DAKOTA RIDGE SUNSHINE COAST: 15KM OF GORGEOUSNESS 15 MINS FROM CIVILIZATION
Duane Burnett's Dakota Ridge Video
GEAR SALES & RENTALS, PASSES:
of Jamie Mani, Alpha Adventures
All content and images copyright Alpha Adventures unless otherwise indicated.
If you were to ask most British Columbians to tell you about the Sunshine Coast they might respond with tales of The Beachcombers, or comments on all of the amazing paddling areas for kayaking. It’s true, we are proud of Molly’s Reach and we do love the incredible ocean that lies at our doorstep. However, what most people do not realize is that we also have an incredible winter playground in our back yard too.
A haven for summer cottage dwellers and getaway travelers, the Sunshine Coast is now being discovered for its winter adventures as well. With its close proximity to both the Sea to Sky corridor and Vancouver more and more people are choosing to recreate here simply on a daily basis or for the weekend. One of the fastest growing winter activities that people are pursuing is snowshoeing.
If you can walk, you can snowshoe. With a little bit of practice and some good equipment you can make any dreary rainy day at sea level turn into a snowy play day up in the mountains. The best thing about snowshoeing on the Sunshine Coast is that there are so many places to explore for the day or for the weekend. The Dakota Ridge Winter Recreation Area, located just past Roberts Creek is an ideal place for snowshoers of all ages and abilities. Gentle hills and wide ridges entice locals as well as tourists to explore. From the parking area you can snowshoe to a number of viewpoints that give outstanding vistas of Georgia Straight, Vancouver Island and Mount Baker.
Further up, you can snowshoe to the upper portions of the ridge into old growth forests with views of the Tetrahedron as your backdrop. As you ascend in elevation the grade decreases and eventually you will find yourself on top of the largest and flattest portion of the ridge. The incredible feeling of silence in the winter may only be interrupted by the sound of bald eagles flying overhead. Most trips in the Dakota Ridge area are suited for day and half-day outings and require driving on snow-covered logging roads for access (chains and 4-wheel drive are strongly recommended and may be REQUIRED - check the feed to the right. If you go without chains and need to be towed out there is no coverage by insurance plans and it's a minimum $400 call out charge... buy chains!).
In the winter of 2006/2007 the Sunshine Coast Regional District will manage the Dakota Ridge area. Improvements to road access, track setting for cross country skiing and a warming hut are all being planned for this new winter recreation area.
Cross- country skiing is an excellent way to explore the Sunshine Coast in the winter months. Improvements to equipment have resulted in wide array of skis available. You can now chose skis that will be best suited to track-set conditions, skis that are designed for backcountry travel or skis that can accommodate both types of terrain.
Fresh powder on Dakota Ridge
For a longer adventure, the winter gem of Tetrahedron Provincial Park cannot be beat. A network of four backcountry huts allows you to explore an incredible amount of terrain by snowshoe or ski. Day trips to the frozen expanses of Tannis or Batchelor Lakes are popular for snowshoers and skiers alike. If you have multiple days to visit, try traveling from hut to hut to view all that this park has to offer. The Mt. Steele area places you in the perfect viewing area for panoramas of the nearby mountain ranges. The huts are maintained by the local outdoor club and are available on a first come, first serve basis for a minimal cost.
Both snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are excellent activities for the whole family.
You can find out more information on equipment rentals, tours and
access from the following links:
List of all operators offering snowshoe &/or ski guided trips and rentals:
Dakota Ridge Winter Recreation Society
Tetrahedron Outdoor Club- Maintains the huts and roads in Tetrahedron Provincial Park
Alpha Adventures - Outdoor Adventure Store