Five of Vernon's best hikes


In spring of 2023, Vernon officially received the designation as Trails Capital of BC! With a title like this, how does someone pick just 5 trails to hike in Vernon? 

We spent a weekend in Vernon to find the best trails to hike, as well as enjoy some of the best local spots. From trails along the lake shore, to the peaks of SilverStar Mountain Resort, there is a trail for every person in every season. 

Despite summer being quite hot in the Okanagan, there are lots of ways to enjoy the trails and stay cool at the same time! Or, take advantage of Vernon's long, mild fall season to get in your hikes as the temperatures cool and the trails colour up.

Five of Vernon's best hikes

Before diving in, we need to give a shout out to the Ribbons of Green Society, and the Regional District of North Okanagan, who pushed for the trails designation. The former especially has been active in developing and enhancing trails for use throughout the Okanagan region, including my first trail pick, so let's dive in.

Grey Canal - Turtle Mountain 

distance: 6.9km return 
elevation: 194m elevation gain, 
difficulty: easy/moderate 

For a warm up close to town, any of the Grey Canal trails provide fairly flat and wide paths with easy to moderate terrain.

Hiking Grey Canal Trail, Vernon BC.
Photo: Rebecca Bollwitt
The Grey Canal Trail system is part of a larger network cultivated by the Ribbons of Green Society, with ample hiking options.

This trail system leads to beautiful views of the valley Vernon calls home. These trails traverse along the hillsides and are built following the irrigation lines which once provided water for the many orchards and farms you find in Vernon and the surrounding communities. 

Although these trails are long, if you’re looking for a short walk, just follow the trail for a bit and turn around when you’re ready, or walk the whole thing! We spent some time on the Turtle Mountain section, which wraps around the east-facing slopes of the valley. 

With that early day sun, it heats up quick, but the views are worth it! The area around Turtle Mountain is also of significance to the local Syilx people, whose homelands these are. (Read more about that connection here.)


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A newer section of this trail connects to Davison Road, for a great combination, park at the roadside parking here Davison Road, and head on down to Davison orchards for a coffee, some fruit, and their famous “apple-anche” (a cider slushy sure to cool you off!)

Rattlesnake Point Trail, Kalamalka Provincial Park

distance: 2.6km return
elevation: 70m elevation gain
difficulty: easy/moderate 

With over 14km of trails snaking over the hillsides of Kal Park, this area is a regular spot for local hikers and trail runners.

Photo: Madeline Williams
Bright blue Kalamalka Lake is one of the jewels of the north Okanagan.

With viewpoints and beaches, these trails are a must. Take the Crest Trail, or named on AllTrails, Rattlesnake Point Trail or Rattlesnake Point Loop. With a name like Rattlesnake Point, keep an eye (and ear) out for snakes, and stay on trail to avoid running into them, but also to respect the over 400 species of vascular plants in the park. 

There are many trails that go down to the waters edge for a refreshing dip! After a morning on the trails of Kal Park, a visit to Friesen’s Countrytyme Gardens in Coldstream is a must for a coffee and a cinnamon roll, or a homestyle brunch. 

Ridge Walk Trail and/or Attridge Scenic Loop, SilverStar Mountain Resort 

distance: 3.9km return *without the gondola
elevation: 295m elevation gain
difficulty: difficult 

Getting up into higher elevation in the summer months is a great way to beat the heat! Head on up to SilverStar for beautiful summer hikes, great views, and even beautiful wildflowers if you get the timing right!

Photo: Madeline Williams
Hiking at SilverStar gives you access to higher altitudes, and great apres options.

Hikers can start in the village (just remember to get your free hiking pass from the ticket office) or buy a gondola pass to get right to the top! While along this hike, keep an eye out for the gnomes and see how many you can count (we found 12!) 

Okanagan Lake Viewpoint Loop, Predator Ridge

distance: 2.6km loop
elevation: 91m elevation gain
difficulty: moderate 

This multi use trail, used by hikers and mountain bikers in the summer months, and snowshoers in the snowy months, gives beautiful views of Okanagan Lake.

Vernon BC Ellison beach Steve MacNaull ZenSeekers
Photo: Steve MacNaull
You can cool off at Okanagan Lake in Ellison Provincial Park, after a hike along Predator Ridge.

Following the ridges of these hills to the viewpoint, you’ll often catch a nice cool breeze too! To get to the trail system at Predator Ridge that even reaches down to Ellison Provincial Park is a bit more of a drive from downtown Vernon, but with these well maintained trails and viewpoints, it’s worth the visit! 

BX Falls 

For a short cool down at the end of the day, park at the parking lot on Tillicum Road, and follow the trail for 300m to the staircase down to the bottom of BX Falls.

Photo: Madeline Williams
An easy option for a cool down, BX Falls is a short hike in from the trailhead.

Since we were camping at nearby Cedar Falls Campground, we were even able to walk from our campsite to the falls. 

For the perfect end to a long day adventuring outside, we went from BX Falls to nearby Cambium Cider Co (previously The BX Press) for some dinner and to try a flight of their ciders, all of which are “Zero Food Miles,” as they grow all of their own apples, as well as pressing, fermenting and bottling all on site!

Photo: Madeline Williams
Try a cider grown, pressed, fermented and bottled right on site at Cambium Cider Co.

Some of the things I think help you get a feel for a place include its trail systems and its local markets—both of which we made sure to check out while spending a weekend away in Vernon. 

The Polson Artisan Night Market is a great Friday night activity throughout the summer until mid September, with local artisan vendors, food trucks and live music, plus weekly themes and activities. 

We tried some freeze dried ice cream, enjoyed some live jazz music, as well as a mix pack of local beer from Ricochet Brewing, to bring back to our campsite. 

When you go

While out on your own #exploreVernon weekend, here are some tips for staying cool while hiking in the hot summer temps:

  1. hike early morning or early evening 
  2. pay attention to which aspect you’re on relative to the sun 
  3. pick a trail with higher elevation (head up to SilverStar!) 
  4. find water! (and bring lots of drinking water with you!)

Map of Vernon trails

Here's an interactive map of Vernon's hiking trails from the Ribbons of Green Trail Society.

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