Municipal and regional parks may be closed due to COVID-19 pandemic precautions, but there are still urban opportunities for residents to go outdoors and get some exercise using local trails, which remain open to the public as long as users observe social distancing rules.
There are literally hundreds of trail options available in Kamloops and each of the three major Okanagan cities. Below are some of the most popular and accessible trails in and around Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon and Kamloops.
These trails were selected for their ease of use, accessibility and family-friendliness features.
Penticton-based trail builder, user and mapper Andrew Drouin says his top three family-class trails in the Penticton area include Campbell Mountain 'city side trail' the G-Spot Trail and the Mahoney -White Lake Loop.
He provides a comprehensive list of South Okanagan trails in his Sweet Single Track guide.
Penticton parks supervisor Todd Whyte says most of the city’s trails remain open, with signage posted to remind users to practise social distancing.
He says good bets for an easily accessible trail walk in Penticton include the KVR trail, which runs through the city, the Okanagan Lake promenade from Okanagan Lake Park to the SS Sicamous, and the Skaha Lake Park trail which he says is popular, “although it’s a shorter trail.”
In Kelowna, parks manager Blair Stewart recommends the city’s Waterfront Walkway, starting at the bridge and ending downtown.
He also notes regionally operated trails like the KVR and the Mission Creek Greenway are popular, with easy access and fairly wide pathways.
“Most recreation facilities are closed but if people can maintain and be aware of social distancing, there’s no reason why they can’t use trails. There are lots of other trails throughout the city that can be viewed online, but there isn’t much detail regarding things like elevation changes,” Stewart says.
Vernon’s parks and public spaces maintenance manager Kendra Kryszak says the Ribbons of Green website provides great information on each trail in the area, which includes the City of Vernon, the Regional District of North Okanagan, Coldstream and provincial trails.
Ribbons of Green Trail Society Harold Sellers recommends the Grey Canal Trail, Middleton Mountain loop trail and the Longacre trail (a city trail in the Okanagan Landing area) as three popular trails that remain open at this time.
In Kamloops, city communications officer Wendy Heshka says all the city’s trails remain open with trail information available on the city’s website at kamloops.ca.
“We’ve got social distance signage on all our parks and trails, and the only thing we’ve closed is our facilities and play structures,” Heshka says.
She says the Kenna Cartwright Nature Park and Rivers trail are the most popular and easily accessed city trails for those interested in a quick afternoon stroll.
Residents can also check out the Hike Kamloops website for more local trail maps and information.
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