I get the feeling I’m looking at an expertly painted back drop for a movie set on certain days on the Kettle Valley Railway section of the Trans Canada Trail (The Great Trail) looking over the Village of Naramata. I get that same feeling in other special places in the world too…like Venice.

When Canada turns 150 next year our biggest present to ourselves will be the completion of greatest trail in the world. Now called The Great Trail, “this epic trail was created by thousands of dreamers, can-doers, volunteers, friends and partners sharing the same audacious goal of connecting our country,” says The Great Trail site.

Our section of the trail came about by funds raised the Trans Canada Trail Foundation, Trails B.C. and locally the regional district and Naramata Parks and Recreation. An active, amazing volunteer group called the Woodwackers formed in the late 1990s are the stewards of this magnificent remnant of the Kettle Valley Railway or KVR. The KVR opened in 1915 to service the growing mining demands in the Southern Interior of BC. The interesting history of the building of the KVR deserves some posts of it own. Just a couple of facts for now…construction was some of the costliest per track mile of any North American railroad project at almost $20 million and it took nearly 20 years to complete. The core portion of the KVR started in Hope  and terminated in Midway. Fruit from the Okanagan was an important commodity carried on the trains.

Photos taken yesterday on my walk show the vineyards leaves starting to turn.

The KVR tracks were removed in the Naramata – Chute Lake area in 1980 and the BC government bought the KVR right-of-way through Naramata from Canadian Pacific Railway in 1990 and the province endorsed the Trans Canada Trail initiative in 1993. Good decisions.

My favourite viewpoint is an easy walk from the Smethurst parking lot.
This is it…the spot that the really nice trail brings you into a clearing and the view so beautiful that it seems unreal reveals itself…gets me every time.

The Woodwackers roll into action in the late 1990s to help give us this beautifully cycle-friendly, walker, runner, cross country ski, horseback trail. In 2010 things heat up in Naramata as a move begins to make the majority of the trail non-motorized with very vocal and hostile opposition to this plan. Hard work and conflict resolution help win the day. The wise decision to keep all but a small section of the trail non-motorized have given us arguable one of the most beautiful portions of The Great Trail.

The spruce that hosts this sign has painted some new routes on the map with its shadows. Road less travelled?

The Great Trail will link 15,000 communities including mine along 24,000 kilometres. However we choose to experience the trail, the result is a connection with the outdoors.

Spoiled, the KVR trailhead is a mere kilometre from our house and this viewpoint is a great turn-around point in a five or six kilometre walk. I guess I’m not as unique as I think, about 30% of Canadians live within 30 minutes of the The Great Trail.(Maybe not as pretty as this bit.)
I often see eagles at this spot on the trail and less often, black bears.
This next series of photos is from the summer –scenery also too good to be real right with summer lighting as well?
Nice spot for a wine break and some photos.


This light at the end of Little Tunnel is the reward at the end of a nice bike or a long run from our place.
Skaha Lake and Penticton in the distance and Naramata’s bays below.


Would love to hear from Canadians about the part of The Great Trail you love in the comments.