Okanagan Rail Trail
Once complete, the Okanagan Rail Trail will span 49.5 km from Coldstream to Kelowna's downtown. The official opening date was September 27 for majority of the trail - including nearly 14km of trail in Kelowna, with 10.5km of paved trail from Gordon Drive to Bulman Road.
Please respect the trail closures that are currently in place, this includes:
- the approximately 7km section of trail north of the Airport - please be advised that there are currently no alternative routes and to be prepared to end your trip at the airport if travelling north, or at McCarthy Road in Winfield if travelling south. At this time there is no anticipated opening date for this section of trail.
- approximately 2.5km of this section is pending the succesful completion of the federally administered Addition to Reserve process to the Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB), and approval by the OKIB council to allow for public trail use.
- the approximately 2km section from Gordon Drive to Manhattan Drive in Kelowna is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2018.
Allowed uses include:
- Active transportation: Non-motorized modes of transportation including walking, cycling, roller blading, skateboards, push scooters and other human-powered devices.
- Mobility assistance devices: Mobility assistance devices include motorized wheelchairs and electric scooters.
- Electric bicycles: Electricity powered electronic bicycles or motor-assisted cycles, in accordance with the BC Motor Assisted Cycle Regulation, are allowed. If your bicycle has a gas engine attached it is not allowed.
- Dogs: Dogs are welcome on-leash along the trail. Owners are reminded to pick-up after their dog.
- Share the trail with other users
- Stay on the trail
- Deposit garbage into the waste bins
- Overnight camping and open fires are not permitted
- Unauthorized motorized-vehicle (including golf carts and off-road vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles, and snowmobiles) use is not permitted
- Horses are not permitted
Parking is limited at some access points, residents and visitors are encouraged to use active transportation to get to the corridor's access points. For parking locations in Kelowna, visit our parking page.
The Inter-jurisdictional Team is acting as a common voice for local governments to work collaboratively in achieving common goals for the mutual benefit of the valley's residents.
The municipalities of Lake Country, Kelowna and Okanagan Indian Band as well as Regional District of North Okanagan jointly identified the value the rail line could have as a continuous multi-modal transportation corridor connecting all the communities. Representatives from each owner jurisdiction are participating as part of the Inter-jurisdictional Development Team to undertake initial planning and consultation for the development of a public recreational trail along the discontinued rail corridor.
Local interests are in:
- Retaining integrity of the corridor
- Opportunity for a regionally significant corridor with potential for multi-moda transportation benefits and a trail component
- Address property maintenance, beautification and road crossing arrangements
- Working with granting agencies and the regional fundraising community to fund trail development
Input was gathered for the initial phase of trail development at public information sessions and through an online survey. Additional feedback collected from the engagement process will be retained for future reference, for use in any future planning and development of the trail corridor.
In early October 2017, public information sessions were held with each owner jurisdiction to inform residents, adjacent property owners, and interested groups and individuals about the upcoming construction and anticipated timelines.
Input was gathered for the initial phase of trail development at public information sessions and through an online survey in Spring 2016. This information, together with feedback collected from the October 2017 process, will be retained for future reference, for use in any future planning and development of the trail corridor.
Residents were invited to review the concept and give their feedback at four information sessions along the corridor and staff was on hand to answer questions regarding the design and provide an opportunity for input.
The intention is to develop the corridor in phases, with the initial phase being construction of a gravel trail with road crossings, signage, and barriers to provide a basic level of safe and accessible use by pedestrians and cyclists.
Review the open house boards and trail maps by accessing the documents tab at the top of this page.
Local governments made every effort to minimize the tax impact in the interest of securing a land asset that would be valued for generations. While the original asking price of the corridor was $50 million, the negotiated cost of the corridor is a combination of $22 million in monetary consideration and land donation.
Purchase of the discontinued rail line was finalized on June 1, 2015 by the City of Kelowna, the District of Lake Country, the Regional District of North Okanagan and the Province of B.C.
The City of Kelowna funded its estimated share of $7.6 million from reserves with no additional tax increase to residents. Because the value of the land is more than the monetary consideration, the City of Kelowna will also issue a charitable donation receipt to CN for the difference.
The Regional District of the North Okanagan funded its estimated share of $1.9 million from reserves with no increase to taxes.
The District of Lake Country borrowed up to $2.6 million to fund the 50 per cent purchase of the corridor within its jurisdiction. Given the regional benefits of public ownership, the City of Kelowna agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding with the District of Lake Country that sees Kelowna acquire a 50 per cent interest in the land within Lake Country boundaries.
The Province of B.C. committed $7.2 million towards the purchase amount.
Since the Okanagan Indian Band injunction application to reclaim reserve lands was denied by the B.C. Supreme Court on June 1, 2015 the Okanagan Indian Band has joined the Inter-jurisdictional Development team as an owner jurisdiction.
Approximately 2.5 km of the rail corridor running from Coldstream to Kelowna lies within the boundary of the Duck Lake Indian Reserve No. 7.
The CN Rail line was constructed to bring the produce and lumber of the Okanagan Valley to markets across the country. Operated by Kelowna Pacific Railway the line served the communities of Campbell Creek, Kamloops, Vernon, Coldstream, Lake Country, Okanagan Indian Band and Kelowna.
Challenged with high costs and low revenues, Kelowna Pacific Railway entered receivership and ceased rail service in July 2013. After reaching trustee, customer and labour agreements CN resumed operations on approximately 156 kilometres, or about 75 per cent, of the former Kelowna Pacific Railway network running from Campbell Creek B.C. to Lumby Junction.
In September 2013 CN Rail began the formal process of discontinuing the rail line running from Lumby Junction in Coldstream to Kelowna.
The Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative, a community-based fundraising campaign, helped to raise the nearly $8 million that was required to design and build the continuous basic trail from Coldstream to Kelowna.
The Trail Development Plan identifies the vision, issues, assumptions, concept, development approach and estimated cost to develop a basic recreational trail along the route of the old railway, from Kelowna to Coldstream.
The work of the community-based fundraising campaign (know as the Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative) was completed with help of all levels of government plus nearly 5,000 individual donors and businesses. The City of Kelowna and municipal partners gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.
Due to the significant investment to purchase the corridor, and in light of other pre-existing community priorities, local governments were not in a position to make any significant financial commitment to development of a trail in the short-term.
After the trail was developed, the City of Kelowna paved majority of the Kelowna section from Gordon Drive to Bulman Road (approximately 10.5km of the currently developed 14km trail).