Riding Trails In Penticton And Summerland B.C.
Finally! A new post. It has been a while since I have had some time to sit at my desk and write about mountain biking. I got back from a week and a half long trip to the interior of B.C., specifically the Summerland and Penticton area. The trails I rode there are not the forested, soft dirt trails of the west coast, but they had their own charm and fun to them.
I had the chance to bring my bike out on our family camping trip. I am pretty happy I did get to bring it. Since I started riding mid way through the season, it seems like the end of the season is coming up fast. I need to get as much time on my bike as I can!
The trails out in the Okanagan are overall pretty fun. Just like anywhere though, there are good ones, and there are not so good ones. I was fortunate to find mostly good ones on my trip. TrailForks.com has been a pretty great source of information about trails to ride on. I suggest you go check it out.
The trails in the Okanagan definitely don’t lack for views. Almost every section of trail looks out over a beautiful valley, or has a lake view. It was pretty amazing to have such great scenery to look at off the trail.
One of the problems I did have with the trails, especially at this time of the year, is how dry, dusty, gravelly and brown everything else was. The region is going through a very prolonged period of little to no moisture, and everything is suffering. Other than the trees, there was not much green to be seen.
Maybe in the spring it is better, but when I was there the riding was not as great as I was hoping. The first trail system I visited was the Campbell Mountain trails. After reading the notes and reviews on Trail Forks I was excited to check out this area.
I got my gear on, hopped on the bike and started riding. The first thing I noticed here was the trail was covered in gravel. It was everywhere. As most people who ride a bike know, gravel can be extremely dangerous. In fact, on my last ride I crashed because I hit a patch of gravel. I was still a little hesitant about riding on it, but I stuck it out.
One of the other things I noticed about these trails is that everything is on a slant. It felt like I was constantly being pulled down the hill. Most of the places that I have ridden so far have not felt this way, even when I am going up the side of a hill. It was a very disconcerting feeling. It was that feeling that eventually made up my mind to head back to the car and head to a new spot. I had only been riding for less than an hour, so I was a little disappointed I did not like the trails here.
I hopped back on Trail Forks to look for another spot to ride close by. Luckily there were a few choices. I decided to head back closer to where I was camping, and went to Conkle Mountain just outside Summerland B.C. This trail system links up with the Kettle Valley Rail Trail which is a long gravel trail that connects many places in the Okanagan valley.
Again I was blown away by the amazing views. I barely had to ride away from my car, and I was treated with great views of the surrounding mountains and valley. The trail system at Conkle was a much more gradual climb, with long flowing descents on the way down. I had a much better time riding here than I did at Campbell Mountain.
After riding up the Kettle Valley Rail trail for a bit I decided to hop off on to the singletrack trails that cut in to the main trail. The trails here were dry, but nowhere near as gravel covered. It was a much better riding experience. I enjoyed the climb up to the top, and was rewarded with many great vistas.
After climbing for about 30 minutes I had reached a small summit and decided to head back down. I had been gone for a while now, it was hot, and I wanted to be able to focus on my ride down. I turned my bike around and pointed it down hill. Lately I had been noticing that my rides down the hill had been very jarring and hard on my hand and wrists. Just before I left for this trip I had made a big adjustment to my suspension fork. It was now much better at soaking up bumps on the trail. I am really glad I made that change.
The ride down was really fun, and part of me wanted to climb back up and do it again. But I was really tired now and needed to start getting back to my family, who were waiting for me at the beach. I cruised down to the car and packed up my gear.
Overall the first day of riding in Summerland and Penticton had been pretty great. There were fantastic views, and some good trails in the end. I was looking forward to getting out and seeing more trails in a few days, but first it was time for a cold beer, some lunch, and then a trip to the beach. Stay tuned for the upcoming day two ride write up coming soon.