I don’t normally post daily bike rides to social media as some people do with apps like Strava.
It can appear self indulgent — kind of like posting photos of your breakfast — and when I ride I’m more focused on getting exercise and enjoying the scenery than recording my ride.
I’m making an exception today because:
- We’ve had a spell of gorgeous weather in Osoyoos, B.C. in the South Okanagan with temperatures at the end of November and early December climbing into the teens Celsius;
- My ride on November 29, 2021, marked 5,000 km since I got my Rad Power RadMini foldable fat-tire e-bike in July 2020. That’s about the distance of Osoyoos to New Brunswick;
- I recently got a Nikon Z6ii mirrorless camera that’s light enough I can take it on rides and shoot images with something other than my phone;
- We live in a truly outstanding bicycling part of Canada and I want to encourage more locals to get out and ride and people elsewhere to consider a cycling holiday here in the South Okanagan.
See photos as a slideshow by clicking on the thumbnails, or continue reading below to see the photos in context.
I have a number of local rides I take as I try to cycle daily, usually riding between 15 and 25 km. They take you on quiet roads, paved trails and gravel trails through vineyards, orchards, desert-like landscape and along Osoyoos Lake. Some parts are flat and others are hilly. This time my ride was 25 km.
I don’t normally stop at the many wineries along the route, but that is a popular option for some cycle tourists.
Starting at Legion Beach, my ride continues south to swiws (Haynes Point) Provincial Park, a long, narrow spit of land extending partway across Osoyoos Lake. In the summer it’s busy with campers. In the off-season, the road is closed to vehicular traffic and it’s enormously popular with locals as a place to walk or ride. The road has views of the South Basin of the lake and the mountains and resorts that surround it.
From there I climb a hill and take 26th Avenue across Highway 97 to 107th Street and turn south. You can take it right to the Canada-U.S. border, but instead I turn up Golf Course Drive past the equestrian facility at Desert Park and the Osoyoos Golf Club.
Down a steep hill on Pebble Beach Drive, I follow 115th Street past Osoyoos Secondary School where I arrive at the Canal Walkway — a paved hiking and biking trail with views overlooking Osoyoos. This trail follows an old irrigation canal that helped to bring agriculture to this arid area early in the 20th century.
You pass through a giant culvert tunnel under Highway 3 and emerge in an area of desert vegetation that has been preserved amidst the vineyards and orchards that dominate the valley bottom.
The pavement ends at the Town of Osoyoos limit, but you can climb a steep hill to the Industrial Park, arriving at Highway 3 near JF Customs. This hill makes me appreciate having the pedal assist of an e-bike as I can ride it instead of walking my bike.
A gravel trail follows between the highway and orchards and vineyards, turning back into the desert vegetation. The trail is hilly and twisty and I’m grateful for the fat tires on the loose gravel.
You emerge near the Osoyoos Desert Centre, closed for the season, where a boardwalk and displays interpret this environment which is unique in Canada.
From 146th Avenue and 103rd Street, you continue almost to Graveyard Hill, crossing busy Highway 97 between Peach Hill Farm Market and 89th Street. This is the most dangerous part of the ride because heavy traffic whips around a blind corner, but if you pick the right spot to cross, you can make it across the highway safely by checking traffic carefully and giving the throttle a twist to get across quickly. There’s room to ride on the paved shoulder and fortunately it’s a short distance.
Continuing east and south on 89th Street, you get wonderful views of the north end of Osoyoos Lake, with the Osoyoos Cottages across the water on Osoyoos Indian Band land.
The gently hilly paved rural road takes you south through orchards and vineyards until you climb a steep hill up 148th Avenue from near La Stella Winery to Highway 97 again. The hill offers views overlooking the vineyards and orchards.
A rough gravel trail parallels Highway 97 running south to 87th Street, which passes the old fruit packing plant and continues as a beautiful paved rural road overlooking orchards, vineyards and Osoyoos Lake.
Arriving back in Osoyoos, you turn down the hill at Elks Hall to arrive at Lions Park, a beautiful park with picnic tables and a playground with spectacular views of Osoyoos Lake and the rugged landscape on the east side. A walkway allowing walking and cycling connects you to Gyro Park, a popular park for outdoor concerts, water sports and sunbathing — though not in November!
Finally, a pathway takes you from Gyro Park along the waterfront in front of the Watermark Beach Resort to the bridge, where instead you can return to Legion Beach along Kingfisher Drive.
If you still have the energy, you can take the new multiuse trail from Pioneer Walkway to Lakeshore Drive and south along the east shore of the South Basin. I take that flat route quite often, but on this ride I gave it a pass.
There are many other cycling routes in the area, including the International Hike and Bike Trail connecting the north end of Osoyoos Lake with Oliver to the north and continuing north almost to Gallagher Lake.
Unfortunately, there is no way to get past Vaseux Lake to connect with the Kettle Valley Railway trail at Okanagan Falls except by riding on an extremely dangerous narrow and twisty section of Highway 97, which I don’t advise.
I hope you too will consider the excellent and diverse bicycle and e-bike rides around Osoyoos and through the South Okanagan.