As many BC residents know, the province is a great place to ride an ATV or OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle). The thousands of kilometres of designated ATV trails are supplemented by an even greater distance of rarely-used logging roads, abandoned roads and resource roads. ATV routes lead you to stunning mountaintop viewpoints, secluded lakeside campsites, historic mining operations, legendary fishing holes and much more. But, with so much terrain to explore, it can be difficult to choose a starting point. That’s why we’ve put together this list of our top 10 picks for ATVing areas across the province.
Bear Creek – Thompson Okanagan
There are over 350 km (220 mi) of trails to explore in the Bear Creek Recreation Area, which is BC’s largest rec area and is found close to West Kelowna. There are one-way trails, loop trails and hundreds of logging roads to explore, with ATV-friendly camping found at the Aspen Trail Head Campground and the Burke Trail Campground. There are trail fees and regulations are strictly enforced, but the riding is more than worth it. There are tons of options here for family and beginner-friendly riding, and more experienced riders can poke around and find some challenging terrain as well.
Backroad Mapbooks Thompson Okanagan – Bear Creek Motorized Trails
Fernie – Kootenay Rockies
Heading east of this popular ski town along the Coal Creek Road leads you to around 90 km (56 mi) of trails, along with many more kilometers of spur roads and logging roads to explore. Popular rides include the trail along Fernie Ridge, the steep route up Morissey Ridge and the trail to the Notch, a sweeping viewpoint that is found atop Flathead Ridge. Generally speaking, whichever route you take will lead you to some breathtaking Kootenay Rockies scenery, with its thick forests, towering mountains and sparkling lakes and streams.
Photo via http://fernieatvadventuretours.com
Fort St. John – Northern BC
There are a lot of trails to explore around Fort St. John, but the most popular place to ride is to the south of town where you will find over 400 km (250 mi) of trails. The ride to Stewart Lake is a challenging 140 km (87 mi) trip that is perfect for experienced ATVers, or you can take the Gagne Road to a large trail network that leads you among some spectacular northern BC scenery. No matter which trail you choose, you are sure to enjoy your time ATVing around Fort St. John!
Backroad Mapbooks Northern BC – Stewart Lake/Septimus-Gagne Trails
Gold Bridge – Vancouver, Coast and Mountains
One of the premier riding areas in the province, Gold Bridge offers an expansive trail network that connects with Lillooet to the east or Gang Ranch and 100 Mile House in the north. Trails lead you alongside dramatic cliffs, high above big lakes and deep valleys and up towards snow-capped mountains. To the south of town, you can explore a network of gravel roads that lead you to abandoned mine sites and up creek draws. No matter which direction you head out in from Gold Bridge, the ATV adventure of a lifetime awaits.
Photo via bridgerivervalley.ca
ATV riders in Hope have a lot of options to choose from. The most popular destination is probably the Nickel Mine area, where everyone from first-timers to seasoned experts can find a fun trail to ride. Made up of decommissioned forest service roads, hydro access roads and abandoned mining roads, there are approximately 100 km (62 mi) of trails to explore here. ATVers can also explore a variety of other riding areas including Emory Creek, Mount Hope, Jones Lake, Skagit Valley and Sunshine Valley – there is no limit of ATVing fun to be had around Hope, BC!
Backroad Mapbooks Vancouver Coast & Mountains – BC Nikel Mine Road Riding Area
Oyster River Trails – Vancouver Island
Heading out in either direction of Highway 19 near Campbell River, this maze of trails is made up mostly of old logging roads and leads you to a number of unique destinations. The Oyster Bowl is a beautiful swimming and fishing spot, and you can also head to Beadnell Lake or take a ride up to the top of the 1,983 metre (6,506 ft) Alexandra Peak. Caves, mine sites and hiking trails can all be accessed from the OHV trails here, and you never really know what you might stumble across while exploring. For some of the best ATV riding on Vancouver Island, be sure to make a visit to the Oyster River area.
Photo via riderswestmag.com / Mike Coulter
Prince George – Northern BC
There are numerous trails in the Prince George area that are maintained by the Prince George ATV Club. One of the most popular places to ride is Tabor Mountain, which features around 150 km (93 mi) of OHV trails as well as several cabins and warming shelters. Many ATVers choose to ride to Francis Lake, where there is a recreation area to base camp at. There are also numerous long distance trails, and it is possible to travel as far as Wells – the ATV club hosts an annual ride to the historic mining town.
Backroad Mapbooks Northern BC – Tabor Mountain Trails
Revelstoke – Kootenay Rockies
While Revelstoke is well-known for its winter recreation opportunities, coming here in the snow-free season is highly recommended for ATV enthusiasts. The Revelstoke ATV Club partners with the BC government and BC Hydro to maintain a sprawling network of trails that lead you deep into the surrounding mountains. Boulder Mountain and Frisby Ridge are a couple of notable highlights, while Joss Mountain and Sproat Mountain both offer some challenging riding to incredible viewpoints.
Photo via seerevelstoke.com/
Valemount – Thompson Okanagan
Tucked into a deep valley at the north end of Kinbasket Lake, Valemount is a small town with some big adventure opportunities for ATVers. There are some 185 km (115 mi) of designated trails accessible from town, climbing high into the surrounding mountains and leading to stunning Canadian Rockies scenery. There are also low-elevation, family-friendly trails such as the 22 km (14 mi) West Ridge Family Loop, while riding up Allen Creek leads you to a series of lakes, bowls, meadows and steep climbs that will delight experienced riders. There are some great camping spots for ATVers along Kinbasket Lake too, including the Yellowjacket and Horse Creek campgrounds. Whether you are just heading out on your first ride or are a skilled veteran, there is an ATV adventure just for you in Valemount!
Backroad Mapbooks Thompson Okanagan – West Ridge OVH Trails
Wells/Barkerville – Cariboo Chilcotin Coast
Barkerville was the centre of the Cariboo Gold Rush way back in the 1860s and there are numerous historic mining roads in the area that make great ATV trails, including the Old Cariboo Hudson Road and the Jack O’ Clubs Road. The Persephone Mining Road is a 15 km (9.3 mi) one-way ride from Barkerville to the peak of Bald Mountain, and ATVers can also explore the Sugar Creek Loop, an easy 40 km (25 mi) ride that starts along the Hardscrabble Road. Alternatively, the long-distance Gold Rush Trail passes through the area. After a day of riding, be sure to check out the open-air historic exhibits in Barkerville, or sample some of Wells’ vibrant arts and culture scene.
Photo via princegeorgecitizen.com/
To find more trail options be sure to check out the BC Backroad GPS Maps or the Backroad/BRMB Navigator.
Did you know that we are currently holding an ATV Adventures contest to celebrate 25 years of guiding you along Canada’s lakes and rivers? Click below to enter!