As any outdoor adventurer knows, one of the best ways to explore the Canadian backcountry is with the help of a four-wheel drive vehicle. Canada is full of logging and resource roads and trails that lead you to incredible destinations, from mountain viewpoints to waterfalls, ghost towns, lakeside campsites and beyond.
With the new year upon us, we’re looking ahead at all the adventures we want to check off our bucket list in 2019, and the following off-road routes are right at the top of the list!
Sts’ailes Forest Service Road, British Columbia
Also known as the Harrison West Forest Service Road, this route is a favourite for Lower Mainland-area off roaders as it is found just an hour’s drive from the city. Beginning at the town of Harrison Hot Springs, the road heads north up the west side of Harrison Lake, offering stunning views over the lake throughout its length, multiple waterfalls and lakeside recreation sites for camping. It is possible to follow the road all the way to the head of the lake and access the beautiful Sloquet Hot Springs, or continue north along the In-Shuck-Ch Forest Service Road all the way to Pemberton.
Be advised that as of this writing, a washout at km 55 of the road has blocked access north of that point. Check the Chilliwack Natural Resource Road Safety Information web page for updates.
Prairie Creek Provincial Recreation Area, Alberta
Located southwest of Rocky Mountain House, Prairie Creek is a favourite destination for Albertan off-road enthusiasts. There is a large, well-maintained campground so you can stay overnight and take your time exploring the informal trails in the area – with plenty of steep terrain, water crossings and other challenges you won’t want to rush yourself.
Nisbett Forest, Saskatchewan
Found about 100 km northeast of Saskatoon, the Nisbett Forest was mined and logged over 100 years ago and has since been regrown and protected. The area is a playground for all sorts of motorized users, from four-wheel drive enthusiasts to ATVers and dirtbikers. There are plenty of 4×4 specific trails plus a multitude of gravel roads to explore, with lots of mud bogging in the springtime. Convenient staging areas are found not far off Highway 11 for access to this bucket-list off-road adventure area.
Belair Provincial Forest, Manitoba
Found to the northeast of Winnipeg, on the southern shores of Lake Winnipeg, this Provincial Forest was logged extensively over the last 100 years and has since been reforested with mostly red pine. The logging has left a large network of old roads that have been turned into trails, including the interpretive North Star Trail which stretches for 40 km (25 mi) between the community of Stead and Highway 59.
Ganaraska Forest, Ontario
The Ganaraska Forest is made up of 4,450 hectares (11,000 ac) of beautiful wilderness and motorized use is allowed in the West and East Forest areas. There are all sorts of trails to explore here, from wide and easy to narrow and challenging. Many of the routes run along old logging roads, and there are numerous entry points throughout the trail system. With so many routes to explore, picking up a trail map is well worth your while.
Cape Spencer, New Brunswick
There are plenty of places to off-road in New Brunswick, but one of the most popular is Cape Spencer on the shores of the Bay of Fundy. There is a fine trail that leads you right to the coast, with a couple of water crossings and rocky washouts along the way to keep things interesting. You will want to sit and enjoy the views once you reach the water, and you might even spot a whale or two.
South Mountain, Nova Scotia
Nestled in the beautiful Annapolis Valley, the South Mountain area has a number of technical four-wheel drive trails, from rough and rocky roads to steep grades, lots of mud and some great forest scenery. As you emerge from the woods, you will be treated to views over the Bay of Fundy coastline.
Mount Musgrave, Newfoundland
Newfoundland and Labrador are absolutely full of remote roadways that make for some great four-wheel drive exploring, with gravel trails stretching deep into the wilderness. Whether you are wheeling in a range rover or kicking up gravel on a dirtbike, there is enough to terrain to keep you occupied for a lifetime. One particularly scenic destination is found near Steady Brook at Mount Musgrave, where four-wheel drive roads take you to elevations of 550 metres (1,790 ft) and a weather radar station – be sure to bring along binoculars and your camera to enjoy the 360 degree views.
Mount McIntyre, Yukon
Access to this challenging route is found just minutes from downtown Whitehorse. Driving to the pass takes you to an elevation of 1,544 metres (5,064 ft), making for some epic views over the surrounding mountains, valleys and lakes. The road does get steep so it is best left for experienced wheelers.
You can find the above routes and many, many more in our Backroad Mapbooks and GPS Maps – we show you more four-wheel drive roads and trails than any other map out there. And be sure to share your off-road adventures with us on Instagram using #brmblife for the chance to be featured on our feed and win prizes.