Tenquille Trail (but not Tenquille Lake) - July 2, 2007

Words and pictures by Lee Lau unless noted otherwise

I've done Tenquille Lakes a few times now, its an alpine classic that never gets old. Since I've already posted directions in a previous trip report I'll dispense with the turn-by-turn summary and get on to the pictures and a few descriptions.

Since Norco hooked me up with a Fluid One for further bike testing this year, I'd been itching to get to the high-alpine and put it through its paces. However, SW BC's record snowpack had meant lots of low land riding with the odd sub-alpine ride. Hoping to test the extent of snowmelt in early July, Dan, Pat, Danielle, Trevor, Dave, Sharon and I headed north of Pemberton up towards the Hurley FSR to see if we could get a ride on the Tenquille Trail and possibly up to Tenquille Lakes.

Dan attempts to look intimidating at the Tenquille Trail junction with the Lilloet River.

Some of the group were already up in the general area as the Hurley had finally been plowed and open for the year (told you it was a deep snowpack) and were meeting us on their way back from the Chilcotin. A logical meeting place was the junction of the Hurley with the Tenquille Lakes access road. Plans were made and everything came together on this gorgeous day.

Group start from the trailhead at the Hurley FSR junction

Alpine flowers well and alive - Danielle doesn't crush them with her Kenda Meadow Stomper 8000s


Trailhead map at the spot where you can park (we biked to there) and the corresponding 1:250,000 scale map

As expected, bugs were bad with horseflies and skeeters out in full force. Out came the bug hats. At first the trail seemed to be in fair shape but as we crossed Mowich Creek and started climbing and traversing the 3 odd km's to Wolverine Creek we rapidly bogged down in a maddening succession of blowdown, washout and snow!

The going got a bit tough through snow, bog and blowdown.

Dan on some of the odd section of rideable trail that traversed from Mowich Crk to Wolverine Crk and the Tenquille Trail

It was slow going but no-one ever said that getting choice singletrack was easy. We kept plugging away but it took about three hours to navigate what usually takes about an hour and a half. Then we got to the turnoff to the Tenquille Lakes alpine and realized that we weren't going anywhere. The snow piled high and thick making it a bit difficult to find the Tenquille Trail itself. Fortunately the downhill portion had just started.

Creek crossings were plenty and the rivers were raging hard and cold - the Tenquille Trail itself was not easy to find

The first km or so of trail was still quite snowbound - resulting in some pretty spectacular over the bar wipeouts from yours truly on the downhills. Then it opened up as we got into the views and alpine flowers.

Trevor making short work of the snowfields at higher elevations

Dave in the alpine flowers

Dan letting it go as the trail got lower and dryer

It's impossible to describe the joy of this descent. You go from subalpine sparse fir and pine to lush ferns and greenery in a narrow band of singletrack lined with moss on a sidehill in what seems like an eyeblink. Then the sidehill gives way to a natural descending pumptrack where you slalom from one berm formed by loam and pine needles to another berm. It's intoxicating and there's almost 1200m of this downhill.

The greenery gets thick on the lower elevations - Pat and Dave keep the wheels rolling

The last third of the trail is astoundingly loamy, fun, turny - like a big pump track. Trevor and Pat start letting it hang out.

Trevor, Pat, Dan and Sharon (in the background) rolling in the loam and ferns

There are some downhills where you think - how can it be over so fast? Well when this one is over you know it. Your arms, back and legs will feel it and the grin on your face will also tell the tale.

Happy riders, happy Norcos

This elevation profile is taken from a ride from a couple of years and shows the full ride to Tenquille Lake.