A Golden Mile Itinerary
The Golden Mile Bench is the south-western slope of the fertile Oliver valley and is first to be bathed in radiant morning sunshine.
Although the sun casts its shadow on it earlier in the day, compared to the Black Sage Bench, the Golden Mile Bench still receives an abundance of sunlight and heat to produce a bountiful harvest in fall.
Because the Golden Mile Bench gets less afternoon sun, it is also cooler making it the perfect place to grow Gewurztraminer and Muscat grape varietals. It’s also the perfect place for spring and summer afternoon picnics from where you can admire the Black Sage Bench from a cooler vantage point.
The vineyards on the Golden Mile Bench flourish in fertile nutrient-rich soils some of which is gravelly and rocky and some sandy and loamy. We can thank alluvial fans created by the last ice age for that!
Here’s a fun fact for wine lovers! The Golden Mile Bench was named the first official sub-geographical indication (sub-GI) within the Okanagan Valley. Basically, it labels the Golden Mile Bench as having a unique climate and soil type that results in a specific style of wine. This means that wine produced from grapes grown exclusively on the Golden Mile Bench can indicate “Golden Mile Bench” as a Geographical Indication on their BC VQA wine labels.
So, yes, Oliver and the Golden Mile Bench are pretty special and if you are a wine buff who also loves warm, dry climates and romantic adventures with your partner you’ll most certainly have a ball here.
Read on and download the printable itinerary at the bottom of this post to begin planning your next Golden Mile vacation!
Explore the Golden Mile Bench
Savour the Flavour of Miradoro Restaurant
Miradoro Restaurant located at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards on the Golden Mile Bench is a wonderful place to visit if you enjoy savouring delicious food and wine while “drinking in” one of the best views you can get here in Oliver. As a matter of fact, Miradoro Restaurant was listed as having one of the best patio views by the Penticton Western News last year!
Award-winning executive chef Jeff Van Geest is a celebrated chef in BC who is passionate about creating beautiful and mouth-watering works of delectable art. He also enjoys being the conduit between the suppliers, makers, growers, and foragers of the ingredients that he works with. You can read more about him and his food in our feature, “The Story Of Food: An Interview With Chef Jeff Van Geest.”
Right now, in time for spring and summer patios you can enjoy Miradoro Restaurant’s lovely Charcuterie Board which includes Soria Chorizo, Lonzino from Two Rivers Meats, Fuet Sausage from D-Original Sausage Co. in Vancouver, Gold washed-rind cheese from Upper Bench Winery and Creamery in Naramata, and Misty cheese from Carmelis Farm Ltd. in Kelowna.
A magnificent charcuterie pairing is Tinhorn Creek’s 2020 Oldfield Reserve Rosé.
Miradoro Restaurant also makes delicious pizzas to pair with a nice red!
Miradoro Restaurant’s take-out is an especially wonderful way to enjoy Oliver’s warm temps and sunny days. There are loads of beautiful places to take your food including one amazing place (shown below) only a short hike away!
Wine-Tasting at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards is a lovely winery to visit on the Golden Mile Bench. It’s located right beside Miradoro Restaurant and at the trailhead to the Golden Mile Trail. You can literally spend the better half of a day at this location tasting, sipping, getting some exercise, and enjoying nature.
The tasting room is spacious and they’ve got a great selection of merchandise including apparel, the cutest hats, charcuterie boards, preserves, cookbooks, picnic roll-ups, and stainless steel wine flasks.
They’ve got loads of space to enjoy your experience including a large patio, quaint vineyard seating area, and an amphitheatre. You can really spread out here with all the open space. Plus, being up high on the Golden Mile Bench you’ll be in awe everywhere you look.
Tinhorn Creek’s wine ambassadors are knowledgeable and friendly, including Mike shown above in pink who can seriously tell you anything you want to know about Tinhorn Creek’s delicious wines and the region itself.
After your tasting, have a wander through the show vineyard! Each row grows a different grape variety.
The vineyards are just starting to sprout vines now. Come autumn it will be full of grapes. Be sure to come back to see how the season changes around here!
Hike the Golden Mile Trail
The Golden Mile Trail is a beautiful hike along the semi-arid and wild landscape of the Golden Mile Bench.
There are several ways to hike this one. One, you can start at Tinhorn Creek Winery and hike as far as you’d like to go and return.
Two, you can park a car at Tinhorn Creek Winery and one at the Fairview Road trailhead and hike from north to south (better views while you’re walking plus it’s easier). Or three, you can do a loop from Tinhorn Creek returning on Old Golf Course Road.
Tinhorn Creek Winery Start Point
If you start at Tinhorn Creek Winery, you’ll need to walk back up the drive and then to the left. When you reach a gravel road (not far) turn right again and follow it up to the end where you’ll see a rattle snake fence (to keep the snakes out of the vineyard). That should be your signal to watch your step if you venture off trail into the sage brush where snakes may not easily be seen!
You’ll also venture through a gate meant to keep bears out of the vineyard. It’s mostly a concern when the vineyards are ripe as you can imagine.
Having said that, don’t let the snake and bear fences deter you from hiking this beautiful trail! Just be prepared and preferably go with a friend. I’ve never seen any of these things on the trail, at least yet.
The trail is steeper at the Tinhorn Creek end but it’s only for a short period and then it’s fairly flat the rest of the way. If you go this way, be sure to stop and turn around and take in the view as you go!
Signs will guide you to a certain point and then they stop so you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled for the three-way junction which takes you left to the Old Stamp Mill ruins, straight up the mountain if you continue, or right along the Golden Mile Trail. Go right! The first time I hiked this trail I went straight up the mountain!
Fairview Road Start Point
If you park at the Fairview Road end, the trailhead (shown below) is just past the first cattle guard where the road turns to dirt. This trail entrance is not yet signed so it can easily be missed. Also, there is no parking lot so you’ll need to find a spot to park along the roadside.
You won’t likely have friendly greeters like these most of the time but be aware that cows do roam the hills around here.
Past the gate in the above photo, take the trail to the left to access the Golden Mile Trail. You’ll see wild flowers along the way and views toward Fairview Golf Course.
You’ll go through another gate (shown below).
The trail will eventually open up to wild sage meadows and gorgeous views of the valley.
A Golden Mile B & B
What better way to complete this Golden Mile Bench theme than to stay at a beautiful bed and breakfast called “A Golden Mile B & B” from where you can admire the Golden Mile views from their amazing patio!
At A Golden Mile B & B, you have two options.
You can reserve the Luxury Granite Suite (shown below) which showcases a large granite fireplace, king-sized bed, bistro table seating for two, a reading recliner, mini fridge, microwave, and a beautiful bathroom. This suite also has access to a high-top barrel table and two patio recliners on the patio.
Or you can reserve the one-bedroom Seaglass Suite (shown below) which has a full kitchen, queen-sized bedroom with ensuite shower, and access to a separate sitting room with half bath. This suite also has a full-sized outdoor dining table and barbeque access as well as patio seating.
Both suites have a similar style bright bathroom with walk-in shower.
In the morning, you’ll get to enjoy a fresh and thoughtfully prepared breakfast including fresh seasonal fruit and a hot main course either in your suite or out on the patio where you can enjoy the lush valley view.
Get In Touch and Plan Ahead!
With Oliver and the South Okanagan being predicted the number one place to vacation in Canada this season, it’s best to plan ahead!
Get in touch with accommodation providers soon so you’re sure to have a place to stay. We look forward to seeing you here in Canada’s beautiful Wine Capital this season when restrictions lift!