kootenay gravel cycling routes

Wilson Creek Gravel Ride

The Wilson Creek gravel ride is a Kootenay classic.  From a true backcountry feel, to buttery smooth gravel, some rough and tumble sections to solid climbs and sinuous descents, this ride will give you a solid backcountry gravel fix.

There are many ways to do this ride, but I chose to do it as part of a family biking trip at Mt Abriel.  As a supported tour, we offer it as part of one of our multi-day trips and spend a night camping by one of the lakes along the way.  It’s also a great bike packing ride too.

I set out from Slocan early one morning to meet my family at the Mt Abriel rec site north of Nakusp.  The ride from Slocan takes you along highway 6 and Slocan Lake to New Denver where you can jump on the rail trail to Roseberry and onto Nakusp.  The rail trail ranges from cruiser rail trail riding to a couple of kilometers of cobbled ATV track…some would call it rough, north of Summit Lake.

Looking north up Slocan Lake from Cape Horn towards New Denver.

Rail trail side swim in Roseberry

Rail Trail just north of Hills.

The beauty of this ride is you can stay off pavement from New Denver to Nakusp.  There are ample swimming opportunities and several refuelling stops along the way.

Mt Abriel is a bit north of Nakusp and is a great place to camp if you’re continuing on our Trout Lake tour.  It’s also home to some incredible mountain biking and is a great family camp and bike venue.  After an afternoon and morning of Shotgun mountain biking with my daughter, I headed back to Slocan via Nakusp and then the Wilson Lake Road. Wilson Creek Gravel Ride, Kootenay Gravel, Gravel biking The road climbs steadily up to Wilson Lake.  The road on the south of Wilson Lake is rough, but passable on a gravel bike.  Just take your time and pick a good line.Wilson Creek Gravel Ride, Kootenay Gravel, Gravel biking

At the east end of Wilson Lake the gravel experience becomes sublime.  Long distance views stretch towards Ottawa Hill just outside of Slocan and high speed gravel is the medium on which you travel. As the kilometers ticked by, I thought this might one of the pinnacles of my gravel experience. Wilson Creek Gravel Ride, Kootenay Gravel, Gravel biking
The road continues on towards Roseberry, meandering through Kootenay forest and granting views of the Wilson Creek below.Wilson Creek Gravel Ride, Kootenay Gravel, Gravel bikingWilson Creek Gravel Ride, Kootenay Gravel, Gravel biking

Eventually, the road dumps you out in Roseberry.   After a quick swim, I continued home to Slocan via the rail trail along Slocan Lake.

If you’re visiting the West Kootenays feel free to hit us up for some beta.

Arctos Guides offers supported gravel rides and cabin rentals for small groups supported gravel rides and cabin rentals for small groups at our base in Slocan, BC.

Slocan weather