Penticton Cycling Rocks
Nestled in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley and hemmed north and south by two lakes, Penticton is renowned for its award-winning vintages, bountiful orchards, summer heat, beaches and family-friendly vibes, along with fabulous cycling adventures.
o help guests make the most of their time in the area, the tourism boards for Penticton and nearby communities Naramata and Summerland have launched a “Chain of Events” program with numerous activity suggestions, including an entire branch dedicated to cycling, with route ideas, upcoming events, tour companies, rental shops, equipment providers, accommodations, maps and other resources.
The community’s exceptional and varied cycling opportunities are quickly making their way up the list of Penticton’s top attractions. Beautiful winding roads flanked by vineyards, easy-pedaling rail trails with sweeping lake vistas and a multitude of Ponderosa-pine-lined singletracks populate the region, if you know where to look.
And they’re getting much easier to find, thanks to the efforts of organizations such as PACA (Penticton Area Cycling Association), which has helped maintain, build, sign and advocate for the trails and created a great trail database with updated conditions on its website via the TrailForks app.
Map kiosks at trailheads and clear signage and maps direct riders throughout the labyrinth of the often mind-bending network of the Three Blind Mice area, which boasts more than 150 kilometres of trails that can be conveniently accessed from town via a short pedal along the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) trail. The vibrant local cycling community also hosts local races, events and trail days, and recently opened a permanent pump track thanks to nearly $40,000 worth of community fundraising.
The KVR is a bike-friendly recreational rail trail on the bed of the historic Kettle Valley Railway, which snakes along the Okanagan Valley and takes users through tunnels and over trestle bridges, the highest of which is not for the faint of heart, looming a dizzying 55 metres above the canyon floor. The bridge
is a feature of the most spectacular portion of the KVR, starting near the neighbouring city of Kelowna and spanning 80 kilometres to Penticton. It takes riders from the dramatic Myra Canyon across 16 trestles to Penticton. The rail trail never exceeds a grade of 2.2% and features a wide, relatively smooth gravel surface, making it an ideal recreational corridor. Contact Okanagan Trestle Tours for day trips and insider knowledge.
For years, Penticton has been a hotbed for triathletes, due to the iconic IRONMAN Canada event that the city of approximately 32,000 hosted for more than three decades before making the switch to the Challenge-branded event in 2013 and, most recently, Super League in 2018. In 2017, Penticton welcomed the ITU Multisport World Championships. The area’s terrain and dry climate routinely attract riders and teams from across Canada for early-season training camps.
The community has a strong history of welcoming cyclists of all disciplines, with BC Cup XC and DH races on Campbell Mountain in the 1990s and, in recent years, stops in the BC Enduro Series and the TransBC Enduro. Other popular Penticton cycling events include the Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan (July 8), which offers four different distances and is named after the former ProTour racer from Belgium, who retired to the Okanagan Valley. Okanagan Trestles Tour offers a guided ride of the KVR’s most scenic spots (July 1), while the Test of Humanity (Sept. 16) in neighbouring Summerland is a mountain-biking fundraiser for Canadian Humanitarian that sees competitors strive to complete as many laps of the fast and swoopy 10.2-kilometre track as possible within a four-hour span.
For cycling enthusiasts who want more than just sweet trails and beautiful roads, the town is quickly gaining a colourful foodie and craft-brewery scene, cruising on the coat-tails of its wine tourism. Don’t miss Bad Tattoo Brewing’s Los Muertos dark lager and gourmet pizzas, Cannery Brewing’s malty smooth-drinking Naramata Nut Brown, or for something completely different, try Tin Whistle Brewing’s award-winning Pinot Noir Raspberry Blond Ale. For coffee lovers, The Bench Market pulls an excellent shot, while its cafe and deli also feature delicious baked goods and sandwiches, of which the BC3 is not to be missed. Many of the wineries offer outstanding bites in addition to worldclass wine tasting.
Penticton in the Okanagan Valley ffeatures such amazing cycling options as the historic Kettle Valley Railway features such amazing cyclingoptions asthe Okanagan Trestles Tour.
You’ll also find fabulous MTB trails plus events such as the BC CupXC/DH and TransBC Enduro and Singletrack 6 stage races.