The Mighty Chilcotins – 3 day rides for you to choose from!

Travel

Three Day Trips in the Chilcotins – Aug 2 – 4 2008

Photos by Sharon Bader, Lee Lau or Chris Kelly. Words by Sharon Bader. All Rights Reserved


Well. We’re back. Despite me wanting to take a break from the Chilcotins it tends to keep drawing you back. This time we’ve come with more people who have become addicted to the alpine – Dave and Trevor. Two of our skiing buddies from Lillooet (Kevin and Chris) joined us as well! Initially we were going to camp at Spruce Lake Wilderness Adventure‘s guest ranch but since there was a bear in the area ripping apart their fridges we figured it would be better to camp in a more populated area. Fortunately there was still space in the Freiburg Forest Service Campground which was free and right by the lake! So that is were we camped for these three rides. After about a 30 minute drive from the campground we park at the access to Taylor Basin and start to climb. If you are unsure where this area is in BC click here. More information and links are at the bottom of this report if you want more information.

 

Chilcotin Riding
Park here to access Taylor Cabin


On the climb up we were hit by an unexpected thunder storm. We opted to hide out in the trees to wait for the rain to pass as we knew that at higher elevations tree cover got sparse. Many other riders came by and rode through the weather.

At the rather decrepit Taylor cabin a fire was going for those who had to warm up and dry off from this shower! There were probably 30 riders heading up to Taylor meadows today. We didn’t see a lot of them after the cabin since there are so many options in this area.

Chilcotin Riding
The palatial Taylor Cabin


Dave brought his 48lb Rocky Mountain RMX-C for this weekend trip! He may have looked pained on the climb, but he was pretty happy on the descents. Lee brought a real XC bike (a RM Element) so he could climb this final push to Taylor Pass, Trevor was also on a pretty heavy bike (a mere 40 lb Knolly Delerium) and he was able to climb most of the climbs! Must have been the Fox 36 Fork.


Dave like a deer in the headlights pushing up the RMX-C


Lee’s choice of the Rocky Mountain Element allowed him to ride this section.


Making our way up to Taylor Pass.


Dropping into Eldorado Basin west of Taylor Pass.


Sharon


 

Along this trail descending into Eldorado Basin (known as the High Trail) is an intersection. If you go straight and continue up you go to Windy Pass, if you go down you continue into Eldorado Basin – which is where we went today.


So much single track bound by alpine flowers!


Since these trails are pretty sandy they don’t retain water so despite the rain the trails were not mucky and were actually pretty tacky and fun to ride.


Eldorado Meadows


Fortunately what goes up must come down! But then you usually have to climb up again.


Heading up to Lick Creek


Down is good.

Sharon


These normally dusty sandy trails were super tacky after the afternoon rain! We finished by spinning back to our campsite on forest roads.


Day 2 – Jewel Creek, Gun Creek, Windy Pass


Day two came early and I for one was feeling the 1700m of climbing from the day before. Today we planned to drive to Jewel Creek access to the Gun Creek climb, head up to Windy Pass via Spruce Lake then over to Lick creek. The drive from Tyax to Jewel was pretty far! But for me it was worth the drive to save the legs.


Camp at Freiburg Forest Service Camp Site next to the lake


Heading up the Classic Gun Creek trail you may recall from the Collective movie.


Sharon and Dave climbing through the Gun Creek meadows with the Dickson Range in the background


Dave and I turned around at 1850m about 200m shy of Windy Pass and headed back down Gun Creek trail through the meadows retracing our route. Still a worthy ride. On the drive back to Tyax we saw a pretty big Grizzly beside the road! We didn’t stop to take pictures… The rest of the group continued to climb. Lee continues ….

 


Finally at Windy Pass after an hour and a half climb from Spruce Lake ~ elev. approx 2100m


This route is marked on the map as the LS Bluffs trail. It goes up the ridge directly south of Windy and tops out at 2350m before dropping a nice 600m back to the Eldorado drainage. It appears to be mostly a horse pack route that I suspect is used mostly by Chilcotin Mountain Holidays which maintains a cabin in the area. We didn’t see a whole lot of horses in the area as we pushed and rode our bikes another 250m up this rather steep slope to the top of the ridge.


Chris on the ridgeline climbing to the top of the Bluffs


Kevin, Lee and Trevor at the top of the Bluffs at about 2350m. The bottom picture shows our path down to Eldorado Meadows – our route will wind down the ridge


There’s really not a whole lot to say about this route. It’s fairly easy to find off the ridgetop and one does not need to get distracted by some hiking trails that wander back and forth along the ridgeline. The way is straight down and winds along the ridgelines like a drunken anaconda in need of a good back massage; then sinuously entering verdant green forest which was also very conveniently demarcated by a swathe of alpine flowers in drunken chiarusco colours. To say that its a stunning descent is to demean the word. It’s really all we could do to close our mouths and not gape at the scenery while mach-schnelling down the scree slopes and the windy singletrack.

 


In no time at all we were down in the meadows back to the same spot where we were only yesterday. Fortunately the weather was a bit better and the trails had, by now, nicely dried out. We were surprised to see a group of riders in the meadow – they looked rather bleak and worse for wear having had a glorious deathmarch of four days from Taseko Lakes some 60 kms to our west. I was not unhappy to have passed up on the opportunity to also have done such a deathmarch given the doubtful weather of the past week and we pressed on towards the Eldorado Cabin and then to Lick Creek.Our day covered some 2030m of ascent over 40km.


Taking at break at Spruce Lake Wilderness Adventure’s cabin before starting the climb up to the Lick Creek pass


Map of the route


Day 3 – Cinnabar Creek Drainage


Day 3 is sunnier and warm! Finally this system has passed and maybe we won’t have to worry about rain! We climbed up the same route we took on the first day (the High Trail to Taylor Pass) to check out another ride down the Cinnabar creek system.


Chris and Kevin on the climb to Taylor Pass


From Taylor Pass, instead of continuing on the doubletrack of the High Trail towards the Eldorado drainage we turned left on to the Pearson Trail and then went exploring the ridges. We ended up riding about 8km of ridgeline, very little of which was hiking. Stunning 360 degree views all around with not a person in sight. I’m sure the old miners didn’t have bikes in mind when they put in these routes but bless their gnarled hearts in any event.


Lee dropping on to the Pearson Trail.


This route will find you when you’re ready. If you keep your eyes open you will find this jewel among ridgeride. The following pictures are along the ridge.

This route requires some fitness as there is a lot of hike a bike sections. The prize are the views and the baby-butt smooth naturally bermed 900 m descent off the ridgetops down to Tyax Lake at the end of the ride.

We ended this ride with approximately 1400m of ascending over 30kms. It would be possible to bail out earlier if weather comes in by either descents down the S Cinnabar Basin or by the High Trail doubletrack ascending from Gun Lk.


On the ridge at 2100m


Heading into the basin, you can continue on along the ridge in the right background.


The trail did get a bit rugged and we did have to do some route finding.


Our Reward! Trevor on some fast buff singletrack

Day 3 exploration

 


For more pictures of each day check out:
|| Day 1 – Taylor Pass – Eldorado Basin – Lick Descent || Day 2 – Jewel Creek – Spruce – Windy Pass – LS Bluffs – Lick Creek || Day 3 – Taylor Pass – Camel Pass – Ridgewalk – Cinnabar ||Useful links:

Have Fun!

Sharon and Lee

 

About the author: Sharon Bader

I am 5’9″, weigh 154lbs. I have been riding since 1991. I started on a classic XC hard tail but have moved with technology and now ride a Pivot Mach 5.7 for XC, a Trek Session for DH and a Pivot Firebird and Knolly Endorphin for freeriding/shore/technical XC riding.


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  • Tom Sapporo says:

    Unreal awesomeness !! We go nothing like that here in Hokkaido. You guys(lady included) musta been stoked/spellbound/laughing the whole way !! Thanks for sharing the news. You just upped my fantasy bike ride through the roof !!

  • Tom Sapporo says:

    Unreal awesomeness !! We go nothing like that here in Hokkaido. You guys(lady included) musta been stoked/spellbound/laughing the whole way !! Thanks for sharing the news. You just upped my fantasy bike ride through the roof !!

  • Tom Sapporo says:

    Unreal awesomeness !! We go nothing like that here in Hokkaido. You guys(lady included) musta been stoked/spellbound/laughing the whole way !! Thanks for sharing the news. You just upped my fantasy bike ride through the roof !!

  • Aleks says:

    Thank you for the wonderfull pics and report!! We are planning a one week mtb trip in the first two weeks of october this year. I would love to ride just where you guys have been. Do you think the weather is still warm & dry enough?

    Many thanks & bless you
    Aleks

  • Geoff says:

    Aleks, the first two weeks of October can be dry, but because the high country at this time is on the cusp of winter, snow has likely already ocurred, and it only takes one storm cycle to close the alpine until spring (for bikes anyway). My recomendation would be to either plan these routes July/August/September 2009 or get your ass up there this week – the weather in BC is awsome now and is supposed to hold until next weekend.

  • Lee Lau says:

    Aleks,

    I’m the husband of brodiegrrl who wrote that writeup and was with her on this trip.

    Most of the high passes in the South Chilcotin are at 2000m or greater – that’s 7000 ft. The alpine in BC starts at about 1800m. It MIGHT be ok to ride in the first two weeks of October but like Geoff says, its not likely.

    Generally, if I start riding these routes in July then I expect to hit some snow in the alpine but the flowers are in season. Bugs are generally terrible July to early – mid August. Mid – August and early September are the best bets for good riding in this area. Hope this information helps

  • Aleks says:

    Hi Geoff & Hi Lee Lau

    Many thanks for your quick response!

    Please forgive me for not thanking you for it until now. The reason is I lost the link to this site (comments are welcome). I am glad I found it with Google.

    We haven’t decided for next year, but I would love to bike exactly where you did.
    We will see.

    Have a blessed New Year!
    Aleks

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