Bikepacking the Best of the South Chilcotin Mountains

  • Distance

    79 Mi.

    (127 KM)
  • Days

    3

  • % Unpaved

    100%

  • % Singletrack

    65%

  • Difficulty (1-10)

    7

  • % Rideable (time)

    95%

  • Total Ascent

    9,490'

    (2,893 M)
  • High Point

    7,300'

    (2,225 M)
The South Chilcotin Mountains are Canada's bikepacking hotspot. There is a good reason for this: nowhere else in the country offers such long singletrack trails of comparable quality in such a spectacular setting.
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For many mountain bikers living in the Pacific Northwest, a floatplane assisted trip into this wilderness park sits high on the bucket list. But, for anyone who enjoys pedaling, there is no need for a noisy and costly flight. The wide-open Relay and Big Creek valleys offer climbing on top-notch singletrack, and only the climb from Lorna Lake to Lorna Pass requires a short hike-a-bike.

The riding is characterized by generally smooth, fast singletrack through mid-elevation meadows, dry forests and open alpine in an area full of high mountain peaks and subalpine lakes. This route connects many of the best, most continuously rideable trails, with some quiet dirt road riding to close the loop.

  • Highlights

    camera

  • Must Know

    alert

  • Camping

    home

  • Food/H2O

    drop

  • The riding along almost the entire route is flowy and captivating
  • The wide-open views from subalpine grasslands and high alpine meadows
  • Seeing the wildflowers in bloom in June and July
  • No mosquitoes
  • The route is best-ridden in an anti-clockwise direction for maximum trail riding fun.
  • Snow covers this area for much of the year. Trails are typically rideable from mid-June to late-October. July and August are the busiest, with enough floatplane traffic near Spruce and Warner Lakes on weekends that the noise pollution can be seriously annoying, though trail traffic remains light. (Be part of the solution, go self-propelled!)
  • The author parked at Tyaughton Creek Recreational Site, but since this route is a loop, it can start anywhere on the road section. Other good parking options are at Tyax Wilderness Resort at the north end of Tyaughton Lake, or at the end of Gun Creek Rd.
  • An excellent map of the area, by Trail Ventures BC (http://www.trailventuresbc.com/maps/south-chilcotin/order-chilcotin-map), is available for order online or at Mountain Equipment Co-op in Vancouver and the Bike Co. in Pemberton.
  • Yield to hikers and especially to horses.
  • Long-term mountain bike access to this provincial park is currently under dispute, so be polite and demonstrate how mountain bikers can coexist with other users. Besides, some of the riders on horsepacking trips are novices who have enough trouble controlling their horse without it getting spooked.
  • This is bear country. Make noise to avoid an encounter. Carry 14m of 3mm cord in order to hang your food high in a tree at night. Carrying bear spray as a defense weapon, in case of a confrontation, is recommended (and is more effective than a firearm). Leave no food scraps, since bears that have discovered human food become dangerous.
  • Driving times from Vancouver are about 4-5 hours via the Hurley FSR (rough 2WD) and an hour longer via Lillooet and Road 40 (mostly paved).
  • If you’re coming from far away on an extended weekend, you’ll probably want to drive to the trailhead the night before. There are several established (free) forest service campsites in the area (see Trail Ventures BC trail map).
  • The most strategically located forest service campsites are Friburg (Tyaughton Lake), and Tyaughton Creek.
  • In the park there are many established campsites (see Trail Ventures BC trail map). Some, like at Spruce Lake, have bear-proof food storage boxes and pit toilets.
  • Bring all the food you’ll need, there are no stores on route, and the store in Goldbridge has limited hours and limited choices.
  • Post-ride victory meals can be had at Tyax Wilderness Resort, or better (larger, cheaper) at the Mineshaft Pub in Bralorne.

Terms of Use: As with each bikepacking route guide published on BIKEPACKING.com, should you choose to cycle this route, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and land/road closures. While riding, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, carry proper safety and navigational equipment, and of course, follow the #leavenotrace guidelines. The information found herein is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed. BIKEPACKING.com LLC, its partners, associates, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individual riders cycling or following this route.