AKA: Byland’s Loop
McDougall Rim trail is located on Kelowna’s Westside above Rose Valley Reservoir/Regional Park. From Kelowna drive across the bridge and turn left onto Bylands Road just before West Kelowna’s town center. Follow the paved road out then continue along as it turns to gravel. You will pass a small community area as the road narrows (drive slowly through this area in respect of the homeowners as they have pets and children). When the road passes the last home you will see a parking area on the right. The ride begins by climbing up the fire road from this point.
In the past McDougall Rim Trail was Kelowna’s ultimate cross country loop prior to being damaged by four wheelers over the past few years. The upper reaches of this area fall within a motorized recreation zone and motorized user groups have found it difficult to monitor and police trail sections such as the upper McDougall Rim singletrack as ‘two wheeled’ access only. Consequently much of the upper trail has been widened out but all remains ride-able.
The trail begins by climbing a long, often disheartening fire road. Pay close attention to your map and advice you have been given by bike shop staff about what turns to make/ avoid. It is easy to get off onto the wrong road on this ride! The climb on this section takes about 40 minutes at an average pace. Toward the top the second section of fire road narrows and steepens before you turn right onto the singletrack portion of the climb. Through this next single track climbing section you will be rewarded with great technical singletrack through a sub alpine area. You will also be tested to your limits as you have now climbed for an hour and continue to do so up steep short singletrack sections before reaching the ‘true’ top of the trail. It’s now time to drop the seat a little and enjoy! In the past this descent was a masterpiece with perfect turns, super fast sections to open it up on and technical log roll-overs and loose chutes.
As mentioned previously, the entire trail is still open and fun, but is no longer in its peak condition. On the way down you will pass at least three different look out points that offer the best view of Kelowna and Lake Okanagan you will find. You can even glimpse the Monashee Mountains from the top look out on clear days. Part way down the trail you will roll through some double track before turning left back onto the single track into the bottom section. This bottom descent section requires a great deal of control as it gets very rocky and loose the further down you descend. This section will reward skilled riders with rugged, technical rock sections and fast loose turns before dumping you out right at your car! This trail really has it all. The entire loop can be ridden in about two and quarter to three hours. Bring a snack, spare tube and a riding partner for this one.
The ‘Trails of the Westside’ map details this one well, but it is advisable to ask for specific tips about the exact route to follow. Riding with someone who has been on the loop before will ensure you don’t miss any of the turn offs. www.mtbco.ca