Hiking Trail Review: Knox Mountain, Kelowna, BC

A high resolution panorama of the Kelowna British Columbia skyline and Okanagan Lake with the R W Bennett Bridge in the background, from Knox Mountain at sunset

Location: Kelowna, British Columbia
Park Here: Knox Mountain Drive
Public Transportation: Bus #5 from Queensway Exchange

Hike Distance: 4 km roundtrip
Elevation Gain/Loss: 263 m
Hike Duration: 1.5 hours
Difficultly: Moderate
What makes it moderate? The trail is well-travelled and provides a fairly easy climb, but at some points it is a bit of a strenuous uphill battle.

Trail website: Click here

Okanagan Lake view from top of Apex trail at Knox Mountain Park stock photoiStock

To enjoy what is perhaps the best all-encompassing view of Kelowna and Okanagan Lake, you must consider a trek to the top of Knox Mountain. This popular hiking area in the Okanagan Valley provides 235 hectares (580 acres) of gorgeous natural grasslands and pine forest for your hiking pleasure.

There are 10 different trails throughout the park, most of which provide hikers with splendid views of the region. The Apex Trail is best for those looking to take in the panoramic views from the highest point on the summit. There are three main lookout points that are equipped with large wooden pavilions for resting and enjoying the spectacular scenery.

Knox Mountain is not only great for hikers, but it also accommodates those with mobility issues by allowing cars to access part of the summit during the day. The gate for the top parking lot opens for cars at 9:30 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m.

image of Kelowna from the hikeExploratory Glory

Finding the Trailhead

Located just north of downtown Kelowna, Knox Mountain is very easy to reach. Parking is located on Knox Mountain Drive, which is a continuation of Ellis Street. Though there are many access points to the park, there are only three parking lots: one at the bottom, one at the midpoint and one at the top.

sitting on a bench beautiful viewsExploratory Glory

The Hike Itself

Beginning our Knox Mountain hike, we had the option of taking one of several trails. Paul’s Tomb caught our attention as it is one of the most popular trails in the park and leads to a lovely beach on Okanagan Lake. That being said, since breathtaking views are what we were after, we decided to do the Apex Trail leading to the summit.

knox mountain viewpointExploratory Glory

Within 15 minutes of hiking, we reached the Lower Crown Lookout where a wooden pavilion sits at an elevation of 440 metres. From here, we had excellent views of Kelowna and the surrounding area. After we enjoyed the pavilion all to ourselves and had a respite from the heat, we continued up the mountain.

pavilion nice outdoor kelownaExploratory Glory

As we zigzagged up the hill, the scenery became increasingly gorgeous and certain sections of the trail led us around the backside of Knox revealing views looking north to Westside Road.stunning hiking trail lovelyExploratory Glory

After 1.5 hours of moderately strenuous hiking, we reached the summit to find the Upper Apex Lookout. We patiently waited our turn which allowed us time to walk over to a bench looking in the opposite direction. Within a few minutes we had the pavilion to ourselves, until we relinquished our ownership to some fellow hikers and then carried on back down the mountain.

Kelowna Okanagan BC summit topExploratory Glory

Before You Go

  • Knox Mountain is a protected wilderness area and sightings of wild animals such as deer, and bears are a common occurrence, so stay alert while on the trail
  • The Okanagan is very hot and dry in the summer, so bring extra water