Canada’s Okanagan Valley, located in southwest British Columbia, is known for its delicious wines and juicy fruits. Also considered a desert by Canadian standards—hot, dry, and filled with people wearing toques and sandals—the Okanagan Valley is surrounded by pine forests, lakes, and provincial parks, which makes it ideal for dual-sport rides.
As the name suggests, the Canadian Border Patrol (CBP) travels perpendicular to the US/Canada border from Osoyoos to Creston, mostly on backroads and dirt. The route is rideable in either direction, and you’ll find several entry and exit points for off-bike excursions like wine tasting, swimming, or stocking up on supplies.
I haven’t done the 250-mile-long route but hope to this summer if I can cross into my homeland. I found out about the CBP through social media, which led me to a convenient rider website called ridethekootenays.com.
Ride the Kootenays is a labor of love born from Vera Horsman and Craig Luke, who live in Nelson, B.C. The couple rides as often as they can and love the area so much that they want to share it. Craig is the self-professed “resident geek” and loads all trail information and maps for rides in the area to the Ride the Kootenays website, which offers downloadable, color-coded maps. Green means the road is paved, blue is unpaved, and red is unpaved and technical or tricky for certain rider/bike combinations. There are also waypoints for camping, fuel, beer, accommodation, moto shops, groceries and restaurants, and other points of interest.
One of Craig’s goals when planning the CBP route was linking it to the Washington and Idaho Backcountry Discovery Routes (BDR). Riders can use the CBP to connect with the BDRs—or vice versa—making an extension or long loop to and from the US. Craig says it’s all designed as a travel route, not a gnarly track for testing your limits, though the BDRs do have some sporty terrain that is not always fun for beginners.
At this time, Ride the Kootenays is not a guiding service. However, Vera and Craig are happy to offer advice and support, answering any questions you might have about the area. They have done all the rides listed on the website, and their goal is to continue to create trails and routes accessible to all riders on all styles of bikes, on the road and off.
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