Riding Highway 16 and Highway 97 - Things to know

19 Days | 899.2mi | Riding Time: 91h 17min | 34977 kcal | 50628 vertical feet hwy16-hwy97-description-road-conditions-1

After the spectacular Steward-Cassiar-Highway we went south through Smithers, Burns Lake, Prince George, Whistler and Vancouver Island. Already at the junction of the Steward-Cassiar-Highway and Highway 16 we realized: The traffic increased! The Highway had two lanes most of the time until Prince George. Goodbye wilderness! Many trucks and a small or even no shoulder: This is really not the place for bicyclists! The truck pass you on a very high speed and mostly without safety distance, they assume the road belongs to them. Therefore a few passing maneuvers were really dangerous for us. After Prince George we kept going on Highway 97 with similar road conditions and even more traffic.hwy16-hwy97-description-road-conditions-2 After Quesnel we could get away from the traffic for a while, since there was the Highway 99. This is a back road which cuts of the really busy roads around Vancouver and crosses over to Whistler. The rest of the tour is not recommendable for bicycles. If you plan a trip like this, there is a nice alternative which unfortunately came too late for us: Take the ferry from Prince Ruppert to Vancouver Island. We heard there are nice views to glaciers, amazing coast landscapes and also wale sightings directly from the ferry. The next time we will be on that boat. Highway 16 and Highway 97 really cannot be recommended for bicycles.hwy16-hwy97-description-road-conditions-3If anybody still chooses to go on the Highway (by bicycle or other transport way): Definitely plan in one day at Smithers. This town claims to be similar then an Alpine ski town similar to for example Garmisch Partenkirchen. Therefore a German butcher with a restaurant and also a German bakery can be found in the Main Street. From downtown the Hudson Bay Mountain is not very far. In the winter there are many runs for skiing and in the summer the mountain is used by downhill mountain bikers and also hikers. We did a daytrip up to the Crater Lake, which is a little lake far above the tree line. Amazing views are guaranteed and after a nice run on our Liteville Mountainbikes, we had a cool beer in town.hwy16-hwy97-description-road-conditions-4 A second must stop is the town of Whistler where the Olympic Winter Games of Vancouver took place in 2010. This made this town very famous and is now overrun by tourists. Therefore we kept going and stayed in a small town Squamish. From there we did a two day trip to a small cabin at the Elfin Lake. For both hikers and mountain bikers this is a very nice and scenic trip. We stayed in the small Elfin Lake Cabin for one night and paid $15 per person including a butane stove at the hut. Used to the European style of these kinds of cabins, we expected at least mattresses. But once we were there, we had to realize there was nothing but wooden platforms. And what’s the positive thing of sleeping on plain wood without air-mattress? You don’t miss the early sunrise, which was absolutely amazing on that day! Since the cabin is at about 1550m we had about 1500m of downhill before we got back to Squamish, which is at sea level. hwy16-hwy97-description-road-conditions-5Salmon fans be prepared: Whenever you get closer to the coast on the highways you should look to all the small creeks and try to spot them. On our trip in September we saw thousands of salmon spawning. It almost seems unreal to see such a large fish of about three foot length in all the small creeks. No wonder why bears can catch salmon: It is not because they have good fishing skills; it is more because you can’t miss the fish if there are hundreds on one spot. hwy16-hwy97-description-road-conditions-6