The bucket list bike ride down Kettle Valley Railway trail
My sister and brother-in-law Wendy and Wes live in Hope, BC, Canada, approx 45 minutes from me. I’ve written about Hope HERE many times. I adore the area. It is SO forest-Canadian like.
With all my adventures there, from camping in THIS cool bed and breakfast, to walking up to Flood Falls, to antiquing near and seeing the Alexandria Bridge, there has been one thing on my bucket list that I had not yet done.
And that is bike riding ALL the way down the Kettle Valley Railway Trail just beyond the Othello Tunnels.
About the Othello Tunnels
It’s basically a series of train tunnels blasted through the mountain, which has now turned into a walking trail. The Kettle Valley Railway Trail extends beyond the tunnels taking you through a lovely gradual forest run all the way down to the main part of town below.
This is a must-stop if you are ever in this area.
Along the tunnels are incredible ravine sightings over the river. It’s astonishingly beautiful and where First Blood was filmed.
I’ve done a little bit of trail riding beyond the tunnels before, but never all the way down. Reason being, I’ve always gone on my own, and had absolutely no desire to bike down the mountain, only having to bike or walk all the way back up!
When I planned to visit Wendy and Wes, Wendy said they would join me on the trail beyond the tunnels.
Wait… what? You mean to say I’d finally do that long gorgeous forest trail all the way down for the first time in HOW many years?! EEEEK! That day didn’t come soon enough!
You have no idea what this meant to me…
And Wes had never been through the tunnels, so this was all too perfect for all!
So, I packed a duffle bag and my bike, and head to Hope for a night and one epic bike ride.
First stop, pick up by biking buddies and all those beautiful bikes!
Doesn’t my truck look so athletic-minded? Here Wes is unloading the bikes at the Othello Tunnels parking lot up on top.
Where we parked
One vehicle was parked down below at the Kettle Valley Railway Trail parking lot, then I brought all the bikes up top to the Othello Tunnels parking lot.
The plan was to bike down to the lower parking lot, then drive back up with the bikes to get my truck.
No uphill pedalling this round! This worked so slick.
With bike baskets packed with a delicious homemade lunch and water, off we went!
Riding through the Othello Tunnels
The tunnels were first, and are positively absolutely stunning. That in itself is worth the stop.
I didn’t take new pictures of of the Othello Tunnels because I have so many from THIS post.
However, we did walk our bikes through the tunnels. They are really dark and even with a flashlight, it’s easy to become disoriented. Plus, you don’t want to run into anyone either.
Right after the tunnels is when the bucket list bike ride started…
The Kettle Valley Railway Trail
The Kettle Valley Rail Way Trail starts right after the Othello Tunnels, and is a very gentle downward grade until you reach the bottom of the mountain. You really aren’t required to pedal much at all, yet you don’t have to brake hard either. It’s just a lovely meander all the way down.
Riding the top was the smoothest, and while it did get a little rockier down below, it was still pretty smooth sailing.
This is a very easy trail to bike, but I would caution that if small children take it, be very cautious about not having them on the mountain ravine side of the trail. There is no protection on the cliff side in many areas and losing control could prove fatal.
But for us, it was the perfect bike ride!
Many areas of the trail cut into the forest. So stunning!
And then it wove into incredible views overlooking the river and valley below.
The entire trail is in sun and shade, so you get a little of both which made it a very comfortable ride on this hotter day.
We coasted down hill until we found the perfect spot for lunch. Sitting on the rocks overlooking a ravine, Wendy brought homemade salads and I brought some deli goodies. It was perfection!
Then all too soon, we reached the parking lot down below. My best guess is that it was about a 20 minute coast down if we hadn’t stopped.
We were about to load the bikes into the back of their truck when I had the brainstorm to continue a little further towards Thacker Regional Park. I knew the trail continued through a park. I just wasn’t sure if it was completed yet as they were working on it last time I attempted.
The Kettle Valley Railway trail continues past Kawkawa Road, through a residential area then reaches an astonishingly gorgeous park trail. Yet again, all down hill.
Thacker Regional Park in Hope, BC
Aren’t we so adventurous?!
The Thacker Regional Park extension actually was completed and it was absolutely stunning! Trails curved through forest, along the wetlands, with a few bridges to cross as well.
So we rode all the way through until we hit the main road. Then we had the choice to continue downhill a little further, but by that time we were about done.
We decided to double back the way we came to get back to the parking lot.
Isn’t this gorgeous?!
And then, drama.
Then… drama set in. Every good story has drama, right?
After the park, the grade of the road going back felt… well, a lot more steep! How did that happen?! I do believe we were juuuuust a little tired….
And then the wind kicked in once on the road, making it nearly impossible to go back effortlessly. Oh goodness… we had a ways to go for that truck!
So I had Wendy and Wes sit at the park entrance while I rolled up my sleeves and fetched that truck up that big’ ol hill myself! By golly, I was gonna SAVE us!
As I biked uphill against the wind, I kept telling myself, “Save… save…. save us… I have to save us….” Uphill, hot day, water was long gone by then… push… save…
Luckily my bike legs did their job and I made it!
Approaching the parked truck, I wondered how I’d get my bike in the back of the truck myself. My bike is heavy, and their truck was high. (and I was super tired..)
That’s when another biker coasted out of the trail entrance, in which I absolutely could have flagged them down requesting help.
But did I? No. ?!?!?!!?
I don’t even completely know why. I guess I subconsciously wanted the challenge… who am I and where did I put my lazy ‘ol self anyway? I guess I felt empowered at that point since I made it to the truck and felt myself invincible.
Once I did get to the truck, I turned back, wishing the biker was nearby. WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?!
A clever ramp idea so you can load your bike
So I opened up the back of the tailgate and climbed in to scope things out. And that’s when I noticed a few boards in the back.
Not even a week ago, I ran into an issue with my lawnmower. I complained to my brother that I couldn’t get my lawnmower fixed because I couldn’t load the silly thing in the back of my truck until a neighbour got home to help me.
Smart Les simply stated, “Do you have any boards? Make a ramp.”
By the way, the ramp worked. Amazingly even. I’ve yet to tell you this this little empowerment story. But I will!
One skinny board later, I had a ramp. The board was awfully narrow, but I grit my teeth, and with every last ounce of energy I had left, I RAN that bike up that board anyway! And made it in one fell swoop!
I know the truck doesn’t look all that tall, but trust me… I was tired enough to not be able to lift the bike without that ramp. What a WIN!!!
Once I picked up Wes and Wendy, I told them about the board. I mean, what are the chances the perfect board would happen to be in the back? And what are the chances my brother just taught me this trick? I would never have thought to do this.
Boards are ramps. If that’s the only thing you get out of this post, you’ve won!
And just for fun, click above for an account of how the day went in this short video taken with my phone.
The bucket list bike ride down Kettle Valley Railway trail was indeed a miracle kinda day, and I quite honestly cannot wait to do it all over again!
But we’ll park down below at the park this time. Count on that…