Vancouver to Lillooet to Big Bar to Gang Ranch to Farewell Canyon to Bella Coola

Hi, I'm hoping someone can help me with tips (safety tips)or helpful ideas for this trip....anyone able to join me for it of part of it, your welcome to.

I've booked Sept 23,24 and 25 off work for this ride and am now concerned about distance and weather.

On the 23rd I was planning to leave Vancouver 8am the latest for Lillooet and it looks like that's about 3.5 hrs. where I'll gas up and eat get before heading on the West Pavillion Rd towards the Big Bar ferry (Should be working from what I can tell ?).

I hope to get up to the lookout tower at Jesmond for a look if not this realistic on a loaded 800GS ?

I hope to cross the Fraser and through Gang Ranch to Farewell Canyon to camp for the night...anyone camped there seems as if others have but no designated camping site?
How many hours would it take from Lillooet to Farewell Canyon and anyone know the exact distance? I'm expecting a long day and while I be carrying two 1L fuel bottles, should I pack a jerry can as well?

If that works out next morning I'll gas up in Lee's Corner and head for Bella Coola will dictate if i get a hotel there BUT would like to camp at Blue Jay Lake rec site if safe(bears) and if I can make it up there?

Next day back east to camp 'wherever' near the half way point, around Riske Creek or even Williams Lake..will see

Any help with intel for this route or if you would like to join me let me know please.



Active member
Not sure if this helps or not.
This is a route I did a few years ago. From Williams lake through Farwell canyon , the back side of the Gang ranch and down to the pavement at Pavilion was 300k.
It was a good day's ride.
I missed a turn and went too far West of the Gang ranch that added about 40k to the route.
I think one day from Van to Williams lake is pushing it on that route.......but I'm an old guy:cool:



While I havent crossed the Fraser at Big Bar (yet), I've travelled alot in that area. Here's a few thoughts that hopefully you've already got covered:

- As we arc into fall (which means cold farther North !), dress for the weather.
- West Pavilion rd is 100km or so of twists and turns, with cattle wandering throughout - so you cant really get any speed through there, and if wet may prove challenging, as there can be clay like conditions. Make sure you have good tires (no street slicks), and air down.
- always carry fuel if you can, I'm not sure where the next fuel station is once you leave Lillooet.
- make sure you've got the parts/tools/knowledge you need to do basic repairs; flats, electrical, etc..
- make sure folks you can rely on know your course and schedule, and carry an InReach, and a headlamp.

I'm sure more seasoned folk with have further knowledge to impart...


New member
Jesmond lookout gets more challenging the further you get to the top.Unload your gear hide it in the bush then go up,well worth the view.Distance from lill-gang-farwell is about 220km.You can get gas close to farwell,up at the highway.
Was up at the lookout end of September, I have a video of it and will try and upload it. Unloaded in dry conditions and knobby tires you should make it. Keep your momentum up. The road west side of Big bar is pretty sandy at the start and the area around gang ranch can turn to gumbo if raining.


Just got back from an epic ride through the Chilcotin. As others have said in a good rain the mud is LEGENDARY and will win, it will take hours to make any forward progress. If you have hugger mud guards you will loose them.That said, it does not take long for the roads to set up like concrete with great traction The ferry was running last week, watch the sand on the west side on the bottom half of the hill and the ramp is wood and slippery when wet. Bella Coola may be a little optimistic if riding primarily dirt. We had hard frost on the bikes around Chilko Lake in the mornings.If you are riding alone there are people out there but not many and no services or cell. Fantastic country and a great ride have as much fun as we did.
Check your pm's


New member
I’ve done the ride a couple of times in the summer months.From Pavillion, Kelly lake and up to farwell Canyon where we camped. Next day we continued to Gang Ranch and up toLee’s corner where as far as I know it is the only gas station after Pavillion. We were riding everything from KLR’s toGS 1200’s and did not have to fill up until Lee’s corner. Then we continued toBella Coola. On the way back we took a detour to Chilko lake (highlyrecommended). Chilko lake is Grizzly country as well. The next day we went back to Hwy 20 and toVancouver via Williams Lake. From ChilkoLake to Vancouver is exactly 12 hours. From Vancouver to Bella Coola is a long ride and even longer if you aretaking the back roads.
Thanks joker650,

I'm no spring chicken either :)
so on your route it was 300k south from Williams Lake to the pavement at Pavilion then I should be fine from Lillooet to Lee's Corner with two 1L fuel bottles ?

Any chance of being turned around on my planned route from Lillooet to Lees's Corner(gas/supplies) that would require extra fuel? My bike should go past 300k since this is mostly all dirt not HWY speeds?

So, I bought a 5L can at CDN tire on the way home yesterday..thinking i might take it just to be safe?
Hey offworlder, thanks for the tips

I have the gear liners and an electric vest and my sleeping bag should be good to minus something
I'm on Mitas tires that are not bald but not new
I'm leaning towards bringing the 5L can in addition to my fuel bottles (rather not but I'll be alone and whenever I get to the Dempster it'll be a must) ?
I've a tool kit,compressor,irons(used once riding up along the Elaho) but I'm no mechanic
I'll have my SPOT on my arm and protocol for checking in with family with it. headlamp(Do you mean for camping or a headlight?)
thanks RocketMan

about 220klm sounds as if I could be ok with only the two 1l fuel bottles i have

you say fuel can be found near Riske Creek? That would be perfect.much closer then gettin to Lee's corner

I'll play it by ear when I get to Jesmond...I might just go for it...may be not :eek:

Thanks again
Pembydoorider, seems as if I'll be offloading my gear for the run up to the lookout(let me get there first). Love to see your video if you can get it posted before I leave(recent conditions, would be nice to see what I'll be up against there, before being there)

brakes are good tires are fair....remember that song?
I am hoping for mostly dry riding knowing how wet clay can be a handful and really slows your progress. I've heard about the sand close to the ferry...I know clay, I'm originally from PEI. thanks man
Hi coyote650, sound like you guys had a good time, nice!

If it's pissing rain when I get to Lillooet I'm flexible and can skip riding towards Bella Coola, I'll be alone and want to enjoy it not kill myself getting there, tomorrow is another day! I be re-assessing this trip as it unfolds I think.
My plan on day one is to ride from Vancouver and camp at Farewell Canyon or south of that if I'm slowed by greasy mud or a flat or whatever and then next day ride into Bella Coola
i got your PM, will reply there soon
Cool triplenickel, I just made a note of that in my Backroad Mapbook as a reminder, I'm leaning towards not bringing the 5L jerry can now thanks
mroddis, oh I think this weekend will be wet, it will be here in Van anyhow, hope you have fair weather.
I'll be looking for your 1st hand report :clap:

be safe, thanks Matthew
Yeah I thought it would be for you. I saw your post about no gas at Goldbridge, good you brought some along. Should I change plans I'll skip that direction, I also heard there is a landslide west of Lillooet on #40

I'm bringin along the extra 5L gas can for my trip.

Fingers crossed that it'll have dried out for me by Wednesday......will re-access as i go along.

Thanks again Matthew


Now that I'm warm and dry again...

I think the torrential rains made the ride unusually challenging - just from the simple standpoint of getting worn down by the weather. Some thoughts:

- I was running a Heidenau front tire with a Mefo Super Explorer rear and I'm very glad I switched from the stock Pirelli's. The tires were great. I also put in an HD rear tube for good measure.
- I carry an InReach and I send tracking points to my wife, brother, and 2 friends every 30 minutes so they know where I am. I'd suggest something similar if you're travelling alone.
- I carry spares and tools (tubes, oil, compressor, tire irons, etc) and know how to use them. I'm no expert but I believe I could get myself to civilization if something broke on the bike.
- The bike (KTM 950adv) was great. I don't worry about whether it will make it through rough sections - I know I am the limiting factor...

- the Hurley was fine, wet, but not slippery. It was pretty foggy on top but the road was fine. The colours were beginning to change, so I guess fall is fast approaching...
- No gas at the usual spot in Gold Bridge (as mentioned) - I gassed up in Pemberton and made it to Lillooet with no worry (I start to worry after 220kms). I didn't make any side trips like I was planning cause I wasn't sure on the fuel situation, but there is lots to explore there.
- Rocks on the road. Be careful, there were a lot of rocks lying around on Hwy 12, 99, Duffy, etc. And on the 40 Bridge River Road I passed a car that had just been hit with a few rocks. I wasn't sticking around to take photos, but i think that was largely due to the crazy rain.
- I love the road around Carpenter Lake, and on to Lillooet. Watch for rocks, though.
- I camped at the free BC Hydro site in Lillooet. Nothing fancy, but I did get free firewood from the guy checking on folks.
- Breaking down a campsite and loading up a motorbike in a torrential downpour is no fun, and you will get wet.
- My Revit gloves are summer gloves. Summer gloves aren't good in September rainfall in BC.
- Only my left heated grip is working. Right hand was freezing.
- I attempted the Pavilion-Clinton road and turned around after about 45 minutes. I was really pouring and the road was deteriorating to a very slippery clay mud strip. I'm relatively new to all this riding stuff, and so after wiggling and sliding the big bucking KTM for a few hundred puckered metres, I decided to turn around. In the dry, or at least without driving rain, it would be a great road. I'll do it next time.
- Riding with glasses sucks in the rain. Worse still when your visor keeps fogging up.

If I were you, I'd just see what the weather is doing. It makes such a difference to me if your enjoying a sunny vista versus wiping your visor and wringing out your gloves at every stop. If you're going over the Hurley, then getting to Lillooet is a decent ride, and I'd give yourself about 5 hours at least from Vancouver. I left here at 10 and rolled into the campsite in Lillooet around 4:30 - rain making the trip longer than normal. I think if the weather cooperates, your itinerary looks fine, but be prepared to change it if the weather changes. It truly is fantastic riding - just know your limits.

Have fun - would love to do more riding in that area in the future. My insurance expires next week, so I'll have to wait until next year...

Stay safe.
Well my trip went almost as planned.
Thanks for everyone's tips and well wishes:clap:

The weather co-operated for me and I had next to no Chilotin mud to contend with, the roads had set up good, even the west approach to the Big bar Ferry was no issue(big transition on to the ferry ramp though so be careful there and the ramp up the east side could be tricky if wet/raining (i was good though).
I had a Bob Cat cross the road in front of me which was really cool and a bunch of deer and lots of grouse and quail as well....nice and Big Horn Sheep approaching the bridge at Gang Ranch

I made it up to the Jesmond Fire Lookout Tower........WOW O WOW I was sweating after that and probably wouldn`t have tackled it if I really knew what was involved there but I made it fine with only a couple of foot dabs LOL There were two guys in a pickup up there who I surprised a bit I think...I got one to take my pic (should frame that one, looks epic)

So I didn`t get to Farewell Canyon to camp the 1st night and ended up backtracking from Gang Ranch (they wouldn`t let me camp there) to a rustic camp site at Churn Creek,late arrival to cook supper in the dark....nice night.

Next morning I went through Gang Ranch again towards Farewell Canyon stopping to check both places out a bit. Along the way saw a nice buck and or course lots of free range cattle.

I got fuel at Lees Corner and then ran out the 1st time along the Bella Coola valley later that day.......I did bring along my 5L gas can and it seems as if my bikes computer isn`t estimating range properly. ran out before Lees Corner on the return the next day , I had my trip meter set then... and it run out at 321klm (with the pace I was at).

The lowest temp I saw was 1.5% through Heckman Pass going towards Bella Coola and the only real rain begin at the beginning of Tweedsmur Park entrance going to Bella Coola....rained all the way ``down the hill`` so it was ``wet and sloppy`` and foggy.
Only saw one 3year old female grizzley at the bear viewing station(rangers know them all) pics as it was 200 meters away and my point and shoot camera just doesn`t cut it lol An attendent there let me use her binoculars.....nice (need more time)
I left the wildlife viewing station to look for a hotel and it took the third place before I found my home for the night. «there is a car washing station in town I made very good use of

An un-eventful night in Bella Coola but it rained very hard (I`m gald I was not in a tent)

»Morning was nice with the sun breaking through fog(very very pretty), I rode out to the ferry terminal to have a look see and then towards ``the hill`` again. Stopped to look for more grizzlies but none seen so far that morning. Stopped a bunch of times going back up the hill this time with no fog or rain. Amazing country that is for sure! The snow I heard about at Heckmans pass was gone when I was leaving towards Williams Lake where I grabbed another hotel for my last night on the road.

it was a cool morning ride on Saturday from Williams Lake to home in Vancouver. Rain was in the mtns just north of Lillooet and Pavillion but I basically was dry the whole way home. Did have a black bear cross the road on HWY 97 approaching Pavillion. Somewhat uneventful ride home (nothing wrong with that).

all in all gald I made the effort to get out of the city even for a few it