Cycling around Osoyoos, B.C. in late November

I ride my Rad Power RadMini foldable e-bike on 89th Street north of Osoyoos in this selfie taken with a timer. The bike’s fat tires are excellent when riding off pavement. (Richard McGuire Photo)

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.


On my bike ride of November 29, 2021, my odometer reached 5,000 km — 16 months after I bought my Rad Power Rad Mini e-bike. I ride almost every day and cumulatively that’s about the distance from Osoyoos to Perth-Andover, New Brunswick. (Richard McGuire Photo)

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.

Highway 3 east begins its ascent up Anarchist Mountain as seen from Haynes Point, now known as swiws Provincial Park. (Richard McGuire Photo)
Sunlight reflects on Osoyoos Lake and filters through low clouds looking south from swiws Provincial Park (Haynes Point). (Richard McGuire Photo)
A bridge at left connects the two sides of Osoyoos Lake as Highway 3 crosses on a long spit of land. In this view from Haynes Point (swiws), Pioneer Walkway provides walking and cycling trails along the shoreline with Hotel Row behind. At right is the Holiday Inn. (Richard McGuire Photo)
During the summer, this road along Haynes Point (swiws) is busy with campers heading to and from the campgrounds in this provincial park. In the off season, as shown here at the end of November, the road is closed to traffic and is a favourite for local walkers and cyclists. (Richard McGuire Photo)
A long sandbar extends from the end of Haynes Point almost to the east shore of Osoyoos Lake. In the winter, you can walk to the end, but in summer, when lake levels are higher, the sandbar is submerged. (Richard McGuire Photo)
As seen from the orchards above Haynes Point (swiws), there’s a bird sanctuary with walking trail extending south from the provincial park. Across Osoyoos Lake, Highway 3 climbs Anarchist Mountain with a series of switchbacks. (Richard McGuire Photo)

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.

A popular hiking and biking trail called Canal Walkway follows an old irrigation channel from Osoyoos Secondary School east to this area of arid vegetation. The Town of Osoyoos has paved the portion of this trail within its boundaries. (Richard McGuire Photo)

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.

A gravel trail extends northwest from the Osoyoos industrial park towards the Osoyoos Desert Centre. Along this ride, best with a fat-tire bike, you see such arid vegetation as sagebrush and antelope brush. (Richard McGuire Photo)
Osoyoos is sometimes referred to as “Canada’s Only Desert.” Whether or not it actually meets the definition of a desert, it is an arid landscape with plants and animals only found in small parts of the southern B.C. Interior. In the background, Highway 3 climbs to Richter Pass on its way to the B.C. Lower Mainland. At this time, the route to the coast was severed by severe flooding and landslides between Princeton and the Fraser Valley. (Richard McGuire Photo)

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.

Part of my cycling route follows quiet rural roads like 103 Street shown here weaving through vineyards. (Richard McGuire Photo)
My cycling route follows 89th Street north of Osoyoos, which offers spectacular views of the north end of Osoyoos Lake. (Richard McGuire Photo)
From a viewpoint on 89th Street north of Osoyoos, you can look over Osoyoos Lake to the Osoyoos Cottages. Homeowners in this luxury housing development lease their land, which is owned by the Osoyoos Indian Band. (Richard McGuire Photo)

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.

At the end of November, the sun stays close to he mountain tops in mid-afternoon. This photo shows a vineyard on 89th Street north of Osoyoos. (Richard McGuire Photo)
The sun casts shadows of fruit trees in an orchard along 89th Street north of Osoyoos. (Richard McGuire Photo)
There’s a steep hill to climb from La Stella Winery to Highway 97 on 148th Avenue north of Osoyoos. The ride looks out over orchards and vineyards. (Richard McGuire Photo)
There’s a steep hill to climb from La Stella Winery to Highway 97 on 148th Avenue north of Osoyoos. The ride looks out over orchards and vineyards. In the background, across Osoyoos Lake, are the Osoyoos Cottages.(Richard McGuire Photo)

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.

A few parts of my bike route require following busy Highway 97. This portion between 148th Avenue and 87th Street has a rough path so you don’t have to cycle on the highway. (Richard McGuire Photo)
The sun backlights yellow leaves of an apple orchard on 87th Street north of Osoyoos. Many leaves have fallen, but in late November, some are still on the trees. (Richard McGuire Photo)
The leaves are dead and mostly fallen in this vineyard along 87th Street north of Osoyoos. (Richard McGuire Photo)

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!

The boats are gone for the season from Desert Sunrise Marina near Lions Park in Osoyoos, but yellow leaves are still on willow trees in late November. (Richard McGuire Photo)
A kayaker paddles on a calm Osoyoos Lake near Gyro Park in Osoyoos. Across the lake are the condomiums along Cottonwood Drive, with the East Bench rising behind them. (Richard McGuire Photo)
The Town of Osoyoos has developed a network of walking and cycling trails like this public walkway at Gyro Park. (Richard McGuire Photo)
As seen from Gyro Park in Osoyoos, a bridge connects a spit of land allowing Highway 3 to cross Osoyoos Lake. This separates the North and South Basins of the lake. At left is Hotel Row and the Holiday Inn. (Richard McGuire Photo)
In the summer, this beach at Gyro Park is packed with swimmers and sunbathers. On a sunny day in late November, it was a bit chilly for those activities and the beach was empty. (Richard McGuire Photo)

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.

A pathway connects Gyro Park with the bridge in Osoyoos. On the right is the Watermark Beach Resort, which looks out over Osoyoos Lake. (Richard McGuire Photo)

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.

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