is located 21 km (13 miles) north of Osoyoos
and 40 km (25 miles) south of Penticton
on Hwy 97. Situated at the northern tip of Canada's only desert,
Oliver enjoys a climate of dry, semi-arid weather with very mild
Capital of Canada'
Fruit growing and vineyards are very prevalent throughout the area
providing employment and eco-tourism opportunities. Oliver is often
considered the Wine Capital of Canada with more than 14 wineries
in the area.
Oliver has produced quite a few varieties of world-class wines that
can be enjoyed. You can take part in the various tours that are
offered at most wineries and enjoy the complimentary wine sampling
before you select a vintage.
A favourite tour has to be the one at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards located
just south of town on Hwy 97 at Rd. 7. You will not be disappointed
as the ambiance and class of Tinhorn Creek prevail in all respects.
Bicycling and Hiking Trail
Enjoy this 18.4 kms (11.5 miles) biking and hiking trail that follows
the Okanagan River from McAlpine Bridge north of Oliver near Vaseux
Lake, to the northern tip of Osoyoos Lake in the south. This
multi-use trail, which is paved in sections, allows baby strollers,
people with rollerblades, motorized and manpowered wheelchairs,
horseback riders and, of course, hikers and cyclists.
The trail is an excellent way of providing a very tranquil route
past large sweeping willows along the slow-moving Okanagan River.
Easy access points to several wineries make the trail useful if
you are doing a wine tour of the various vineyards. Located next
to the trail is the Centennial RV Park if you would like to stay
right in town.
Valley Railway Trail
For people using the Trans Canada Trail, the Oliver Bicycling and
Hiking Trail follows part of the right-of-way of the now-defunct
Kettle Valley Railway. This was part of a KVR spur line that ran
from Penticton to Osoyoos from 1923 to 1978 called the Osoyoos Subdivision.
You can still bike or walk from Penticton to Osoyoos if you want,
except some of the right-of-way has disappeared or is hard to find.
South on KVR
If you're going south from Oliver to Osoyoos, before you come to
Osoyoos Lake turn at Road 22 towards Hwy 97. Follow Highway 97 towards
Osoyoos then turn at 134th Avenue past the Sun Fresh Packing House
North on KVR
Leaving Oliver going north towards Okanagan
Falls you have to cross Hwy 97 at McAlpine Bridge. The KVR Trail
is bit tricky to find and a little rough in places. If you persevere
and "portage" around some of the rougher spots, eventually
you'll reach the foot of McIntyre Bluffs and the south end of Vaseux
Lake Provincial Park.
Mile Hiking Trail
For the more adventurous try the 6.5 km (4 miles) long Golden Mile
Hiking Trail starting at the Tinhorn Creek Vineyard. The trail is
open to both hikers and mountain bikers. This trail traverses through
fruit orchards and vineyards providing outstanding panoramic views
of the surrounding valley and mountains around Oliver.
Make sure you pick up a map complete with route instructions from
either Tinhorn Creek Vineyards at the southern end of the trail
or the Visitor Info Centre next to Kiwanis Park. The Visitor Info
Centre is located along the Okanagan River Multi-use Trail in the
renovated, built in 1923, CPR train station.
The Golden Mile Hiking Trail is well worth walking it as it goes
through some old mining ruins, past the historic Stamp Mill and
the heritage town site of Fairview. Just remember this trail goes
through some rougher conditions complete with Rattlesnakes and Prickly
Pear Cactus. A good precaution is to wear some decent walking shoes.
It is also wise that you be prepared for very hot conditions in
the summer so please remember drinking water, hat and sunscreen.
There are a few backcountry roads around Oliver where one can get
off the beaten track and explore. One is the old Fairview Road which
leads from Oliver to Cawston near Keremeos.
This dirt road takes a route that follows the northern border of
the South Okanagan Grasslands Provincial Park.
Lake and Bear/Ripley Lake
There is some hiking access into the provincial park as well as
into Madden Lake and Bear/Ripley Lake Forest Recreation Sites only
11 km (7 miles) from Oliver. These lakes will provide you with some
great fishing but the road into these lakes is a little rough so
a truck is recommended. Watch for the Forest Service Recreation
signs along the route to Cawston for the turnoff to these lakes.
If you're travelling north to Okanagan Falls, rather than take Hwy
97, another route for you is the Green Lake Road. This backcountry
road takes you past some interesting vistas of Hawthorne Mountain
Vineyards with beautiful views of Skaha Lake to the north.
As you travel north from Oliver on Hwy 97, look for the turnoff
to Seacrest Road just past the Sportsmen's Bowl. Once on Seacrest
Road take White Lake Road to the community of Willowbrook. Once
you're at the northern side of Willowbrook, the Green Lake Road
to Okanagan Falls will appear.
For winter sport enthusiasts there is Mt Baldy located 4 km (25
miles) east on McKinney Road that eventually goes to Rock
Creek. Mt Baldy is a great destination if you enjoy smaller
crowds, a relaxed atmosphere and great snow. The prices for a lift
ticket are reasonable offering 1,500 vertical feet of exciting terrain.
If you're planning to stay awhile, accommodation is also available
on Mt Baldly.
There are also some cross-country skiing trails located at 27 km
(17 miles) on McKinney Road just before Mt Baldy. McKinney Nordic
Ski Club, affiliated with Cross-Country B.C., maintains 12 km (7.5
miles) of three clearly marked, day-use groomed trails for all levels
of cross-country ski and snowshoe trails.