Martha Creek Provincial Campground is 17km’s North of Revelstoke on Hwy 23. Ending at this campground is a trail. A trail that drops 1500meters. You can get to it from a road that accesses a snowmobiling area in the winter. At the top of the 16km road is a Microwave station so the road is relatively well maintained. We heard about this trail and heard it was well worth checking out. At first I was a little reluctant to write about. Two things changed my mind. First, it had already been mentioned in the Kootenay Rockies bike guide and second, I talked to the local bike shops and they had no problem with this article.
Map of Sale trail. The trail goes down Sale Creek. MC – Martha Creek campground. Wadey – Wadey FSR
The container at the bottom of the Sale Mountain FSR with a map of the winter snowmobiling area.
As I mentioned previously, our campsite at Wadey was perfect for this jaunt just being about 5 kms north of the Sale Mountain downhill exit. No trip can go without some mishaps… Tyler recently bought a 1989 Toyota PU truck, he put a little rack from the Mazda on it. At over 50km/hr on a logging road something’s gotta give, and it ain’t the Toyota! Nothing that a bit of rope couldn’t help with!
Bike rack riggin!
Few stops on the way up to check out the rack!
There is a bike map for this trail available from the Revelstoke tourist centre and Chamber of Commerce but I am not going to bother trying to reproduce it as it was very misleading and inaccurate. Far more useful is the map from the local snowmobile club – look for the top of the Sale Mountain/Martha Creek access road where it is marked as REPEATER TOWER.
The Repeater Tower is 16km up this access road and is at about 2100m; highway 23 at the bottom is about 400m so you do the math!. The summer road is 2WD access – the winter road is 4WD access and a medium-clearance vehicle can make the winter road. After driving 12km up this road you will come to the junction of the Winter and Summer roads. Go South/right on the Summer road. If you go north/left on the winter road the road will get rougher pretty quickly. As of the date of this article, there are no more confusing forks on the winter road and the approach to the top and the repeater tower is not complicated.
If you take the summer road after 100meters you will come to another fork, at this junction go north/left again. As of the date of this article, there are no more confusing forks on the summer road and the approach to the top and the repeater tower is not complicated. if you go right at the 12.1km mark you can find the middle part of the Martha Creek trail and avoid the upper alpine section of singletrack.
These posts mark the winter route for the snowmobiles that head up this road in winter. Judging from the length they must get a lot of snow.
The view doesn’t suck either.
Needless to say the top is quite the spectacular view. You get to see the mountains of Mt Revelstoke National Park to the south. We had a bit of a fun time trying to glimpse the Moloch Group and the Durrand Glacier to the east. Just to be that high so easily is pretty special. BC Hydro has a repeater tower and a power-generation facility up this road so it is plowed and maintained quite regularly. Apparently sledding is very popular here in winter and I can see why.
The Christmas Photo!
The trail starts at the southern part of the Parking lot. It is marked with two small rock cairns. I’m not entirely sure why Lee took leave of his sense but he decided to let Nigel have the long-travel all-mountain Norco Fluid while he rode his 3″ travel titanium hardtail down this 1500m descent.
Back into the forest!
The trail goes from pockets of trees to open meadows. The rocks strewn about are evidence ofthe glacier activity in the area. Surprisingly given how high up we start, the trail leaves alpine fairly quickly. The views aren’t as spectacular as you drop into the trees.
Lee is happy in his alpine element!
This section of trail was pretty mucky. Probably due to being a bit close to the creek and the unsettled weather.
We’re just at the end of the Alpine Flower season!
After the first 200m or so of descent you drop down to trees. You then descend quickly down to about the 1500m mark down fall-line trails until you intersect the summer road access (recall previously I had said you could skip the high-alpine by just taking this bottom half of trail). A quick word about the riding. Unlike the MacPherson trails or even other alpine trail descents I have ridden in the Kootenays, Sale Mountain is not a smooth buff trail. I think it has seen a fair amount of shuttle traffic and I would recommend a long-travel dually for the descent. Dropping this 1500m on a xc hardtail will rattle your fillings!<
A section of the tral you can access lower down to avoid the wetter sub alpine area.
No trail can go without stunts it seems these days.
Sections of side hill were nice and buff!
Switchback section where we’re loosing some altitude!
Another Section! And we’re wondering what Nigel is going with his feet…
The bottom of the trail!
Anyhow, Sale Mountain/Martha Creek’s descent was not quite the buff loamy alpine-heavy descent with tonsof views that we expected. It definitely is much more of a downhill trail and I can honestly say that our bikes were a bit under gunned. Having said that, it was still a blast and it fun to check out.Since we didn’t stay at the Martha Creek Campground, but at the Wadey Forest Service Site, we still had a 7km road ride back. Not so bad considering we didn’t climb to the top! This is where the youngin’s tried to see what Daddy – Lee was made of! They still have some growing to do since Lee took Tyler in the home stretch!