The Okanagan is full of great day hikes but one of the most spectacular is the Enderby Cliffs hike. The Enderby valley started off as a giant lava bed until glaciers came along 20,000 years ago. Massive glaciers carved out the valley and left a 500m cliff band with a spectacular view for those who make the grunt up to the top. From the 180 degree viewpoint, one can see as far south as Okanagan Lake and Vernon and as far north as Salmon Arm and Shuwsap Lake.
The hike starts off as a leisurely stroll through dense forest and then quickly starts to head upwards, switching back and forth up the mountain side. It starts to open up as you gain elevation and once you reach the lower cliff bands, the grade decreases and the trail opens up to great views and grassy meadows where wildflowers abound. From here it’s a final jaunt to the rocky precipice that marks the high point. On a sunny day, the cliff top makes a great lunch spot. Be sure to look straight up as well, as birds frequently ride the updrafts from the cliff-face.
Total hike time is approximately 4-6 hours. Although this hike is good for families, be sure to keep children and pets on a short leash, especially near the upper cliff areas . It’s also not a bad idea to bring along some bug repellent as mosquitoes can be surprisingly persistent on the lower potion of the trail. Upgrades were done to the trail in 2010 to tame some of the steeper areas that previously had ropes strung up the hillside. While the hike is no ‘walk in the park’, we observed a fellow in his 70s walking down from the top on our most recent outing. While people have been making the trek to the top for quite some time, the area has only been a park since 2001.
To reach the trailhead, head north from Vernon until you get to Mable Lake Rd (traffic lights) in Enderby. Head west (right) on Road for 2km until Brash Allen Road. Turn left and head 3km until you reach the parking lot.
You can even make a weekend out of it by adding a day of floating down the Enderby River, watching a couple of movies at the Starlight Drive-in and then camping at one of the campgrounds along the river.
More information on this hike can be found at BC Parks