Kelowna, British Columbia. 500km west of Canmore. Home of the Canadian Culinary Championships, my lovely in-laws, a great climate, sandy beaches, wonderful wineries, not to mention Pace Sports Fitness, organizer of this weekend’s fantastic (by all accounts) Broken Goat ultra, as well as a number of very cool trails. I was in Kelowna last week visiting family and took the opportunity to run some of those trails, including the always-fabulous Knox Mountain.
Knox Mountain Park is located in the north of Kelowna. It offers fantastic views over the city and beyond but that’s only part of the reason to run here. The other is that it’s only around a 10-15 minute run from downtown to the trail head and once there you have the choice of wide, stoney trails to fast, technical, steep and dusty rock and root strewn single track. My preferred run is a looping affair that covers 11km with 374m of climbing, some of it gentle, some it less so. It all looks likes this on Strava:
Begin by taking the trail from the car parking area through the frisby golf course and then joining the road (Poplar Point Drive) on the left that runs north along the edge of the lake (i.e., away from downtown). Continue along the road for around 1.5km and up a steep hill. Turn left at the top and you’ll see a wide trail with a gate ahead of you heading uphill on the right. Take the trail and turn left at the top and then continue up a slight incline at first and then down towards Paul’s Tomb which is at the 3km point, taking in the view as you go:
From Paul’s Tomb, retrace your route but after 1km instead of heading back down to the road take the trail on the left which is a great, rolling 1km climb to Crown Lookout:
Just before you crest the top, check out the view behind you:
Follow the trail from the top and before you reach the road, take the Apex Trail on the left, just before the gate:
This is the beginning of a great, dusty 1km climb with some nice switchbacks. Keep heading up, taking in the views of Kelowna and the Okanagan as you go:
At around 6km, the trail divides. Take the Pavilion Trail which travels north along the lake. This is a wonderfully fast and reasonably technical trail at first and then becomes a little more serious as it drops rapidly down through a series of rocky, rooty switchbacks and steps that eventually brings you back to the trail to Paul’s Tomb:
Turn left, away from Paul’s Tomb, and follow the trail to the fork, again taking the left trail up to Crown Lookout. At the top, rather than heading off up the Apex Trail again, you can continue onwards to the road, cross straight over and take the trail just to the right of where the road drops down:
And then enjoy a screaming, dusty descent back to where you began.
Back again soon. Until then, happy trails.
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