Bikepacking, or off-road bike touring, is one of the best ways to experience Northern British Columbia. With easy access to backcountry roads, trails, and campsites, stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife, and ultra-light gear and bags, your two-wheeled adventure is just a peddle-stroke away!
Northern British Columbia is your gateway to endless trails and campsites. From 1000s of kms of logging roads to sanctioned single-track mountain bike and multi-use trails, to ATV width backcountry routes, this area has it all. Moreover, there are numerous Forest Service Recreation Sites, typically adjacent to lakes or rivers, where you can camp. Some of them are only a short ride from Prince George. This Google Earth image shows all the rec sites on the Nechako and Fraser Plateaus. Of course, you can camp on any piece of Crown land. Use this app to plan your route and pick your campsite: the possibilities are endless.
Stunning Landscapes and Wildlife
Northern British Columbia has mountains, rolling forest-covered plateaus, lakes, rivers and falls. The rugged Rockies are two hours northeast of Prince George and the older, rounded Caribou range lies immediately to the east. These areas have excellent bikepacking routes including gravel road access to the alpine. Wildlife encounters are a regular event on any northern BC adventure. Have your camera (and bear spray) ready. Wolves, bears, ungulates, raptors and other animals are regular users of the trail.
Tsus Lake Recreation Site
Public Cabin on Grizzly Bear (Red) Mountain
Fire Lookout on McBride Mountain
Ultralight Bikepacking Gear
While bike touring gear bags have been around for decades, in the last few years entrepreneurs have developed bags specifically for mountain and fat bikes. These bags are constructed of heavy waterproof cordura or nylon and are designed to take advantage of all available space and structures (for mounting) of a modern bike frame. Oversized seat bags (bottom left), front handlebar mounted bags (top left), frame bags (top right) and small top tube bags (center) are just some of the available styles. When added to ultralite hiking gear such as summer sleeping bags and pads, tents, stoves, and other items–you have a perfect recipe for backcountry camping comfort. Traditional saddle bags and a rear/front carries are still a good option for off-road bike touring.
My Typical Weekend Ride Gear Loadout
Packed and Ready to Go
For more info about bikepacking check out Bikepacking 101 on Bikepacking.com’s website. Also, check out Bikepack Canada for resources and information about their Bikepack Summitt, a two-day conference with group rides, held this fall in Canmore, Alberta.