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Penticton, B.C. sits between Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake on a tract of land dotted with orchards and wineries. With mountains to the east and west and water to the north and south, this sheltered city enjoys mild, dry winters and sun-soaked summers that start earlier and end later than most other places in the country.

Taking advantage of the unique climate, a community of adventurers and thrill seekers has sprung up in Penticton, offering visitors the opportunity to embrace the great outdoors by mountain bike, by boat, or by hanging off the side of the Skaha Bluffs on one of the region’s 1,200 rock climbing routes.

Regardless of where your inner adventurer sits on the adrenaline scale, the city’s unique piece of beautiful B.C. has something to offer every visitor. Here’s how to get your heart racing this spring in Penticton.

For just a spark of adrenaline

The South Okanagan is the traditional territory of the syilx Okanagan People who relied on the area’s two freshwater lakes for fishing. Today, these lakes are popular with visitors who like to set off from the shore in a kayak or aboard a boat.

All kinds of watercraft, from stand-up paddleboards to double-decker pontoons (complete with waterslides) are available to rent in Penticton and a Transport Canada temporary licensing program lets visitors captain a boat for the day. “The temporary boating license provides anyone over 21 years of age the opportunity to drive our boats and WaveRunners. The test is free to do and takes 15 minutes to complete,” says Jordan McCallum of Penticton Boat Club and Rentals.

Being out on the water not only offers a new vantage point to see the incredible landscape, but it’s the perfect way to get a taste of adventure without heart-pumping thrills that might be too much for some to handle.

“Penticton is an incredibly special place. It’s one of only two cities in the world nestled between two lakes,” adds McCallum. “My favourite spot to enjoy Penticton is on those lakes, surfing the calm waters of Skaha Lake or enjoying the breathtaking sunsets of Okanagan Lake from a boat. The experience of getting out on the lakes is matched only by hiking the nearby mountains to take in the spectacular views.”

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On dry land, hikers of all skill levels will find themselves at home in Penticton thanks to the Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail, a now decommissioned railway, part of the Trans Canada Trail, turned outdoor attraction. The KVR is an impressive 660 kilometres long but the most stunning section lies between Penticton and Naramata, offering vineyard vistas and an unforgettable lookout spot at Little Tunnel. “It’s stunning,” says Lyndie Seddon Hill, CEO at Hoodoo Adventure Company. “It has valley views and winds through orchards and vineyards. And it’s accessible for all fitness levels and abilities for both cycling and hiking.”

For the adrenaline dose that feels ‘just right’

If you’d rather stay on solid ground, Josh Shulman is the person to talk to. Shulman is the store manager at Freedom Bike Shop, a cycling sales, rental and service company that’s called Penticton home for the past 23 years. He’s seen the city’s cycling infrastructure expand to include more urban paths and hundreds of kilometres of trails and track.

Along with offering guided rides, Freedom has rentals that include high-end road bikes, hardtail mountain bikes and electric gravel and cruiser bikes. For adrenaline seekers, Shulman recommends a mountain bike expedition to the Three Blind Mice network of trails. “There’s almost 100 km of sweet singletrack out there,” he says, advising skilled cyclists to head for one of the more technical black trails like Slabs, Bronco or Drops A Lot, which offer crawling rocky corners, demanding hairpin turns and ricochet rock gardens. There, adventurers will get a true taste of what makes mountain biking in Penticton unique. “Be sure to finish your lap with a trip on Flow Coaster,” says Shulman of the curvy downhill ride that will make you nostalgic for theme parks. “Then pedal your way back to town and finish up with a cold pint of fresh beer at Slackwater Brewing.”

The South Okanagan terrain is also ideal for ATV adventures. Okanagan ATV Tours will set thrill seekers up with the training and gear needed for two- or four-hour tours that take riders on a high-octane tour of the Okanagan Valley with plenty of opportunities to stop and snap a photo or take in the view.

For the ultimate adrenaline enthusiast

“There’s a reason rock climbing is rapidly growing in popularity,” says Hill. “Nothing compares to overcoming a challenge that requires perseverance and a belief in yourself.”

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Skaha Bluffs is a world-class climbing destination, boasting an extended dry climbing season that will thrill any adventurer looking to get their blood pumping as they dangle athletically from the Bluffs’ craggy face. “Our qualified guides are passionate and provide educational safety and technique lessons that are the perfect introduction to the sport, allowing you to explore the rock in a safe environment through a very social and low impact activity,” she says.

New to the sport? Hoodoo offers introductory climbing courses for new climbers. Their HQ is home to the city’s only indoor climbing wall, a space for first-timers to try the sport before hitting up the Bluffs with a Hoodoo guide.

To truly feel like you’re flying, book a day at ZipZone Adventures, home to some of Canada’s highest, longest and fastest freestyle zip lines. With six different lines available, adventurers can take in incomparable views of the area’s abandoned goldmine and the Deep Creek Gorge – all from an adrenaline-spiking 250 feet in the air.

Head to to learn more about this spring travel destination where the weather is always perfect for exploring the outdoors.

Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio with Visit Penticton. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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