Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Kuiper's Peak

If you're looking for a short hike with some great views and a variety of terrain, I recommend a visit to Kuipers Peak in Kelowna's south slopes.  It's a short trip up Lakeshore Road, left on Barnaby, then straight up Southridge.  Blue signs do a fairly good job directing you the rest of the way.

The first part of the hike is a climb up, along, and over the ridge that provides the park's front boundary.  Spring is a great time to hike through this area.  The greenery is lush and these snowy bushes have a subtle sweet scent proving a softening contrast to the craggy coral terrain.

Once at the top you're rewarded with lovely vistas up and down Okanagan Lake.

Since my last visit they've extended the trail down into the valley just before what I would imagine is some sort of utility building. 

As you have probably figured out, this area is recovering from a wildfire.  Just east of Okanagan Mountain this park was devastated by the 2003 fire.  Still I find beauty in the sooty black trunks with spidery legs that alternately stretch towards the sky and curve to the earth, swallowed up by patches of Oregon grape, fluffy wildflowers and sunny clumps of balsamroot.

To be honest the above photos were not taken along the main trail.  There is a path less travelled that angles down the slope and meanders through the fallen logs and wildflowers, eventually merging with the path pictured below.

Looking back on the trail I didn't follow.



I was pleasantly surprised to discover this little pond at the bottom of the trail.  The Ponds development dedicate Kuiper's Peak Park to the City a few years ago.  It's the first phase of a planned  eleven kilometres of linear park that I will look forward to investigating as it develops.  For now, if your looking for a lovely short hike head up to Kuiper's Peak and discover how a forest recovers naturally from fire.