Philip Kiese

Bikepacking British Columbia — Vancouver roundtrip

Bike Touring Collection by komoot
12-27 days
3-6 h / day
736 mi
41,525 ft
41,375 ft

On this bikepacking adventure, get ready to cool your feet in glacial lakes, bounce along a centuries-old highway carved out by the gold rush, and prepare to explore a highland copper mine. This roundtrip will take you through the hinterland of the Canadian west coast in just ten days, starting you out at Vancouver and bringing you safely back again. On the ride, you’ll gain just shy of 40,000 feet (13,000 meters) in elevation and your travel diary will grow by 750 miles (1,200 kilometers). Just be ready to pedal up some serious ascents as, after all — even when you’re far from the Rocky Mountains — there’s always a mountain in British Columbia.

As your reward for the hardships you’ll overcome on this ride, you’ll be spoon-fed some picture-book Canadian romance as you traverse unexpected desert-like landscapes and wind your way through British Columbia’s wine-growing wonderlands. And be prepared to get right up close to nature, with whales, otters and beavers being common-place along the route. Just be sure to take sensible precautions, whether you decide to stay in a bed and breakfast or a tent, and remember that there are plenty of bears and mountain lions in this part of the world — animals better admired from a distance.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    76.3 mi
    8.6 mph
    7,150 ft
    4,925 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Right at the beginning is a big chunk on the plan. Not without reason today's route is also called Sea-to-Sky Highway, because it takes you from sea level to the world-famous winter sports resort of Whistler. Much of today's route is thus completed on a highway. But, there is always enough "shoulder" to drive and the car drivers and truck drivers are amazingly considerate. The particularly busy part in the north of Vancouver is bypassed on a bike path.Starting at the foot of the Lions Gate Bridge, this bridge has been used in many Hollywood movies and television series. Let's hope your crossing does not end in Final Destination :). After Horseshoe Bay, the trail will lead you between Howe Sound and the mountains, offering breathtaking views. If you're lucky, you can actually see whales with a good eye.
    Just before Squamish, at the end of Howe Sound, you can stop at Shannon Falls and visit the 335 meter high waterfalls. When you arrive in Squamish, you take a break for refueling, because after the city it is really mountainous to Whistler.
    About 20 km from the finish, there are again impressive waterfalls to visit with the Brandywine Falls. In Sproatt, a suburb of the stage destination Whistler, you can usher in the end of the strenuous bike day and stop by a small brewery.

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  • Difficult
    82.1 mi
    9.6 mph
    6,200 ft
    7,600 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    After yesterday it went rather leisurely uphill wait today 1000 hm in a single increase to 15 km.But first it goes from Whistler downhill to Pemberton. Behind Whistler traffic is much less. On the way you will always have great views of the mountains of the region and waterfalls like the Nairn Falls. After Pemberton you will pass the north bank of the Lillooet Lakes and roll into the ascent of the day. After fighting your way up, make a detour to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park. In this Lake fed by the Metier Glacier you can quickly cool your legs in unreally colored water and enjoy the view of the glacier massif.Now it goes past the Duffey Lake through the valley of the Cayoosh Creek. Until the Seton Lake just before the stage destination Lillooet. Lillooet is located in the valley of the Fraser River. The Fraser River is the largest river in British Columbia and drains the entire region with its tributaries. At Lillooet, the river has dug deep into the valley. What is unexpected, the valley is very dry and more like a desert. Just with a raging river in the middle. The Fraser River will meet you again on this journey and has then changed its face again.

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  • Difficult
    61.0 mi
    9.8 mph
    3,950 ft
    3,625 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today you are leaving the Coastal Mountain Range, but it will continue to be very mountainous. The stage takes you from the valley of the Fraser River into the valley of the Thompson River. This means that in between there is a ridge, but then it goes downhill again.First, it goes upstream along the Fraser River. At a very narrow place there are always small landslides, so the road is without tar. Here comes in conjunction with the sparse vegetation Western Feeling.After the place Pavillion, it goes through the Marble Canyon Provincial Park. Here are three lakes in a rugged sloping valley together. You can choose one of the lakes for a break and go for a swim. The park is popular with fishermen, maybe you can catch a fish or convince one of the fishermen to invite you.From here it goes mostly downhill over Cache Creek to Ashcroft, the destination of today. The village located on the Thompson River is bordered by two busy railway lines. So it can happen that thanks to the kilometer-long and snail moving trains the place is cut off from the outside world. As long as you stay in place, the fuss characteristic of North American trains will remind you.

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  • Difficult
    71.6 mi
    9.4 mph
    5,400 ft
    5,250 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today's stage takes place on a kind of high plateau, which you have to climb up first. When you arrive at the top, you wonder in wondering what this lake is doing here? The sand on its banks is so white and the water as turquoise as you imagine it in Caribbean dreams.But Baden forbidden! The lake turns out to be a waste lake of the copper mine still to come. Nevertheless, from here you have a great view of the mountains that you have conquered in recent days. A few kilometers further you can then follow the drift of the copper mine in a specially designed lookout and at the same time realize what extent it eats into the landscape. Surely you will notice these trucks that transport the overburden. As you see them in the distance, their size becomes difficult to understand. In the next town, Logan Lake, the Visitor Center is housed in such a truck and you can calmly scale the size of this huge machine. The place marks the approximate half of today's stage and offers itself for a break.From Logan Lake it goes to many small lakes after Kamloops. If you want to take another break, we recommend a side trip to Lac Le Jeune. Kamloops is referred to as the "Tournament Capital of Canada," because many sporting tournaments are held here. So the typical North American evening entertainment is provided.

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  • Difficult
    76.1 mi
    9.9 mph
    2,900 ft
    2,800 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On the north bank of the Thompson River, it goes on a little-traveled road to the east. Striking are the interesting hill formations that have washed themselves here in the valley. Away from artificial irrigation, the slopes are again very dry.After the village of Monte Creek, you will leave the Thompson River and climb up to Monte Lake. From now on it will be greener and more agricultural, because it goes down into the Okanagan Valley. Often the farmers have set up sales stations along the roadside where you can stock up on food.In addition to the eponymous Okanagan Lake, which is 135 km long but only 4-5 km wide, there are many smaller lakes in the valley. The valley extends to the American-Canadian border.If it was not enough elevation for today, you can decide in Vernon if you do not drive to Silver Star Provincial Park. This detour beckons with 1000 hm to 20 kilometers. If you prefer to take it easy, you can stay in Vernon and recharge your batteries in one of the many restaurants.

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  • Difficult
    34.9 mi
    10.0 mph
    1,600 ft
    1,775 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    To give your body a rest, today it's a short leg to the economic center of the Okanagan Valley, Kelowna. The road will take you south past Kalamalka Lake and Wood Lake. Especially the Kalamalka Lake has a very turquoise color and invites you to a photo session. Between the lakes you can take a swim break at Oyama Beach. The two lakes are separated by a small mountain range from the large Okanagan lake. You can jump into the lake at the end of the day.It goes through many small suburbs to Kelowna, the valley is more populated here than the surrounding areas. At the runway of the airport, which is right next to the road, you can start a race with the starting planes. When you arrive in Kelowna you can go to City Park, relax on the beach or stroll the streets.

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  • Difficult
    76.0 mi
    6.8 mph
    4,825 ft
    4,375 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    After finding silver in this area, many adventurers moved into the Canadian wilderness. In 1915, the Kettle Valley Railway was opened to help the miners in search of fortune in the silver mines.After the railway service was discontinued, the route was rebuilt to a bicycle and hiking trail. So many bridges and tunnels tame the mountains and offer spectacular views of the landscape with a maximum slope of 2.2%, so very little. For the next few days you will follow this trail and often be on Gravel on the road and from now on a scooter suitable bike is necessary, because the not locked for quads sections are very relaxed.With the Myra Canyon, the most spectacular part of the Kettle-Valley-Railway Trail can be reached today, with two tunnels and 18 wooden timber bridges through the steep canyon. Hard to believe that these were built by hand at the beginning of the last century by the workers in the canyon. The trail offers impressive views of the canyon and Okanagan Lake.After returning to the Okanagan Valley, Naramata offers you an unexpected sight of Canada. In the south of the valley there is such a mild climate that wine can be grown here. The numerous wine presses invite you to wine tasting - but not too much, a few kilometers are still on the program;)After Penticton we continue on the KVR to Summerland. Here is the name of the program and there are many different types of fruit waiting to be picked by you.

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  • Difficult
    58.2 mi
    8.8 mph
    2,925 ft
    2,400 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today it gets lonely, you follow the KVR on to Princeton. In Summerland some historic railway buildings have been preserved and renovated, you should definitely take a look at them.As the Summerland-Princeton Gravelroad runs alongside the Kettle-Valley-Railway Trail, you can dodge on the least-used road at will, should the gravel become too small. The area is really lonely and there are only a few isolated huts around. So it may well be that today you encounter a wild animal, be on the alert. When you arrive at Osprey Lake, it becomes more crowded again.At Princeton, you drive on moderate slopes through gently rolling hills. If you would like to see a curiosity, you should turn to Rainbow Lake, here a freely interpreted castle was built.

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  • Difficult
    101 mi
    8.3 mph
    4,300 ft
    6,225 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    The lonely Canada feeling of yesterday continues today. On a gravel road it goes through small villages. In Tulameen there is a hotel that could serve as a backdrop in a Western, and in Coalmont there is something curious about it, like a tree full of shoes. At Otter Lake you turn into a nameless valley, where it is constantly and moderately uphill and at the same time always lonely. Here and there is still a farm. With luck you will see again wild animals, like otters in the lakes.After entering an even lonelier valley and driving a few miles on the Kettle Valley Railway Trail, you will come to the Coldwater River and the Coquihalla Highway. And from here it continues on the highway, but as I said, the "shoulder" is always wide enough and the car and truck drivers are surprisingly considerate.If you've fought the Coquihalla Pass on the highway, a fast descent awaits you, now it's about 40 miles down to Seelevel. Wear warm because the wind can cool you down. Once in Hope, the now much wider Fraser River greets you.

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  • Difficult
    98.9 mi
    10.7 mph
    2,275 ft
    2,425 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The last stage is the longest, but only a few vertical meters are waiting for you. The good news is, the closer you get to Vancouver, the better the public transport is and you can travel a few miles by train or bus if you're sick of biking.From Hope it goes along the north shore of the Fraser River towards the sea. The river has an enormous breadth here, changing its river bed constantly and creating thousands of small islands. The north shore is agricultural and it gets more urban the closer you get to Vancouver. In Mission you can take a break at the local brewery halfway through the stage and try different wheeler variations.Through the suburbs you drive to Vancouver, as the destination of the stage offers the Kitsilano Beach, but also the Jericho Beach. Both come up with a breathtaking panorama that only Vancouver can offer. A big city with bright skyscrapers (Can you find that with the tree on top?), In front of it the Pacific Ocean with container ships anchored at anchor and behind it the forested mountain ranges of the Coastal Mountain Range. You can even spot a ski resort on a peak behind Vancouver. Here, in the winter, you can set your course with the inverted view of Vancouver.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    736 mi
  • Duration
    81:48 h
  • Elevation
    41,525 ft41,375 ft

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