The grand-daddy of motorcycle circle tours

The International Selkirk Loop is a three- to seven-day tour that takes motorcyclists on a memorable trip through the mountains

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Two motorcyclists riding through Kaslo.

Marcy and Darren Hood from Cranbrook, B.C., cruise through Kaslo on a West Kootenay motorcycle trip. — Meagan Broome photo

Brimming with impressive views of mountains, lakes, waterfalls and forests, the Selkirk International Loop creates a sensory overload for motorcyclists. Tracing the Selkirk Mountain range, this 450-kilometre byway connects southern B.C., Idaho and Washington.

But it’s not just about the scenery. Accustomed to seeing two-wheeled travellers, towns along the route offer a warm welcome, along with a variety of things to see and do while you are there.

Here are a few highlights:

Indulge your senses in Creston

A small town with fantastic local food, Creston is an excellent place to put your kickstand down for a few hours while you sample local produce or visit one of the area’s three vineyards. If you’re riding through on a Saturday morning, you will more than likely see a large crowd gathered downtown for the weekly farmers market.

Plan your trip for the Victoria Day long weekend in May and you could take in the community’s annual Blossom Festival. Street vendors, live entertainment and a classic car show are included. Creston is also home to the Columbia Brewery, which offers tours throughout the season for those interested in seeing how Kokanee beer is made.

Twist and turn along Kootenay Lake

The road from Creston to Nelson is legendary among motorcyclists. Wiggling its way along Kootenay Lake, this route features 80.5 kilometres of Curves Ahead signs and unusual roadside attractions, such as the Gray Creek Store and the Glass House in Boswell. Adding to its appeal is the world’s longest free ferry ride.

As the largest town on the B.C. side of the Selkirk Loop, Nelson is the perfect place to spend the night. There are many hotels, campgrounds and dining experiences to choose from. While you’re there, you might want to take a stroll through its historic downtown or pay a visit to Lakeside Park.

Explore sunny Sandpoint

Another laid-back, lakeside community you’ll want to make a point of stopping at is Sandpoint, Idaho. Nelson’s sister city since 2013 is perched on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille and boasts a healthy supply of outdoor activities as well as festivals and events. Plan a visit to Sandpoint in July or August and you’re most likely to catch one of the year’s biggest events.

If you want to stretch your legs, take a stroll through Sandpoint’s downtown core, checking out the many artisan shops along the way. The City Beach is another easily accessible place to rest. Sandpoint also provides its visitors with a variety of dining experiences.

Extend your ride

Option 1:

The Selkirk Loop connects two countries, one province and two states, but maybe that isn’t quite enough for you. Take the Lake Pend Oreille Kootenai River Side Trip and see a portion of Montana as well. Highlights include the scenic overlook at Cabinet George Dam and Noxon Rapids Dam east of Clark Fork, the Ross Creek Cedars west of Bull Lake and the Moyie Falls Dam east of Bonners Ferry.

Option 2:

Another side trip that motorcyclists rave about is the North Kootenay Lake and Silvery Slocan. From ghost towns and historic mines to hot springs and caves, this route is great for history lovers and sightseers alike. Traffic is light and the road sufficiently hilly and curvy enough to demand the attention of beginners and experienced riders alike.

For more ideas and information, visit the International Selkirk Loop website.


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