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Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park
Upon arrival at Myra-Bellevue we had a decision to make, pull into the first park entrance (West) or deal with the dirt road for a few more kilometers to access the second entrance (East). We opted for the East entrance, only because I vaguely recalled a recommendation in my pre-trip research. This worked well as there are numerous wooden trestles immediately upon entering the trail from this end. The East parking lot is also quite large, making it the best bet for peak-season summer visitors. In the end either entrance will get you into the park, so it’s not something to really worry about too much. Don’t panic if you see the entrance signs and don’t know what to do, either option will get you to your goal. With numerous trestles, tunnels, and some incredible views of Kelowna and the surrounding hillside, the park is incredibly scenic and there is always something to grab your attention. For me, the dry, desert sections of the trail felt like I was pedaling through the Wild West, and the wooden trestles only elevated this sensation. In August 2003, lightning sparked a fire in the nearby mountainside. The fire grew rapidly in strength and size and engulfed many portions of the Kettle Valley Railway between Penticton and McCulloch Lake. When the fire was extinguished over a month later, 12 of the 18 trestles within Myra Canyon were lost, as well as countless homes in the area. The B.C provincial government announced that it would rebuild the damaged and destroyed trestles and bridges, a process that took the better part of a year and saw additional safety improvements undertaken as well. The trestles have since been completed and the trail is fully open to the public. Despite the reconstruction evidence of the fire is still visible, with many badly charred trees still standing, slowly being overtaken by new growth along the forest floor.
From downtown Kelowna, the Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park is a short 25 minute drive up into the surrounding hillside through rolling vineyards and past several amazing lookout points. The road is partially paved, while the last eight kilometers are grated dirt road and quite rugged. As such, a vehicle with a higher clearance is recommended (our SUV worked well). Although we did see many cars make the trip, slower driving is a must to ensure you don’t bottom out on some of the bigger potholes. As for signage, the road is clearly marked with blue signs directing visitors to the Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park and making navigation simple.
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