Summerland Trails and Parks –Wild Places and Urban Spaces
From lake to mountain to valley, Summerland’s parks and trails offer an array of enticing experiences. Listen for the drumming of a woodpecker on the Fur Brigade Trail, or the chorus of lovelorn toads at the Adams Bird Sanctuary. Breathe in the scents of forest and orchard, or walk barefoot on the sweeping Powell Beach. Whether you want family play time, a variety of biking experiences, or the novelty of hiking a volcanic dome, our Summerland parks and trails are close by.
It is highly recommended that you call into the Summerland Visitors’ Centre for route details and a trail map.
Where better to get the lay of the land than from the lofty peak of an ancient volcano? Named for the profile etched onto its south face by glaciers, Giant’s Head Mountain encompasses all of the simple pleasures of nature.
The iron gates of Milne Road mark the start of your adventure. Drive the switchback road to a picnic area at the top. From there it’s a short hike to the summit (5-15 minutes depending on fitness). You’ll be rewarded with spectacular 360 degree lake and valley views. For those who want to hike from the beginning, you’ll find the trailhead at Milne Road where the invigorating hiking track occasionally intersects with the winding road.
Gargantuan Sporting Challenges – Pit yourself against the mountain, or at least come and watch the fun and sometimes nerve-wracking games of the Giant’s Head Freeride Longboard Competition the Giant’s Head Run, and Giant’s Head Grind.
Memorial Park, with its shady trees, picnic tables and children’s playground is a Summerland gathering place in the heart of the downtown core.
Keep Tuesday mornings free and take a stroll down to the Summerland Farmers’ Market (April through to October), where the best produce, local food and artisan handicrafts of the Okanagan await you. Memorial Park also plays host to a variety of Summerland festivals, including three-days of celebration at ActionFest each June.
Touched by both the Centennial Trail and the Rotary Lakeshore Loop and boasting a magnificent beach, there are plenty of reasons to while away the hours at Peach Orchard Park.
If you are here in May or July come watch the athletes of the Giant’s Head Grind and Gran Fondo Axel Merkx Bike Race. And don’t be surprised if you’re caught up in the community fun of a festival or event in the park – after all we have a lot to celebrate in the wonderful Okanagan!
Gordon Beggs Rotary Beach is a part of the Centennial Trail and is sandwiched between rocky bluffs and Okanagan Lake. Rotary Beach is a haven for locals and visitors alike. Watch the distant sailboats, kayaks and ski-boats silhouetted against the mountains, or peruse the stalls of various artisans that sell their wares in the summer months. Stay a while, settle back and wait for the artistry of an Okanagan sunset.
There’s something about strolling along Powell Beach in Trout Creek at sunrise that is truly magical. Whether you walk the beach itself or bike the flat, paved track, a saunter at Powell Beach is not to be missed. Laid back, with a family friendly energy, Powell Beach is a true Okanagan gem.
Encompassing the historic Trans Canada Trail, the forested ridges of Mount Conkle provide a natural platform for viewing the dazzling lake-filled valley and lush pastures, orchards and vineyards below. Stroll over to the Kettle Valley Railway Station, home of the Spirit of Summerland steam train, or just immerse yourself in the scents, sights and sounds of nature. The Okanagan is noted for the diversity and uniqueness of its plant and animal species, many of which are endangered and this 268 acre park provides an excellent, natural habitat sanctuary for them.
Set off by bike or foot from the Summerland Rodeo Grounds. The trail follows the Kettle Valley Railway tracks from the adjacent station to the Trout Creek Trestle, so a steam train sighting may be on the books! If not, you will be more than happy with the beautiful views.
When completed, the Trans Canada Trail will form a 23,000 kilometer network (over half as long as the earth is round), spreading east to west from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and northward from Alberta to the Arctic Ocean. The Summerland Trans Canada Trail Society maintains 61.5 kilometers of the trail from Penticton to 1.5 km east of Osprey Lake
Follow the Train Tracks to the Trestle (9km) The Summerland trailhead is at Conkle Mountain Park, by the Summerland Rodeo Grounds on Bathville Road. Walk or bike beneath the Ponderosa pines and admire the splashes of yellow, pink and purple amongst the grasses and sagebrush. Look out at valley farmlands and watch for wheeling bald eagles or for the distinctive V of our treasured Canada geese. The trail turns into 5 km of road at a parking lot on Fenwick Road, which crosses the railway line and passes by blossoming orchards until you are rewarded with the breathtaking view of Trout Creek Canyon and the historic train trestle which spans it.
From here, a five minute walk will take you to Summerland Sweets and shaded picnic tables. Cool yourself down with delicious ice cream or sample fruit-based delights, including refreshing fruit wines.
Follow a stream downhill through the edge of natural woodlands and continue at your own pace to complete a loop filled with local history, nature and landscapes.
The Centennial Trail (4.5 km) begins at Peach Orchard Road by the Highway 97 underpass and follows a stream towards the lake before leading you up a hill to an unforgettable view below. Take in the beauty and character of Rotary and Peach Orchard Beach then head back to Upper Summerland for a well-deserved iced coffee.
As always, we recommend you come to the Summerland Visitors’ Centre to get hiking and biking trail information before you set out.
Adams Bird Sanctuary – The Adams Bird Sanctuary is on Peach Orchard Road and is dedicated to ‘Artists, Pioneers and Conservationists’. The Centennial Trail and bird sanctuary create an important Summerland wildlife corridor.
A small detour to the Peach Orchard Cemetery, with peaceful lake and valley views is a rewarding stop along the way.
Private boat docks, hidden beaches, and the magnificent cliff-edged Mountain Park on the opposite shore, form the canvas for one of the prettiest trails in Summerland.
The Scoop on the Loop (6km) Step out from Peach Orchard Beach Park and follow Lakeshore Drive as it skirts Okanagan Lake. Soon you are moving along the glorious, open road just a few feet from the water’s edge. Whether exploring on foot or by bike in moments you will discover a Summerland secret – the picture postcard serenity of Crescent Beach. Stay a while, cool your feet in the water, run the white sand through your fingers and when you’re ready, follow a marked trail up the hillside and wander through orchards and vineyards until you reach the aptly named Switchback Road. Descend back to the beginning of your mini-adventure. On the way you might want to take in the serenity and views of Peach Orchard Cemetery.
Adams Bird Sanctuary – The Adams Bird Sanctuary is well worth a visit with its hidden paths and ivy, wooden boardwalks, and meandering streams. A safe haven for birds and wildlife, The Adams Bird Sanctuary is on Peach Orchard Road.
Trace the six-thousand year old footsteps of the First Nations people as you enter a fairy-tale realm, where a green lake is cloaked by deep forest, towering scree slopes and fallen trees draped in fern.
The View from the Top (4.1km May to October) The trailhead begins at Garnett Lake, where fine clouds of glacial silt refract the light to create the stunning green hue. To get to the lake drive or bike the scenic Garnett Valley, passing farms and ranches and burlap coloured hills covered in aspen, pine and poplar. The last 5.5 km changes from asphalt road to gravel. From the dam, drive, bike, or walk the 3 km of gravel road. The road will fork twice; take the right-hand road each time and park by a fenced Fortis BC Gas Valve. Interpretive signs will guide the way to the rise of the hill and the L’Arbre Seul lookout point for an incredible sweeping view of Okanagan Lake.
Many have travelled this route before you such as groups or brigades of fur traders in the early 1800’s. Garnett Lake was a major encampment and is now the fifty acre Priest Camp Historic Park and is the only preserved encampment and trail site of the historic Okanagan Brigade Trail.
You can view a representation of the historic meeting between the fur traders and the Aboriginal people of southern BC in a superb mural at Summerland’s IOOF Hall on Main Street.