Oh sun-filled, stunning, and variant Okanagan! One minute you can find yourself amongst a meadow of tall, golden grass and the next you can be in the midst of a lush, green forest. How lucky we are to call this place home. I find that one of the most favourable ways to embrace our backyard is to explore the scenery that it has to offer. Along the paths less travelled, nature's back roads. Kelowna and area has some of the most remarkable hiking trails that will please any, dare I say, all nature lovers’ fancies. I have begun to venture out in search of some of the best hikes there is to offer in the area, and along the way, write about them to share with my readers.
Today I was drawn back to one of my favorite hiking spots, Rose Valley located in West Kelowna. This is one that I have hiked enough times that I never would have thought to find a new trail. Today though, I was pleasantly surprised.
My best pal Sitka (my 2 year old border collie) and I, drove up to the oh-so-familiar dirt pit where we always park and stepped out into the dry Okanagan heat. It was one of those days where the weather could have gone either way, as we have been experiencing a less than normal, yet refreshing spring season. We embarked down the same path we always walk, noting how thick with green it is for this time of year. Skeleton trees from past fires stick out from the carpet of new grass and flowers are still in bloom all through the fields. 2 minutes into the walk and I remember why I love this hike so much. Yet today I decided to not take our usual hike down the slope, which I have dubbed the Candy Killer, but to veer to the right up to the look-out. Now usually this hike is the easiest of the area, with steady inclines and only taking about 15 minutes to take the trail to the top of the peak. There you have a panoramic view from Peachland to Fintry, and on any day it is always just as lovely to see our city from above. However, I opted to take a road that is off to the right just before the first peak which, at first glance, looked well travelled. This not being the case my friends. I followed it until it came to a dead end that unfortunately is only about half way up the hill, so onward we went. My trusty side-kick finding the easiest path to take as I followed. Multi coloured rocks with pink and purple flowers peeking through, look to have been tossed across the hillside. Trees reaching away from the ground holding them hostage offer a quick moment of shade to cool our systems. I take in the serene view of the valley and the lake peeking behind. I think of how refreshing a dip in the lake would feel, but right now I need to reach the top. After a few slips on shale rock and some minor rock climbing, I came to the pinnacle of this little hill. Another outstanding view! I could see a 360 of Rose Valley, Peachland, West Kelowna, Kelowna, Winfield and Fintry! Isn’t it just the best feeling to be at complete peace atop the world, especially after prevailing at a new trail? Nature surrounding you and the only sounds you hear is mother natures’ songs. I wandered around the hills crown, noticing it was considerably drier so fewer flowers remained. However, the trees in the area always have the most interesting geometry to them, winding and twisting as if to try and follow the sun through the clouds on an overcast day. I found traces of deer droppings sprinkled all over the mountain apex, I imagine they would make this hike look like a walk up the stairs.
Rose Valley is a very versatile area for anyone looking for a prime hike. You can spend less than 40 minutes in the area or up to around 3 hours, depending on what you are hankering for. Once you have descended down the Candy Killer slope there is a path you can follow that takes you around to the other side of Rose Valley Lake and to where the cliffs paths begin, which is another hike that I will tell you all about in another column. One of the best things about this hiking area is that you can take the entire family, just remember to be prepared. Good hiking shoes, sunscreen, bug repellant, healthy snacks, lots of water and being aware of what creatures call the area home. Also, remember to dress for the weather, you can swim in the lake as well so just keep in mind what you are comfortable hiking in and what will be beneficial to make your experience the best.
Sitka and I will be back next week with another hike to ignite the passionate hiker in all of you, so stay tuned readers!
Map of the Rose Valley hike