Kettle Valley: Chute Lake – What a Road!

This is the last of 3 blogs concerning my 2017 riding of the Kettle Valley. The good intentions were to hub and spoke out of Penticton and complete three rides: 1) Osoyoos North to Penticton; 2) Skaha Lake 3) Chute Lake to Penticton.

What Road!

The road up to Chute Lake was impressive. At times a 12% grade with numerous switch backs on a sandy gravel surface. It was challenging enough in dry weather I could only imagine the climb after a recent rain or snow fall.  Slick as snot comes to mind (to use a technical term).

The road deposits you at the Chute Lake Resort and the lake itself. The KVR passes the lake from a point further east and our original put-in, Myra Lake. Had we started from Myra, the distance would have been 80KM.  A bit out of reach for a first ride of the area so Chute Lake was a reasonable compromise.

Mileage Signs en route.

Sand Bogs and a Closed Tunnel

The first 5KM or so of the ride was mush. Mush in this context means sandy soil that quickly absorbed one’s tires and made it nearly impossible to ride. In some places a raised shoulder provided enough terra firma to allow for some speed but often this effort was absorbed with a return to the mushy middle of the trail. Lower air pressure likely could have compensated and I suspect a good fat bike tire would have glided over this section of trail with barely a whimper or note of the mush underneath.

After this initial section, the trail began to harden to a more uniform gravel bed that was generally fine to ride on.  Given the altitude gained on the road up to the put-in, vistas were available aplenty. One portion of the trail that was closed was a U-shaped Adra tunnel.

Currently barricaded, the tunnel is about 500M long and takes a north/south orientated track to an east/west exit/entrance. Appeals for donations are made for the tunnel’s restoration which would be great. In the mean time a steep descent provides a cut off for the tunnel. A fun ride down, it would be a hard ride/push up! Coming from descent side of the tunnel, the temperature appreciably drops at 10C in the gloom of its entrance.

In front of the closed Adra tunnel.

Ride Into Penticton

From the tunnel, the ride is a gentle descent past numerous historical markers including a number of rock ovens used to bake bread during the KVR’s construction. Other markers include the foundation for a long-since dismantled water tower, a larger Ponderosa Pine and things of that ilk.

One of the great vistas with Summer Land across Okanagan Lake.

Conclusion

Our transport picked us up still high above Penticton. The trail however continues down into the city along the KVR route and as well along a city constructed trail. Finding the trail required a small bit of route finding as one section would end and the next would start-up to half a block away. A disappeared trail general meant a scan up and down the road to see where the city put the next piece.

Overall, this is a great section of trail. The ride from Myra Lake to Penticton is very doable on a good mountain/fat bike. Likely this would be an all day affair particularly with a car shuttle. Given the remoteness of the initial section, an available support vehicle would be a strongly desirable additional feature. In other words, Penticton KVR – I will be back!