A Perfect Moment: Mountain Biking in Northern British Columbia

Mountain Biker Catches Some Air

Mountain Biker Catches Some Air

On every trip, there is that golden moment: when everything has come together just right, when all the miles travelled, the hard work and effort pays off and you experience a sensation of perfect calm and contentment.

My moment comes standing on the shores of Kager Lake, a small pristine body of water located in the woods just outside of the Village of Burns Lake in central BC.  It is a beautiful summer’s evening nearing dusk and everything is lit up with soft golden light, the trees lining the shore, the water, even the bodies of my friends and travel

Quiet time at the lake

Quiet time at the lake

mates as they dive off a dock and swim about, yelling and laughing.  The Kager Lake Recreation site is the crown jewel of mountain bike destinations in northern BC with up to 70kms of mind-blowing single track radiating outwards from the campground up and around Boer Mountain.  I’m covered in dust and mud, bug bites, my legs and arms checkered in small cuts and bruises that come from flying through the woods on a mountain bike, and I simply couldn’t feel any happier or content.

Carrying the bike across the creek in Smithers

Carrying the bike across the creek in Smithers

With the support of Camping and RV BC Council, myself and a group of media professionals have just completed an epic eight day mountain bike trip across Northern BC all along the Yellowhead Highway, seeking out new and exciting riding opportunities.  And opportunities there are. Northern BC is an emerging destination for mountain biking with communities such as Prince George, Fort St. James, Vanderhoof, Burns Lake, Smithers and Terrace only a few hours apart and hosting 100’s of kilometres of world class trails waiting to be discovered.

And there is no better way to experience the area and take full advantage of the riding than cruising through it in an RV.  In each location we find spectacular campgrounds such as Paarens Beach Provincial Park on the shores of Stewart Lake, Riverside Municipal Campground in Smithers on the banks of the Nechako, to Ferry Island Municipal Campground located on small Island midstream in the Stikine, all within easy riding distance and access to spectacular trails.

Camp Life and Repairs

Camp Life and Repairs

You do not need to be a hardened professional to enjoy riding in Northern BC.  There are an abundance of beginner and intermediate rides, including trails suitable for the whole family.  A number of stops including Prince George, Burns Lake, and Smithers have bike parks with kid friendly options.  Similarly, you don’t need the latest and greatest in bike technology.  An all-mountain bike with decent suspension and you’re good to go.  There are bike shops in each of the larger communities, but be sure to pack extra tubes and a first aid kit. Most of the trails are not extreme backcountry, but these are wild areas, so proper planning and precautions are highly recommended.  Be prepared for sudden changes in weather with proper rain gear, pack lots of water and food, ride in a group and always let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to be back.  There are bears and other wild animals, so exercise caution at all times and make lots of noise.  Detailed trail maps are available at local bike stores as well as through mountainbikingbc.ca and trailforks.com (limited cell reception, so be sure to carry hard copies).

At the end of an exhilarating day

At the end of an exhilarating day

Each day of our trip has been a blur of activity, rising in the early morning, setting out on a 4 to 6 hour long ride, before cleaning ourselves up in the parking lot at the trail head and then driving to the next location.  An itinerary and approach that would be near impossible without a fully equipped RV.

The waters of Kager Lake are cold and refreshing, perfect for breathing new life into bodies tired and sore from days of riding.  I dive under the surface the laughter from my friends ringing in my ears.  I resurface shaking the water off my skin and reveling in the perfection of the moment.

Published: June 3rd, 2016

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