If you love riding on trails, if you love camping; better yet, if you love combining the two, this is a trip you will enjoy. Peter Krippner will lead a challenging 6 day bike camping trip coinciding with National Bike Travel Weekend following the Trans Canada Trail aka 'The Great Trail' from Victoria to Cultus Lake. The full trip from Anacortes to Bellingham is 346 riding miles, averaging 58/day. See below for more details and each day's itinerary. There are also 3 and 4 day options available with Vancouver as the dividing point for departing or joining the group. There is a lot of information so please read everything before registering.
To get to Anacortes and a Roundtrip option: On Thursday May 31, the day before the trip begins, I will ride from Bellingham to Anacortes leaving around noon. There is plenty of parking where this route begins and this makes for a great roundtrip option. Please confirm if you will select this option. I will be staying the night at Marina Inn.
Day 1: Anacortes - Goldstream The only ferry to Sidney, BC departs at 8:30 so be early and don't forget your passport. Be at least 30 minutes early. We will wander through Victoria and the waterfront before catching the Galloping Goose Regional Trail that will bring us close to Goldstream Campground. Food options will be prevalent along this route and near the campground with a small grocer.
Day 2: Goldstream - Gordon Bay Most of the day will be spent on trails, the Sooke Hills Wilderness Trail and the Cowichan Valley Trail. For a taste of this trail check out this video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6taNqX_Jv2I, there are other shorter videos that will give you a great preview too. This is the day with the highest elevation gain (3,500') with the majority in the first 10 miles. We will stop and ride on the Kilson Trestle, the longest in the Commonwealth. The town of Lake Cowichan is ~8 miles from the campground for supplies or food options.
Day 3: Gordon Bay - Newcastle Island This will be our longest mileage day and could be a pretty challenging ride. For those interested in a breakfast brunch at March Meadows nearby, it begins at 8:00 AM. We want to get going fairly early and fueled up for the day. The Trans Canada Trail continues on the Cowichan Valley Trail but we will now be on the north side of the river. There will be more road sections today. We follow the TCT until Haslam Creek Suspension Bridge which is an optional viewpoint. From mile 52 we will bypass some sections of the TCT and be on the road to connect later as we get closer to Nanaimo. We need to take a ferry to Newcastle Island Marine Park and plan to cross between 6:00 - 8:00 PM. We have reservations with the ferry operator so they will be expecting us. For this day we will have supplies and food options in Ladysmith and Nanaimo.
Day 4: Newcastle Island - Fort Camping We have another long day where we need to abide by ferry schedules. The Newcastle Island ferry begins at 9:15 and we need to catch the ferry to Horseshoe Bay at 11:00 AM. We then follow TCT to the south to catch the Sea Bus shuttle to Vancouver which runs every 15 minutes. We hope to arrive at the train station by 2:00 PM. We will bypass most of TCT as it wanders through Vancouver and catch it again after the train station heading east. This is where those who wanted a 4 day tour can depart by train and anyone who wants to join us for the next 3 days can meet up with us. The train from Seattle arrives around 11:30 AM. We will try to depart by 2:30 PM as we have ~46 miles to go to get to Fort Camping Brae Island Regional Park for the night. Tonight we can stay in Tent Cabins. For those wanting a cheaper option regular campgrounds are also available. Most of the day will be in the Vancouver metro area so supplies and food options should be readily available as well as in Fort Langely.
Day 5: Fort Camping - Cultus Lake If we survived the last two days the next two days will seem much more reasonable. The TCT will spend some time along the Fraser and Chilliwack Rivers and staying north of Abbottsford. Our last night of camping will be at Cultus Lake. A few miles before the campground the small town of Cultus Lake has a couple of food options and a small grocer.
Day 6: Cultus Lake - Bellingham We have finished our time of following the TCT and will head back to the states. We go through some nice farmland in the Fraser River Valley. A great ice cream stop will await us at Birchwood Dairy Farm. We will be on some Whatcom County country roads to get to the Lake Whatcom area of Bellingham. If you drove here you can follow the route to your car. If you are catching the train the terminal is ~8 miles further. If you parked in Anacortes I would be able to provide a ride for 3 with your bikes if you confirmed that this is needed for your return.
CAMPING INFORMATION: Most of the campsites allow 3 tents. Newcastle Island allows 2 tents. The tent cabins at Fort Camping seems to accommodate 4. I am willing to make reservations for 3 campsites per campground and 2 tent cabins for those joining us for the whole trip. This will be done in order of registration and the earlier you register the sooner I can reserve to insure we are all close together. I will inform you if you need to make your own reservations. Those joining for only part of the trip need to make their own reservations or can check with me if space is available with the full trip group. I expect camping to be readily available for this time of year. I have listed the campsites on the RWGPS routes. If we meet capacity costs per campsite are approximately $11/person, with the Tent Cabins being $20/person. Food options are available nearby each campground so it will be an individual choice to eat out or make their meal at camp.
COSTS: I have put together the approximate costs for campgrounds and ferries. Based on their maximum occupancy the cost would be $120/person for the whole trip. I will provide a cost breakdown elsewhere. Ferries you will pay on your own, campground fees will be prepaid and we can pool this money together or write me a check at the end so I don't have to handle cash. Everyone is on their own for incidentals and food costs.
This is a trip where it is very important to be self sufficient and to carry supplies and food to carry you through each day. Supplies and food options will be near each destination. On a couple of days lunch options may not be readily available when you need it. Be prepared. Bikes should have a minimum tire width of 32c for the trail portions of the ride, wider may be better for some sections.