Motorcycle Touring BC's Route 16
BC's Highway 16 (Yellowhead Hwy) stretches from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific coast, with quiet highway, forest-lined...
This past summer, after having my motorcycle licence for only a month, I decided to road trip some of BC’s legendary highways. Ten days, 3,000 kilometres (1,800 miles), and my small Suzuki TU250X. The trip was amazing. My skills improved each day, and I discovered that riding a motorbike on remote highways connects you to the natural world around you in a way you don’t experience in a car—although any of these highways are worth the trip on four wheels if you don’t ride. Check out the route map and some of my highlights.
The Sea-to-Sky Highway is a rite of passage for new riders, and before the highway was improved in 2010 it was also considered dangerous. Now the multi-lane highway is much safer, but it’s still easy to get distracted with twists and turns nestled between towering mountains and the Salish Sea. This route starts in Vancouver and follows the Sea-to-Sky Highway through Squamish, Whistler, and Pemberton.
When you continue along the Sea-to-Sky Highway from Pemberton, it turns into Duffey Lake Road. If motorcycles could dream, they’d dream of Duffey Lake Road. Be ready for sharper corners, steeper grades, and gorgeous lake and forest views. Take your time. There are plenty of opportunities to pull over and soak up the scenery.
The Cariboo Highway is steeped in gold rush history. Years ago, traffic was mainly horse and wagon, and you can still find ranches on this route where you can stay and explore on horseback. Now, the pace of motor traffic has picked up. Perfect for me to see if my small motorbike could keep up—it did.
Traffic starts to lighten along this stretch of Highway 16. An adventurer’s playground, the area is known for its abundance of lakes, charming communities, rivers, and history.
A hidden gem off Route 16 is the trip to Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park. Follow Highway 113 (Nisga’a Highway) as it winds around Lava Lake, explore the lava beds, and visit one of the Nisga’a First Nations villages. Continue through the Nass Valley to Laxgalts’ap to visit the Nisga’a Museum.
Another highlight of the trip, this last leg of Highway 16 delivers with corners that wind through towering mountains and lush forest, leading to a breathtaking ocean view and the charming community of Prince Rupert.
The ferry from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island takes you on a 15-hour journey through the Inside Passage. Watch for bears, whales, and dolphins as the ferry weaves its way among the coastal islands of the Great Bear Rainforest.
The ferry docks at the north end of Vancouver Island in Port Hardy. Here our sea legs went back on our bikes for the journey down the island on highways 19 and 19A. Highway 19 is fast, and Highway 19A is a slower, scenic, oceanside ride.
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