The Valhalla-Ruby Triple Crown

The 1300m first climb of the day

The Valhalla-Ruby Triple crown is a quintessential Kootenay gravel adventure loop. Over the course of roughly 130km it climbs through three passes for a total of 4000m. The fun part about this loop is it has plenty of options for camping if you’d like to do it as a multi-day trip. For the day trippers, there’s tons of creeks for water, but no food options, so pack a heavy lunch.

Descending into MacDonald Creek

This ride is truly a backcountry adventure; once you head up the Shannon Creek FSR, you’re questing off into the puckies. The remote feel of the ride is fantastic.

Looking towards what’s to come.

The first pass is a steady climb of 1300m to a pass which brings riders down an old road now ATV track into the Columbia River Valley aka the Upper Arrow Lake. After a sinuous descent to 600m, the route climbs steeply back up to 1600m.

Excellent views up the Columbia.
The road turns into an ATV trail as it crests the ridge into the Caribou Creek drainage.

The ATV track is steep and requires a bit of bike pushing, but the forest through which it travels is spectacular. The upper part of the descent is bushy, but it opens up after a couple of kilometers and transcends I to high speed gravel.

Looking south in Caribou Creek

After another mega descent, the road immediately climbs up the south side of Caribou Creek. The climb is a consistent grade with a few steeper sections.

The final pass of the ride is on the looker’s right of the photo.
Black bear in the Center of the photo.

Steadily the road contours the south side of the drainage and grinds its way up the valley. At one point it drops steeply down to Caribou Creek where the Arrow Lakes ATV club has a bridge that links to the road on the north side of the creek.

Caribou Bridge

The signage for the ATV Routes is fantastic and is a great reference for route finding along the way. After crossing the creek, the road continues to climb its way up the the final pass at 1800m. Some of the grades are my favourite in the Kootenays, as they lend themselves to big ring climbing with great views along the way.

Climbing up Caribou Creek
Skiing anyone?
The descent back to Hills.

All said the Valhalla-Ruby Triple crown is roughly 130km and 4000m of climbing. For me it ticks all the boxes of a backcountry gravel ride. We offer supported gravel rides, lodging and multi-day trips from our base in Slocan; please drop a line if you’d like more information.