Healy Creek and Lavina Lookout trails are must-sees in Nelson, B.C.

There’s more to shoot in the wild B.C. backcountry than animals


An ATV is parked on a green mountaintop. Another mountain and a river are in the background.

Healy Creek and Lavina Lookout trails are favourite spots for Stevens to explore. — Photo courtesy Billy Stevens

Billy Stevens is one heck of a stellar shooter. When the forest technician isn’t working, he’s keeping his keen eyes open for the next great shot. He and his dogs are out in the Nelson, B.C., backcountry every chance he gets, always watching for the next prize to stumble into his sights. No, Stevens isn’t a hunter, he’s a rad rider photographer.

Billy Stevens smiles for the photo while leaning against his snowmobile in the snowy mountains.

Billy Stevens is usually the one shooting the photos. In this case, we get to see him in his natural habitat. — Jesse Benson photo

Stevens’ favourite places to ride his 2019 Polaris RZR 1000 XP-4 are Healy Creek and Lavina Lookout.

“Healy Creek is an old mining trail that leads to the alpine with breathtaking views and camping areas,” he said. “I remember camping under the stars on the ridgetop with a 360-degree view of endless mountain ridges as far as you can see.

“Lavina is an old decommissioned fire lookout that looks out over the north end of Kootenay Lake and the south end of Duncan Lake.”


Staging for these isolated destinations can be found at Glacier Creek Campground, located at the base of the trail by Duncan Lake. Be advised that Healy Creek has a washed-out section of the trail, making it easy on a dirt bike, moderate on a quad and inaccessible on a side-by-side for now until it is fixed. Lavina Lookout is easy to moderate. The trail has steep rocky sections but is manageable. The trails have snowmobile warming huts as well as fire lookouts, which are all available and open to the public.

Room for everyone

As an avid snowmobiler, Stevens enjoys the ease of access to alpine that ATVing offers. Plus, his four-seater Polaris RZR allows him to bring a paddleboard and his furry friends on his grand adventures.

“I have three dogs that all fit in the back seat perfectly,” said Stevens. “I bring my dogs everywhere I go. We get to swim and paddleboard in lakes that nobody ever goes to.”

Billy Stevens sits on his side-by-side as his dogs play on grass.

Stevens loves taking his dogs with him on his adventures in his 2019 Polaris RZR 1000 XP-4. — Photo courtesy Billy Stevens

Tips from a pro

Snapping eye-popping photos doesn’t just happen by accident. Photographers need to plan and prepare. Here are a couple of tips from a pro.

Light: “Always make sure you have good light,” said Stevens. “I’m a lover of alpen glow and sunsets. They make for the most interesting photos and good light.”

Lenses: “I personally carry multiple lenses that will allow me to capture everything and anything at any given moment,” Stevens said.

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