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Okanagan Rail Trail popular among winter enthusiasts

Cyclists, cross-country skiers, snowshoers, walkers all enjoying trail to improve COVID lethargy
Fat-tired cyclists, cross-country skiers, snowshoers and just regular walkers continue to enjoy the views and space provided in winter on the Okanagan Rail Trail. (Ribbons of Green Trails Society photo)


Ribbons of Green Trails Society director

With several weeks of winter still ahead of us, you can see lots of people walking on trails around the city, getting that fresh air and exercise they need for their mental health. And more walking time for their fortunate dogs.

Most walkers can find a route close enough to their homes, or within a short drive, that gets them off the roads which can be too close to traffic and often icy. Great walks are available at many points along the Grey Canal, up Middleton Mountain, or in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park. Walkways along Kalamalka Road and 25th Avenue are kept plowed.

The favourite of all is the Okanagan Rail Trail path heading south from Coldstream.

My wife and I walk this regularly and usually see about 50 people along the way even during the worst of weather. Good parking is available south of the Alpine Centre, at Kal Beach, or on Westkal Road across from the Kalamalka Country Club.

You can walk for as long or as short as you want. The path is broad and everyone along the way has a cheerful greeting while keeping a respectful distance. The flat wide path means family-friendly. With the lake on one side and cliffs on the other, the views are great.

What about conditions underfoot? After a melt and then a freeze, the trail can get icy. On those days boot cleats or walking poles can help. Or, days after a snowfall can be marvellous with soft or crunchy footing. On those days you may even see a fat-tired bicyclist, a snowshoer, or a cross-country skier along the way.

We are fortunate that the Okanagan Rail Trail is a four-season pathway, popular and lovely in all weather.

Give it a try this winter, and feel that COVID lethargy disappear.

READ MORE: Okanagan Rail Trail fan hopes to walk trail at age 100

READ MORE: Vernon trails society celebrates 20 years

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