KVR Day 9 – Trail to Salmo River

Steep climb from the Columbia River up to Fruitvale then hwy to Salmo: back onto gravel @Salmo – Great Northern Rail Trail. Very rough out of Salmo but beautiful along the Salmo River. Biked through prime swim time cause Axel napped 😭, but found a sweet camp spot to end the day.

More 🚲!: We stayed on (paved) side roads from Beaver Creek Prov Park and climbed up and away from the Columbia Rivery through farms. It was steep going but early morning coolness was such a contrast from yesterday’s highway ride; this was hard work but much more mentally manageable. Ryley as usual did a great job of hauling Axel up a bunch of hills. The road was rolling through Fruitvale and relatively quiet, too. We met up with the Kootenay Highway which was also fairly quiet, stopped at a historic school site for a break and run around and to chase some very chaseable ants. We did try a side road to try to catch the rail trail again but it is now someone’s driveway so we turned back to the highway and carried on to Salmo. We found a cafe that served 4 different kinds of breakfast poutine – our kind of place! It had a big toy car for Axel to drive around so was a very successful stop. From Salmo we jumped back onto gravel – this time the Great Northern Rail Trail that runs from Salmo to Nelson, almost all along the Salmo River which was really pretty. The Salmo section is heavily used by ATVs and was very washboard-y, definitely slow going with the trailer, and mostly an uphill grade to Nelson. We were looking forward to getting off the highway so it was disappointing that the gravel trail ended up falling very short of expectations – a lot harder mentally to manage. Axel fell asleep when we badly needed a swim in the river so we carried on, then unfortunely when he woke up we didn’t have river access – oy! We rode for way too long before taking a break as we were waiting for the river to reappear, and it never showed so everyone was hot and grumpy and in need of shade, water and snacks. Revived, we carried on and crossed a bridge with 2 adult bikes and a kid seat – we figured it must be a kid-friendly river access spot so we stopped for a much needed dip (and it delivered!). We rode a bit further then checked out a side trail down to river access and found a very private camp spot right on the river with a rock cairn tower and built out rock benches. Axel loved setting up camp, throwing rocks in the river and climbing all over the rock structure. Might have been our best camp spot of the trip.

Distance: 69.99 km, Elevation Gain: 762 m, Moving Time: 6h 51m

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