4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
For those seeking a looong day in the forests - this is the ride for you.
The climb from Gillard parking lot all the way to Little White is tough but scenic and remote, and leads to a prominent Okanagan summit. Start out by riding up the Gillard Forest Service Road, which in turn leads to the famous Kettle Valley Rail Trail (better known as the KVR).
Hang a left and ride easily along the KVR for a few kilometres to a spectacular wooden bridge (Bellevue Creek Bridge) over a deep valley.
It's worth spending a few minutes on the bridge soaking in the ambience before continuing with your ride - and when you do continue, get off the bridge and immediately go right on a small track, which in turn leads to the Telegraph trail after a couple of hundred metres. The Telegraph trail is - let's be honest here - a bit of a tough slog and you'll be pushing your bike for as long as you're riding it.
That said, the trail goes through some beautiful forests and you're highly unlikely to see anyone else on it.
Keep on slogging and remember that the bike you're pushing will serve you well on the way down! Eventually the Telegraph trail meets the Little White Trail and you may begin to see the occasional hikers or even some motocross riders.
Continue pushing your bike and riding it where possible until reaching a couple of disused old gateposts directly below the Little White summit hump.
It's probably best to leave your bike here and proceed on foot because the trail gets so rocky that the ride down wouldn't be quick enough to justify pushing your bike any further. Carry on - now on foot - and enjoy the wide open and alpine feel of the final stretch of path to Little White's summit.
The views just get better the higher you go, and from the summit itself is a true 360 degree vista across the Central Okanagan.
Take the time to pick out some local landmarks and savour your achievement - it's downhill virtually all the way back to the car now! The hike down is enjoyable enough and then once back at your bikes the Telegraph Trail is an excellent ride, with some fast singletrack, technical sections and plenty of root-y bits too. From the KVR we've drawn our line going back down the Gillard Forest Service Road but a more fun option is to ride one of Gillard's many superb trails, provided you've got the energy and enthusiasm left!