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British Columbia, Canada

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Vernon's Top 10 Trails

The Vernon community (Vernon, Coldstream and surrounding neighborhoods) is nestled at the top of the Okanagan Valley with three lakes surrounded by bunchgrass slopes and forested hills. Like the top of a magic wand, valleys radiate out in all directions.

This is a community that loves walking on its many scenic trails. Choose a trail to enhance your visit. The expansive scenery and cloudscapes can be overwhelming, but relax, breathe the fresh air and unwind.

Follow a historic irrigation canal - turned trail - to discover our history or a wetland meadow once farmed as a hayfield and now returned to a wildlife sanctuary. Chat up a storm with our friendly locals. Enjoy a variety of trails in any season from open hillside, hilltop and meadow pathways with breathtaking views to bask in the fall, winter and spring, to forested or canyon creekside trails for refreshing cover in summer. Summer’s long, lingering sunrise and sunset hours create dramatic walking photo opportunities, too.

You'll need a hat, sunglasses and water most days of the year when hiking in the dry, sunny, warm Okanagan. Binoculars magnify your viewing pleasure by delving deeper into the picturesque landscape helping you spot the abundant birds, butterflies and other critters flourishing in our community. Bring your camera! You can pick up more information, brochures, maps and advice from the Vernon Visitor Centre.

Here are the Top Ten Trails* for you to enjoy:

  1. BX Creek & Falls Trail
  2. BX Creek Delta
  3. Coldstream Valley Estates
  4. Silver Star Foothills
  5. Turtle Mountain
  6. Twin Bays and Crest Trail - Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park
  7. Kalamalka Lookout Trail
  8. Longacre Trail
  9. Middleton Mountain Trails
  10. Polson Park Trail
  11. Swan Lake Nature Reserve Park Trail

(*ok, it’s really 10 and a bonus!)

Kalamalka Provincial Park

The Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park in the Okanagan Valley, one of the Top Ten Trails in Vernon, is a mixture of desert grasslands, wetlands, canyons and forests filled with ponderosa pine, black cottonwood and douglas-fir trees. The highlights of the park include the large lake, the sandy beaches and the 14km network of trails. There are three main bays located on Kalamalka Lake; Jade, Juniper and Cosens Bays. Jade Bay is less populated and Juniper Bay is larger, and therefore more popular, thus providing more amenities like picnic tables, a swimming area, grass lawns, some pit toilets and viewing benches. 

Swimming, canoeing, picnicking and sun tanning are popular in the park because of the green-blue waters of Kalamalka Lake, the secluded coves and the sandy beaches. Hiking, biking, jogging, horseback riding and cross country skiing are enjoyed in the park because of the large network of paved and gravel trails. For more information view  the trail map or the Kalamalka park website.

Ellison Provincial Park

Ellison Provincial Park is a very popular summer park located southwest of the community of Vernon. The recreation destination park is situated on the eastern shores of Okanagan Lake and is popular for swimming, boating, fishing, picnicking, camping and diving. Ellison Provincial Park is 200 hectares in size and is dominated by stands of ponderosa pine and Douglas fir. Six kilometers of hiking trails provide an excellent opportunity to explore and see unique plants and animal life. The trails vary in difficulty, both in grade and terrain, and there are some wheelchair accessible sections of trail. Amenities include flush toilets, showers, running water and an outdoor amphitheatre, a playground, picnic tables and a large grass lawn area. For more information, view the trail map or Ellison park website.

Kekuli Bay Provincial Park 

This 2.5 km earthy-gravel walking path around Kekuli Bay Provincial Park explores the grassland hills, providing views of the valley and lake. Some of the attractions are the wildflowers, birds and large rodent type animals that all flourish within the park. Amenities include showers, power, flush toilets, a children's playground area, as well as picnic tables. For more information, view the  trail map or Kekuli Bay park website

Okanagan High Rim Trail 

Okanagan High Rim Trail is a 55 km trail along the eastern slopes of the Thompson Plateau from Vernon to Mission Creek, just east of Kelowna. The trail explores many diverse ecosystems and provides open sections with fantastic views of the valley, as well as canopied sections that allow exploration of the wilderness forests. 

In total, the trail should take no longer then 3-4 days to complete, although most casual hikers will find that it is best hiked in shorter sections; there are numerous access points (or trail heads) making it possible for shorter day hikes. Overall the Okanagan High Rim Trail is well marked, but plan your route ahead and use regular trail safety procedures. The main trail head in the north is located at the Cosens Bay Gate of Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park. The south trail head is located on Philpott Road of Highway 33. For more information contact the Vernon Outdoors Club. View map.

For more detailed information on the High Rim Trail, check out this website:  It has an amazing Google Earth map of the trail as a kmz file.  You will also find a file with all the route's GPS coordinates and printable PDF files of various sections. 

Silver Star Mountain 

Get your hiking boots on and lose yourself in the surroundings. The hiking trails will take you around Silver Star Mountain to see wildflowers, birds and breath-taking scenery. A great way to get out and enjoy fresh mountain air filled with fragrant wildflowers.  Try a nature tour, go for a hike and take a picnic. Wander your way down to the Comet Express Six-Pack to access Silver Star’s hiking trails, or leave from the village. 

The use of the hiking trails at Silver Star Mountain Resort are complimentary. However, if you wish to use the Comet Express Six-Pack or the Summit Chairlift to start your hike, a ticket is required, which can be purchased from the in-resort village ticket office. Silver Star is open seven days a week from June 27 to August 31, 2014. For more information view the trail map of the Silver Star Mountain website

There is a wide variety of hiking in the Vernon area to accomodate any age and energy level. For more maps and information please visit Greater Vernon Parks and Rec or the Ribbons of Green Trails Society.