ROCK CREEK LOOP

ROCK CREEK LOOP

One of the areas favorite rides is the Rock Creek Loop. You should fuel up in Kelowna before heading up highway 33. This highway heads up past Big White Ski resort and is generally traffic free but is known for having a high deer population. At about the halfway point to Rock Creek you will pass through Beaverdell, one of the main buildings, a historic old Hotel, burned down but there's still a cafe, a private gas bar and not much more. The road carries on winding through until you hit Westbridge, here you will turn right over the bridge and cross the Kettle River. Just before you reach Rock Creek there is a good Provincial Campground on the river. As you enter Rock Creek you will pass the Prospector Hotel on your left. It doesn't look like much from the road but this Pub has character, good food and a great patio. There's gas and couple of tourist shops at the intersection of Hwy 33 and Hwy 3.

From Rock Creek you turn right on Hwy. 3 and head up over the pass towards Osoyoos. As you begin your decent into Osoyoos the road really tightens up and some of the turns are quite sharp and narrow. You will want to look over the valley but keep you eyes on the road, the best view is at the hairpin on the upward leg but you have to go down to Osoyoos and turn around as you can't stop on the downward leg.

The town of Osoyoos located just north of the border is a typical Okanagan desert town with all services. From here you take highway 97 North through wine country to Oliver (which claims to be Canada's wine capital). If you want to take in a winery along the route Burrowing Owl is my personal favorite. Watch for signs as you leave Oliver. Another popular stop is Tickleberry's for ice cream just before you reach Okanagan Falls. In OK Falls most people stay on 97 but the back route is a better motorcycle route. At the flashing light go straight through and turn right on Eastside Road at the lake, this will take you up the back side of Skaha lake and into Penticton. Eastside Road will turn into Main Street in Penticton, stay on Main Street until you reach the lake. Turn left on Lakeshore and you will pass the Casino and numerous beach front restaurants (not a bad stop for people watching in the summer). Lakeshore hooks up with 97 at the bottom of Lake Okanagan.

Heading north you will pass through Summerland, if you're adventurous enough (and skilled enough) take a ride up Giant's Head Mountain this is not an easy climb but the view is incredible from the top. If you're riding a chopper this is not the road for you. Continuing on up Highway 97 the next town is Peachland take the exit and ride through the town the road follows the lake and you will eventually connect back onto 97 North. You're not likely to make it past the Gasthaus restaurant in Peachland if you like German food. Once you are back on 97 you can detour around Westbank and miss the traffic if you turn off at the overpass onto Gellatly Road S. this winding route takes you through rolling vineyards and past another favorite local winery Mission Hill. You will hook up with 97 north past Westbank where you can continue into Kelowna over the floating bridge into town. Plan to spend about half a day if you keep riding, if you make the stops I've mentioned plan on riding for the whole day. If you're pressed for time just take Hwy 33 to Rock Creek and back. Remember watch for deer.

By Jeff Kumagai
Freelance Motorcycle Rider



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