Okanagan Road Trip – Who could say no to riding in the sun! Crawford and Smith Creek

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.

The Trailmapps South Okanagan app (Android and Apple) also covers the Kelowna area. The local trail association – Mountain Bikers of the Central Okanagan (MTBCo) (website here) and of course Trailforks (Crawford and Smith Creek). We also visited a local bike shop (Freedom) who were very helpful. Thanks to them!

Crawford/Myra and Smith Creek

Myra-Bellevue is one of the few Provincial Parks that allow mountain biking. These trails are currently managed by the Friends of the South Slope Society . People have been riding these trails for many years. In 2003 the area was devastated by a fire but has since made a remarkable recovery. Hosting upwards of 87 trails this area offers a wide variety of experiences.

Road access is described to the Crawford/Myra Canyon is also helpfully described via the MTBCo website . Whether you want to shuttle up one of the two roads that access the Kettle Valley Railway – June Springs Rd, which becomes Little White FSR, or Myra Forest Service Rd. Both are accessed of McCulloch Rd from Kelowna.

We did two shuttles this day, one up Myra FSR, which allowed us to ride the along the rebuilt trestles of the KVR and down the Myra Bailout -> Angel Springs -> KLO Canyon. Then we drove up June Springs road, again along the KVR and down the classic Crawford DH -> Lookout -> Hillbilly -> Race Classic -> Surf and Turf and back into town. The roads are in good shape and 4wd is not necessary. You will probably see lots of traffic on the KVR trestles so govern your speed accordingly and be nice to all users (that need not be said but …)

The Crawford Trails – Kelowna May 2015 from Lee Lau on Vimeo.

Large parking area at the top of the Myra FSR

BC Parks Kiosk with lots of signage

One of the rebuilt trestles.. Photo by Rich Vigurs

Intersection with signs. We started on the Myra Bailout which many use to climb to the KVR. Continuing down the Myra Bailout will take you to the main Crawford network

KLO Canyon has you crossing KLO creek a few times.

The KLO Canyon trails wind in and out of the creek

We then drove up June Springs road, rode 4km along the KVR and down to the CrawfordDH. BC Parks Map of the area.

Crawford DH

Checking out the Canyon – Photo by Johnny Smoke

Long way down! Photo by Rich Vigurs

Crawford trails! Photo by Rich Vigurs

Crawford Burn. The forest has come back so fast from the 2003 fire. You can still see flame retardant on the trees

This network is pretty well signed

FAST and loose trails!

We dropped into the Bellevue Canyon area and the very technical Surf and Turf trail. The rockwork is to be admired- photo by Johnny Smoke

Myra Bailout to KLO Canyon


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Crawford Shuttle


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Smith Creek

What? You haven’t ridden Smith Creek yet???? That’s the usual reaction we had when we confessed to our ignorance.

Trail access is described here via the MTBCo website.

From Hwy 97 turn north up Elliot rd to Smith Cr Rd on your right. Park on the left of the road where you see a trail exiting on the right, or continue up to a larger parking lot in the Pine trees.

A small area with only 7 trails it packs a punch. The 8km climb – The Gruel – takes you to 560m elevation. There are many options to descend from the climb or ride all the way to the top. Soul Train starts at the top of The Gruel and continues onto Feel the Love, where you can take an optional loop More Cowbell. Santa’s Revenge is a Black Diamond trail containing more advanced features. Feel the Love and More Cowbell have nice moderate level jumps, berms and features to keep most riders entertained. While it’s geared towards pedally bikes there are tons of options here for cheap air (aka clangers – you’ll understand why when you hear your bike land). Trails are fast, buff, narrow and a blast with awesome sightlines.

Smith Creek – Westbank May 2015 from Lee Lau on Vimeo.

Smith Creek Parking

The Gruel crosses the descent a few times

Wood carvings on the climb

More carvings

It’s sometimes said that Westbank is where Surrey goes to vacation. Appropriately here is an abandoned Ford Falcon feature incorporated in the climb

Top of the climb

Nice sized clanger jumps on the way down


And other features


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