Day 6: Okanagan Provincial Park to Vernon Canada by Bicycle

The congested, noisy HWY 97 continues to hug Lake Okanagan as you cycle north towards Vernon.

If you are traveling through this area in the summer, expect the trees to be covered in flowers or fruit. It feels festival-like during summer in the Okanagan as gleeful residents celebrate the quality grapes grown in the area.

The first town you will cycle through today is Peachland, population 4 883, where Hainle Vineyards became the first ice wine maker in North America.

Enter Kelowna by crossing the William R. Bennett Bridge, which spans Lake Okanagan. Named after former B.C. Premier, William R. Bennett, nine floats keep the bridge floating stoically on Lake Okanagan.

In the summer, tourists flock to Kelowna for golf, the wine industry and other outdoor pursuits. In the winter, the city boasts world-class skiing and snowboarding at four area resorts. The area also has many trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

If you want to spend a night in Kelowna, check out Willow Creek Campground. Also, if you need a bike shop, talk to the staff at Cyclepath. If you are pining for a roof over your head, SameSun Hostel is a happening, friendly hostel.

Leave the city of Kelowna heading north. First pass Kelowna International Airport and cycle towards Oyama, a small clean town nestled between Wood Lake to the south and Kalamalka Lake to the north.

As you near Vernon, population 35 944, you will cycle along the shore of Kalamalka Lake and then up a large hill that separates you from the city of Vernon. Descend rapidly into the city where you can purchase supplies for the evening.

The Okanagan Valley was occupied exclusively by the Interior Salish First Nations people until fur traders arrived in 1811. In the 1850s, gold was discovered and mining joined cattle ranching as the area’s major economic industries. The town was known as Priest’s Valley until 1887, when the town changed its name to Vernon.

If you need work done on your bike head to Olympia Cycle & Ski.

Swan Lake RV Park and Campground is located just north of Vernon and off of HWY 97. In my opinion, the small detour taken up old Kamloops Road is compensated for by the idyllic setting of this campground along the shore of Swan Lake.

Kilometre Log
0.0Leave Okanagan Lake Provincial Park South Campground heading towards HWY 97.
0.3Turn right onto HWY 97.
17.9Intersection of HWY 97 and 97C.
34.2William R. Bennett Bridge.
35.5Enter Kelowna on HWY 97 / Harvey Avenue.
40.2Harvey Avenue / HWY 97 becomes Okanagan HWY / HWY 97.
50.4Kelowna International Airport.
52.8Ellison Lake.
61.7Wood Lake.
68.5Kekuli Bay Provincial Park.
69.2Kalamalka Lake.
72.5Road narrows to one lane.
85.3Enter Vernon on HWY 97 / 32nd Street.
90.0Turn left on 43rd Avenue.
90.5Turn right onto Old Kamloops Road.
95.7Swan Lake RV Park and Campground.

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