Okanagan Road Trip – Who could say no to riding in the sun! Campbell and Three Blind Mice

On a warm and sunny May 2015 we (Rich, Sharon and Lee) road-tripped to British Columbia’s Okanagan region to ride in Penticton and Kelowna and to hang with Johnny Smoke of Bush Pilot Biking to do some research on MTB Trails’ next project. The Locals Guide to Okanagan Rides will hopefully complement MTB Trails’ other guides for the North Shore and the Fraser Valley and will provide a selection of what to ride in the Okanagan. There are a ton of trail systems in this area; the goal is to focus on rides that will give you a good flavour for each region, and/or trails that will best showcase the many areas in the Okanagan.

On Day 1 we rode Campbell Mountain and the Three Blind Mice networks. Both are less then 15 minutes out of Penticton. Campbell Mountain is easy to navigate and a good destination for a half day ride; perfect for those with more time constraints. Three Blind Mice has over a hundred trails and is a navigating challenge. The first time you ride there you will get lost; or not really know exactly where you are… but that’s ok! A word on trail difficulty; the areas’ trails referred to as blue are of a more mellow grade and generally bi-directional. Any black trail will be a fun rip and more downhill-oriented. In this road-trip we researched a short and medium length XC ride, as well as some shuttles.

There are other navigational tools for these areas that we used including the Trailmapps South Okanagan app (Android and Apple), the very active Penticton and Area Cycling Association (PACA) trail association (website here) and of course Trailforks (Campbell Mountain and Three Blind Mice). We also visited a local bike shop (Freedom) who were very helpful. Thanks to them!

Campbell Mountain – Three Blind Mice – May 2015 from Lee Lau on Vimeo.

Campbell Mountain

Only 6km from Penticton and having 34 named trails it’s a popular destination for locals. Most of the trails are on the west side undulating through the pines. The Campbell Mountain loop takes you to the east side which is less treed and traverses through a cool gulley back to the main network. Previously hosting DH and Slopestyle events means that there is a legacy of fast trails here.

One example we rode is the Red to Gate Classic which gets you from Morgenstern’s Gate to the North Parking access and onto the Suffer’n to DQ climb. This climb is a nice switchback trail to the DQ Table. From here you can continue climbing up Suffer’n Switchbacks to the summit to ride the Campbell DH, the more flowy She Goes Down or Blue Flamingo. Once back on Suffer’n to DQ you can continue back and ride the Campbell Classic Loop to hook back into the Campbell DH and back to your car.  This is a classic pedally mellow trailride that showcases buff, fast, flowy singletrack climbs and descents.

Smokes Huckwagon!

Nice climb up Suffer’n to DQ

The Balsam Flowers are out!

Some directions do exist


Gratuitous stunt on Whoops!

Smoke on another gratuitous stunt

Whipping down Whoops!

Canyon trail – cool!

Rich on the Canyon Trail

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Three Blind Mice

What happens when three blind mice run around a mountain side creating trails twisting through the Pondorosa pine, rocky bluffs and grassland. You apparently end up wiith over 100 trails in a confusing maze! You will need to spend a few days here to dial this area in! Kudos to PACA which just recently got the good news that some of these trails just got official sanctioning!

Our first lap involved a climb more than halfway to the top. Our second lap was expedited by Rich blowing up on the previous lap and giving us a drive to the top (total elevation of approximately 800m elevation). The complexity of the trails can be best described by Lee counting 64 separate intersections on the climb to the highpoint of the first lap. It’s simply impractical to describe every possible junction or trailname so all one can do is explore and enjoy the feeling of being a bit lost.

Lower parking at Poplar Grove Rd, ride up the KVR to Riddle Rd, where another parking area is located, and then to Perly Gates.

Direction signs, old (wooden ones with arrows) and new ( round ones)

Rich climbing up

Rich rippin’ on the grassy singletrack

Some trails are marked with these yellow signs, but you need to pay attention!

Older wooden signs are mixed with newer signs, the wooden signs point in the direction you should ride, NOTE we went the wrong way at the Fred sign!

Pondorosa Trail

Great views from Three Blind Mice

More views on the descents

Slabs and/or Ponderosa DH descent

Seems that all the trails exit on Tsweet Tsue!

XC Ride Data

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Shuttle from Reservoir on the second lap

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