This route traces a line of old prospecting and logging roads that are seldom traveled.  Bikepacking through the middle of the Selkirk Range south of Nelson BC you will get a chance to ride through stands of old growth cedar bisected by avalanche paths choked with wildflowers.  With over 3500m of elevation gain in two days you can expect to be well distracted by the views of high peaks and the valley bottoms.  The route is especially nice with the opportunity to camp at Tye Beach on Kootenay Lake.  What contrast to spend the day pedalling through the high country then descend more that 20km to the shore of Kootenay Lake to make camp and swim.

This route also gives a glimpse into the Darkwoods Conservation Area.  Now protected from logging and dedicated to wildlife habitat the area can slowly regrow and sequester carbon from our fossil fuelled modern culture.  What better place could there be to explore by bike!  With minimal vehicle traffic these old forest roads are immaculate (for the most part).  You’re likely to see more caribou and wolf tracks than those of the motorized variety.

Logistically there’s many turns and side roads so follow the Ride With GPS track closely.  This route could be done as a loop if you have the time and don’t have the ability to setup a shuttle.  The route took us two days but as a loop you could do it in 3 or 4 if you wanted a more leisurely pace.  Numerous bail out points are available in the first half of the route if you need it.  There is the option for getting supplies along the route on the first day at the small and eccentric village of Ymir, otherwise you’re in the hinterlands.

Be vigilant about wildlife as you are in their home.  Make noise regularly to let them know you’re flying through, especially on the fast downhills.  Carry appropriate defensive measures like bear spray, bear bangers or whatever you’re comfortable with.  Be extra vigilant in camp, cook away from your camp site and hang your food!  We had any early morning wake up visit from a black bear.  Not an experience you want to have!

Distance & Elevation

  • Distance: 117 km/ 72 miles

  • Elevation Gain:  3550m/ 11647 ft

  • Elevation Loss: 3599 m/ 11808 ft

  • Pavement 0% 0%
  • Gravel 70% 70%
  • Doubletrack 28% 28%
  • Singletrack 0% 0%
  • Hike – A – Bike 2% 2%

Difficulty Rating

On a scale of 1-10

  • Riding: 6

  • Navigation: 6

  • Overall Difficulty: 6

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