There’s a place where mountain biking dreams come true, where the only limit to the miles or mountain passes you can travel is your imagination and the number of energy bars in your pack. Four hours of molar-rattling driving from Whistler, BC yields one of the world’s meccas for adventure biking, the Chilcotin Mountains.
Imagine, if you will, a park that encompasses 220 square miles and sports over 120 miles of singletrack trails. A place where you’re just as likely to run into a grizzly bear as you are to see another human. And, just in case you’re in the mood to take the level of adventure up a notch, you can load your bike into a float plane at the Tyax Lodge on Tyaughton Lake (elev. 3,300 feet) and be dropped some 50 trail miles away at the spectacular Lorna Lake (elev. 6,414 feet) with nothing but your bike, your wits and whatever you can carry on your back.
Far from the manicured trails and chairlifts of modern mountain biking, this is adventure biking at its finest. These are trails built by miners and mountain sheep, far more focused on efficiency than flow. You’ll climb mountain passes that require more pushing than pedaling, but you’ll be rewarded with a deep backcountry adventure in terrain that is traditionally the domain of hikers, mountaineers and wild animals. If you want to use your bike as a mode of exploration instead of a toy on a track, you’re ready to ride the Chilcotins.
A lucky weather window allowed me to snag the last flight of the season with riders Shannon Skouras and Sam Larson. I hope these photos will encourage you to come along for the ride.
The Tyax Adventures plane leaves daily from Tyax Lodge and can accommodate 4–5 bikes and riders.
There’s a giddiness that comes with loading your gear into a flying machine and being dropped in the wilderness that can only be experienced when heli-skiing, or, as it turns out, floatplane biking.
Coming in for a landing on Lorna Lake.
The long push up to Lorna Pass.
Each massive climb was rewarded with an equally astounding descent.
The rare pleasure of alpine mountain biking.
…and more creek crossings. Count on getting wet.
…and crashing your bike
…and riding the best singletrack of your life.
…resulting in this amount of stoke.
No better feeling in the world! Go ahead and start booking your own trip. I think you’ll dig it.