If you think off-road riding heaven is a place where the sun is frequently shining and the trail never-ending, then Cranbrook, B.C., is where it’s at. The sunniest city in the province is surrounded by a big backcountry playground, marbled with old logging roads and mining trails that are ideal for ATVers and UTVers alike.
Where to begin your adventure? Well, you can head out in virtually any direction and find great places to ride. But to help get you on your way, we’ve listed five easy-to-access and popular rides to try:
Get familiar with the lay of the land by riding up to the Baker Mountain lookout tower southeast of Cranbrook. From here, you’ll see all of the city and the picturesque Steeples Mountain Range with the tallest mountain in the region, Fisher Peak, reaching for the sky.
Fassifern to Booth Creek
If you’re looking to put on some miles, try the Fassifern Forest Service Road to Booth Creek ride west of Cranbrook. If you wanted to, you could even cross over into the next drainage, which is Perry Creek, and from there, explore some slightly higher-elevation trails, or take a break from quadding and hike down to Perry Creek Falls.
Mineral Lake is a deep little lake that is hidden behind Moyie Lake west of Cranbrook. To get there, you take the Monroe Lake Road to where it forks. Stay left and you’ll find Mineral Lake at the end of the forest service road. Off-load here and start exploring the many different trails that branch through the area.
To the northeast of Cranbrook, there is the Wildhorse area. Depending on where you go here, you could stay on lower-elevation trails and ride to Lakit Lake or head into the high country and cross over into the Lussier drainage. This route might be a little tight for side-by-sides, but not impossible.
The Wildhorse area is a great place to explore but you can't get into the higher elevations until June when the snow has melted. — Doug Williamson photo
Located behind Wasa, this is a ride that takes ATVers up a mountain road to the now abandoned Estella Mine. You can walk around the ruins and peer inside the mine shaft, but what's really rewarding are the views on the way up. Watch for paragliders and other users on the road.
This is only a sampling of the ATV rides Cranbrook has to offer. For more ideas and information about the area, contact the Kootenay Rockies ATV Club.