We all have those days where all we want to do is meander through the forest and relax, right? It’s not just me? After a day of work or just lazing around, I usually get pretty antsy and want to go exploring, but I’m not always up for a full-on hike. Y’know that feeling? Well, easy hikes will become your best friend on those days. I just recently discovered the Quail Flume Trail in north Kelowna and I’m so glad it’s on my radar now! It’s a flat, quiet, and shaded hike — sometimes that’s exactly what I’m looking for. It’s a great little trail to just get outside and enjoy nature.
The Quail Flume Trail follows an old irrigation canal on the outskirts of Glenmore and, while I wouldn’t quite call it a hidden gem, it is a pretty wonderful little hike. And to top it off, I’ve only ever seen a handful of people on the trail! It’s probably because there aren’t any spectacular viewpoints, but don’t write it off just because of that.
|Length||3.3 km (one way)|
|Duration||1.5 – 3 hours|
|Type||There-and-back, linear, and/or loop|
|Trail||↠ Google Maps|
Quail Flume Trail
It’s pretty cool that there’s an old irrigation canal that you can walk next to right here in Kelowna! I like history, but there aren’t a lot of “old” structures you can check out in the Okanagan so when I find something even a little historical, I jump at it! There isn’t a ton of info online about the flume, but there are a few plaques along the trail that’ll give you a quick history lesson.
What to expect
First thing’s first, you need to go into the Quail Flume Trail knowing it’s super easy! If you think it’s gonna be a challenge, you’ll be disappointed and curse me for recommending this trail to you. I don’t want that! So before you go any further, just let me repeat that for a sec. It’s easy. Super easy. Super duper easy.
Okay, I think you get it.
The Quail Flume Trail is tucked away behind a pretty big subdivision and runs all the way to UBCO through a beautiful forest of Ponderosa Pine. Its sister trail, the Eagle View, runs parallel to it for a ways. The two trails create a barrier between Quail Ridge and the Glenmore landfill. Don’t let that scare you away, though! The landfill isn’t that obvious.
Even though the trail is sandwiched in a small forest corridor, we heard a ton of chirping frogs and birds and even spotted a coyote in the distant field. The trail from Quail Crescent to UBCO is about 3.3 km long and people use it for all sorts of activities. From walking and trail running to biking and horseback riding, the Quail Flume Trail is great for everyone looking to get outside.
The trail itself is extremely obvious. It’s wide and made of hard-packed gravel, so there’s absolutely zero chance of getting lost. The trail follows the old cement flume for kilometers as it skirts the backyards of beautiful homes and a perfectly manicured golf course. As you approach the university, the forest gives way to a large field where animals like coyotes like to hang out. From here, you can enjoy views of Robert Lake and Dilworth Mountain.
For the most part, the trail is pretty flat. At the trailhead, you’ll come to a fork where the Quail Flume and Eagle View trails branch off from one another. This is probably the steepest part of the whole hike. The two trails run parallel for a while and there’s a connector about 2.5 km in if you want to change this there-and-back hike into a loop. Thanks to the many Ponderosa pines, the trail is pretty shaded but there’s not a lot of wind and almost no water throughout the hike, so it can get a little warmish in the summer.
The old irrigation flume runs parallel to the trail for almost the entire length. It’s a few feet wide and only about a foot or so deep. There’s no longer any water in it, but lots of plants now call it home. For the most part, it’s uncovered but there are a few sections where it’s been buried in dirt.
Even though there aren’t any sprawling, spectacular viewpoints on the Quail Flume Trail, you can get glimpses of nearby mountains and Robert Lake as you approach UBCO. There’s a bench and even a little bridge along the way.
Parking for the Quail Flume Trail is easy peasy if you start at the Quail Crescent trailhead. There’s a pretty large gravel parking lot, but since most hikers live in the area, there’s usually only a couple of cars there. There’s no gate, so you don’t have to worry about your car getting locked in.
However, if you start from UBCO it’s a little trickier. The parking lot is designated for students and you could get ticketed if you park there without a permit. From September 1 until April 30, you can pay to park in Lot G (which is near the trailhead). For up-to-date fees, check out UBCO’s website.
Honestly, this is a pretty easy hike so you won’t need too much gear. You probably don’t need to bring the ten essentials or even a backpack, but there are a few things you should grab before you head out.
- Water: Since I’m a water fiend and, y’know, it’s kinda important — especially on hot Okanagan days — I’m always going to urge you to bring lots of water. You could bring a water reservoir, but a bottle or two should be enough. I like S’well bottles since they keep water cold, but other great reusable options are Klean Kanteen and Yeti.
- Footwear: I’d recommend either runners or hiking sandals for this trail. You could wear flip flops, but I personally hate walking more than a kilometer in them.
- Sun protection: Even though most of the trail is shaded, it’s always important to protect yourself from the sun. Throw on some sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat and you’ll be fine.
- Binoculars: If you wanna do some bird watching or spy on the coyotes, you could bring along some binoculars.
I’m always on the lookout for awesome, easy trails around Kelowna. I love just getting outside and enjoying nature without feeling like I have to push myself all the time. The Quail Flume Trail is great for a morning run or evening stroll or, honestly, whatever you want. It’s a quiet, lesser known trail where you can catch a glimpse of some wildlife and just take in the beauty.
If you wanna check out some other awesome, easy hikes around Kelowna, you’re in luck — I’ve written a whole article about it! And remember, have fun out there!