Sol Mountain’s alpine mountain bike trails
100km from Revelstoke; 50km down the paved road just before the Shelter Bay ferry, is the Shelter Bay logging road to Sol Mountain Lodge and the Monashee Mountains. The logging road climbs 2000m; the last 17km is the most of it. Within the last 4km you are in Sol Mountain’s ski touring tenure and you can see where you ski! Which is very cool for powdergeeks. The area below is actively logged so it’s best to have a radio tuned to the RR12 channel so you can let the contractors know you are on the road.
The drive was a lot longer then the heli flight when we were flown here in January 2017 for a week of ski touring. The drive shouldn’t be taken lightly. A 2WD vehicle can make it when the road is in good shape. Wet conditions may make the going a bit rough. There is very little cell service on the road so drive lightly and carefully. The higher you go the less pullouts there are so be careful on those blind corners.
Sol Mountain has been developing their summer recreation slowly but surely since 2013. Adjacent to Monashee Provincial park their trails add to the ones in the Park. A 4.6km trail out and back that takes you to Caribou pass and a view into Peters Lake in Monashee Provincial Park was completed this year adding to the existing 20km of Alpine singletrack. Again cool for powderhounds since we have skied almost all the area that we biked! Sol’s plan is to further expand the trail network so look for this taster to increase in scope and quality. Sol Mountain doesn’t just have bike trails; there’s also a metric ton of pre-existing hiking trails, canoeing in lakes and other activities (Yoga and wellness retreats, weddings etc).
I would highly recommend staying at Sol Mountain’s well-appointed and comfortable Lodge to maximize your time in this beautiful serene place. The trails take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours to explore while the road drive in will be about 4 hours (2 hours each way) as a day-trip from Revy. If you are budget and/or time-constrained and do just drive up for the day, Sol asks that you park at the parking area by the 1.6km sign and ride the single track trail to the lodge to sign in; and last but not least, donate to the Revelstoke Cycling Association to show goodwill appreciation for trailwork.
You can see a video of the Caribou Pass Trail on Pinkbike.
Our video below.
We parked at the lower lot and rode in on the trail. A bit less snowy then when we skied in. Inset shows the January snowpack!
Main entrance for parking bikes is also where we kept our ski gear
Summer beers on the Patio!
The lodge is well-appointed with many rooms all of which are private. There are no less then 5 indoor bathrooms and a huge living room for communal activities. The kitchen is well-appointed and the lodge is just as as comfy yet cosy lodge in the summer as well as it is in winter.
Patio view of the Lodge Notch; the prominent feature N of Sol Mountain Lodge. The Ridge trail offers the view back to the Lodge and the Mission Ridge trails are on the left ridgeline.
Baldur in the back and the mighty Chicken Knob. Bear Lake glimmers as a sliver on the left side of the picture almost 500m below
Shiraz and Mission Ridge view as we enduro the alpine meadows
Now in BC Parks on our way to Caribou Pass. It took over 3 years to get permission to build these bike trails
It’s always cool to see terrain at different times of the year. Now we are climbing the Caribou Pass trail winding our way along an east-west contour. We skied down that treed slope in mid background after traversing across above the trail we rode along Mission Ridge.
View into Peters Lake into the heart of the Monashees. We skied down to the lake in the valley below.
View past Caribou Pass N into the Monashees
Beautiful alpine lakes on this ride.
Cool rock features on the lower trail system
Lee carried up some beer to replenish the Alpine Beer stash at Sol Lake that had been depleted by a rocking wedding party!
We took the out-and-back uphill from Sol Lake to Mission Ridge. This looks to the Springfield ski runs.
Alpine beer on Mission Ridge communing with my Chromag. Below me is the Lodge Notch
Heading to Sol Lake from Mission Ridge
Slabs with view of French Connection and Norquay on the back! Down valley is the lodge. Even further downvalley is Bear Lake
More Slabs as we navigate the lower trails!
Heading back to the Lodge
Some pictures to compare the bike and ski terrain
To appreciate Sol Mountain’s quality of trailwork there are also articles explaining trail construction techniques particular to the alpine. It’s very rare to see alpine singletrack so “single”; so narrow. The main reason for the singletrack being so aesthetically pure and narrow is no doubt in part because the trails are so new; there isn’t that much traffic there, for now. . Here’s some tips on how you can help keep these Sol Mountain gems (and all alpine trails) looking this good for a long time to come.
- Stay on trail. No french enduro strava cutting corner lines! Trail braids in the alpine will likely never heal
- If there’s a puddle ride through it; don’t go around it and widen the trail
- Some sections of the trails are rocked in to protect the soil. If there’s a rocky section ride over the rocks; not around it. And if the rocks are too tough – consider walking instead.
- Look at where you want to go; not where you don’t want to go
- There are sections which people will walk (especially on uphills) in the alpine where oxygen is in short supply. Anticipate this and build a step-off platform; or try to decrease climbing grade more then you normally might
- There are sections where people will pass or will braid (usually downhills with good sightlines). Anticipate that by leaving some wider sections, or routing through the limited features to discourage this
- Don’t feel the need to cut every tree or pry loose every rock. Leave the odd tree or rock in to preserve twisty-turny singletrack; because twisty-turny is more interesting than straight.
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