also, it's pretty sandy in places. 2" tires are a good idea.

    Best sections are between Princeton and Tulameen, and the Myra Trestles above Kelowna.

    Favourite campsite is Granite City in Coalmont (outside of Princeton about 15 km).

    Most of the way, camping is the best way to go. You can find the Forest Service campsites on this map: http://apps.gov.bc.ca/pub/recst/. It shows the KVR in ahaphazard way, but you should be able to figure out a fair amount with it. Watcho ut for sites that look close tothe railway, but aren't. Thalia Lakes is a good example. It looks like it's just off the railway, but it's straight up a mountain to get there.

    In Penticton you'd probably be better off getting the hotel, but it depends on how much milage you pull off a day.

    Full distance from Hope to Castlegar is something like 550 km or so. It's a tough ride to do in under 5 days. The shuttle service in the Okanagan only covers that portion (Monashee Tours). It sounds to me like you're probably ridi9ng at a higher calibre than those guys cater to. There's always the bus.

    EXCELLENT singletrack abounds along the route, especially in the Okanagan and around Christina Lake.

  8. #8
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    I've done Midway to Osoyoos once, Midway to Midway once, and Midway to Penticton once. Each day on the railway was from 40-50 km. We rode the Midway to Midway loop because we only had one vehicle, but you can catch the Greyhound bus from Osoyoos to Midway I think) to get back to your car.

    We camped out, pulled a trailer, and were self-supported. You can get food/accommodations at Beaverdell, Hydraulic Lake, Chute Lake, and Penticton. We chose to camp out at Hydraulic Lake, and couldn't buy food there on our last trip (the year after the trestles burned).

    We found the rail bed to be generally packed, with a few sections of washboard, especially between Myra Canyon and Chute Lake. There were a few sandy sections between Chute Lake and Penticton, but nothing really terrible. Myra Canyon is definitely the highlight, but the trip down from Chute to Penticton is also great fun! There is a tunnel that's been blocked off for traffic, but can be explored on foot, as well as several rock ovens built by the railway workers. Chute Lake to Penticton is also the steepest part of the route at 2.2%, MUCH more enjoyable going down than up!

    If you start at Midway you can ride to a nice campground whose name escapes me at the moment in a few hours. Day 2 goes to Beaverdell, where you can camp on the lawn and have a hot shower. Day 3 goes to Hydraulic Lake for camping at the Forestry Service campground. Day 4 ends up at Chute Lake, with a nice restaurant, camping by the lake or stay in the hotel, and hot showers for the campers. Day 5 gets you into Penticton, where you can camp or hotel it, with lots of food choices. Day 6 goes to Osoyoos, and Day 7 takes you back to Midway.

    There are a few hiccups along the route, mostly on Day 1 and Day 6, where finding the railroad can be tricky. And part of Day 6 and all of Day 7 are on the road.

    The second time we rode the KVR we took 15 Boy Scouts and their dads, most riding wally world hardtails or old fully rigid bikes.. None had had much riding experience, and all did just fine. We had sag support that met us at certain places on that trip, but we've also done it self-supported twice.

    You MUST get the book "Cycling the Kettle Valley Railway" by Dan and Sandra Langford. I picked up a copy on e-bay for $7 shipped to my door just last week. It gives a mile-by-mile description of the route that is still 98% accurate. I carried a copy in my handlebar bag and used it several times a day. It was invaluable!

    I highly recommend this trip. Keep us posted on your plans, and we'll feed you as much info as we can!

  9. #9
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    As previous posters have mentioned - Myra Canyon is a must, especially since all the trustles have been rebuilt. In the summer, the weekends are busy with families, hikers, etc. so would recommend going there midweek if possible. The views are spectacular and the paths are wide and not difficult... There are a lot of drop-in points to singletrack along the Myra paths, although it's mostly pretty technical, gnarly stuff. I'm not familiar with places outside the Okanagan, but in Kelowna alone there would be enough epic riding to keep you occupied all summer! Lots of great camping and hotels, as well as great wineries (and even bike wine tours)!

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the reply's and information.

    I got shipped out of town for some work and have been sidetracked from the planning process of this trip for the last few months. I talked to my brother last week and we are going to put this on our calendars next summer.

    What do you all think would be the best time of year weather wise? I imagine too early and the North end / Myra area would be cold yet and still chance wet weather. Mid summer / August I suspect is pretty hot along the Southwest / Penticton part of the ride. Is late summer / early fall a good choice?

    We will plan a full week for the ride and probably stay in the area a few extra days on each end so we can explore the area a little. It looks like beautiful country.

    Thanks again for all you help and suggestions.
    I'm not very smart, but I can lift heavy things

  11. #11
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    Best times are late May and all of September.

    The entire route is subject to some pretty hot temps in summertime (not just the bit near Penticton), as Tulameen all the way to Castlegar can easily top 40C at any time in July and August.

  12. #12
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    That is a lot of good information. This is a trip that my wife and I are planning next year. Thanks so much!!

    -Shawn

  13. #13
    ova
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    hi,

    i know this is an old post regarding the KVR but can you tell me:

    I was reading through some of the reviews of the KVR and was wondering if tell me something?

    I am wanting to cycle from Midway to Osoyoos this June and am wondering about the proper bike to use.

    I currently have a full suspension MTB, (Kona Dawg Deelux) and it being full suspension i cannot put panniers on it, so my option is a single wheel trailer (or get another bike). Do you think that would be suitable for the trail or are there a lot of tight areas that might make a trailer difficult to manoeuvre?

    Also what kind of tires should I have? I currently have hybrid tyres
    (somewhere between a road tire and a full thread mountain tire) and wondering if that will be good enough or should I go with full knobby tires?


    Thanks for your advice.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ova View Post
    hi,

    i know this is an old post regarding the KVR but can you tell me:

    I was reading through some of the reviews of the KVR and was wondering if tell me something?

    I am wanting to cycle from Midway to Osoyoos this June and am wondering about the proper bike to use.

    I currently have a full suspension MTB, (Kona Dawg Deelux) and it being full suspension i cannot put panniers on it, so my option is a single wheel trailer (or get another bike). Do you think that would be suitable for the trail or are there a lot of tight areas that might make a trailer difficult to manoeuvre?

    Also what kind of tires should I have? I currently have hybrid tyres
    (somewhere between a road tire and a full thread mountain tire) and wondering if that will be good enough or should I go with full knobby tires?


    Thanks for your advice.
    Honestly, your best bet would be a good road bike. It's a nice half day ride from Midway to Osoyoos.

    The KVR is best done with a trailer behind a 29'r dualie. Roughly 4 days to do the line from Midway to Osoyoos, assuming that you are aware that the KVR doesn't actually link those two places (the KVR goes West from Penticton, although there are a few bits of trail down through kaleden, OK falls, and Oliver).

  15. #15
    FOG on a bike
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    Assuming you plan on riding the KVR, your Kona with trailer and hybrid tires will probably be fine. The trail is almost entirely well-packed double track, with the ride from Penticton to Osoyoos best done on the pavement. There are no technical sections at all. There are some sandy sections between Chute Lake and Penticton that you may have to walk with those tires, but those sections would only be a couple hundred yards at most. You could do this on a fully rigid bike, no trouble. 29r would be comfortable, but you definitely don't need a special bike to ride this. It is a rail-to-trail, after all!

    I pulled a two wheeled trailer last time, and had no problems.

    If you plan on making it a loop by riding over Anarchist Pass from Osoyoos back to Midway you might be glad you're on hybrid tires!

    There are grocery stores at Midway, Beaverdell, Penticton,and Osoyoos, and a restaurant at Chute Lake, so plan your food accordingly.

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