The Most Underrated Hike in Kelowna, BC: Scenic Canyon Regional Park

Kelowna, BC is surrounded by mountains and lakes, so it’s no wonder there are so many amazing hiking trails to choose from. I recently wrote an article for Explore Magazine on Ten of the Best Hikes Near Kelowna, but there was one extra that I felt needed to be added to that list. If you’re like me, you love hiking the popular hot spots in different places around the world. However you probably also love a good, uncrowded, hidden gem. It’s so nice to go off the beaten path, so I’ve decided to share with you one of my favorite spots in my hometown. I truly believe that Scenic Canyon Regional Park is the most underrated hike in Kelowna, BC.

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Scenic Canyon Regional Park: A South East Kelowna Hidden Gem

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Scenic Canyon is way too beautiful. PS. If you haven’t read it yet please read the latest blog post by @twodustytravelers on the @hownottotravellikeabasicbitch blog about How to Do Medical Missions Ethically. It’s honestly the best post I’ve read about volunteering abroad in a while. PS hope you’re all having a great long weekend so far. 🌿✌🏽💚 📷 Kelowna 🇨🇦 2018 #justleavingfootprints #ethicaltravel #kelownatrails . . . . . . . . . #bcadventuregirls #wgcanada #explorebc #hellobc #pnw #pnwbabes #pnwkids #sceniccanyon #bcparks #klocreek #canon #teamcanon #canonrebel #canoneost6 #rebeleost6 #canonrebeleost6 #canoncanada #kelowna #kelownabc #kelownanow #kelownabuzz #kelownafornia #kelownalife #kelownalifestyle #dailyviewkelowna #kelownaview #kelownaviews

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There’s not nearly as much information on Scenic Canyon Regional Park as there is on Knox Mountain, for example. In fact, there’s not much information on Scenic Canyon as compared to most hikes in Kelowna.  This is largely due to the fact that Scenic Canyon is nestled up in South East Kelowna. Usually when I try to explain to friends and coworkers that I live in South East Kelowna, they say, “Where’s that?” Most of these friends are Kelowna locals or people who have lived in Kelowna for at least a few years, so that’s saying something.

South East Kelowna is a beautiful area about 15 to 20 minutes from Downtown Kelowna. It’s an eclectic mix of orchards, wineries, golf courses and insane views overlooking Kelowna and Okanagan Lake. There’s a few different hiking trails up in the South East Kelowna area, but my favorite, and the most underrated, is Scenic Canyon.

How to Get to Scenic Canyon

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Hiking is my favourite but today all I want to do is nap and eat Easter chocolates and other treats from Bulk Barn. 🍫 Happy Easter to all of you! He is risen. 💕 In other news there’s a new post on the blog about street art in Penticton, so check it out at the link in my bio! 🌲 ⛰ 📷 Kelowna 🇨🇦 2018 #justleavingfootprints #happyeaster #mtnchicks #travelblogger . . . . . . . . . . #sustainabletravel #sustainability #ecoconscious #savetheearth #savetheplanet #treehugger #ecotourism #ecofriendly #ecofriendlytravel #takeonlypictures #justtakepictures #traillover #traillovers #hikeordie #hikerlife #kelownabc #kelownanow #kelownaview #kelownabuzz #tourismkelowna #moodynature #natureart #naturephotography #naturegram #neature #neaturewalk

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There are two main entrances to Scenic Canyon Regional Park and one hidden entrance as well. One option is to take Hollywood Road South and access Scenic Canyon through the Mission Creek Greenway. The other option is to drive all the way up McCulloch Road and then head up Field Road until you reach the parking lot. The hidden entrance can be found way up McCulloch Road just before you get to a part of the road that makes a big bend to the right. There’s not much signage, but there’s a small white gate there nestled into a bunch of trees. Right before the gate is a wide, dirt, pull-over spot as well. If you drive through the white gate you will find a tiny parking lot hiding in the forest and a trailhead there as well.

It can be kind of confusing getting to Scenic Canyon for anyone not accustomed to winding country roads and it can be easy to get lost in the orchards as well. In this case Google Maps is your friend! It tends to be very accurate for this park and can help you access the trails with ease. When you type ‘Scenic Canyon Regional Park’ onto Google Maps, two options will pop up. One will say ‘Scenic Canyon Regional Park – Kelowna’ and the other will say ‘Scenic Canyon Regional Park – Field Road’. The one that says ‘Kelowna’ is the Hollywood Road South entrance. If you want to start at the hidden entrance then just take McCulloch until you see the black gate.

Why Scenic Canyon is the Most Underrated Hike in Kelowna: The Trails

I mentioned above that Scenic Canyon is mainly underrated because of it’s location. However, any old hiking trail could be a little out of the way and that wouldn’t necessarily mean that it was underrated. The main reason I think Scenic Canyon is so underrated is because of how beautiful the trails are.

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Golden (Layer Cake Mountain) Hour. 😍 ⛰ 🌞

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Forest surrounds the trails leading down and around the canyon. This forest  breaks apart at different points to offer incredible views of Layer Cake Mountain and Pinnacle Point. Cooling and shrinking volcanic rock formed these unique structures. There are actually so many unique rock formations to see throughout Scenic Canyon, you can never really get bored by them. Aside from these views there’s also a beautiful, gurgling, creek running through the park called KLO Creek. Not only can you enjoy a forest surrounded creek with mountainous views, you can also hike along clearings of small mountain ridges that drop off to reveal stunning valley views.

Cultural History of Scenic Canyon

Chinese laborers originally used Scenic Canyon as a base camp while building the Kettle Valley Railway through Myra Canyon. This railway was completed in 1914. At various points throughout Scenic Canyon you can find big, shallow, blackened caves carved into mountainsides. The laborers used these as rock ovens over 100 years ago.

One mystery of Scenic Canyon is the crushed red car at the end of one of the trails. It seems as though the car either fell, or was pushed, off the side of the cliff into the river. I have seen this car many times but haven’t been to this part of the trail in a while so I’m not sure if it’s still there. When I asked my dad about it, he told me that the first time he hiked Scenic Canyon was about 20 years ago, and the car was there then too.

Scenic Canyon’s Wildlife

There are plenty of birds in Scenic Canyon and you can sometimes see deer throughout the trails and forest as well. Scenic Canyon also experiences a bit of bear activity so be sure to read up on bear safety if you haven’t already done so. I have personally never seen a bear on the trails, but I grew up and still live extremely close to Scenic Canyon and we sometimes get bears even in our own backyard. It’s unlikely that you will see one since the surrounding area is constantly becoming more developed but just be prepared in case you do.

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Explored K.L.O. Creek the other day. This is me looking up into a cave that used to be home to some bears 🐻 PS. Like my shirt? It’s by @sand_cloud and is made 100% out of cotton. Ten percent of profits go to organizations helping to preserve marine life! You can get 25% off your order using code AprilVL25. They have towels and accessories too! 📷 Kelowna 🇨🇦 2018 @_artur4 #ad #justleavingfootprints #sandcloud #bearcave #savethefishies . . . . . . . . . #mtnchicks #womenwhohike #takemetothemoun tains #themountainsarecalling #mtnbabes #likeamountaingirl #bcadventuregirls #wgcanada #explorebc #hellobc #pnw #pnwbabes #pnwkids #westcoastbestcoast #kelownanow #kelownabc #kelownaliving #neverstopexploring #weexplored #wanderingtourist #explore #travel #roaminglovetravel #natgeotravel #lonelyplanet

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Beating the Crowds: Why Scenic Canyon is the Most Underrated Hike in Kelowna

South East Kelowna is really not that far away from Downtown. Yet because there are so many trails closer to Downtown, Scenic Canyon often gets overlooked. One thing I can guarantee is that Scenic Canyon is a quiet set of trails. It definitely gets a little busier in the summer, but still, most tourists will end up sticking to Knox Mountain. So if you’re a local who wants to try something different, or a traveler looking to find an off-the-beaten-path adventure, then Scenic Canyon is the Park for you!

PS. Always Leave the Trail Better than You Found It

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This was about two thirds of the trash we found today on an hour long hike. The reusable water bottle in my hand is made of plastic that has broken apart so now it’s useless and I’m not sure if the recycling centre will accept it. Most of the stuff we found was easily recyclable (soda and beer cans) but some was plastic. I didn’t bring this value village bag from home to collect trash, it was just lying on the ground and could easily have fallen into a nearby stream to be swept off to who knows where. THE WORST PART??? Some people had purposely placed the cans on top of tree branches around the area, literally ‘decorating’ the forest with litter. WTF?! Don’t be trashy people. Reduce and reuse….. then recycle. And if you pack it in, pack it the hell out! PS scroll to see my reallyyyyy unimpressed face because I kind of look like grumpy cat 😂 ♻️ 😭 ♻️ 📷 Kelowna 🇨🇦 2018 #justleavingfootprints #trashy #grumpycat . . . . . . . . . . . #neverstopexploring #explore #travel #roaminglovetravel #natgeotravel #lonelyplanet #canon #teamcanon #canonrebel #canoneost6 #rebeleost6 #canonrebeleost6 #canoncanada #kelowna #sceniccanyon #keepourtrailsclean #trailcleanup #dontbetrashy #take3forthesea #bcadventuregirls #wgcanada #explorebc #hellobc #pnw #pnwbabes #pnwkids #westcoastbestcoast

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Scenic Canyon Regional Park

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About The Author

April Thompson

April is the founder and main author for Just Leaving Footprints. She has written for numerous blogs and publications such as Explore Magazine and Snow Pak. April loves writing about sustainable tourism, and promoting other sustainable travelers on her Facebook Group and Instagram Community, Ladies Leaving Footprints. Currently, April is living and teaching English in Mexico City with her husband Arturo and they don’t plan on stopping their travels anytime soon.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Lily | 19th May 18

    Ugh Canada is SO beautiful! Gems around every corner, love this guide! Can’t wait to visit one day.

    • April Thompson | 22nd May 18

      It´s a truly amazing country for sure! I really do hope you get to go to Kelowna one day 🙂

  2. Christina | 20th May 18

    Wow this hike looks amazing! I’m from Vancouver and Kelowna was always one of those places that was too far to visit regularly, and too close for it to be a proper vacation possibility, but one summer I finally went and explored a bit and I loved it. I’ll be back in BC for a few weeks this summer so maybe I’ll have the chance to come again. Definitely saving this hike for the future! <3

    • April Thompson | 22nd May 18

      That´s awesome! And so true about the distance between Kelowna and Van haha. Luckily I have family in Vancouver (and it´s such a big and interesting city) that I´ve been there quite a bit but I know many Vancouverites have not spent much time in Kelowna. So often I think we take for granted the beautiful places we live so close to and dream of more distant places. Hopefully you get to visit Kelowna again during your summer trip 🙂

  3. Alice Miller | 30th Jun 18

    Thanks for sharing so much information. Ideas like these are so useful for a hiking freak like me! Looking forward to going for this hike real soon! 🙂

    • April Thompson | 8th Jul 18

      Hi Alice! Yay! I’m so happy you found this post useful! You’re going to have a blast exploring up there 🙂

  4. Jeffery Fernandez | 25th Aug 18

    This is a very beautiful Park with everything from easy paths to travel on, to the more difficult. The smell of the forrest is intoxicating. You can go right down to the river and put your feet in the water just off the path. I wanted to do one of the more difficult Pathways but it was closed to the pubic for safety reasons. (flooding) What I did get to see did not disappoint.

    • April Thompson | 28th Aug 18

      Hi Jeffery!

      I’m so glad you were able to enjoy the park despite the flooding! Hopefully you get to go back at some point too! Happy hiking 🙂

  5. Angel Kyle | 6th Sep 18

    Canada is a beautiful place. You have posted some great photos. I will visit someday in Canada. Thanks for your article.

    • April Thompson | 18th Sep 18

      Thanks so much Angel! I hope your future trip to Canada goes well! Let me know if you have any questions about traveling to British Columbia in particular as that’s where I’m from 🙂

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