The Valhalla Circumnavigation

The Resource Road network between Slocan and the Columbia River provides many tempting possibilities for the gravel enthusiast.  I’ve been contemplating the idea of circumnavigating the Valhallas on a gravel bike for some time now.  After a fair amount of research, Svein Tuft and  decided to give it a go.  We did the trip as an overnight adventure in late July.  Having completed the route in good fashion, we wondered what it would be like to do it as a day trip.

We picked a cool day and left my place in Slocan a 0430 in the morning.  By headlamp, we headed south from Slocan via the Little Slocan resource road and up Koch Creek to a low pass.

Having skied a fair bit in that area, I often wondered if the pass was passable by bike in the summer. Lo and behold it does, at a grade four  bushwhack.

Once we got through the timber, we popped out into a recent cut block and meandered our way to the road.  We surfed relatively high speed gravel down Burton Creek and cruised the highway up to Caribou Creek.It’s an 1800m climb from the shore of the Columbia River to the crest of Hailstorm Ridge.  The grades range from reasonable to steep.  However once you gain the ridge, the views are spectacular.After we traversed the ridge and descended into the next valley, we stopped at a creek for a drink and a sandwich.  After another 400m of descending, we began the climb up the Shannon Creek FSR.

Once we hit the height of land, a scintillating descent dropped us down to the community of Hills on the north end of Slocan Lake. There we jumped onto the K&N rail trail and headed south down the lake back to Slocan.