Kelowna is a city dazzled with a spectrum of exciting vistas to plunder with your camera. Whether your ultimate goal is increasing your followership on Instagram, or a more purist approach to disconnect and immerse yourself in a cell-phone free sanctuary for a few hours per day.
Carrot Mountain Bluffs (properly known as Davidson Creek), located near Shannon Lake, in West Kelowna was the first local hike that I attempted to traverse in 2011 after moving from Kamloops. It has remained a favourite ever since. It offers the four most pivotally essential components to any hikers (or mountain goat's) dream adventure.
TEST OF ENDURANCE: Beginning the hike at an unlikely trailhead disguised by a cul-de-sac, hikers are greeted with a gruelling single-wide gauntlet up the gulch. The trail is marked primarily by usage rather than signage; challenging this mountain in the snow is impossible unless hikers are familiar with the layout previously.
WATERFALL: Halfway up the gulch, hikers reach a substantial waterfall that begins as a monstrous beast in the spring and tapers off to a beautiful elvish-style mossy trickling waterfall in the late fall. From the beginning of snow melt until around mid-May, prepare to cross the stream numerous times or detour through the bush as it often engulfs the trail!
SUMMIT VISTA: Times three. Approaching the summit of the trail, duck out to a short detour to the right for an isolated view of Mt. Boucherie. At the top, pose for Vogue next to the Canada flag or occasional Inuksuk as the vista widens. Though, unlike most hikes, the real reward is the massive boulder left dangling out of the side of the cliff half of the way down on the return loop. Dangle your feet in the air as you cast your sights on a view reaching from downtown Kelowna all the way out to the far reaches of West Kelowna, with a centrepiece of Mt. Boucherie giving an exposé to both Okanagan Lake and Okangan Mountain Park behind.
TECHNICAL CHALLENGE: Nearing the end of the hike, optionally take a shale patch to bunny hop and surf to the bottom in minutes or take the longer and scenic route (mostly tree-free) for those without ankle support adorning their boots.
How to get there? Approximate address is 2268 Shannon Heights Pl, West Kelowna, BC. However, for the more tech savvy, plot 49.872223,-119.610252 into the GPS. From downtown Kelowna, take the bridge into West Kelowna and turn right onto Bartley. Keep left onto Shannon Lake Rd. Right on Shannon Woods Dr. Right on Shannon Hills Dr. Left on Shannon Heights Place. Park on the road, paying due to care not to block driveways or fire hydrants and head up the trail at the end of the cul-de-sac.