Two Thumbs Up for Enderby Cliffs in the Okanagan

A half-hour drive north of Vernon, split by Highway 93, is a delightful little town called Enderby.  It is home to the world’s largest reel lawnmower, North America’s largest drive-in movie theatre, and a beagle named Miss P (aka Tashtins Lookin For Trouble), who is famous for winning Best in Show at Madison Square Garden in New York at the Westminster Kennel Club All-Breed Dog Show in 2015.

These are very cool things about Enderby, but I like the town because the Shuswap River flows through here, right where the Shuswap meets the North Okanagan Valley, over which towers the magnificent Enderby Cliffs, 850 meters above the valley floor.  The rock is volcanic; a walk along the trail is a step back 50 million years to the Tertiary age.

The Secwepemc called this place ‘Tplaqin’, meaning ‘cliff’; it’s an area where they hunted, gathered wild medicines, and settled before travelling to the mountains beyond.  Those activities still occur today.  The archeological evidence suggests the Secwepemc have used this area for many generations.

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An early-morning approach from Highway 93. The cliffs shrouded in clouds.  And mystery.

The well-maintained, 7-kilometer-ish trail takes you to the summit, where the views are spectacular.  In fact, you don’t even need to go all the way to the summit before the trail opens up to views of the Shuswap to the north and the cliff wall itself. But for a glorious view of the North Okanagan, with Swan Lake in the foreground and Lake Okanagan to the rear, you will have to climb a little higher.  The most impressive view is at the top.

It’s well worth the trip.

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The cliffs from a distance.

• To get to the cliffs, head east on Cliff Avenue from downtown Enderby
• Cliff Avenue quickly turns into Enderby Mabel Lake Road
• Turn left on Brash Allen Road (there will be a sign that alerts you)
• Drive down Brash Allen Road for 1.4 kilometers until it turns into a gravel road (fork right).  Continue for another 1.6 kilometers until you see the trailhead at the end of the road on the left.

• There are washrooms at the trailhead, but nowhere else on the trail.
• The Enderby Cliffs Trail is a single-track path for hikers only – no bikes, no motorized vehicles.  Horses are allowed in the park, but not on the trail.  Dogs must be kept on a leash.
• This is a long, relatively gentle uphill, with very few flat parts.  I would put aside a solid two hours for the ascent and another 1.5 hours for the descent.
• There are a couple of excellent flat spots along the summit ridge to have your lunch.
• I saw a few children on the trail (some whining, some happy), so it’s doable for a younger audience.
• I did not see any water sources on the trail, so bring what you need.
• Cell reception was fine all the way.

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The start of the trail.


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At the summit, waiting for the clouds to clear. Reminds me of the movie, The Gods Must be Crazy, when Xi, the San from the Kalahari Desert, tosses the Coke bottle off the end of the earth.


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And finally, the clouds clear for a moment for this spectacular view of the Shuswap River, Enderby, and the North Okanagan Valley.


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And the necessary selfie of me with my head hanging over the edge. Childish, I know. But fun.

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