BC's Final Frontier: Forestry Roads

Want to dabble in exploring the unknown in your own backyard? Look no further than the rainforest roads paved by BC's logging industry.

The outdoor community has been inundated lately with narratives around the popularizing of our natural spaces: hot springs shutting down due to misuse, the popularization of local gems resulting from social media attention, and full campsites early in the season. Interest in getting into these beautiful places is at an all time high, which means busier trails and campsites.

Naturally, many questions have arisen throughout this dialogue. Is Instagram ruining the outdoors? How do we educate? Are there any wild places left? Though I'm not here to touch on the former questions (thoughts on this here), I can definitively say to the latter: yes, wilderness is still out there. 

The nature-loving-epidemic happening in the PNW has given rise to an attitude among outdoors enthusiasts that finding something out in a guide book gives precedence over insta-inspo, and while we could sit and argue about this argument's validity all day long, maybe it's better to strap on our boots and get exploring. 

The perfect place to do this? British Columbia's backroads extraordinaire! 

Forest Service Roads ("FSR"'s to the 4x4 community) are rugged, isolated, and relatively unexplored. Thousands of kilometres of gravel roads, hidden waterfalls, hot springs, and classic BC beauty await those who are willing to risk a little more for wild experiences. 

Some of the best adventures I have ever been on have involved a bit of calculated risk and heading up a road without a sign post to a trailhead. If you're looking to get out of your adventure comfort zone and into some unprescribed experiences, head over to the government website, pick a spot, and go. You'll have to do some digging (online, guidebooks, maps, etc.) and extra preparation, but isn't that the challenge we are looking for? 

This is where the new frontier exists. 


Not sure where to start, or not feeling confident enough in your backroad navigation to get deep into it? Some already well-known spots exist on FSRs, and once you've gone down a few of these roads, you'll begin to understand the significant amount of hidden trails and sites at your disposal! Keep your eyes peeled for different campsites and side roads to explore next time. Start with some of the adventures below: 

  1. Sloquet Hot Springs
  2. Stave Lake
  3. Mt. Cheam
  4. Jones Lake

Important Tips before you go: 

  • Many of these roads are 4WD or 4x4 access only. Do your research before you go.
  • Always, always have a map or gps with you (and know how to use them). Most of these areas have no cell service and you need to be able to navigate on your own without reliance on technology. 
  • Check road conditions. This information may be tough to find but it will be critical to your adventure. Look online, ask others who have been. Nothing is worse than showing up and finding a washout in the middle of a road. 
  • Have a trip plan and make sure someone else knows where you are. 
  • Always follow leave no trace. Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints. If you can, bring a garbage bag and collect anything you find. 
Published: May 29, 2017

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Tara StamnesExplorer

Vancouver