Grey Canal Trail

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The Grey Canal Trail System is comprised of seven different trail sections within the Greater Vernon area. The trails follow the historic Grey Canal, a former 50 km irrigation channel which sustained orchards and agricultural land through the Greater Vernon area.

Built between 1906 and 1914, the Grey Canal was the backbone of largest irrigation district in BC and provided water to over 10,000 acres. This gravity-fed system carried water from Lavington, around Coldstream, Vernon, Swan Lake to Okanagan Lake. For more history, click here

Today, each Grey Canal trail section offers unique topography with distinctive panoramic views and vantage points. Remnants of the former historical Grey Canal and its elaborate system of ditches, siphons and flumes can be found along portions of the trail system.

Some sections of trail are along the roadside. Its flat and mostly level surface is ideal for walking, hiking, biking and snowshoeing.

The current trail sections of the Grey Canal Trail System include:

Bella Vista:

EASY, 3.5 km

An easy scenic walk or cycle on a level trail, passing by orchards, vineyards and grasslands.

Features: 'Bella' views of Okanagan Lake, the Commonage, Bluenose Mountain and Vernon. Remnants of the former Grey Canal are visible beside the trail. Interpretive Sign. Gravel-surfaced trail. Wheelchair Access Suggestions

Access: Parking is available at end of Pinto Place, off Appaloosa Way. Directions
- Vineyard Way, off Okanagan Hills Blvd. Directions
- end of Sierra Road, off Crosby Rd. Directions

Turtle Mountain:

Three trails are located on either side of Turtle Mountain Boulevard:

1) East of Turtle Mountain Boulevard
MODERATE, 3.5 km

The trail starts with easy flat terrain but dips steeply down to a boardwalk which hugs an ancient lava flow wall created many million years ago. The trail continues with a steep climb uphill and then is level for 3.5 km to Blue Jay Road. A portion of the former Grey Canal’s Knight Siphon, a steel pipe 720 metres long and 50 cm in diameter, can still be seen.

Features: Great views of Swan Lake, Silver Star Mountain, Middleton Mountain and the city. The beginning of the trail contains some steep sections with loose rock but continues into a wide level dirt-packed surface. Benches to enjoy the vistas. Interpretive signs. Easy to moderate. Dogs on leash are allowed.

2) West of Turtle Mountain Boulevard
EASY, 0.8 km

This short easy trail is gravel and flat, suitable for strollers and wheelchairs. Dogs must be on leash.
NEW: A 380 m extension heading east continues to Davison Road. Includes wooden bridge and roadside parking on Davison Road. Directions

Features: Views of Mission Hill, Okanagan Lake and Terrace Mountain in the background. Benches. Wheelchair Access Suggestions

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3) Rocky Ridge Park Trail
MODERATE, 0.4 km

Heading west of the parking lot, turn left behind Razorback Court and continue along a short 0.4 km trail to a wooden staircase that leads to Rocky Ridge Park, an outstanding viewpoint.

Features: Perched on a basalt knoll, Rocky Ridge Park awards an outstanding 360 degree view of Greater Vernon. Beware of Prickly Pear cactus! Not recommended for dog walking. Steep cliff edges.

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Access: On Alexis Park Drive, turn west onto Turtle Mountain Boulevard. Parking lots are located on each side of road at subdivision entrance. Directions

- Nels’ Leap Trail (corner of Alexis Park Drive and 43rd Avenue) climbs steeply to join the Grey Canal Trail. Directions

- End of Blue Jay Road, parking lot and entrance. Directions

East Swan Lake:

This trail runs high along the hills above the east side of Swan Lake, following the historic Grey Canal irrigation system that once provided precious water to the Vernon and Coldstream valleys.

The total trail length from Rugg Road to Baker Hogg Road is 4.3 km, one-way.

Features: Many remnants of the old canal structures as well as excellent views of Swan Lake, Vernon and Spallumcheen Valley. Interpretive signs, benches. Stroll above orchards, farms, grazing horses and llamas. Dogs on-leash permitted.

Three separate sections of trail can be hiked individually or all at once:

1) Rugg Road to McLennan Road
EASY, 1.3 km

The south end of the trail is on uneven dirt surface and the north end continues on the roadway (Grey Canal Road).

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2) McLennan Road to Glenhayes Road
DIFFICULT, 2.2 km

You’ll encounter many remnants of the old canal structures including the longest flume along the Grey Canal, where water was carried in a suspended artificial sheet metal channel above the rugged terrain. This challenging section has some of the most difficult and diverse terrain along the Grey Canal trail. Be cautious of rocky, uneven surfaces, descending gullies, and narrow trail portions. Interpretive signs explain the canal’s history and structures.

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3) Glenhayes Road to Baker Hogg Road

DIFFICULT, steep climb, 0.83 km

The Grey Canal trail descends 830 meters further west from the Glenhayes Rd parking lot down to Baker Hogg Rd. Enter the trail through the metal horse gate at the south-west end of the Glenhayes Rd parking lot. Directions

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Access: Rugg Road (south trailhead): On L & A Road continue straight (north) past Cools Road; turn right onto Rugg Road; turn right into the well-marked parking lot. Directions

- Grey Canal Road (central trailhead): On L & A Road continue north past Rugg Road; turn right onto McLennan Road; turn right onto Grey Canal Road. Parking is at south end of Grey Canal Road. Directions

- McLennan Road (central trailhead): On L & A Road continue north past Rugg Road; turn right onto McLennan Road; parking lot is on the left at the Grey Canal Road intersection. Directions

- Glenhayes Road (northern trailhead): On L & A Road continue north; turn right onto Baker-Hogg Road; turn right onto Glenhayes Road; parking lot is on the left. Trailhead is 100m up Glenhayes Road on right. Directions

- Baker Hogg Road (northwestern trailhead), trail map sign and metal horse gate are located at the trailhead. Parking on roadside. Directions

Trailheads are marked with rectangular fenced gates.

Foothills:

MODERATE, 2.5 km

Located below the Foothills subdivision, this loop trail consists of a high trail (1.1 km) and a low trail (1.42 km). Some steep sections.

Features: Panoramic views stretching from Middleton Mountain in the Coldstream Valley, over the City of Vernon, Swan Lake and sweeping north to the Spallumcheen Valley. Wide dirt-packed surface. Dogs on-leash are allowed. Interpretive signs and benches.

Access: Parking lots at each end of loop:

- Blackcomb Way (southeast trailhead): follow 48th Avenue east to Silver Star Road; continue 1.5 km past BX Elementary School; turn left (west) on Blackcomb Way; watch for parking lot entrance 100 meters on left under hydro lines. Directions

- Rugg Road (northwest trailhead): follow 48th Avenue east to Silver Star Road; turn left onto L&A Road; continue straight (north) past Cools Road; take first right turn (east) onto Rugg Road; turn right into the well-marked parking lot. Directions

Foothills connection to BX Falls:

MODERATE, 0.8 km

Approximately 800 meters in length, an easy gravel trail that crosses Silver Star Road, providing a connection from the Foothills subdivision to the BX Creek Trail entrance.

Features: This trail connects the Grey Canal Silver Star Foothills parking lot (off Blackcomb Way) with the Star Road parking lot. Saskatoon bushes fill the former Grey Canal.

Access: Parking lot off Blackcomb Way. Directions. Trail heads east to cross Silver Star Road.

- Star Road parking lot. Directions

East Vernon:

This 3.9 km trail starts at BX Creek on Star Road and continues to DeRoo Road. Several on-road sections

Star Road to Maddock Road

DIFFICULT, 1.5 km

Enter a totally different ecosystem as you descend into the heavily forested ravine to BX Creek. On the bridge ponder how many years the flowing creek took to carve the steep walls of the ravine. Continue across BX Creek and climb steep stairs through the lush cedar forest. Leaving the cool green woodland, the trail continues through agricultural lands, and climbs steep stairs to Malim Road. Turn onto Curlew Road and dip down into a smaller ravine. From here the trail arrives on Maddock Road.

Features: This 1.5 km natural surface trail begins with a steep climb in and out of the BX Creek ravine. Bridges, stairs. Short sections require walking on Malim, Curlew and Maddock Roads. Great views of Vernon and lakes.

Access: Star Road: Two trail entrances are located at the Star Road Parking lot. Take the south trail entrance which has a steep climb down the ravine, over the BX Creek, and up the other side. Directions

- At west end of Malim Road is parking and a marked trailhead. Directions

- At west end of Maddock Road, follow trail signpost leading north into a ravine and up onto Curlew Road. Directions

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Continue 1 km south to join the Grey Canal: Hartnell Rd to DeRoo Rd Trail by walking along the following roads:
- Walk east to the end of
Maddock Road
- Turn right (south) onto Dixon Dam Road
- Follow Dixon Dam Road, passing Hughes Road, and Magnetic Hill
- Turn left (east) onto
Hartnell Road

Trailhead is across from 5156 Hartnell Road

Hartnell Road to DeRoo Road
EASY, 1.4 km

From Hartnell Road, the Grey Canal Trail continues south to DeRoo Road, on natural surfaces and some short sections on Briggs Road. Horseback riders also use this trail.

Note: When heading south from Hartnell Road, continue straight on Briggs Rd at Y intersection.

When heading north from DeRoo Road, continue right on Briggs Rd at Y intersection. Trailhead is 170 m past Y intersection on the left. Directions

Features: Good views west and south over Vernon, Okanagan Lake, Commonage.

Access: Hartnell Road: North trailhead is across from 5156 Hartnell Rd. Very limited roadside parking on Hartnell Road (beware of ditches). Directions

- DeRoo Road: From East Vernon Road turn onto Welker Road and then left onto DeRoo Road. South trailhead is at the end of DeRoo Road on the left. Parking available for several cars. Directions

Boss Creek:

DIFFICULT

Boss Creek Trails are the latest addition to the Grey Canal Trail System, offering splendid views over East Vernon, Okanagan Lake, and Kalamalka Lake.

One steep trail starts at the base of Vernon Hill on Welker Rd and climbs uphill to Boss Creek Rd. At Boss Creek Rd traffic circle, the trail splits into two directions. Continue steep trail uphill to Greenwood Rd where trail ends. No trespassing beyond this point: Greenwood Rd is a private road.

A second trail, located half way up the hill at the Boss Creek Rd parking lot, heads south to Galiano Rd and connects to the Grey Canal Coldstream Valley Estates Trail. Be mindful of private property entrances on Galiano Rd. At Galiano Road, turn left (north) and follow the hairpin road upwards. Prior to the green road gate at the end of Galiano Rd, turn right (south) off the road, and follow the trail markers that lead to the Grey Canal Coldstream Valley Estates Trail.

No authorized trails continue past these points shown on map: it is private property and NO TRESPASSING.

Features: Several lovely forested sections. The vertical climb uphill to Greenwood Road is rough steep terrain. The trail south of the Boss Creek Rd parking lot is wide, even, with a smooth surface of crushed, compact aggregate material.

Access: Parking available on Welker Rd and Boss Creek Rd Parking Lot:

- Welker Road: Head straight east on Black Rock Road, which becomes East Vernon Road, and then Welker Rd. At east end of Welker Rd, trail head is in small parking spot with wooden trail signpost. Trail climbs straight uphill from parking lot. Directions

- Boss Creek Road: continue east up McLeish Rd which becomes Boss Creek Rd. Parking lot located on right side of road, before Boss Creek traffic circle. Directions

Coldstream Valley Estates:

North trailhead:

DIFFICULT, 1.3 km

Walking high along Vernon Hill you will behold a bird's-eye perspective of the Coldstream valley sprawling below, with Kalamalka Lake, Okanagan Lake and Swan Lake tucked in the background. Sprinkled along the trail are remnants of the historic Grey Canal which once irrigated the parched hillsides below.

Heading north along Vernon Hill, a midway signpost offers two options:
- continue
straight ahead for a short level trail (0.65 km one-way). Private property sign indicates the termination of trail
- turn
right for a longer (1.3 km one-way) and steeper hike, climbing up Vernon Hill for more spectacular vistas and a bench to rest and catch your breath. Trail continues north and joins with the Boss Creek Trails on Galiano Road (after the green road gate)

Features: Both trails offer wonderful views of the valley, the City and Swan Lake. Hard-packed dirt surface. Dogs on leash allowed.

Access: Parking and south trailhead on Cypress Drive: To access Coldstream Valley Estates, follow Highway 6 east, turn left (north) at Aberdeen Road intersection, right onto Buchanan Road, left (north) onto Upland Drive and follow all the way up the hill to Cypress Drive.

Turn left on Cypress Drive. Park at the northwest end of Cypress Drive and enter trail through the yellow concrete barriers. Directions

Coldstream Centennial Project Trail
Heading southeast , the trail meanders along the former Grey Canal irrigation ditch and through the expansive Coldstream Estates. This 0.9 km one-way trail is lined with lush wild rose and Saskatoon bushes, and wispy willow trees. At the southeast end of the trail, either turn back or continue walking several metres along Cypress Dr to enter another trail:

Coldstream Valley Estates to Coldstream Ranch Trail
At the southeast end of Cypress Dr, a parking lot and trail map indicate the trailhead for this 1 km (one-way) trail heading east towards Coldstream Valley. In spring and summer, meadowlarks and other songbirds serenade your stroll through the grasslands. Looming ahead is Bluenose Mountain, an ancient volcano core.

The trail ends at the Coldstream Ranch fence. Follow the wooden fence up the ravine for more incredible views of the Coldstream Valley and Camel's Hump, another ancient volcano core.

Features: Superb views of Coldstream valley, Kalamalka Park, Kalamalka Lake and Middleton Mountain. Interpretive sign and bench. Dogs on leash allowed, please use dog bags and garbage cans located at trailheads. Wheelchair Access Suggestions

Access: To access Coldstream Valley Estates, follow Highway 6 east, turn left (north) at Aberdeen Road intersection, right onto Buchanan Road, left (north) onto Upland Drive and follow all the way up the hill to Cypress Drive.

Turn right on Cypress Drive. Trailhead signposts and parking available:

- on right side (south) of Cypress Drive, for Coldstream Centennial Project Trail Directions

- on left side (north) of Cypress Drive, for Coldstream Valley Estates to Coldstream Ranch Trail. Directions

For Grey Canal history, click here

For an interactive map of the Grey Canal trails, click here

For a Grey Canal Scavenger Hunt to explore trail and signs, click here