Kettle Valley Railway
Discoveries of silver and other minerals in the southeastern mountains (Kootenays) of British Columbia and the fear of American domination inspired mining companies and Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) to construct the Kettle Valley Railway. In 1914 the dream of a ‘Coast to Kootenay’ rail line of over 500 kilometres length was fulfilled: Canada’s most challenging railway to build and to maintain has snaked through harsh terrain as it had to cross rugged mountain ranges such as the Okanagan Highland and Cascade Mountains.
But with an annual average of twelve meters of snow in the Cascade Mountains, it was not surprising that avalanches and landslides severely afflicted the KVR, as the rail line was called. Also huge maintenance costs and increasing competition from motor vehicles and air traffic forced the authorities since the sixties, to gradually give up all sections of the KVR and connecting rail lines. As the lifeline to BC’s Southern Interior the KVR will be fondly remembered by those who experienced her influence on an entire generation.
With its track removal the abandoned railbed of the KVR corridor has become highly suitable to backcountry cycling. This true wilderness trail winds through various landscapes such as mountains, lakes, forests, desert, and the orchards and vineyards of the Okanagan. Beautiful scenery and fascinating relics of the past railway era with exciting places to discover make this unique rail corridor a truly desirable destination. The successful ‘rails-to-trails’ conversion of this ‘Spirit of 2010 Trail’ system is capable of attracting numerous bikers, hikers, horseback riders and cross-country skiers to explore BC’s glorious outdoors.
Until the KVR will be discovered and be ‘threatened’ to become as crowded as the legendary Danube Cycle Path our tour groups may not encounter any humans for days as we bike on this incredible rail trail.
‘Spirit of 2010 Trail’: Learn more about Rail Trails in BC
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