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Old 07-13-2014, 09:34 PM   #1
Jäger OP
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East Kootenay Tracks - Jäger's Ever Growing Ride Offerings

I see a lot of dual sporters riding by every day of the summer I'm home, whether I'm out on the WRR, or just out pounding the trail trying to keep the flab at bay.

The main reason is probably because the Canada residence is in Marysville, about 500 meters from the turnoff to take the (in)famous Redding Creek Road, more popularly known in the current era as the Gray Creek Pass.

However, while Redding Creek is certainly nothing to sneeze at, as far as scenery and remoteness go, it is not even top ten as far as riding in the East Kootenay goes. So it's kind of sad that so many ADV types come sailing through here, hit Redding Creek, and don't even know what they missed.

What I'll try and do here is make this a thread that can be searched for rides within the East Kootenays. I'll start with rides in the south East Kootenays - the Kimberley-Marysville-Cranbrook-Canal Flats-Fernie-Sparwood area, because I have most of them GPS'd already. Once I've cleaned those up, I'll try and get back up to the Invermere-Radium-Brisco area to post up the rides on the east side of the Rocky Mountain Trench i.e. the Bugaboos. That might take a while, because I'm going to be pretty busy here the next couple of riding seasons, I think.

Most of the tracks I'll post here can be ridden by pretty much any bike, including supertankers. I'll leave the more gnarly rides out for the time being, if only because those so inclined pretty much tend to make their own track if they can't find one. And besides, I'm getting old and brittle and I break much more easily these days, so I'm not sure I want to go back and ride some of those again just to GPS them...

As much as possible I'll try and post tracks that are through tracks rather than rides that you turn around at the end and come back the same way. Some like that can't be avoided - rides that dead end at the border, for example - but I will try and make most through rides that those passing through the area can think about integrating into their route if they so wish.

You'll also find rides here that are ride 'n hike or ride 'n flyfish, or whatever - they are fine rides just for the ride itself, but I am not shy about taking hiking boots and continuing on by foot for a few hours or overnight.

If you're ever riding any of these tracks and you find a problem, please drop me a line. I ride a lot around here, but events like the June 2013 flood can have dramatic impacts on these routs, and I certainly don't get on every one of these tracks every single year. I'll try to keep these as up to date as possible.

Lastly, for any forest service road in the Rocky Mountain Forest District (i.e. the southeast Kootenay below Invermere) you can contact Road and Bridge Works for detailed information. Go to their website at:
http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/drm/services/road-works.htm

Or call Dave Rebagliati at (250) 417-9596 or Len Palajac at (250) 919-5523.

Enjoy the narrative and the pics, and hopefully, a chance to ride the tracks.

Redding Creek - Commonly Known As Gray Creek Pass
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...77&postcount=2

Hall Mountain Microwave Site:
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...79&postcount=5

Jäger screwed with this post 07-14-2014 at 03:09 PM Reason: Update
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Old 07-14-2014, 12:18 AM   #2
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Redding Creek - commonly known as Gray Creek Pass

Might as well start by cataloging the most asked about and most popular dual sport route in BC - perhaps even in Canada. If you just want the track, skip to the end. History and trivia follows...

Growing up in Marysville in the '60s and '70s, this road was originally known to locals simply as "Redding Creek". To the best of my memory, the road was originally built up Redding Creek and over into the Weird Kootenays (East Kootenay speak for the West Kootenays, home of draft dodgers, hippies, communes, and professional EI work dodgers back then) by Cominco for their power line. We did a lot of hunting back then along the Redding Creek road, and more than one Cominco line crew came back home at the end of the day with an elk or moose in the back of the pickup truck. You wouldn't be doing that these days at work... it was a kinder, gentler time back then.

The road was pretty rough back then, but usually passable in our Volkswagan Beetle or Dad's old Mercury truck. When it was sketchy, it was usually on the bit of road once over the pass and into the West Kootenay side. If my memory is correct, at first there was only the power line road up and over Redding Creek.

Later, Crestbrook started logging up there and started developing what is now known as the Redding Creek FSR on the east side of the track. This road developed the original power line road in most places, diverting from it when making the power line road logging truck friendly wasn't possible. Thus, you'll see bits and pieces where the old power line road cuts away from the main FSR. The largest separate piece of power line road was decommissioned back around 2012, it was commonly referred to as "the powerline road" by dual sporters passing through. Apparently it can still be ridden if you're determined to do so, but I suspect ATVs and floods like those of 2013 will make it impassible fairly soon.

Sometime in the 1980's, the route became so popular with locals going back and forth as well as tourists, somebody decided to make the road good enough for tourist travel. Meaning, good enough that people who decided to do the road in their sports cars, towing boats, towing motorhomes, etc wouldn't kill themselves. Which is why you can see everything up to and including Harleys travelling this route. About the same time, the BC government offices - recently relocated from Cranbrook to Nelson - decided that with the very short stint of the road being in the West Kootenays along Gray Creek, the road should now be known as the Gray Creek Pass.

Go figger...

Anyways, history aside, a few cautions. First, there is occasionally still active logging, particularly on the St Maries FSR portion. And, there are lots of people in a hurry, going from one side or the other. Worst, during July Fest in Kimberley and festivities in Crawford Bay, not a few of the people in a hurry are either drunk or stoned from partying.

The moral of the story is don't overdrive what you can see on this road in particular. Come into a corner a little hot and meet a loaded Kenworth coming the other way swinging a little wide, you may become a hood ornament like one unfortunate lad last summer. He is not with us anymore. This is a road to leave yourself time and space to bail if an oncoming vehicle wants more than their fair share of the road.

Second caution is this is bear country. LOTS of bears country. In country with LOTS of huckleberries and other bear fodder along the way - the Kokanee spawn along the St Marys at the bottom as another example. And unfortunately, lots of morons travelling the road feed the bears from the safety of their vehicles, throw their food trash out along the road, etc. So be bear smart.

Having said all the above, I've been riding, hiking, hunting, and fishing along this road for about 50 years now and I haven't been run over or ate yet, so you don't have to ride this road at pucker factor 10. Just a little more alert and aware than usual should do it.

Starting from the Marysville end of things, make sure you have enough gas before leaving Marysville; conversely, the same thing if leaving from Crawford Bay. It's about 90 kms from one end to the other IF you choose not to do any of the interesting side trips along the way like Hall Mountain, Meacham Creek Falls, Hellroaring Creek, White Boar, etc. For gas in Marysville, the Petrocan is the only game in town. At the time of writing, it closes at 2300 hrs every night and opens at 0700. Kimberley is about three hours to the north, but to the best of my knowledge there aren't any all night service stations there any longer.

Food in Marysville is also limited. The Petrocan is a little mini-mart, at the time of writing I don't think there is a restaurant left in town. There are two grocery stores in Kimberley that close around 2100 hrs weekdays, reduced hours on weekends. The Burrito Grill is quite good, there is a fairly new East Indian restaurant that most locals like (although it is probably the only East Indian restaurant many locals have ever eaten in), and the Sully Pub is the long standing local favorite for a pint and bar food. Kimberley also has an A&W and a Subway on the road out of town towards Canal Flats.

Leaving Marysville, the first part of the road is pavement, riding along under Bootleg towards St. Marys Lake.



As you get to the end of the pavement, and the east end of the lake, you'll see a major FS road breaking off to the left. This is the turn that will take you to side options like Meacham Creek, Hellroaring Creek, etc, as well as the main FSR used by logging trucks as their route to Cranbrook without having to come out to the highway and drive through towns. Not sure how much logging traffic there is these days now that the Cranbrook saw mill is closed.

If you take that turn, you'll cross the bridge over the St Marys in a few hundred meters:



If you cross the bridge and head up above the bridge towards Meacham Creek Falls, you'll see the lake below - and the St Marys valley we're heading up:



Get an early start from Marysville and the end of the lake will look something like this:



About halfway to the Redding Creek turnoff, you'll pass the old Beemsterboer dairy farm.



Used to go to school with their son; too big to eat hay, not quite enough to burn diesel. Very nice folks; not sure anyone from the family is still there - it's inhabited, but I haven't seen a dairy cow or anyone haying in year. Used to see mountain goats down in the field with the cows once in a while... had to rub your eyes seeing that.

A little past Beemsterboer's, you'll see Rayvn Ridge FSR heading off to the north. It will provide views of the Hall Mountain comms site that I'll provide ride details for next post, as well as a view up and down the St Mary's River valley. A nice short side trip on a clear skies day.

Down back towards St. Maries Lake:



Forwards towards the pass and Gray Creek:



And finally, across to Hall Mountain, the highest point in the area and a fantastic place to overnight if you're going to do so while on this track:



Lots of zig-zags going up Hall Mountain. BTW, all those straight lines in the pictures above are the old power line right of way; the remnants of the powerline road are still there, except that most of the bridges to get over to them have long been washed out.

When you get to the turnoff for Redding Creek, it is very well marked. If you see big prominent "closed" signs... maybe you should have phoned first...



And as you cross the bridge to start up Redding Creek and saying goodbye to the St. Marys, you'll see this - pretty nice flyfishing at the right time of the year. Unfortunately; very popular with many locals:



There can be the odd rough patch on Redding Creek, usually at a point where slide paths cross. But for the majority of the distance, the vast majority of the road is going to look similar to this:



Your last junction on the way to the summit.



Stay right on the most heavily used road and you're on your way over to Gray Creek in the Weird Kootenays.

If you instead turn and stay to the left past the old machine shed, you'll head south into Parker Creek & Baker Lake. You don't want to do that... this is the "open" spot I finally turned around at:



Nasty, nasty alder ingrowth....

Baribeau Creek is next... this is the reason I don't bother carrying water riding around here:



As good tasting water as you're ever gonna find.

What newer people to the area called the "powerline road" (it was all powerline road at one time) has been decomissioned and is now marked as such:



Almost at the top:



And, there's the top. From here, just a short drop down to Kootenay Lake:



So that's the track. I'll wrap it up with a link to the ride on www.DualSportRides.com, as well as the raw .gpx file attached

Attached Files
File Type: gpx Redding Creek - Gray Creek.gpx (274.2 KB, 38 views)
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:20 AM   #3
Lycan1
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Thanks

Great information. I have used your tracks in the past and they are always good!
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:56 AM   #4
Jäger OP
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Originally Posted by Lycan1 View Post
Great information. I have used your tracks in the past and they are always good!
Your posting of tracks in your area finally inspired me to get off my ass and do something like that.

The Calgary trip happened, BTW, I just didn't have time to get in touch or do much of anything else. The Highwood was in about as fine a shape as you could ask for travel-wise, with perfect blue skies and hardly any traffic. Even managed to make it from Coleman to the Chief Chinki gas station in Morley without having to crack the fuel bladder (rode right by Fortress Junction... duh), so I hauled that thing along for nothing. But my little two gallon gas tank on the WR250R was really running on empty when I got there.

Starting to be some smoke in the air in Montana and around Kimberley now, so it looks like the fire season is underway and those crystal clear mountain views are done for this year.

Have to hook up one day for some light dual sporting. I have to rethink my Seat Concepts seat for longer trips - after about 250 - 300 miles, all the fun is gone.
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:58 PM   #5
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Hall Mountain Microwave Site

Adding this ride immediately after posting up Redding Creek/Gray Creek Pass is a natural. It offers one of the best views available via motorcycle in the southeast Kootenays - you can see as far north as the Purcell Wilderness and possibly even the Bugaboos, while the Rockies can be seen running down into Montana.

For riders thinking of overnighting somewhere around Redding Creek/Gray Creek Pass, unless stormy weather is expected, this is the best place to camp on the trip. You're at 7700' feet for one thing, which means not many local mountains are going to be blocking your view for a late sunset and/or early sunrise. Very little in the way of bugs up here and far less chance of bear encounter moments like the Forest Service campground just on the east side of the Gray Creek Pass offers. The buildings at the top also provide great screens against incoming weather if you put up your tent/tarp close to them if the weather is going to go south on you.

This is also a worthwhile side trip for those doing the Redding Creek transit that have a few hours to spare. All the more so if you have been fortunate to hit a clear skies sunny day - awesome view.

We're heading up this mountain off the Redding Creek FSR:



All the instructions and tracks for the Redding Creek/Gray Creek Pass trip apply coming out of Marysville apply here as well. The turnoff from that trip is about a click past the Baribeau Creek FSR turnoff as you head towards the pass. The road does not look like much and it takes a hard left uphill from the Redding Creek FSR.

Once you hit the turnoff, just keep following the road upwards. There's about 20 switchbacks in all on the way up there. And you climb about 3600' feet in elevation during the five miles from the bottom to the top. The road is good enough that small fuel trucks drive up there to fuel the diesel tanks for equipment at the top, so any bike with half decent tires can make it. On a hot day, you might want to make sure your bike's cooling system is good to go, however. Even my little WR250R's radiator fan runs like crazy climbing this hill with just me on it.

This trip isn't so much for the ride itself and the views along the way, because there's nothing special until you get to the top. So just a few views from the top:

Looking south, down into Hall Lake. There's a hiking trail into the lake, apparently, but I haven't been in there in well over a decade and my best guess is that it is alder hell by now. You'll see the foot path take off at what's left of the old power line facility on the way up.



Looking north towards the Purcell Wilderness and the Bugaboos.



Looking east towards the roads travelled to get here. You can just see St Marys Lake before the opening into the Rocky Mountain Trench and the Steeples beyond.



Sometimes you'll catch glimpses of grumbly bears and goats on the surrounding slopes. The best ever was I had a nap up top and woke up to a strange sound and saw a wolverine eating a bunny about a hundred yards down the road - didn't get any pics, unfortunately. But these guys are pretty reliable performers up in this area. Get off the bike and walk around a bit, sometimes you catch them snoozing:





And a final, shameless cheese cake bike photo up top:



Finish up with the map available at www.DualSportMaps.com and the .gpx file by itself:

Attached Files
File Type: gpx Hall Mountain Microwave Site.gpx (223.9 KB, 27 views)
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Old 08-13-2014, 07:04 PM   #6
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Keep it coming

Don't stop now, I passed through the Moto fly fishing once in a while and seen this title in your sig line. Pretty country you live in and ride in.
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Old 08-21-2014, 03:08 PM   #7
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No, not stopping. But it is that time of the year when I'm usually spending every waking hour not at work flyfishing, dual sporting, backpacking, getting ready for the opening of hunting season in a week or so, etc. So not much time on line at all, doing anything.

The other issue is I would like to stick with posting these rides with as many pictures as possible, to give an idea of what's to see along the way. I could post about 60 tracks in a few hours if it was just the tracks and a brief description with few or no pics. But I can't do it that fast when pictures are involved. Especially at this best time of the year...

With that in mind, most of the actual tracks are available for search and download at www.DualSportMaps.com, same username.

Anyway, I will get back at adding at least a few more if we get a few days of crappy weather or something like that. Hate to waste good outdoors time sitting in front of a computer; up here, the window of time for cycling up in the mountains, flyfishing the rivers, etc is pretty short - only about eight weeks left now.
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Old 08-27-2014, 09:38 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jäger View Post
Might as well start by cataloging the most asked about and most popular dual sport route in BC - perhaps even in Canada. If you just want the track, skip to the end. History and trivia follows...

Growing up in Marysville in the '60s and '70s, this road was originally known to locals simply as "Redding Creek". To the best of my memory, the road was originally built up Redding Creek and over into the Weird Kootenays (East Kootenay speak for the West Kootenays, home of draft dodgers, hippies, communes, and professional EI work dodgers back then) by Cominco for their power line. We did a lot of hunting back then along the Redding Creek road, and more than one Cominco line crew came back home at the end of the day with an elk or moose in the back of the pickup truck. You wouldn't be doing that these days at work... it was a kinder, gentler time back then.
Great info, I've been itching to give this road a go. I'm also into backcountry ski touring & the Boulder Hut is pretty much on the list every year for a week of fun in the pow pow. The heli flights in/out during the winter stage at a farm just past the west end of St. Mary Lake (Meachen). But you probably know that already! I help out the owner during fall work weeks & have wondered whether I should take the shortcut on the R80 instead of taking the long way around to Kimberley via the highways. Need to pack a bit of gear for a week in the mountains though & the bike is currently not rigged to carry a week's worth of underwear, so I reckon it'll be the regular road trip with the truck again this fall.

This afternoon I did a loop around Mabel Lake on the FSR. The ride was a hoot but not quite as scenic as in the bigger mountains.



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File Type: gpx AUG-27-14 165804.gpx (395.6 KB, 13 views)
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