North to Theodosia

A favourite backroads ride

Scanning my maps I saw a big hinterlands north of Powell River, scattered roads only, north on the mainland up the east side of Okeover Arm. On the other side of Okeover, there is Malaspina Peninsula, with several Fav rides, one for all cyclists, and another for backroads riders

I did some research and found out this was the Theodosia region, part of the wider Desolation Sound area. I also found out that hardy quad enthusiasts were able to make their way up to Theodosia Inlet and beyond. Aha - so I thought I'd best check it out.

For a shorter version of this ride page, see the blog post (search tag: Theodosia).

Theodosia Inlet | bikepacking Theodosia

Once you reach the scenic south shores of Theodosia Inlet, the logging roads get decent (watch for trucks!). This dock & parking area is for those heading out by boat. I'm not sure how local vehicles get here - perhaps by barge? I almost decided to wild camp right here. And see the local log sort on the mid-right.

Some highlights:

  • camp at Olsen's Landing (new Fav campground - see pic below) along the remote north shores of Powell Lake, with sandy beach, fabulous swimming & stunning mountain views 

  • chill out along the south shores of Theodosia Inlet, and maybe see a few adventurous sailboats moored

  • tackle the tough ride north to Theodosia Inlet along a decommissioned track, with a few memorable, malicious stretches

  • ride NE along the Theodosia River Valley, and perhaps do some exploring beyond the turnoff down to Olsen's Landing

Photo taken from my shoreline camp at Olsen's Landing. I had this little sandy point to myself, with incredible swimming. The actual Landing is a dock and parking area about 300m to the east along a rough trail. The boat is the water bus heading back (to Powell River?) in the latter afternoon. It came back very early in the morning. Somehow I managed to never meet another person.

cycle touring north Sunshine Coast | Powell River mill | bikepacking Malaspina Peninsula

Powell River area, as well as the region north around Theodosia Inlet, is part of Tla'Amin (formerly known as Sliammon) First Nations traditional land. The Inlet is part of the wider Desolation Sound region, fed by the Theodosia River. 

 

I stopped in at the Band HQ north of Powell River, to ask about my planned route. I also found out that the band is working on a plan to remove a 1956 hydro dam on the Theodosia River: turned out it was very bad for spawning salmon, and they have a dream to revive the river. 

 

As you can see in the pic below, they've got some fabulous carved poles outside the hall.

Tla'Amin band office | bikepacking Theodosia

Outside the Tla'Amin band office north of Powell River along Hwy 101. Got some useful route info here.

Check out striking the carved poles behind me.

It was morning, but already a hot July day.

Days for Ride:  

I tackled this ride as an overnighter, camping out at Olsen's Landing, my end of the road, then backtracking all the way back to Powell River.  Distances are not too far (60+kms each way), but it's a hard ride in stretches, complete with pushing and hauling. The campground at Olsen's Landing is special in the right conditions, but the lakeside exposure could be an issue if there's rough weather, or if other folks get there first. I was there in mid July, with nary a soul about.

There is also a small basic Rec camp at the north end of Olsen Lake, just before one branches SE down to Olsen's Landing. There's a bridge just before the turn, with short rough tracks south down to the lake on either side of the bridge. As noted above, one could camp along the south shores of Theodosia Inlet, and enjoy some cooling breezes and grand views.

There's a Sunshine Coast Trail campsite (Homestead) just off Southview Road, about 3.5kms up after you branch inland from the coastal highway (Hwy 101). I've camped here and found it fine, but very buggy as the forest is too close in for breezes.

A nasty stretch before one reaches Theodosia Inlet. Just before you reach the south shores of the Inlet, you'll go through a stretch with ~15 decommissioning trenches designed to scare folks off the track south. You'll earn your passage. 

Bikepacking Theodosia | cycle touring Theodosia

Difficulty: Medium

 

I've set this as Medium due to the shorter distances involved, and the fact that there's a limited stretch of really rough, tough riding (quad, but not pickup passable). I had to push and haul a number of short stretches.

This is also a remote ride, although you will see logging activity in the region, and there are water busses plying from both Theodosia Inlet and Olsen's Landing. I was not able to find a decent map, so you may want to ask me for the GPX track file if you plan to tackle this ride (though the directions below are relatively straight forward). For more info on GPS devices and file sharing, check out this page.

Roads to Sarah Point | bikepacking Malaspina Peninsula

Some more road shots, including a ghost along the roadside in the lower right. Top left is one of the decom trenches. Top right is along the short trail into my shoreline campsite at Olsen's Landing.

Here's some nearby side trip options to consider: 

  • Continue further up the Theodosia River Valley. Not sure what one will find, and the road to the turnoff to Olsen's Landing is not alongside the river, so there had been few river views

  • Combine this ride with a trip up the Malaspina Peninsula

  • From Powell River, check out the grand hinterland of lakes, backroads and camping options N/NE from town

The dock at Olsen's Landing. You can see the water bus. Not sure if the bus might be accessible to the public? Behind me in the parking area were 3 pickups, a fuel tank and a truck cab. You could camp somewhere right at the landing if necessary. Check out that view!

Olsen's Landing | bikepacking Theodosia

Here's the elevation / distance view:

Elevation never gets much above 200m. But you can see there's some real steep hills and one just keeps bouncing up and down. The ride up along the Theodosia River starting at ~km40 is manageably gradual. 

The most challenging stretch is between approx km 34 and 40, particularly if you are going back - north to south.

Here's the distance & direction guide. Unless you're planning a ride, you'll want to skip this. The track starts at Powell River ferry terminal, though the backroads ride begins when you branch inland off Hwy 101 onto Southview Road (after about 15 kms). 

After ~3.5kms you'll reach a junction that branches right, which is also a crossing of the SCT (Sunshine Coast Trail). About 30m to the right, across a little creek bridge, is Homestead Camp, basic but serviceable if needed. Keep straight here (don't turn), as Southview becomes Theodosia BR2 (branch 2). After a further 6kms you'll reach the east side of the south end of Okeover Arm (which you'll likely not be able to see), and a further 4km north will get you to a junction with BR1. Go straight  through: your road will start to get noticeably smaller and rougher, with undergrowth closer in. 

After 5+more kms you'll pass to the right of a small lake on your map (you'll likely not be able to see it). Your road will start to get a little rougher yet. After another 2kms you'll get into a really rocky, steep stretch (a killer on the way back south). After a km, you'll see a sign for Theo (you're fairly near the ocean here) at the bottom of a steep little hill. From the top, the track gets better for a few kms (winding, hard pack, with close in trees - but rideable). Then you'll get into a succession of trenches. 3kms past the 'Theo sign' you'll see the pullout down to the south shores of Theodosia Inlet, just before the log sort. 

Follow the south shores of Theodosia for ~3kms of sweet riding, then continue up into the Theodosia River Valley. After nearly 11km, you'll cross a bridge just before a gravel pit (tracks down from bridge to north Olsen Lake Camp). It's just over a 1/2km more to the turnoff right/SE down to Olsen's Landing along the east side of Olsen Creek. Just before the road reaches the lakeshore, you can see the rough trail/track to the east (look hard) if you want to go to the shoreline camp.

Bikepacking Theodosia River Valley | bikepacking Olsen's Landing

The road NE up the Theodosia River Valley. There's an enormous hinterlands yet to be explored up into the interior.

Caution - Safety First:

This website does not encourage anyone to undertake activities in the backwoods without considering fully issues of safety, access and readiness. There are no guarantees with any information provided in this website.  Please read  the FAQs, research further as appropriate, and use your judgement at all times