Trek-It Tuesday: Summer Solstice at the Little Tunnel

Little Tunnel, Naramata

Solstice 2012 – Little Tunnel, Naramata

Summer solstice is nearly here bearing days of exaggerated sunlight so why not take the opportunity to get out and explore this awesome valley of ours. The KVR’s Little Tunnel sits high on the Eastern Hillside, above the village of Naramata, overlooking the South Okanagan valley with sweeping, panoramic views of its entirety; the scattered ponderosa pine and bunchgrass give way to the neatly manicured vineyards of Naramata and then to the beaches and cityscape of Penticton as Skaha Lake disappears around the bend on the horizon. To the West lies Trout Creek and Summerland tucked neatly at the foothills of Giant’s Head with Brent Mountain prominently sat in the mountains beyond and finally to the North, where if you tilt your head just right, you may be able to peer past Okanagan Mountain Prov. Park to Peachland. Be sure to bring your camera! Especially if you decide to come between the two weeks around summer solstice (June 21) where the Sun sets so far North, it peeks through this incredible, cliff-hanging orifice engineered by Andrew McCulloch nearly 100 years ago.

Little Tunnel, Naramata

Perhaps the best thing about this scenic location is most certainly its ease of access for all ages. The KVR’s moderate grade allows for a myriad of methods to travel the 8.8km round-trip route to the tunnel with cycling, walking and driving being the most common of tactics. Be sure to share the trail.

The KVR Trail above Naramata, BC.

Cycling the KVR Trail above Naramata, BC.

If you are arriving from Penticton or Naramata, head along North Naramata road until you reach Smethurst road, a right hand turn heading up the mountainside, and follow it as it meanders up the hillside and intersects with the Kettle Valley Railway at a parking lot about 5 minutes up. Here you can park your car and walk to the tunnel (~1.5 to 2 hours round-trip) or at least read some of the informative maps and boards explaining the history of the KVR and its significance to the local areas. From the parking lot head North (left as you look uphill) and continue along until you reach the tunnel, or stop at some of the old rock ovens that were built by the railroad workers during the construction of the route. It is also possible to arrive from Kelowna along the KVR and past Chute Lake but is more of a full day trip as opposed to a quick excursion however if you do decide to do so, be sure to check out the Big “Adra” Tunnel, also referred to as “McCulloch’s Wonder” for its horseshoe bend through 490m of bed rock, which is situated en route to the Little Tunnel. Happy ventures.

Big "Adra" Tunnel, Naramata

Big “Adra” Tunnel, Naramata


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