Bear Creek, British Columbia.
Bear Creek Recreation Site is just a short distance from Kelowna, British Columbia. Dick Duford of RecConnnect LLC, the planning consultant for the area, calls Bear Creek the “premiere riding destination in the Northwest- Canada or the US”. He pointed out that the area is now being used as a model for other areas in the province that are in the process of establishing motorized riding areas.
The OHV Trail System is managed and operated by the Okanagan Trail Riders Association (OTRA). The entire site is 35,000 hectares with 132.5 kilometres of double track trails open to ATV’s and UTV’s under 50 inches. Wider Sideby- Sides can use the existing roads.
The trails have been designed with every level of rider in mind, with several loops available for every skill level from easiest to extreme. The trails are clearly colour coded with the level of difficulty.
One of the advantages of Bear Creek is that it offers family-oriented riding, featuring regular events such as the Wednesday Night Rides. While they currently have a higher number of dirt bike riders attending, everyone is welcome. Carol Boyd, Co-ordinator of the Rides had this to say; “What I’ve enjoyed most about the success of these nights is seeing them start with a regular core of “the Guys” and then seeing women start to join in and recently we’ve even become a family event with the kids getting picked up by their parents from school and brought up to ride and hang by the campfire with a snack afterwards. To me this has shown what the success of Bear Creek is, we’ve truly become a riding place for all levels, genders and ages. I don’t think that’s always possible in rider/racer built areas as they often tend to be built for those who are more hardcore or experienced.“
Two areas are available for camping on-site: the Aspen Trail Head with 18 developed campsite and other facilities. This is the area for large groups and large vehicles. The Upper Pits is located just off the 11 kilometre mark on Bear Main is less developed with dispersed camping sites. There are existing dispersed camping sites throughout the Recreation Area.
Day passes are $15 and available online through the OTRA website (see Resources) or through many of the local off-highway vehicle dealerships. If you visit Bear Creek, keep in mind that this is a trail system and not a riding area. You must stay on the marked trails, and remember all trails are two-way (except for the Learners Loop).
And by the way, Bear Creek is aptly named. Expect to see bears, deer, sheep, moose, and coyotes.
The Laurentians, Quebec.
At (almost) the other end of the country lie Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains, long known as a popular recreational playground in all seasons. There are a lot of choices available for off-road adventure.
The Laurentian Tourism Region is described as “22,000 square kilometres of pure delight just north of Montreal”. The area is easily accessible and full of fantastic riding opportunities, things to do and places to stay.
Like snowmobiling in Quebec, off-road riding is well organized with a well-maintained and managed trail system. Routes are well signed and clearly indicate the amount of expertise needed to conquer them. The Laurentian (Laurentides) region is no exception, with 3,600 kilometres of trails in the summer and 3,425 km in winter… yes, in case you didn’t know, winter ATVing is a big deal in Quebec! Some sample tours include:
The Devil’s Tour (368 kilometres, Devil’s Mountain Park)
This is a four-season tour route. With lakes and waterfalls; Windigo Falls and Snake Falls (only accessible by ATV).
The Crossing (478.7 kilometres)
This loop will take you through breathtaking scenery on trails and sometimes sand. There are lakes and rivers and you have access to beautiful waterfalls. Part of this route is the Trans- Zecs trail that is unique in Quebec. The Trans-Zecs sticker ($35) gives you access to 407 kilometres of trail through six “controlled zones”.
The Visit (490 kilometres)
This route has it all; hills, forest trails, sand and rock. Starting in Red River, through L’Ascension, St. Phillipe Falls, Lake St. Paul, Ferme Neuve, Devil’s Mountain, Notre-Dame-de-Pontmain to Mount Laurier.
The resorts and hotels throughout the area recognize the importance of off-road visitors and the majority have put together packages geared to riders. You can find out more at the links found in “Resources.”
A trail pass is required. A three day pass is $60. Summer Trail Permit May 1st - October 31, 2015 is $130.
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