Malaspina Peninsula

Fav ride for all

The Malaspina Peninsula north of Powell River is not a common destination, but has some sweet riding, fine campgrounds and local character. This is proposed as an overnight trip to check out Okeover Arm Provincial Park and then the scenic coastal village of Lund, jump off point for boaters and water taxis heading to further north destinations such as Savary Island.   

Some highlights:

  • Scenic paved road riding, with seaside stretches, up to Lund & east to Okeover Arm 

  • Checking out the neighbourhood around Okeover Arm Provincial Park campground, including a top restaurant, and the docks for heading out to Desolation Sound

  • Food, shopping, the boardwalk & sight seeing around the character village of Lund

MAY 2018 UPDATE: I've added a Fav Backroads Ride up the backroads from Lund to Sarah Point at the north tip of the Malaspina Peninsula, which is also the trailhead for the world renowned Sunshine Coast Trail. This is a short ride, possible as a day trip (though I suggest making it an overnighter), but into a rough, remote and unique area.

Powell River BC ferry terminal, on a brilliant summer riding day. The ride starts and finishes here, though you should consider heading down (or coming up from) the southern Sunshine Coast.

Days for Ride:  

As part of the route here, I've included a side trip (25 kms there & back) to highlight 2 fine popular camping options NE of Powell River on a well maintained dirt track. Many riders will choose not to head out to Inland Lake Provincial Park or Haywire Bay Regional Camp, but I wanted to bring them to attention.

I'm suggesting the ride north on Malaspina Peninsula as an overnighter, camping in Okeover Arm Provincial Park. You could easily add on an extra day, perhaps camping at Dinner Rock Rec site, along the sometimes fierce west coast. It's a short 'there & back' ride, 70 kms (excluding the trip to Haywire Bay or Inland Lake), riding the north-most stretch of the Sunshine Coast Hwy 101, up to Lund then back.

 

It is an 8km round trip east to Okeover Arm from the highway, and 3kms west down (and back) to  Dinner Rock Rec Rec camp. 

Scenic Lund Harbour. In addition to the marinas, there's a couple of restaurants, coffee houses & browsing shops, with a long boardwalk to wander about.

Lund Harbour & boardwalk | Malaspina Peninsula | bike touring Sunshine Coast

Difficulty:  Moderate. This is a shorter ride, mostly on pavement, in an area where the elevation does not rise much above 200m. But be ready for a hilly ride, as it goes up and down to near sea level a number of times. Notably, Okeover Arm and Dinner Rock are both down at the seaside, so have steep climbs to get back up to the highway.

 

For most of the ride there's a narrow shoulder, though Hwy 101 was not busy when I did this ride. The short side-trip out to Okeover Arm does not always have a shoulder, but the road was fine, with limited traffic. The dirt roads north from Powell River to Haywire Bay and Inland Lake could have logging, but these are roads regularly used by the public, so they are well maintained and drivers will be watching out.  

Dinner Rock Rec Camp | Okeover Arm Provincial Campground | cycle touring Malaspina Peninsula

The left side pics here are from Dinner Rock Rec Camp, a steep 160m descent from the highway. A fine camping option, but bring water in summer. The right side pics are from Okeover Arm Provincial Camp. The top is the view over the marina in front of the Laughing Oyster top end restaurant (this was early May: in summer it fills up). The bottom is the shore in front of the campground, looking towards the marina.

There are some interesting side trip options.  

  • Heard locally that it is possible to rent a water taxi from Lund to Cortes Island for ~$160 (so works best as a group). This would make for a wonderful riding & ferry loop over to Cortes then Quadra then Vancouver Island.

  • Texada Island - probably my favourite Gulf Island for riding & camping

  • In the map below, you can see blue tracks heading up along backroads to Sliammon Lake and Appleton Creek (recommended, but the road is decommissioned and gets rough), as well as Homestead Creek (very basic).  

  • I got a new map my last time through Powell River. It shows a backroad to Sara Point at the north tip of Malaspina Peninsula. I'm planning a backroads ride up there

  • Check out the companion north Sunshine Coast favourite backroads ride into the lakes NE from Powell River (for more experienced backroads riders)  

Mill & harbour at the north end of Powell River. The town grew up around a pulp mill built here as they could get ready power by damming the short river stretch between huge Powell Lake & the ocean. To this day, the old town is separate from the new town built up around the BC ferries terminal to the south. 

Powell River harbour & mill | north Sunshine Coast | bike touring Sunshine Coast

Here's the elevation / distance view:

As discussed above, the elevation only get up a little over 200m on this ride, but it goes up and down like a yoyo. Given the limited elevation scale on the left side, things look far worse than they really are, but there are some tough climbs. The 1.5km access track into Dinner Rock Rec Camp is notably steep, as is climbing back up from Okeover Arm camp in the early morning.  

Distance / elevation chart | Malaspina Peninsula Favourite ride | bike touring Sunshine Coast

Photo outside Tla'amin Government House, along the highway just north of Sliammon (now called Tla'amin). The Tla'amin Nation has traditionally inhabited lands of the Sunshine Coast north of Powell River.

Here's the distance & direction guide. Unless you're planning a ride, you'll likely want to skip this section, or risk getting put to sleep.

From the start near Powell River ferry it's 6kms north into town to the NW tip of Cranberry Lake and the turn-off to the 2 town campgrounds (Inland Lake & Haywire Bay). It's a 25kms round trip on good dirt road to check out both (~10kms out to either).

 

Continuing NW, it's 3.5kms to the bridge over the Powell River and up onto the Malaspina Peninsula. Then 5+ kms to the Tla'amin (formerly Sliammon) First Nation village. Then, 16+kms north to the village of Lund. Heading back, it's 3+ kms to the turnoff east to Okeover Arm on Malaspina Road, then 4+kms (up & down!) to Okeover Park. Once back on Hwy 101, it's only 1+km to the turn off down to Dinner Rock Rec Camp. If you head in (worthwhile) it's a steep 1.5 km descent to the seaside. Then, it's 17kms south to Powell River bridge, and a final 6 kms to the ferry terminal, following the route past the mill, then Marine Ave along the sea.  

Route Map:  North from Powell River
Malaspina Peninsula ride route map | north of Powell River | north Sunshine Coast

Haywire Bay Regional Campground. On the SE shores of big Powell Lake, north of town. Very popular place in season - as is the case with nearby Inland Lake Provincial Campground. I visited in the winter, so things look a little glum

Haywire Bay Regional Campground | Powell Lake, NE of Powell River | bike touring Sunshine Coast

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