The Hill

Knox Mountain Hillclimb is run annually on Knox Mountain Park Road, in the City of Kelowna. The road, while paved, is narrow with off-camber corners, and steep grades; a nice Sunday drive, but hardly a race track. It is 2.2 miles (3.5km) long, and climbs approximately 800
feet (245 meters) in elevation for an average grade of 6.7%.

Click HERE to scroll to the "Photo tour" section.

Past its 60th year, Knox Mountain is the longest annually running paved hillclimb in North America. The event attracts top drivers from throughout the Pacific Northwest, looking for the challenge and thrill of being fastest.

Cars are run one at a time, each trying to reach the top in the lowest elapsed time. Drivers/cars compete in various classes from open wheeled formula cars to powerful large engined GT cars. But, each hopes to be "King of the Hill", earning the fastest time of the weekend.

The current hill record is 1m:37.065, held by John Haftner of Vancouver, British Columbia. Times under two minutes are considered exceptionally fast, with few drivers achieving that and even fewer sedans having ever achieved that. Most times fall between 2m00s and 2m30s. To achieve top times, speeds in excess of 160kpH must be reached on the short straights.

The road corners are known by their "numbers" and include three switchbacks; each corner has its own features varying from steepness to camber, to steep drop-offs if you go too wide.

Turn 1 - The first switchback, comes in off a rise in the slope, often misjudged carrying in a bit much speed.

Turn 2 - The steepest part of the hill, but narrow and dark shade of the trees.

Turn 3 - Second switchback, again very steep especially if your line is too close to the traditional apex. Secret is to go wide.

Turn 4 - For many the scariest turn, with a steep dropoff on the right. Be bold.

Turn 5 - Frequently mis-judged as drivers turn away from open slopes to the inside part of the course. Be cautious of drifting too wide.

Turn 6 - High speed turn, flat out for many, unless your car is very quick.

Turn 7 - Another high speed turn, leads into hard left switchback.

Turn 8 - Hard braking into left hand switchback, drop a couple of gears and prepare for another short but steep climb.

Turn 9 - Lift off a bit and quickly back on for a blast to the finish. Don't drift too wide, another big dropoff.

Finish - Heart pounding? Adrenalin shakes? Good, get ready for another run.

Photo tour

Photos courtesy of Frank Ewald, updated in 2017


Straight before Turn 1 (facing downhill)

Into Turn 1

Around Turn 1

Into Turn 2

Through Turn 2

Around Turn 3

Into Turn 4

Into Turn 5

Into Turn 6

Before Turn 7

Into Turn 7

Into Turn 8

Into Turn 9

Through Turn 9

Into The Finish