DOWNTOWN Kelowna, from the Rotary Marshes to Strathcona Park is a unique recreational corridor, where locals and visitors enjoy a multitude of year round activities.
In the center of the district is City Park, its entrance is beside the large ‘Sails’ sculpture at the west end of Bernard Avenue. The park has a large beach, beach volleyball, water park, skate park, large playground area and a food concession. The park is also host to many entertaining events including the Kelowna Regatta and Mardi Gras Festival.
Right next to the ‘Sails’ sculpture is Kerry Park, a small park in the heart of downtown with a stage for a variety of free music and entertainment throughout the summer. An interlocking brick boardwalk extends north along the waterfront from City Park, past the Yacht Club and The Grand Hotel, to the pristine Waterfront Park. With the Island Stage, a small beach, concession and acres of perfect grass, it is one of the truly great parks in the city.
A bit further north on the boardwalk is the wetland area called Rotary Marsh, home to various species of wildlife. The walk is approximately 3km in length and is a pleasure to walk, roller blade or bike. South of City Park along Abbot Street is a wide biking and roller blading path, through a variety of neighbourhood areas. The path extends to shady Strathcona Park, a great spot for a refreshing swim in the lake, an afternoon picnic or kicking the soccer ball around.
Mission Creek Greenway
LOCALS and visitors alike appreciate one of the Okanagan’s most accessible wilderness paths as it winds along Mission Creek, starting at Lakeshore Road (between Cook Road and Lexington) and extending all the way to just below Gallaghers Canyon in East Kelowna. The Greenway protects 400 acres of park and provides an important link to the wilderness areas above the city. The first 7.5 km are flat and wide, popular with cyclists, dog walkers, runners and equestrian riders.
The remaining 9.5 kms of the trail are challenging and rise above the canyon at two different locations. The reward of exploring the most eastern portion of the trail is a spectacular view filled with cedar groves, an eagle’s view of the winding creek and some of the most remarkable geology in the valley.
At the Springfield Road entrance to the park, the EECO CENTRE (ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION FOR THE CENTRAL OKANAGAN)
Knox Mountain Park
Minutes from downtown, at the north end of Ellis Street, you will find Kelowna’s premiere natural park, Knox Mountain. The Park comprises 235 hectares (580 acres) of environmentally sensitive, Ponderosa Pine forest and grassland. It is home to a variety of animal and plant life, some of which are endangered species. Kokanee salmon spawn along the lakeshore adjacent to the park.
It offers scenic vistas of the city and lake and recreational opportunities for people of all ages. There are a variety of trails with a range of difficulties for walking, hiking and mountain bike riding. The Paul’s Tomb trail of the park is perfect for the more adventurous mountain There are also several lookout kiosks on the Mountain including the recently constructed Pioneers’ Pavilion. Though named after Arthur Booth Knox, an early rancher in the area, most of the land for the Park was given to the City in 1939 by Dr Benjamin deFurlong Boyce, Kelowna’s first physician. The park is open to vehicle traffic from March 15 to November 15, dependent on weather conditions. Maps of the park and trails are on a kiosk display in the park. Detailed trail maps are also available from the City of Kelowna Parks Department, 1 359 KLO Road and the Tourism Kelowna Visitor’s Centre at 544 Harvey Avenue.