The abandoned BC rail grade is a spectacular route that follow the Klappan river along the edge of the Spatsizi wilderness park. This is essentially a wide gravel road that is seldom used, so it is a perfect place for a long bike ride.
You can start riding at the Klappan river bridge and follow an easy grade uphill along the river bank. You will pass by a couple of trailheads into Spatsizi - the McEwan Creek Trail and the Eaglesnest Creek Trail. There are many great camping spots along the way, many are old gravel pads for construction camps overlooking the river.
The rail grade is in good shape except for a few washout sections, which are usually fixed by the locals to allow vehicle access to hunting camps. The road continues for 70km to the open vistas of Klappan Pass. Beyond this it deteriorates quickly into a muddy mess. But from the pass one can gain some more elevation to the alpine on the road to the old coal mine site. Klappan mountain photo courtesy of Tad McIlwraith (copyright).
You can spend several days in the area, riding, camping and hiking in this remote area surrounded by wild mountains and rivers. The Spatsizi area can have some very cool and wet summers, such as in 2006, so you need to be well prepared.
Gas, food, cabins and camping are available at the Tatogga Lake Resort near Iskut (250) 234-3526.
Drive north towards Iskut on the Cassiar highway. Tatogga Lake is about 480km north of Smithers. When you reach Tatogga Lake Resort and gas station, drive another 1.5km north and go past a gravel pit. The next road to the right is hard to see, as there is 2 large piles of gravel there. But there is a small sign indicating Spatsizi access and if you drive in between the piles of gravel, then you will see a road that continues up the valley (it is called Ealue Lake road).Continue about 26km on the winding gravel road to a bridge across the Klappan river (watch for a couple of washouts and potholes here). Once you cross the bridge you are on the BC Rail grade road - an abandoned railway which was never finished (tracks were never laid). Park near here and start the biking to the right on the rail grade. The road is in good shape for about 70km and you may meet 2-3 cars a day only.
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Posted By: xtremepeaks
- Fri Feb 08 17:08:49 UTC 2008
DownsideThe road is washed out at the Klappan river, not possible to drive along the rail grade. Biking is still OK, except for several kilometers of bushwhack needed to get around the washed out sections.