We are always on the look out for interesting, fun, or unusual places to visit. Toad Rock Motorcycle Campground covers all of those, so it was a must do on our short trip to BC.
After our morning enjoying the activities at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, we headed south to ride some of the best motorcycle roads in Canada. Our route covered a third of the 850km Hot Springs Circle Route. There are 3 commercial hot springs along this portion of the route, but if you ask locals, they can usually point you to natural springs in the area, though you may need to hike a bit to get to them.
We followed Highway 23 south for about 50km to Shelter Bay, where we had just missed the Upper Arrow Lakes Ferry. Luckily it runs every hour on the hour heading east so we didn’t have too long to wait, just long enough to sit in the shade beside the snack truck and swap stories with other bikers.
Once the open deck ferry arrived, loading was quick and the 20-minute trip gives you time to enjoy the amazing view of Upper Arrow lake and the Monashee mountains on one side, and the Selkirk Mountains on the other. This year though there are forest fires all over BC, with smoke hanging in the valleys and fires can be seen from the road. The ferry is free, provided by BC Highways.
From the ferry we continue south for 50km to the end of Hwy23 and the Town of Nakusp. This is a lovely and quick ride with mostly gentle curves along the shore of Upper Arrow Lake. There are a lot of restaurants and shops here so it’s worth stopping for a stroll through the eclectic shops on the main street, to have lunch overlooking the lake. Or take the time to stop in for a relaxing dip at the Nakusp Hot Springs.
From Nakusp we picked up Hwy 6 East, to head towards New Denver. The road from Nakusp through to Balfour shows up on most lists of where to ride in BC. Highway 31A from New Denver to Kaslo, and Hwy 31 from Kaslo to Balfour is a destination route, riders come from afar to ride this beautiful highway whose tight twists and turns follow rivers and lakes, often right beside the road.
A popular spot for many rider, and our destination for the night was Toad Rock Campground. This is a funky, friendly motorcycle campground. You might think that with over 100 sites, it would be your basic commercial campground, but you would be wrong. Mary makes sure that you feel welcome from the moment you ride up. The sites are nicely treed and there is enough elbow room so as not to feel like you are in your neighbours site. Because it is a motorcycle campground there are cooking facilities, complete with pots, dishes, and even a few spices. There is a fridge to keep your food in, and coolers to borrow to keep your beverages cold at your site. Ice is available for a small fee at the wash-house. Speaking of which, the showers and washrooms are kept impeccably clean. Didn’t bring a tent, no problem, they have an assortment of cabins, vans, buses, and tents that you can rent.
Surprisingly, the campground runs on the honour system. You get a hit when you check in. You keep track of how long you stay, any ice, pop etc that you use, and drop it and your cash in a box when you leave. They also do not have rules, but only guidelines. Basically, if you aren’t being an idiot, it’s all good.
If you want to meet other riders, there is a social area, strategically placed away from the campsites, where you can bring your beverages, swap tails, and sometimes even be entertained by someone playing one of the guitars (or drum set) that are there. No need even to bring that cooler you borrowed as there is a fridge in the shelter that you can keep your cans in.
For us the most notable part of the campground is the warning to keep your food and beer secured. For bears you may think, but it’s actually because of the 4 dogs and 1 pig that call Toad Rock home. They keep the bears away, but are more than happy to eat any wayward food. The pig particularly likes beer and will grab unopened cans, use her built-in can opener teeth, and take in the rewards.
If you do a trip to the Kootenays you really do need to check this place out. Heck, if you aren’t planning a trip that way, then you really need to start.