glass of beer

A Weekend Itinerary for Hiking & Eating in Vernon

Vernon BC - tucked away between lakes at the heart of the Okanagan - is home to fresh food, cold drinks and epic hiking.

With the natural beauty that occupies Vernon, the abundance of hiking trails dotted throughout the city, it may be hard to choose what to do, where to go and what to see.  Luckily that’s where I come in. Vernon has a wide range of trails for all ages, levels, and abilities, even some that are wheelchair friendly to keep everyone happy. Check out the Ribbons of Green Society for all the trails available.

Saturday

Start your Saturday off right with a breakfast at Eatology that offers everything from your typical big breakfast to omelets to egg benedicts to a breakfast sandwich. Make sure you’ve had your fill of coffee and food as you’re going to need it for your upcoming hike. 

plated breakfast

Now it’s time to tackle 2 hikes into one! That’s right, you heard it correctly, a 2-in-1 hike. The Grey Canal East section links 2 hikes together via the Grey Canal Road and both sections offer something unique, making it hard not to include them both. You get panoramic views over Vernon and Swan Lake as well as a short little history lesson about the old Grey Canal structures that are still visible on the trail. Park at Blackcomb Way but this first section of the hike is open. Sunscreen, water, and a hat are highly recommended in the summer’s heat. This trail is 11km in length and will take anywhere from 3-3.5 hours to complete.

view of swan lake

To cool down for that hike and afternoon heat, head over to Marten Brew Pub to grab one of their craft beers (other alcoholic/non-alcoholic drinks are available) or even a beer flight. If you timed it correctly, you might be able to enjoy their happy hour drink and food selection that happens from 3-6pm. If you’re looking for a snack, either the deep-fried pickles or wings are amazing or if you want a meal, my go-tos are the Pulled Pork Sandwich or Mac & Cheese with pulled pork.

As the evening rolls in, grab some sushi rolls to go from Suda (my favourite is the mango rolls) and head up to Rocky Ridge Park, located in Turtle Mountain. Here you’ll get 360-degree views of Vernon, Coldstream and Okanagan Lake Landing and I personally think it is one of the best viewpoints in town. It’s also the perfect place to catch the last views before calling it a night. There’s a small parking lot to park in (adjacent from Grey Canal: Turtle Mountain Trail), and a short but rugged trail for the view. Do be careful as there are cliff edges with no fences.

viewpoint in Rock Ridge Park

Sunday

Take the morning to relax after your jam-packed day and start the day off with a late breakfast/early lunch at Ratio Coffee & Restaurant. Once you’ve filled your stomach, head over to Peter’s U-pick, picking all the fresh in season fruit (price is based on weight). It is also the perfect time to select a few snacks you want to bring on your upcoming hike. 
 

person apple picking

Once you have your snacks all tucked away in your bag, head over to the cool tranquility of BX Creek trail. Depending on how hot the summer has been, there may still be a waterfall flowing! Spend a few hours soaking in the forest, creek, coolness and everything it has to offer. It is also the ideal trail to take a break from the summer heat.  The trail is 6.8km round-trip with a few stair sections, along with bridges crossing over the creek. There are 2 starting points depending on what you want to see first.  Tillicum Road gives you a quick access to the waterfall (and stairs) or start at Star Rd for an easier, gradual hike.

forest trail

If you’ve worked up an appetite or maybe you’re just thirsty, Cambium Cider Co is the place for you! Delicious local craft ciders, wood oven pizzas and live music, this is the place to be on a summer evening. If you can’t decide which cider to choose from, there are 2 different flight options. My favourite is the Bandit, a sweet cherry cider. If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic drink, their homemade apple juice is amazing.

If you still have energy left, catch the sunset at Kalamalka Lake Rotary Pier. The sun slowly disappearing behind the mountains and reflecting off Kalamalka Lake is never disappointing.

Article and Images by Melanie Adair