FOR THE MORNING STAR
Vernon’s outdoor recreation scene is ruled by a triumvirate of Provincial Parks: Kekuli, Kalamalka and Ellison. While Kekuli has camping and Kalamalka has fine beaches, plus an unparalleled selection of trails, it is Ellison that literally has it all: beaches, camping and a variety of fine trails and connections.
Ellison Provincial Park is only 15 kilometres west of downtown Vernon. Bisected by Eastside Road, the lakeside of Ellison features an excellent campground and great beaches. The other side of the road hosts an extensive trail network favoured throughout the year by hikers, trail runners and mountain bike enthusiasts.
What makes Ellison’s trails so unique is their location tucked away on the north slope where trees grow remarkably well and provide a shady respite for the summer visitor. In the winter the trails are the last to be covered in snow and the trees protect hikers, snowshoers and fat-tire cyclists from the wind.
On a summer weekend morning, the parking lot is often near capacity but mostly there is room to park in the designated area and start out on the trail. Ellison has the standard provincial park signage and pit toilet in the parking lot. Excellent signage at the trail crossings ensures users can always figure out where they are. From the parking lot, trails switchback up the slope on the left and the right making it easy to plan a circle route in either direction.
Part of Ellison’s charm is its connectivity to the trails of Predator Ridge and Sparkling Hills resorts. There are countless ways to explore the interconnected trail systems. A favourite, and recommended, way to visit the Predator Ridge property is to ride, run or hike up Ridge Trail and return via the more difficult Ellison Trail, or even more difficult Granite Trail.
Explore Ellison Provincial Park online using the free interactive trail map on the Ribbons of Green website www.ribbonsofgreen.ca.