The Best Off-Roading Locations of British ColumbiaDriving Nov 17th, 2016
British Columbia’s scenic vistas, impressive mountains, ancient forests, and abundant natural beauty lend themselves well to exploring the outdoors in a multitude of different ways.
Sometimes you may find yourself itching to explore the spots off the beaten path, so to speak – you’re in luck, because our backyard boasts some of the best off-roading opportunities in North America.
From dirt-biking to ATV riding, to off-road racing and rock-crawling, British Columbia’s natural environment is the perfect spot to cut your teeth on this exciting outdoor pastime.
Check out these popular and scenic off-road trails located all throughout the British Columbia landscape – from the Fraser Valley and Chilliwack, to Squamish, Whistler and Vancouver Island.
First things first, the vehicle, make sure you have an off-road vehicle capable of handling the types of off-road terrain you plan on exploring. A 4WD system with a good low-range gearbox and at least 9 inches of ground clearance is a good place to start – features that are included in most full sized pick-up trucks and SUV’s.
As a word to the wise, refrain from taking your brand new luxury SUV or truck onto the trail without knowing what you’re getting into, and enjoy the trails that suit your driving ability and equipment level. If you do go off-road, be sure that you have the proper experience, a good set of tires, appropriate suspension and a way to help yourself out of a sticky situation, like a winch with tow ropes, or another vehicle following close behind. Be sure to observe all recommended trail suggestions.
North Copper Logging Road – DIFFICULT
Located near Thornhill, the North Copper Logging Road is the pinnacle of what you’d expect when off-roading in BC. Covered in streams, creeks, lush forests and featuring views of the mountains, this difficult trail is 43 kilometers long and leads to an old mine.
Red Rooster / Chute Lake Trail – EASY
Located just north of Penticton, this easy trail is accessible and features a plethora of side trails that users can use to branch off and explore the 39 kilometer space.
Kenyon Lake – MODERATE
Located directly east of Stave Lake north of Mission and near Miracle Valley BC, lies the Kenyon Lake trail, known for its abundance of mud, logs, and deceptively difficult exit. Camping is available, although it can be busy.
Many trails near Kelowna give way to spectacular views of Lake Okanagan, ranging from easy trails for beginners and into more challenging trails for more experienced drivers and heavy-duty vehicles. Trails like Blue Grouse Mountain, Little White Mountain and Gottfriedsen Mountain offer a good swath of challenging terrain. Other popular off-roading destinations in the area include Crystal Mountain, Bear Creek – close to West Kelowna, and Noble Canyon and Vernon Hills near the Vernon area.
Eagle Run – DIFFICULT
Located just north of Coquitlam, this difficult 16.5 kilometer trail begins by meandering adjacent to the Westwood Plateau by following Plateau Blvd northwest to Eagle Mountain. At the end of the trail lies Eagle Lookout just south of Buntzen Creek. The trail features many tributaries that branch off into different sections of lush forest to explore.
Chipmunk Creek to Mt. Cheam Trailhead – MODERATE
Accessible from May through October, Chipmunk Creek Forest Service Road to the Mt. Cheam Trailhead is a popular 18 kilometer out-and-back driving trail located near Fraser Valley E, BC that offers scenic views of the Chilliwack River and Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park.
Stacy Lake – EASY
Climbing 938 feet, the Stacy Lake trail is a short, to-the-point 4.4 kilometer trail located east of Mission BC in Dewdney in the Fraser Valley. Good for all skill-levels of off-road driving, it’s accessible all year round.
Alberni Valley Lookout Trail – MODERATE
Located on Vancouver Island, this short 4 kilometer out-and-back trail elevates 156 feet for stunning views of Port Alberni to the west. It’s a multi-use trail that accommodates off-road driving, but also features horseback riders, hikers, mountain bikers and dogs. The trail leads to a scenic cave and can require a high clearance 4X4 in some places.
Cheakamus Lake Trail – MODERATE
Located north of Squamish, this Cheakamus Lake Trail is a kid-friendly multi-use scenic trail that accommodates off-road driving and other activities like mountain biking, camping, and hiking. Located within the Whistler Interpretive Forest, it also showcases some beautiful old growth trees, while elevating 312 feet following the coast of Cheakamus Lake.