The townsite of Naramata was founded by John Moore Robinson, who started the fruit industry in this part of the Okanagan Valley and also founded the townships of nearby Peachland and Summerland. Robinson named the town Naramata, meaning the Smile of the Manitou, after Naramattah, the wife of the great Sioux Indian Chief Big Moose.
In the early days, Naramata could only be reached by paddlewheeler, until a horse and carriage road was driven through in 1910, connecting the community to the village of Penticton to the south. In 1915, Naramata became a stop on the new Kettle Valley Railway, bringing prosperity to the previously remote community.
With no road access from the north, Naramata is only visited by those who want to be there. The town offers peace and serenity in all seasons, with spectacular gold Okanagan sunsets and the splendour of the moonlight glistening on Okanagan Lake.
Naramata is 15 km (10 mi) north of Penticton on the eastern side of Okanagan Lake.
Direct daily scheduled flights are available to Penticton from Vancouver and Calgary, and to Kelowna from Calgary, Edmonton, Seattle, Toronto, and Vancouver. Check with Air Canada, Horizon Air, Coastal Pacific or WestJet for details.
The exhibits display the early days in Naramata: fruit growing, early farm equipment and artifacts, cultural history - including Naramata's Canadian Players theatre company of the 1930s, the still-active Naramata Community Choir, and a fine collection of vintage photographs and documents.
On the southside of the village, Manitou Park is a wonderful spot to relax or play. The park includes grassy areas, a playground, ball fields, picnic tables, changerooms, washrooms, horseshoe pitch, volleyball court, and a family beach. Dogs are welcome on an adjoining beach - just south of Manitou Park Beach.
With 22 wineries between Naramata and Penticton, the area is busy all summer long and particularly during the spring and fall Okanagan Wine Festivals. Take part in the dinners, special tastings and events at Naramata wineries and restaurants. With the rolling hills, meandering country roads, and spectacular views of the shimmering lake there is little doubt that Naramata has the prettiest vineyard landscape in North America.
This is your focal point looking west across Okanagan Lake towards Summerland, and its sphinx-like pose is reminiscent of Egyptian monuments. Whether you see a giant's head or a majestic sphinx, it is one of the most wonderful views around.
This is also the original site of the Old Dock at Mill Bay. Browse through photos at the Museum or the Heritage Inn. You will see pictures of the wharf that serviced the fruit industry and community for decades. This old dock has been replaced and the park beautified with pathways. Great views of serene Mill Bay and Okanagan Lake looking north.
Built in 2002, the trestle along the KVR Trail is reminiscent of the railway's famous timber bridges. The trestle is a wonderful vantage point to view the valley and its vineyards. The trestle is about a 40 minute walk from downtown Penticton and is located near several wineries. From the trestle, the trail heads north to Little Tunnel (13 kilometres) and beyond.
It's actually not that small and from this spot, Naramata spreads below you. One of the only tunnels on the historic Kettle Valley Railway that can be reached by car, the expansive southern view will thrill you as you enter the tunnel and will reward you with a fabulous view to the north when you emerge from the other end.
The trail starts in Penticton, on Vancouver Hill, and crosses over Naramata Road just before Hillside Estate Winery. The incredibly scenic trail meanders through vineyards, orchards, across the McCullough Trestle and takes you north to Naramata. The trail follows along above Naramata Road all the way past Naramata Village to the Little Tunnel, on to the larger tunnels, all the way to Kelowna- across the sidehills, through forests-high above the valley floor. Hike, bike, or cross-country ski this trail seasonally. Vehicles, horses, and ATVs are permitted, but please respect those traveling on foot. Allow yourself a few hours to reach the first tunnel, visible from the village. Magnificent rockery and scenery will awe you on this pleasant grade, which all ages can easily access.
A conference and retreat facility affiliated with the United Church of Canada, the outdoor labyrinth is a large walking meditation circle built of grass and landscaping stone pathways. It is located beside the post and beam Chalmers Chapel, which is a quiet place for worship or meditation.
Winter provides kilometres of trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Downhill and snowboard skiing is available an hour away at Apex Mountain Resort.
The beautiful sandy beaches of Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake provide great swimming and boating in summer.
The hiking trails above Naramata are popular with naturalists and photographers for the good bird watching, seasonal wildflowers, and unspoiled habitat. Local stables also allow you to explore the countryside around Naramata on horseback.
Penticton & Wine Country
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia