Defining a trail system as “big” is difficult to quantify since it’s a subjective term. Well, Bear Creek Recreation Site has 330 kilometres of off-road trails on an 85,000-acre piece of land and is the largest recreation site in B.C., situated just outside of Kelowna. So, yeah, it’s “big.”
“I haven't been anywhere so far that comes close to having the massive trail system that we have,” said Kent Jorgenson, Okanagan Trail Riders Association president. “It's so immense and spiders out so much that you might see one or two people the whole day, even though there's 200 to 300 people on the trail system. Part of the design is to get people out and away from the trailhead and get them off on their own adventure and riding their own track.”
The Bear Creek Recreation Site is a picturesque location to go for a rip. — Photo courtesy Kent Jorgenson
Navigating such a gargantuan trail system may seem a little daunting, but the organization has you covered. “Some people don't feel comfortable out in the bush,” Jorgenson said. “They're afraid of getting lost. We have this trail system all mapped out and marked.” Riders can go out with a downloaded GPS trail system map, print out a copy beforehand or stop by the site host and pick up a map.
No matter what level of skill you possess or the type of OHV you ride, Bear Creek has a trail that’s just right for you. The trail system falls into three categories: beginner, intermediate and expert. Forty per cent of the trail system is double-tracked and set up for quads, side-by-sides and beginners. Newbies are encouraged to take the beginner loop on Trail No. 1 because it’s a double track all the way around the site and there’s a good lookout spot on the top of Blue Grouse Mountain. It’s about an hour and a half ride and gets unfamiliar riders acquainted with the area. “From the top of Blue Grouse, you have a 180-degree view of Peachland to Vernon, where you can see all of Kelowna and several lakes in the area,” Jorgenson said. “It's quite the vantage point.”
There’s plenty to see at the Bear Creek Recreation Site. — Photo courtesy Kent Jorgenson
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Bear Creek has double black diamond, single-track loops for really advanced riding. “Some people want to see the toughest stuff and we usually send them to 23 or 24,” Jorgenson said. “Some come back and say it was harder than they thought it would be. Others say ‘That was pretty good, what else you got?’ We send those people out to 2058, a double black diamond track. It's for expert riders. And we have everything in between.”
Bear Creek’s trails spider out in so many directions that riders can spend as long or as short of a time on the system that they want—45 minutes, four hours—it’s no problem.
The Bear Creek Recreation Site is a motorcyclist’s paradise. — Photo courtesy Kent Jorgenson
As wonderful as everything you’ve read so far is (and it is wonderful), we haven’t even covered the best part about Bear Creek. “When we asked people why they like Bear Creek, the number one answer is that it's so darn close to town,” said Jorgenson. “Within 10 to 15 minutes, I'm at a dirt bike trail system. No matter where you are within our local area, you're not much farther than 30 minutes away from the trail system.”
The Bear Creek Recreation Site is both motorcycle- and ATV-friendly. — Photo courtesy Kent Jorgenson
More than any other reason, the primary incentive for trekking through Bear Creek is the splendid memories you’re going to make. “The coolest part of riding is chatting with the people that I meet,” Jorgenson said. “When we start talking after a day in the trails, the conversation inevitably goes back to, ‘This is just like when we were kids!’ ”
Find out how Bear Creek Recreation Site was created.
On our Rad Radar
Rad rider: Kent Jorgenson
Where: Bear Creek Recreation Site (of course!)
Occupation: Real estate agent
Weapon of choice: KTM 530