One of the best motorcycle routes in the Okanagan Valley is from Kelowna to Osoyoos.
Well, almost any rural road in British Columbia will lead to awesome riding routes for both street bikes and dual sport bikes. The geography of this province creates roads that wind and twist, with beauty that takes your breath away.
Osoyoos and the South Okanagan though, are especially scenic areas of B.C. for motorcycling.
Perhaps it’s because the roads in the south Okanagan are less traveled and the countryside is more open and inviting. It just feels freer somehow. Osoyoos, Keremeos, Oliver, and all of the south Okanagan Valley, is desert country. The hills are lower, the sky is bigger, and the air is lighter.
Factor in a super-abundance of scenic and sunny dirt roads for dual-sport riders, and you have a complete motorcycling paradise.
Of course, that’s just my personal opinion at this moment. Two weeks from now I’ll be over the moon about a completely different riding experience. That’s what so awesome about living where I do. You couldn’t find a boring route to ride if you tried.
Riding to Penticton
Mile 1 of this beautiful spring motorcycle day-trip begins in Kelowna B.C. It’s where I live. Kelowna is a semi-arid city in the beautiful central Okanagan Valley. It is home to 120,000 people who, like I, have chosen to live in the kind of nature that makes your heart sing.
It’s the latter part of April. The warm spring sunshine reminds me of summer days. That delicious feeling of sun on my face, and the intoxicating aroma of the forest wafting into my senses in waves of heat. It’s here again. I can feel it in the air as I ride. So beautiful.
My route takes me south through West Kelowna towards Peachland and Summerland. I ride right by both of these towns, though they are super places to stop at, stay a while, have a coffee and a bit of a rest. After 45 minutes or so I arrive in Penticton. I have never motorcycled on Green Mountain Road before, so I miss the turnoff.
Fortunately I run into a mountain biker who knows the way. Well, I didn’t actually run into him. That would be awful. He probably wouldn’t have shared the directions with me if I had.
The cyclist and I are only half a mile from Green Mountain Road as he gives me clear directions. He’s going that way himself. Only one right hand turn will take me to where Green Mountain Road intersects. Of course I screw it up.
I am direction challenged. I ride straight, instead of turning right on the only road that it is possible to turn right on.
Being quick on the uptake though, I Realize my mistake in a heartbeat as the road comes to an abrupt and dirty end. I almost drop the bike in a tight sloped u-turn on loose gravel. Nice!
I double back, make the correct turn, and give a nonchalant wave and head nod to the cyclist as I pass by, as if to say, “yeah, I took that little detour on purpose. Just checking it out.” Lol, I’m so lame on directions; just ask my Wife.
Green Mountain Road by Motorcycle
After dodging a dozen or so wild horses, I came across a “T” intersection, just like it was foretold by the mountain biker. It had to be Green Mountain Road… but the signpost was in the local Native Indian Language. Green Mountain Road is part of the Penticton Indian band lands. Should I trust my gut and turn left? No, I turn right and ask the native guy that I see walking on the roadside.
“You’re ON Green Mountain Road,” he says. “Just turn around and follow the asphalt. Have a good ride.” I thank him, make a quick u-turn, and head on down.
Since this is the first motorcycle I have owned in decades, I had not experienced the full pleasure of this road. Now that I have ridden it, I understand why some riders call it motorcycle nirvana; 40 miles of perfect curves, interspersed by well-placed straight sections.
I didn’t throttle it down Green Mountain road. I thought about how awesome it would be to really give it, but mostly, I just relaxed into the saddle and enjoyed the ride. This road cuts through some awfully beautiful territory. I wish I had stopped to take more photos. A video action cam is on my wishlist :-).
Lunch in Keremeos, south to Osoyoos, then back to Kelowna
As I rode into Keremeos, I saw the usual “Licensed Family Restaurant” within the first half mile off the highway. The main drag in these small towns always offer the best food though, or at least the best experience.
When I saw three motorcycles in front of the K Cafe, I figured this was the place. One of those bikes was an old Triumph (the green bike in the photo below). Very cool motorcycle.
Anyway, I had a great burger and fries at K’s. My waitress kind of forgot about my order for a while, but it was all good. I got to talking to a few people sitting nearby as a result. Everything in life is purposeful. You just have to go with the flow, as they say. If you do, then you have a good time and you meet some real nice people.
After a satisfying lunch at K Cafe, I mount my mighty CRF250L, and ride south on highway 3 to Osoyoos.
Osoyoos is my turnaround point. From here I head north on Hwy 97 through extensive orchard country, towards the town of Oliver. I continue riding North from Oliver to Vaseux Lake.
Vaseux Lake is a desert region that is home to the Vaseux-Bighorn National Wildlife Area (NWA). The NWA is a protected habitat for many species, including a sizable population of California Bighorn Sheep. If you ride this route, be on the lookout for sheep on the road. And have your camera handy!
My ride back to Kelowna on HWY 97 was beautiful. The warm sunny weather held, the scenery was fantastic as always, the traffic was sparse, and the CFR250L performed really well.
I was glad that I chose to install the Adventure Touring Wind Screen. It made the highway miles much more comfortable.
I regret not taking more photos, but here are a few shots from the ride: