The Okanagan High Rim Trail connects Vernon to Kelowna through 55km of wilderness. The trail ranges from wide open spaces with spectacular views of the valley to shaded more denser areas laden with Cedar and Lodgepole Pine trees.
Well maintained paths are easy to follow, however there are several unmaintained trails which consist of obstacles such as fallen trees and sharp rocks. If you wish to take the long, 3-4 day trail, prepare to cross wetlands, creeks and rocky ridges of volcanic and basalt formations.
The High Rim Trail is home to several types of wildflower such as the rare Indian Paintbrush. Widlife is in abundance and includes deer, mink, bobcat, black bear, cougar, coyote and red fox as well as numerous types of reptile such as rattlesnakes and boas. Several bird spotting opportunities await.
In 2009 the trail was revitalised and now offers not only a scenic adventure but an education one, lookout for signs and tree labels.
This particular segment of the trail runs from the Intersection of Philpott Rd and Highway 33 and heads up "Cardiac Hill" for 4 km. This is an incredibly steep grade and suggested only for advanced hikers. The time listed as 2.5 hours for this hike was without breaks, and going at a strenuous pace uphill. Most average hikers, or groups, should allot approximately 3-4 hours for this hike.
Before you begin your hike, I suggest visiting the end of High Rim Trail first, to get a view of the river. See our "High Rim: River Trail" description. To begin the 4km journey, head back to Philpott Rd where you parked and follow the directions below.
1. Walk to the corner of Highway 33 and Philpott Rd and notice the signage that notes High Rim Trail (left arrow) and Cardinal Creek (right arrow). This is slightly misleading. Head up the hill towards Cardinal Creek.
2. You will come to trail head marking "Okanagan High Rim Trail" with a trail map and other information.
3. Continue up the well marked trail, following "Cardiac Hill" all the way up. It's very hard to get off the trail and go in the wrong direction. Watch for trail marking ribbons.
4. At about 3.1km from our starting point at Philpott Rd, hikers will come to Cardinal Creek with a tiny waterfall. Feel free to break here as the hike continues steadily uphill, but we're nearly at the end so you need to decide if you'd like to snack at the creek or a meadow.
5. Just under 1km, watch for a sign on your right hand side (facing in the opposite direction), nailed to a tree, that says "View". You'll want to make a left off the trail and head into the meadow for a snack and some photos before heading up the trail again.
6. Continue to follow the pink and black ribbon to the second "View" sign post quite a few more kilometers up the trail. It's notable as it's one of the view spots where you get a greater view of the valley.
7. Head back down the same trail you came up.