Hiking the Benchlands

Exploring lesser known nature trails with hikekamloops.ca

Looking over Kamloops from one of the view points. Photo supplied.

While many Kamloops locals spend their time hiking or biking in their favourite well known city parks, not many know of the others that exist, such as the Valleyview Nature Park or the Dallas-Barnhartvale Nature Park. We found out about these parks only a couple of years ago, which is a shame because they are equally as beautiful (and usually less busy!)

This hike offers gorgeous views. Photo supplied.

One of our favourite trails in the Dallas-Barnhartvale Nature Park is a loop made up of the Benchlands and Ranger-Bob trails. This loop offers spectacular views of city, is relatively easy and is a lovely hike through some typical
Kamloops terrain. Check it out!

 

Trail Name: Benchlands – Ranger Bob Loop
Distance: 3.6 km
Time: About 1 hour
Difficulty: Easy
Cell Service: Yes

Trail: The Benchlands trail is easy, wide and double track. The Ranger Bob trail is a little narrower and single track but still as easy.

Highlights: This trail is one of many in the Dallas-Barnhartvale Nature Park. It’s easy, simple to follow, and offers amazing views of the Thompson Valley!

There are two main trailheads to access this network of trails, one in Barnhartvale and another in Dallas. This particular hike begins in Barnhartvale, however directions to both trails heads are provided. With the exception of the directions to both trailheads, the remainder of this post will focus on access from Barnhartvale.

To get there: Head East along the Trans-Canada Hwy. Take exit 384, the Dallas Dr /Barnhartvale Rd exit. At the roundabout, take the second exit to stay on Dallas Dr. In 500 meters turn right onto Barnhartvale Rd. Follow this road for about 3.1 kilometres and then turn left on Eliza Rd (the street sign is partially hidden by a lamp post and can easily be missed.) The parking area is just ahead on the right. (Alternate trailhead parking: At the roundabout, take the second exit and continue on Dallas Dr. In 2.2 km turn right on Mountview Dr. The trailhead is in 40 m at the end of the road.)

Dogs are welcome on this fun trail. Photo supplied.

As you turn right into the parking lot, the trailhead is immediately to your left, next to the outhouse. This particular 3.6 km hike follows the Benchlands trail into the park. Roughly 1.5 km in, you’ll come across the Bent Gate. This provides access to the Blackwell Trail network. Continue following Benchlands trail until the end where you’ll reach a plateau high above the Dallas neighbourhood. Be extremely cautious of the edge while you enjoy the beautiful scenery this viewpoint has to offer.

From the viewpoint, we turned around and headed back the way we came along the Benchlands trail. A short ways back, we turned right onto the Ranger Bob trail. If you follow this trail, it leads to a second viewpoint and a nice bench for another rest. From here, the trail winds back up through the forest and back to the parking lot.

We really enjoyed this trail and the park. There is something for everyone with trails of varying difficulties, not to mention the Blackwell trails network that is right next door. Be sure to bring water with you in the summer as the trail is mostly out in the open grasslands with little to no shade. Keep in mind this area is operated by the city and so relevant bylaws do apply. It is an off-leash dog friendly park, and as always, it is expected that you clean up after your dog. Enjoy the trails!

Entering the hike. Photo supplied.

 

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