The Kettle Valley Railway

The trail I’m biking over the next 2 weeks is the former Kettle Valley Railway. Like most of Canadian history, it was built to prevent the American’s from annexing parts of Canada. The CPR was finished in 1885 and helped join western Canada to the east. However in the rockies, the CPR route (which follows Highway #1) goes a significant distance north of the American border. The southern interior of British Columbia is rich in coal, minerals, forestry etc. and there was a demand to bring these resources to market. Since the valleys in the rockies generally go north/south, it was easy to bring commodities south to the Great Northern Railway in the US – but difficult to bring the commodities west to Vancouver. Without a railway linking the southern interior to Vancouver, there was a fear of American’s gaining too much control over the territory. Hence the CPR through various subsidiaries built the Kettle Valley railway to link the southern interior with the coast. Wikipedia has a more detailed history available. The last of the rails were pulled up around 1989 and it was turned into a hiking/biking trail.

I will be going from Castlegar in the east, through to Hope and beyond on the Trans-Canada trail all the way to Vancouver. The estimated distance is around 800KM, depending on my exact route into Vancouver. The longest cycling day will be around 90KM, and the shortest around 20KM with stays in hotels and B&B’s along the way.

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