West Kootenay Gravel Biking

Evening light in the Valhallas

One of the ultimate West Kootenay gravel biking adventures.

The seemingly endless network of resource roads in southern BC provide a means to explore vast amounts of territory by bike. After looking at maps and scheming about a summer adventure, Svein Tuft and I decided to go for a gravel ride around the Valhallas.

The headwaters of Koch Creek

We headed south from Slocan via a resource  road and up another creek to a pass. An ATV trail and a bit of bushwhacking down an over grown resource road brought us into Burton.

The beginning of the bushwhack.

A buttery, high speed gravel descent led us out to the community of Burton. From there we headed back up a resource road. Over 27 kilometers we climbed steadily and sometimes steeply up to 2300m and change. After passing an abandoned mine, (Sad to see how industry can leave such a mess without any consequence from the BC government.) we traversed a ridge that led us back to another resource road.

We’d planned on bivying on the ridge, but we were short on water. So after 11 hours of moving through roughly 130 km and 3700m of climbing, we descended to a bivy site beside a creek at 1700m.

An abandoned dump truck bed made for a nice windbreak and bivy.

The following morning descended down to 1300m and followed a road up and down to Slocan Lake. Easy riding along the KN rail trail lead us to New Denver and then onto Slocan via highway 6.

It’s an incredible loop, though it is definitely a bit rough around the edges. It’s roughly 215km long and features about 5000m of climbing. It took us about 16hrs of riding time plus a bivy. There’s some grade four bushwhacking and a reasonable amount of bike carrying along the ridge. 50c tires and a lust for adventure are highly recommended.