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Essential Spring Hiking Tips & Ideas

Finally escaping from the fierce grasp of winter, we're in for a short and very wet spring before catapulting into summer. Thunderstorms and heavy showers mixed with gorgeous plus twenty's days ahead, it can be a challenge to plan a day for outdoor adventure. These are some great tips to keep you dry and smiling:

While runners will get most by on almost any of the trails in the Okanagan, it's a recipe for sock soup with dark encroaching clouds. Gortex is a multipurpose fabric that is touted as a hiker's dream. From jackets and bags to shoes and socks. The material repels liquid and is waterproof, but is breathable and allows water vapour to pass through. Of course, it never hurts to throw a full backup pair of clothing in the daypack.

Even the most waterproof boots aren't resistant to rain or snow sliding in the top; especially when pushing through wet overgrown foliage on spring trails. Waterproof boots make this a nightmare as now the water has nowhere to escape! Gators are a protective shield that wraps around your calves and protects the bottom of your pants and top of yours boots to prevent an unwanted drenching.

Even with looking ahead at the forecast, it's always smart to prepare for a worst-case scenario:

  1. Pack a cheap plastic single-use compact rain jacket from somewhere like Canadian Tire.
  2. Store an extra pair of dry clothes, especially socks, in the car for when returning.
  3. Throw a zip lock bag or two in your pocket to keep a cell phone or wallet dry.
  4. Bring a metal bristled BBQ brush, strong-bristled camping whisk, or equivalent to clean off boots before getting back into the car.

The spring melt can cause normally dry trails to be overrun with spillover from nearby streams, making the trek feel like a river run. At this time of year, avoid any trails with access via dirt road or that have water features. Notably, Mill Creek, Sugarloaf, or Myra Bellevue. Focus on drier trails or ones with more tree cover incase of a downpour. The snow level at its lowest is still around 1100 meters, so we recommend keeping an eye on the forecast in conjunction with the maximum trail elevation.

1) Rose Valley - West Kelowna
The reservoir aside, the trails on both sides of the lake are often very dry with very little mud and absolutely no streams overrunning the trails. The majority of the trails are also well covered. With over 40 km of trails in this network, the park is suitable for everyone looking to create their own adventure.

2) Pincushion - Peachland
This hike will run hikers between one or two hours, has no water features, and offers plenty of tree cover incase of a shower. The exception being the summit which is completely exposed.

3) Stephens Coyote Ridge - Glenmore
Located just past the Glenmore Landfill, this network of trails has a couple phenomenal loops which take hikers meandering along a couple gorgeous ridge-lines. While it does provide less tree cover than other trails, the trail is almost always mud-free.

4) Kalamoir Park - West Kelowna
This very well maintained, partially double-wide trail, follows the lakeside before snaking up briefly through the forest. While the upper section of the trail will earn you a good drenching in a storm, the lower forested area is a phenomenal spot to storm watch on the beach under cover.


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