One of my favorite spots to go for a quick mountain bike trip is to Invermere BC. For us from Kimberley it’s only an hour drive, and we love to camp up at Redstreak Campground at Radium Hot Springs. This trip was going to be myself and my two boys. We loaded up the tent trailer, bikes, and some food and hit the road on Monday afternoon in July. Not far outside of Kimberley I could feel something go wrong with the trailer and pulled over. This is what I found…
At first I thought the axle or springs had broken and the trailer had fallen down onto the tire. Once my mechanical help, Bernie from Equicare in Kimberley arrived, he determined that the axle and springs were just fine and that the tire had failed. The tire itself began to unravel and in doing so ripped the plastic wheel well and some wooden floor structure out. Bernie helped me put the spare (which was not in good shape itself) on. Note to self, if you are going to have a spare you should make sure it’s a good spare, for the love of Pete! Anyway, once the spare was on I was able to get the trailer back to our house. Bernie is going to order me two new tires and I’ll have to figure something out for the wheel well. Other than that it’s seems to be OK.. This was not going to ruin our bike trip to Invermere so we found the old tent in the garage which hasn’t been used in almost 10 years. We transferred all our camping gear from the trailer into the truck and hit the road, again..
We made it to Invermere just before Canadian Tire closed and were able to get three new air mattresses to sleep on. Before heading up to Radium Hot Springs for the night, we stopped at Arrowhead Brewing Company right across the road. I am a bit of a beer connoisseur you know!! I went with “I’ve Been Thinking About Getting the Band Back Together” which is an India Session Ale, 5.5%, with IBU 45 which turned out to be delicious and I had to pick up six more and a beer glass the next day. If you are in the Invermere area and like beer, duh, I would highly recommend stopping in for a pint.
We then picked up the phone and ordered probably the best pizza I’ve had in BC so far from Wild Side Pizzeria. It’s not he cheapest pizza in the world, but like everything in life, you get what you pay for. We stopped in to Wild Side in Radium, picked up our pizza and headed up to Readstreak Campground.
Once in the campground at about 8:30 pm we found our campground and ate our delicious pizza before setting anything up. Once the Pizza was successfully devoured I grabbed the old tent bag and laid it out. Well, WTF, there are no freaking tent poles rolled up in this tent. I must have looked at least 10 times hoping that the next time Iooked they would magically be there. The boys were silent in fear of Dad exploding, instead I just laughed and asked the boys how they felt about sleeping under the stars tonight. Both kids were more than excited to do so. We blew up the new air mattresses, well two of them anyway as the free pump attached to mine of course only comes with a 120 volt plug, to be used in a house outlet. I mean would ever design a camping mattress with an internal pump that only plugs into a house outlet. Off I go back down to Radium Hot Springs to see if any of the gas stations may sell an inverter for my truck. Of course the did not, nor did they really understand what I was looking for. Luckily I was able to find a pump that would work and headed back up to pump up my bed.
We had some breakfast and headed out for the Johnson Trail in Invermere. Trailforks has a great description and map of this trail located in the Lilian Lake trail system. The Johnson Trail is fast and flowy with some amazing canyon views! You don’t have to be a professional photographer to get some great shots. There are a few sections that may give those with a fear of heights a bit of a rush but you can always walk these small sections if you aren’t comfy enough to ride them. There is always the option to take Arch Potential to miss the more exposed sections of Johnson Trail. None the less this is a great 10 km loop without too much climbing. If you are in Invermere with the family or just want a nice flowy intermediate trail with sensational views, the Johnson Trail is for you. Check out the pictures below..
After the Johnson Trail we grabbed some lunch at Subway, because it’s easy and the kids love it, and then headed over to Columbia Cycle and Ski, which is just around the corner from Subway. This is where I purchased my Giant Trance 1.5 from last December, on sale of course. This is the closest Giant Dealer to Kimberley and it had the one I wanted. We all have our favorites but I’m truly loving my Giant Trance 1.5. Columbia Cycle and Ski is a great shop for all you biking needs. They have a good selection of bikes, gear, and a service shop. They also have tones of nice clothing as well. One more stop at the Arrowhead Brewery for some more tasty brews, a trip to the grocery store and then back to the campsite. A great day riding with the boys followed by hotdogs and marshmallows. And, of course another night of sleeping on top of our tent under the stars this time. The sky was clear and I had a much better sleep. We were definitely getting some odd looks from the other campers but we were loving sleeping in the real outdoors.
The next morning we had a breakfast meeting and were originally planning on riding Kloosifier, also in the Lilian Lake trail system but decided to go and try Mt Swansea. This turned out to be a great decision. It is an up and down style of riding area where a lot of people shuttle multiple laps, fun. We of course rode up and had a spectacular DH run down. We ended up on Hula Girl which was a tone of fun with a lot of great berms, jumps, and very fast and flowy. We will definitely be coming back to Mt Swansea to check out the other trails, maybe even for a day trip. Another highly recommended riding area of Invermere. Check out our pictures below.
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Invermere is also very popular for their DH park at Panorama. This is Panorama’s description of their bike park from their website… “The Panorama Bike Park celebrates old school riding while embracing the new directions and trends of the ever the evolving sports of downhill and XC mountain biking. The park’s roots are obvious in the braided labyrinth of burly tech DH trails.” We didn’t have the DH bikes and they aren’t that cheap to rent either. But if you are looking for some lift access trails with manicured berms, jumps, and features this is the place to be.
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Invermere also has a great lake, Lake Windermere, for boating, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, etc. There is a nice downtown core with some boutique shopping as well if you are into that… You can visit the Columbia Valley website for more information on that. All in all Invermere/Columbia Valley gets a great thumbs up for any mountain biker(s) looking for nice trip with lots of variety to offer. Well that’s a wrap on Invermere for now. I’m sure we’ll be back, and sure to share our riding story. Let us know what you think of Invermere in the comments.