Kelowna Mountain Suspension Bridges

posted in: Canada, Travel 3

IMG_6937Find family adventure in your own back yard! Saturday afternoon my family hiked up to Okanagan Mountain (a new, and not yet open) tourist park to try out North America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge.

And guess what? Only one of us had a little panic attack; because only one of has a little fear of bouncing and swaying, high suspension bridges. Yes, it was me. But all was well, as my seven year old took me by the hand and talked me safely across.


A big tourist park is coming to Kelowna this July, 2013: Kelowna Mountain. It will include a winery, winter ski/board park, gondola and suspension bridges. It is almost completed but not quite…


It proved to be a perfect opportunity for my family to explore the park before it opens. We drove high above Kettle Valley, parked our car and hiked for at least 1/2 h straight up hill in the summer heat.


We arrived relatively unscathed despite the fact we were hiking with a tired and thirsty seven year old and a thirteen year old who was claiming to find the whole excursion boring (and this was not true at all–just a typical statement from a thirteen year old on a family hike).

Pip And I on first suspension bridge with the winery beginnings behind us.
Tabs and Pip on first bridge.
Tabs and Pip on the second of the bridges.
Wine tasting bar just after the first bridge. I noted an active bird's nest in the rock.
Wine tasting bar just after the first bridge. I noted an active bird’s nest in the rock.

It was a true coincidence that after our first bridge, we came upon a friendly gentleman sitting in a lawn chair, surveying the construction. He happened to be the owner/creator of the massive new park. We had an interesting chat about it’s construction and the future plans for the park. He purchased the mountain land in 2003, after the big Okanagan Mountain fire storm that burned through most of Kelowna’s surrounding mountains and into Kelowna.


The suspension bridges were awe inspiring. One of them is North America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge.The views on Okanagan Lake and valley were incredible.

I found the longest and highest bridge to be very long, high and swaying and bouncing just enough to induce a wee panic attack 2/3 away along it.

*I have a fear of narrow cliffs ledges and sharp drop-offs. This fear has effected my downhill skiing, as sharp/narrow turns beside cliffs paralyse me. Other than that, I can talk myself through just about anything–I refuse to let instinctual fears stop me if they prove to be emotion rather than fact based.


I’ve done some pretty frightening suspension bridges while hiking in the oldest rain forest on earth in the Taman Negara Jungle(read about bridge walk here) in Malaysia. They’re narrow, high and rickety in the jungle (see pics of a few of the bridges here).

The Okanagan bridge was a cake walk in comparison, but still the irrational emotional side of my brain snapped on for a moment and I shouted for Peter to catch up with me as I was getting scared. With Peter near by and darling Pip taking me by my hand (she was able to use her youthful wisdom to talk me through it to the end), I was able to get across without a major meltdown.

Longest suspension bridge viewed from below.
Longest suspension bridge viewed from below.
View of Okanagan Lake and Valley.

It was a fun way to spend a late Saturday afternoon with two of our daughters (eldest daughter chose to hang out with a friend). I thank my sister Miranda for the tip–it’s always wonderful to discover new adventures in one’s own backyard!

3 Responses

  1. Sandra Hart
    | Reply

    Looked like an amazing and fun time!

  2. Mix Hart
    | Reply

    You’ll have to visit soon and we’ll take you up there before it opens.

  3. Sam Cullen
    | Reply

    I totally know what you mean about irrational fears! It’s not fun when they pop up, especially when you didn’t know about them. A few years ago my fiance and I were exploring an oldish trestle on Vancouver Island and about one quarter of the way over it, I got paralyzingly scared. I’ve been on trestles before, so it was totally unexpected. It took quite a while to get back to the edge… ugh I’m glad you were able to overcome your fear and cross the suspension bridges!

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