The Hudson’s Bay Company fur brigade trails stretch from Oregon to McLeod Lake, BC (1.5hrs north of Prince George), and were completed in 1849 with the help of First Nations and the linking of massive hunting and trapping routes. The Hope Mountain Center, along with countless volunteer hours, re-established the route from Tulameen to Hope, BC, which inspired a group of mountain bikers to try and tackle the rugged trail.
For hikers, it is recommended to do the trail West to East and visa versa for mountain bikers. Although the trail is open for cycling, there is a lot of hiking and technical riding involved so it is best kept for advanced riders. The images shown do not show how technically challenging this trail is both up and down!
Most riders would start in Tulameen, however we took a unique two-day route to add distance, and connected to the trail via the Tulameen Plateau. The HBC trail had very little (if any) stinging nettles, but that was not the case with some of the lower elevation trails we used!
Bike-packing over serious terrain is all about sticking to the essentials. Spreading the weight over your bike and keeping the heavier items lower in your pack is the key to being able to ride technical terrain.
We arrived at the Marmot City camp site just after 7 p.m.; tired from the last 5km jaunt aka hike-a-bike over countless fallen trees and legs burning. This was going to be fun at some point right?
The moment at the end of a hard day when you wonder if packing the whisky flask would have been worth the added weight??
Up at 7am and ready to get up into the alpine.
Quick pit stop at Paddy Pond to filter more water for our packs.
Finding water was not a big issue in the area. This was great as it allowed us to carry an average of 2 litres of water per rider and stop throughout the day to replenish.
Easy trails across the Tulameen Plateau.
Quick stop at Blackeye’s camp for a bite before we start our first decent on the HBC.
Dropping into some flowy trails from Blackeye’s to Horseguard camp.
All of the campsites were consistently great. Good water supply, bear bin, outhouse, fire pit, benches and tables, with a large trail map with information. It was a bit strange being so deep in the woods all day, and then coming across a trailside oasis.
This is what happens when you raid the reject bin at the dollar store… You get a highly visible ultralight mattress system with self-deflation devices (holes) built in.
Ultralight Siltarp and bug net courtesy of Valhalla Pure
Getting a good night’s sleep before tomorrow’s 56km epic ride.
On the trails at 7am sharp in order to give ourselves plenty of daylight. We hope.
Countless creeks descend across the trail and these pools are very inviting for an afternoon dip.
View from Conglomerate Camp.
Continuing the climb up Mt. Davis.
Nearing the top of the trail – elevation on the trail peaks at 1855m.
The near 1,000 meter descent down Mt. Davis was unforgettable and a highlight of the trip. There were a lot of high consequence sections with very tight switchbacks, but skilled riders can ride the whole way down. Average riders could find themselves riding 50%, and beginners would just look at you wide-eyed like you are trying to get them killed.
It’s gut-check time at Colvile Camp. We’ve already done 8 hours of riding across 30km, and now we must do a 2 hour/3km incredibly steep hike-a-bike up to the top of Manson’s Ridge.
I can’t think of too many things more physically demanding than pushing a bike in front of you on a greasy and rooty trail, strapped to a bunch of camping gear on a 12 hour trail day. This one mountain would have been a mission on it’s own.
The descent down Manson’s Ridge was very loose, steep and had sharp switchbacks which made it very challenging to ride after such a long day. No pictures were taken here as that would have required too much effort at the time…
113km’s of bike-packing done in 2.5 days, whooo!
Riders from left to right: Kevin Koopmans, Mika Laspa, Trevor Howard, Perry Klassen, Shawn Vogt
Our bike-packing List:
- Sleeping pad
- Sleeping bag
- Ground sheet
- Rain jacket (shell)
- Down jacket
- Hiking pants
- Wool underwear
- Toque or balaclava
- Biking tights (for layer under pants or cold nights)
- Mosquito net
- Mosquito sprayButane propane mix
- Water bottle
- Spork and plate
- Swiss Army Knife
- Lighter and matches
- Toothpaste and brush
- Rope and stakes
- Wool socks
- Spare tube
- Multi tool
- Webbing and buckles
- 2-3L Water reservoir
- 25-30L Backpack
- Frame bag
- Seat Bag
- First aid
- Toilet paper
- Ear plugs
- Chain lube
- GPS or phone with GPS maps
- Hand sanitizer