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TUESDAY, APRIL 13, 2010

Myra Canyon (Kettle Valley Railway) near Kelowna, British Columbia

Railways have always been an important element in the history of British Columbia - its expansion in the early 1900s is owed directly to the line which connected the east coast to the west. In the Okanagan region, visitors can explore the Kettle Valley Railway which made its way through this mountainous area producing some of the most amazing feats of early engineering. The Myra Canyon KVR section which was converted into cycling and hiking trails after the railway was decommissioned and rises above the valleys, forests, and waterways offering spectacular views. Today, people can explore 12 kilometres of railway, two tunnels and eighteen magnificent trestles along the Myra Canyon.

Kettle Valley Railway Trestle along the Myra Canyon near Kelowna.Railroads were an integral part to British Columbia and its expansion in the late 1800s bringing thousands of immigrants to its untamed wilderness. Today, many railways have fallen to disuse as fewer are needed with roads and other forms of transportation making it easier to ship items and travel. Some of these historic railways have been converted into stunning tourist attractions such as parts of the Kettle Valley Railway which offers a twenty-four kilometre round trip cycling and hiking trail near Kelowna (map).

Kettle Valley Railway Trestle and view toward Okanagan Lake near Kelowna.Myra Canyon is one of the most beautiful stretches of abandoned railway in British Columbia with stunning views, two tunnels and eighteen trestles built between 1912 and 1914. Known as "McCulloch's Wonder" in reference to Kettle Valley Railway Chief Engineer Andrew McCulloch, the railway and its trestles were constructed along the rim of the canyon high above the forests, creeks and lakes below. In 2003, disaster struck when a devastating fire destroyed or damaged almost all the trestles, however with hard work and funding the trestles were rebuilt and the trail - Rebuilt Trestle
going across the Myra Canyon (part of the Kettle Valley Railway) after
the 2003 Fire destroyed and damaged almost all of them.now designated a national historic site - was reopened in 2008.

It's hard not to appreciate the beauty of the region with the remnants of the burnt trees still visible throughout the canyon, the dry climate and the views toward Okanagan Lake (look out for Ogopogo, a lake monster that is reported to live in the lake - not unlike the Lockness Monster in Scotland!). This day trip in the Okanagan region not far from the city of Kelowna can be done by foot or by bicycle. There are several trails above the railway tracks as well as further along on the Kettle Valley Railway where it has been converted into gravel pathways after the tracks were removed when the railway was closed.

Spend a few days or more to explore this fantastic locale and take a trip up to the Myra Canyon and cycle or hike these famed trestles, through its tunnels and enjoy a leisurely day above the lakes, creeks, forests, orchards and farmlands of the beautiful southern British Columbia Okanagan region.






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