Adventure ride from Pemberton to Princeton
One of the best things about living in the Sea to Sky and Pemberton area is the easy to access world class riding. Without travelling too far there are an abundance of backroads, trails, and breathtaking views for everyone. This included avid hikers, mountain bikers, motorcycle riders, dirt bikers, sledders and more.
On Thursday, August the 9th, local legend Doug O’Mara and I embarked on a two day journey through some amazing riding locations in Western BC. From the snow capped mountains just outside of Pemberton to red sand dessert Lillooet, with lush forestation and a mix of dirt roads and pavement.
When taking off into the unexplored terrain it is important to make sure your pre-check is thorough. You never know what obstacles you may encounter and getting stuck in the middle of summer is never an enjoyable task. We always check our fluids, when the last oil change was done and how far we’re planning on travelling to see if we need to do any extra maintenance. Encountering quite a lot of dust is inevitable, so a fresh clean air filter is a must before heading out. So far, we’ve found the best filters for the KLR are UNI air filters and No Toil classic filter oil does a great job without ruining the air filters. Always remember to grease the base of the filter where the air filter connects to the air box to give a better seal and to reduce chances of dust getting in. We check all major bolts, tire pressure, and make sure we pack extra front and rear tubes, tire irons and the appropriate wrenches and sockets.Keep your eyes peeled for our pre ride bike check article for more tips to better prepare yourself before you head out.
The Duffey Lake road is an iconic stretch of windy tarmac between Pemberton and Lillooet. This can be done in half a day return, however we continued out past Lillooet heading towards Cache Creek and down a side road leading up into the Fountain Valley (check your route as the roads can be closed due to slides, although most dual sports would make it over the most recent slide). The Fountain Valley is a beautiful stretch mixed with paved and dirt roads that boast some great camping and lakes. The land is watched over by the Xaxli’p community, who help keep this area fresh and clean and available for all to enjoy.
The exit to Fountain Valley will bring you back out onto the Cariboo highway for a short while before heading into another iconic riding area in British Columbia. Onion lake has kilometres of single track, double track, and riding for all level of experience as well as trails to suit some dual sport bikes. Every year at Onion Lake the West Coast Dirt Riders Club holds an off road race through Onion Lake called Monkey Wrench, hosting family fun rides, competition races and activities for the whole weekend. Through the onion lake area there is a few gated roads and to get back through the other side is important to follow the Murray creek fsr, but beware of the rogue cows and big horn sheep.
From Spences Bridge down to Merritt we decided to stay on highway 8 as we still had a decent ride ahead of us. Our stomachs were empty so we made our way into Merritt and stopped at Game On sports bar and grill for a pit stop and some great dry ribs. After fuelling our bikes up we went east onto the Okanagan Connector for a short while before entering the Kane Valley. It had a huge array of riding including Forrest service roads, atv and single track trails, about 25 different lakes and recreation sites spitting you back out on the 5A for a straight cruise down into Princeton.
End of Day 1
We stayed at the Villager inn, an older style Bed and Breakfast that was accommodating of our bikes and personal belongings, and had quiet and clean rooms with friendly staff. We made our way out for dinner and found ourselves at the Brown Bridge Pub, the local Irish influenced watering hole and had an awesome meal (7.99 steak and fries on thursdays) and a couple drinks to wash it down and called it a night.
Day 2 – leaving Princeton
Early to bed, early to rise and pre trip check the bikes. Making sure no tire punctures have revealed themselves, as well as fluids, tire pressure, signals and gauges are good to go. We left Princeton heading south and with some maneuvering and knowledge of the area made our way down to the KVR (Kettle Valley Railway). The landscape changes so many times through the KVR, with the first to see being one of the largest Red Ochre sites just outside of town. It stretches along the river with tunnels, mountainous ranges, Rec sites, atv trails and lakes, most notably otter and osprey lake. The riding was fairly easy with some whoops (braking bumps from the atv’s) but allowing us to take in the scenery. The harder riding was available if you wish to stop at the rec area’s for some fun. This section of the KVR is one of the only still allowing motorized vehicles to ride!
Kettle Valley Railroad
We followed the KVR up through Coalmont to Tulameen, a small recreation town 27km north of Princeton then upwards over bridges and through fields with one notably difficult section that some skill level of riders may need to dismount and get help around, up to Brookemere. There’s some cool older buildings and historical sights in Brookemere including an old water tower and sheds that have been restored. The KVR bought us to the newly paved cold water road and was a quick trip up to Merritt for a late breakfast. We decided we wanted to wait to get to Lynda’s cafe for breakfast but underestimated the time to get there as we wanted to stop and get some many photos and explore different area’s, but it was well worth the wait.
Left Field Cidery
We decided to stick to some pavement after the morning of ripping around the loose dirt on the KVR heading north up to Logan Lake on the 97C. With tonnes to see and a fun straight but flowy road again with access to a plethora of of roads trails if you wish to stay and explore. On the way to Logan Lake you’ll come across the Left Field Cidery (although we do not condone drinking & riding) it is a great place to check out and bring some home.
Tunkwa Provincial Park
As we were entering the later part of the day we picked up the pace a little and continued north past Tunkwa provincial park. It is home to a massive recreational and r.v campsite, further north to Mt Savona and the Savona caves, and for one last off road stretch through the Deadman vidette rd. Today we’ve ridden along green mountains either side and a running river, over lakes, on bridges, on white sand, blue metal, rock formations, tarmac and farm land. Now we enter place that reminds me of mars. In the valley there are some great rock formations called hoodoo’s that look like ghosts.
This red dusty road twists and turns it’s way back to cache creek. We stuck to the road so we could get back to pemberton before dark. We made our way to Lillooet for a quick refuel and recap of the adventure then back along the Duffey. With there being so many recreation sites along the way you could easily spread this tour over a very more days. This would allow you some additional fun in some double track trails and the freedom to set your own pace. The past 2 days we were able to cover quite a lot of land and to see so many various historical sites, different landscapes, and good times shared was perfect.
If anyone has any questions, wants to know more, or join us on this tour next summer contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org