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  1. #1
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    Sep 2022
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    The Valhalla Loop

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    The seemingly endless network of resource roads in southern BC provide a means to explore vast amounts of territory by bike. After looking at maps and scheming about a summer adventure, Svein Tuft and I decided to go for a gravel ride around the Valhallas.

    We headed south from Slocan via the Little Slocan resource road and up Koch Creek to a low pass. Having skied a fair bit in that area, I often wondered if the pass was passable by bike in the summer. Lo and behold it does, at a grade three plus bushwhack. There may be a better route, I'll post an update if I go back to investigate.
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    An ATV trail that deteriorated into a little bike dragging for a kilometer and a half or so, led us to the Burton Creek FSR. Don't be fooled by the satellite imagery, the road is quite over grown. I should have remembered the alder bashing good times I'd had in the bottom of those avalanche paths in late Januarys past. However dopamine veils reality and I convinced myself it would be good to go.
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    After several kilometers of medium paced alder tunnelling, we popped out on the active haul line in Burton Creek. It was smooth sailing from there to Burton. If you time it right, you can get a cold drink and a snack at the Burton City Cidery. This was quite nice, as it was 35 degrees when we rolled into Burton.

    From Burton, it's a sizeable climb up Caribou Creek to ridge top. The grades on the climb range from casual to severe and yield spectacular views into the Columbia River Valley. Steep switchbacks led us up to the Tillicum mine and then up to ridge top. When we crested the ridge, golden hour light stretched longingly towards the Vallhallas while the ridge behind us was backlit by the setting sun. Low on water, we continued on across the ridge and descended to a valley bottom creekside camp.
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    The next day we woke up bright and early coated by heavy dew. After a hit of coffee and breakfast, we broke camp and started our climb up the Shannon Creek FSR. Once we hit the height of land, a scintillating descent dropped us down to the community of Hills on the north end of Slocan Lake. There we jumped onto the K&N rail trail and headed south down the lake back to Slocan.
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    All in all, it was an exceptional 14 hours on the bikes plus a bivy in an abandoned dump truck bed. The route is roughly 210 km and just shy of 5000m of climbing. 50c tires are highly recommended along with a keen sense of adventure. There's distinct element of commitment and at time you feel relatively out in the boonies. We erred on the side of caution and brought overnight kits; however, with a good level of fitness and good route finding, this would be a wicked day trip.



    Last edited by Arctos Guides; 08-26-2023 at 07:56 AM.

  2. #2
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    Dec 2005
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    Wow super cool. Great photos. I bushwhacked through the heart of that park a decade ago - such a beautiful area that doesn’t get the attention it deserves - which is probably a good thing.

  3. #3
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    Sep 2022
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    Thanks Bennymac. Yes, the majority of the park is quite hard to access; it is nice to have areas that are only accessible by foot!

  4. #4
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    Sep 2022
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    no big deal just going out on a ride with my buddy Svein Tuft lol. very cool report and pics but def looks character building. didnt realize that bike routes like that exist around the valhallas.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Upstate
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    Quote Originally Posted by ktoor View Post
    no big deal just going out on a ride with my buddy Svein Tuft lol. very cool report and pics but def looks character building. didnt realize that bike routes like that exist around the valhallas.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    Ha! Was thinking the same thing. Just a silver medalist in the TT at WCs. Also has some crazy bike packing stories surrounding him before he started racing. Forgot where I read his full story. Maybe someone's autobiography?

  6. #6
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    Sep 2022
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    Quote Originally Posted by huckbucket View Post
    Ha! Was thinking the same thing. Just a silver medalist in the TT at WCs. Also has some crazy bike packing stories surrounding him before he started racing. Forgot where I read his full story. Maybe someone's autobiography?
    Haha…The guy’s definitely a wicked dude, Canadian cycling icon and has a great sense of adventure. Pretty lucky to have him as a riding partner here in the Kootenays!

  7. #7
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    Sep 2022
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    Update
    We went back and day tripped the route recently. There’s a better way to get from Koch Creek to Burton Creek; however it does embody some engaging Kootenay forest travelling��. If you’re in the neighborhood or are keen to check this trip out, drop a line, I’d be happy to share beta or even a track. It’s definitely a worthy route.Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
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    Jan 2007
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    Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  9. #9
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    Jan 2009
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    SLC burbs
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    Those pics are some of the coolest I've seen this summer. Spectacular place to ride, alder-bashing or not!
    "Your wife being mad is temporary, but pow turns do not get unmade" - mallwalker the wise

  10. #10
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    Dec 2005
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    This is badass. Inspiring.

  11. #11
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    Sep 2022
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    Quote Originally Posted by bennymac View Post


    This is badass. Inspiring.
    Thanks—I thought the photo was worthy of a laugh.

  12. #12
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    Oct 2009
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    Revelstoke
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    Connor: I did that exact same loop, three years ago, but in the opposite direction: https://alexcooperexplores.com/2020/...ling-valhalla/

    I only recommend it to the hardy because of the bushwhack from Koch Creek to Burton Creek, and the hike-a-bike from Hailstorm Ridge to Tilicum Mine.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Nice TR Alex. Also checked out your Chilcotin mission with BJ. That guy is a machine (I’ve have “raced” against him - race in in quotes given the difference in his teams speed and ours)

  14. #14
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    Sep 2022
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    Nice one Alex! I went back to Hailstorm Ridge via Shannon Creek in late September to scope some ski terrain. It seems like it is a bit more rideable going E-W. Did you take Cony Creek to get from Burton Creek to Koch Creek? The bushwhack on our second lap only took us about 40min…😜
    Quote Originally Posted by AlexC View Post
    Connor: I did that exact same loop, three years ago, but in the opposite direction: https://alexcooperexplores.com/2020/...ling-valhalla/

    I only recommend it to the hardy because of the bushwhack from Koch Creek to Burton Creek, and the hike-a-bike from Hailstorm Ridge to Tilicum Mine.

  15. #15
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    Oct 2009
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    Revelstoke
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arctos Guides View Post
    Nice one Alex! I went back to Hailstorm Ridge via Shannon Creek in late September to scope some ski terrain. It seems like it is a bit more rideable going E-W. Did you take Cony Creek to get from Burton Creek to Koch Creek? The bushwhack on our second lap only took us about 40min…��
    The route was rideable from Hills right up to the bottom of Hailstorm Ridge. I had to push up the last section of road to gain the ridge, but it wasn't too bad. It's probably easier than getting up to the ridge from Tilicum Mine.

    From Burton Creek to Koch Creek, I followed the same route you did. The local ATV club president said it was good, so I went for it, only to find out is is not, in fact, good. I've since heard Cony Creek is the easier way.

  16. #16
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    Oct 2009
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    Revelstoke
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    Quote Originally Posted by bennymac View Post
    Nice TR Alex. Also checked out your Chilcotin mission with BJ. That guy is a machine (I’ve have “raced” against him - race in in quotes given the difference in his teams speed and ours)
    He's a ridiculous guy to follow, but at least he's patient. I ski tour with him occasionally and he breaks trail faster than I can follow him.

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