Last Updated on July 7, 2023
Penticton is one of just two cities in the world located between two lakes. Visiting beaches and having fun in the water is part of the summer culture in Penticton. The Okanagan and Skaha beaches feature nearly 15-acres of premium, sandy beach, and swimming areas.
Along with the year-round outdoor recreational activities available, agriculture has been an essential supporter of Penticton’s sustenance. Penticton has over 80 wineries in the area, seven craft breweries, two cideries, and three distilleries within easy walking or biking distance of the downtown core.
Kettle Valley Railway Trail – Penticton to Naramata
The Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail is one of the most iconic attractions in Penticton. Stretching 660-km from Hope to Castlegar, BC, the KVR is a decommissioned rail trail that has been converted into a recreational trail network and is part of the Trans Canada Trail. The section of the trail between Penticton and Naramata is arguably the most developed of the entire KVR.
The trail is easily accessible from downtown Penticton. The KVR trail begins just north of the city through some residential neighborhoods. It then follows along the eastern ridge of the Naramata Bench. T
he trail’s scenery is stunning, with views of Okanagan Lake on your left and vineyards on both sides of the route. You can see the plump grapes growing on the grapevines as you walk along the trail.
As you get closer to McColloch Trestle, you will begin to see orchards of Ambrosia apples.
The giant Penticton sign, on Munson Mountain, is one of the city’s defining landmarks. Built by civic boosters in 1937, the large letters spelling out the word Penticton were to put “Penticton on the map,” according to the B.C. Register of Historic Places.
Compared to the Hollywood sign, the 83-year-old Penticton sign is more prominent than its Californian counterpart. It measures 54.33 feet high, while the Hollywood sign is only 45 feet tall. The Hollywood sign, though, was built first in 1923.
After the rail line was abandoned, the original trestle on the KVR rail grade was destroyed. The City of Penticton restored the rail grade through the orchards and then rebuilt the bridge in 2001. This trestle forms part of the Trans Canada Trail (The Great Trail).
The KVR Chief Engineer Andrew McCulloch then named this trestle after himself. McCulloch Trestle is north of Munson Mountain on the KVR Trail. It is one of the busiest foot-and-bike bridges in the region and one of the most scenic and most-photographed spots on the KVR trail.
Once you cross over the trestle, you can walk to various vineyards. An alternative option is to visit the Trail Store, only 600-m away. It is open from late spring to late summer. It serves ice cream and delicious Ambrosia apple slushies.
While walking along the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) Trail from Penticton to Naramata, on the right-hand side, there is a cemetery. Lakeview Cemetery was established in 1910 and is Penticton’s operating cemetery.
This 14-acre property rests at the foot of Munson Mountain, between wineries and the KVR Trail. Lakeview features a manicured lawn with rows of maple and western red cedar trees. It also offers stunning views across Okanagan Lake to the mountains beyond.
In 1910, the Southern Okanagan Land Company had acquired the first five acres of the site. Their first burial was of a man killed in a logging accident. Later, burials included soldiers from the First and Second World Wars.
Naramata Centre Beach
While visiting Naramata, make sure you visit this peaceful park by the water. There is plenty of shade from the trees and a beautiful sandy beach to swim in. It is a lovely place to relax and enjoy a book or a picnic.
The views across the Okanagan Lake are spectacular. There are clean washrooms, picnic tables, a dock to suntan on or jump into the refreshing water.
You could also bring a kayak and explore the shoreline.
Naramata Creek Waterfalls
You will find the Naramata Creek Park just north of Penticton, BC, on the eastern side of Okanagan Lake. To visit, drive north towards Naramata, and just before veering left down into the small town of Naramata, look for a narrow road on the right-hand side. This well-groomed trail follows Naramata Creek up through a deep river canyon to a spectacular cascading waterfall.
This hike is approximately a 2.4-km round trip and takes about an hour or so. The trail is lovely all year and worth regularly visiting to witness the changes that each season brings.
There is an outhouse at the trailhead, several well-maintained bridges, a bench, and picnic tables along the first section of the trail.
Wild Goose Vineyards
Wild Goose Vineyards in Okanagan Falls and is within the Okanagan Valley. Hagen Kruger purchased this land after he discovered a flock of Canadian geese feeding on his property. As he approached the geese, they took flight and headed north. It was at that moment that he chose the name of Wild Goose Vineyards.
Their wines include aromatic Gewurztraminers, lively Rieslings, and exquisite white blends to fruit-forward red blends and intricate Pinot Noirs. They have a spacious tasting room with a panoramic north-facing patio.
See Ya Later Ranch Winery
See Ya Later Ranch in Okanagan Falls is high atop Hawthorne Mountain. The See Ya Later Ranch wines celebrate the positive legacy of Major Hugh Fraser, with a colorful personality, who purchased the property high above the Okanagan Valley in 1920. He planted vines and seeded a legend.
Visitors these days love See Ya Later Ranch for its well-crafted VQA wines served in a unique setting. The tasting room and wine shop can be found in the Major’s 1900s homemade of original hand-split stone—with the view of the surrounding valley vineyards and lakes.
They have a great selection of red wines, white wines, specialty wines, and their Legacy series.
Phantom Creek Winery
Phantom Creek Estates opened to the public in 2020 and is home to estate vineyards across two specific benches in the Okanagan Valley. Uniquely determined by geological forces millennia in the making today, these acclaimed, historic vineyards are each farmed according to precise organic and biodynamic techniques.
The architecture of this winery is stunning, along with two angelic statues at the entrance. They offer a 45-minute seated tasting, a 90-minute guided estate tour and tasting, as well as a tasting bar experience.
Rust Wine Co.
The Rust Wine Co. is a new vinous project born of the dirt and inspired by rejuvenation. Their wines come from five exceptional vineyards planted as far back as 1973.
Located in the designation of Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley, Okanagan Falls, and the Golden Mile Bench, they seek to showcase these distinct terroirs with a small lot, single-vineyard wines of purpose.
Floating along the Penticton Channel
A favorite activity for all ages in the summer months is to grab a giant floaty and lie back and enjoy the river slowly taking you down a 7-km channel. It was built in the 1950s to control the water flow between Penticton’s two lakes. The float starts at 215 Riverside Drive and ends at Skaha Lake. The ride is free. It is also fun for the spectators to watch the people on their floaties and enjoying time with friends.
Float Penticton is the first to offer door-to-door service with pre-scheduled pick-up times, so there is no wait and no need to find parking at the north end of the River Channel. They also offer river inflatables to pre-purchase online to save you the time and convenience of not having to go to the store.naturewine