Taking a Ride on the Historic Kettle Valley Railway!


Summerland, BC - Kettle Valley Railway Train Wheels

When we recently visited Summerland in British Columbia, Canada’s beautiful Okanagan Valley, we were lucky enough to take a ride on the historic Kettle Valley Railway.  The railway was one of the original passages through the valley to reach Vancouver and the other coastal cities of British Columbia.  In order to traverse some of the difficult terrain of the valley, the railroad track includes numerous trestle bridges that are considered an important part of British Columbia’s history.  Unfortunately, many of these bridges were destroyed during forest fires.  Luckily, the Kettle Valley Railway scenic trip includes a travel over one of these bridges!  Best of all, we got to check it out!!

Our day began with a drive up to the train station where the trip begins deep into the Giant’s Head Valley of Summerland, BC.  We drove and drove wondering how much longer it would be, but we were not too upset as the drive through the valley is quite nice with some good views and passes by some picturesque vineyards.  Upon arriving at the station we checked in at the main desk and checked out the gift shop (there are some neat souvenirs available to purchase). 

We then headed out to the platform to await our boarding time.  Numerous workers in traditional clothing happily welcomed each new customer.  They also have a banjo player to play some music to keep you entertained (and he joins you on the train ride as well)!  

Summerland, BC - Kettle Valley Railway Banjo Player

The company has thought about every detail, including having the train engine do a special start up and pass by for everyone to get plenty of good photos.  

Summerland, BC - Kettle Valley Railway Train Passing

The trip heads out from the station towards Okanagan Lake.  This leg of the journey includes a narration of the major sights you pass along the way, as well as some of the history of the usage of the Kettle Valley Railway.  We were just awed by the beautiful view of the valley as we wound our way towards Giant’s Head (the large hill near the end of the journey that looks like a giant’s head).  The journey out is downhill, so the train needs to travel slower to stay in control, so this is the best time to get those amazing photos you were hoping for and there are plenty of chances for that. 

Summerland, BC - Kettle Valley Railway scenery Giant's Head

Summerland, BC - Kettle Valley Railway Interesting Scenery Dirty Laundry Sign

At the end of the track on the outward journey, there is the famous trestle bridge.  It is truly a sight to behold and, as mentioned, because of fire there is very little left of these bridges in the Okanagan.  The train stops and lets all the passengers off to take in the train, trestle bridge and valley below.  It is well worth it to take it all in and don’t forget the camera, you will most certainly want it with you.  Head to the front of the train and get a great picture with the train conductor.  Also, if you are there in the proper season, pick up some cherries from the stand at the stop…they are delicious!!

Summerland, BC - Kettle Valley Railway Trestle Bridge 

The journey back follows the exact same track as the trip out, but it is a good opportunity to switch sides and get those pictures you missed (which they encourage).  In addition, the trip is uphill so there are not the same restrictions on the speed of the train and so it gets rolling pretty fast, which makes it more fun.


If you could only take one train journey around the world, what would it be and why?


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