5 Star Route / Published February 2022
This is a 5 Star Route, meaning that it is a highly curated, premier riding route.
The call of the loon! This is a great mixed terrain ride through lake country with some spots to stretch out your climbing legs. The route offers the opportunity to stop for some hydration, snacks and maybe an ice cream at a small resort store along Loon Lake, the beautiful home of the loon, a unique sounding Canadian bird. Near the end of the ride don’t pass up the view from the Chasm Ecological Reserve outlook, it is amazing.
Adventure / Gravel Route
– Loop: 70 miles / 4900 ft gain
– Technical Difficulty / Risk: Moderate
– Surface: ~65% gravel, ~35% paved
– Tire Size (recommended min): 40mm
– eBike Friendly: Yes
– Location: ~ 1.5 hours northwest of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
When we like to ride this …
Later in the spring to early fall is the best time. In the late summer / early fall, there is a wonderful abundance of wildflowers. Most of the gravel roads on this route hold up well after some rain.
Terrain and Riding: What to expect …
This is a tougher ride than it appears, but worth the effort!
A mellow roll out of Clinton gets you started and then the route descends down into the beautiful Mound Valley, revealing The MOUND” you will know it when you see it!
After crossing the Bonaparte River at ~ mile 6, get ready to climb, and climb, and climb! There are some steep pitches (maybe 10% or so) where you have to dig deep but don’t forget to look over your shoulder to appreciate the views!
Next, you pick your way through some rugged forest service road action before Loon Lake Road (~ mile 18), which is paved.
As you approach the lake watch for a tiny store on your right where you can grab water and snacks.
Enjoy the views along the lake as the road is relatively quiet. Once you arrive at the far end of the lake the road turns again to gravel. Climb out of the valley and hang a left onto Chasm Road. Expect a wide and well-maintained forest service road that passes a few small lakes and eventually opens up to another valley. There is quite a bit of descending, but also a substantial climb out of the valley. Remember to save some energy for it.
The route will eventually turn left from Chasm Road and then track towards the Chasm canyon itself. This is a great spot to gather one’s self, snap a few pics of the huge canyon below and watch for mountain goats that hang out here.
The remainder of the ride takes riders past the old sawmill and then out onto Highway 97 for a short stretch of pavement before entering the Clinton Valley once again.
Highlights & Anchor Points
Village of Clinton / ~ Start of Ride
The Village of Clinton and the surrounding area have a rich history. The community was settled in the mid-1800s with the discovery of gold and the development of the Cariboo wagon roads. It is located where two of the roads met and became known as Junction or 47 Mile. In 1863, the townsite was officially renamed “Clinton” by Queen Victoria in honor of Lord Henry Pelham Clinton.
After the gold rush, the ranching industry developed. Some of the original ranches such as Maiden Creek Ranch, Mound Ranch, and Pollard Ranch are still in operation today.
In the early 1950s forestry became the mainstay of the economy. At one time, over 20 bush mills and sawmills operated in the area. Between the 1970s and 2018, only one survived and acted as a large employer for the community.
The area is experiencing a growth in tourism as visitors come to experience the history and adventure of the area. Downtown you can find quaint shops, pubs, restaurants, coffee shops and a museum. [Village of Clinton]
Loon Lake / ~ mile 21.5
The community of Loon Lake is a beautiful vacation spot for the entire family. Surrounded by Ponderosa Pines along its shores, the 7-mile long Loon Lake and surrounding mountains offer a great vacation destination.
The Loon Lake area offers great fishing all year round, as well as other recreational activities including canoeing and kayaking, swimming, and hiking in summer, and snowmobiling and cross-country skiing during the winter months.
Wildlife is abundant in this beautiful area, and during the quiet hours, you can hear the distinct call of the loon. Some of the wildlife that can be seen in the area includes moose and deer, coyotes and black bear, beavers, and occasional porcupines. Eagles and ospreys guard the skies, and waterfowl patrol the shallows along the shoreline. [British Columbia]
Chasm Provincial Park – Ecological Reserve Viewpoint / ~ mile 56.5
An amazing viewpoint of the Fraser Plateau (read more about the plateau and habitat loss by the World Wildlife Fund) and a giant chasm created by an ancient glacier at the end of the last ice age some 10,000 years ago. Water from the melting glaciers carried silt that carved the 5-mile long, 1,965 ft wide and 984 ft deep chasm.
“The park conserves forests of ponderosa pine at the northern limit of its range, and diverse low elevation lakes and marshes. The uplands, marshes, and lakes are rich ecosystems supporting abundant wildlife.”[Chasm Provincial Park]
The park is rich in geology, featuring a spectacular display of color from successive lava flows. The flows formed layers in varying tones of red, brown, yellow and purple, which have been revealed in the steep lava-layered canyon walls through erosion over the past 10 million years. [The Outbound]
Technical Difficulty[what this means]
Riding Difficulty: Moderate
There are some high speed double track sections and a few areas of rougher terrain that require added attention and awareness.
Navigation Risk: Low
Easy to navigate
Locale Risk: Moderate
Fairly remote, cell service is spotty.
Food & Water
Evergreen Fishing Resort at ~ mile 21.5, a small convenience store.
Other Ride Notes
- It is highly encouraged to have a red blinky on your bike for the highway sector and riding active logging roads.
- Keep an eye out on Chasm Road for logging trucks, keep to the right.
- We highly suggest the use of a two way radio capable of tuning into the Resource Road (RR) channels on this route. This allows riders to hear the call outs from logging trucks at km/mile points along the way and prepare accordingly. If you are one of our guests at tutti gravel inn you are in luck, as we provide a two way radio to each of our guest suites for riders to use during their stay with us.
Wanting to go longer? There are plenty of opportunities to extend this ride with the best option being to add on the “Chasm” route.
- February 2022 / Original Post as a 5-Star Route.