Riding Free – Snowmobiling Blue River

Step into your boots. Strap on your helmet. Pilot your own snow machine. Play “follow the leader” through wilderness trails and backcountry bowls glimmering in fresh fallen snow. Climb. Boondock. Sledboard. Feel the wind on your face as you race through the snow. Experience the exhilaration of snowmobiling an entire mountain of powder on your own, or on a guided snowmobile safari. With more than 10 metres of dry, powder snow each year novice and expert sledders will find plenty trails to explore in Blue River and Avola, a premier spot for snowmobiling in British Columbia.

Enough Terrain for Everyone

Blue River Powder Packers maintain and groom over 60 km (37 mi) of snowmobile trails that ribbon Blue River, creating a vast wonderland just right for riding, whether you’re on the machine or riding behind, sledboarding. Grab your gear and go. Tackle the marked and groomed trails of Groundhog East and West, and the family-friendly unmarked runs in our surrounding mountains. There’s plenty of room to play in our legendary powder.

Tight alpine, endless chutes and abundant climbing is what you’ll experience riding Salmon Lakes. Sled over former creek beds, now covered in 4.5 to 6m (15 to 20 ft) of snow, creating a super-highway straight up to the alpine. Experienced sledders can motor along the ridgeline, looking down on Blue River below. And there’s no end to the wide-open wilderness and extreme terrain of Parberry where you’ll find plenty of steep climbs and bowls to play in. Bring your camera along, and brace yourself for breathtaking vistas stretching out around you.

Guided Snowmobile Expeditions

You decide just which adventure you’re up for and suit up for the ride of your life. Follow your guide through avalanche-free trails on a family-friendly ride in the mountains. Or, wind your way through the snow-capped forest, into the steep and deep stuff, cruising through alpine bowls and along mountain peaks on a full-day, adrenaline-fuelled adventure in the wild.

Hang Out with Sledders

Check out the local sledding scene at The Grill Restaurant, the Holy Smoke Inn, the Glacier Mountain Lodge, Blue River Motel, Bone Creek Wilderness Retreat or the Log Inn Pub in Avola. You’ll find others gearing up for a ride in the morning, and sharing a cold one after days in the snow. Chat up local and visiting riders while out on the trail. Stop in for a visit at our Legion to get a local’s perspective on your exploits in the alpine.

Caution – Wilderness Habitat

Groundhog Mountain, our staging ground for many snowmobiling adventures, is also home to the Mountain Caribou, a majestic animal that roams between the sub-alpine forests and open alpine range. Help protect this at-risk species by playing responsibly in our mountains. Obey all signs designating trails and out-of-bounds areas and you will reduce your impact on this crucial habitat.

When to Go

  • Step outside your door and onto your machine – snowmobiling season runs from November to April
  • Trails are groomed from December to March

Need to Know

  • Groundhog Mountain and Salmon Lakes marked trails are accessed from Finn Creek Road, 22-km (13.7-mi) south of Blue River off the Yellowhead Highway (BC Highway 5)
  • Parberry and North Blue Valley marked trails are accessed from Red Sands Road, 2-km north of Blue River off the Yellowhead Highway (BC Highway 5)
  • A trail pass is required for users sledding the more than 60-km of groomed and marked trails.
  • Blue River Sledz offers both guided trips and snowmobile, trailer and avalanche gear rentals
  • Bone Creek Wilderness Retreat offers cabin rentals and access to their untracked trails
  • Serious winter outdoorsmen can reserve a spot at the Blue River Campground, open by reservation-only in winter
  • No previous experience is necessary to snowmobile in Blue River
  • Weather conditions can change from moment to moment. Prepare for extremely cold conditions for all snowmobiling excursions. Pack and dress accordingly.
  • All snowmobile tours take place in a wilderness environment where there is little or no cell phone connection
  • Always check current avalanche conditions before heading into the alpine
  • Booths at the Finn Creek and Red Sands parking lots offer information on wildlife closures as well as maps showing the boundaries of sensitive wildlife areas, current weather, and avalanche forecast information

Top 4 Sledding Spots in Blue River

  1. Groundhog Mountain (map) – 6,500 ft (1981 m) elevation, rated EASY
  2. Salmon Lakes (map) – 3,500 to 7,000 ft (1,067 to 2,135 m) elevation, rated DIFFICULT
  3. Parberry (map) – 6,500 ft (1981 m) elevation, rated DIFFICULT
  4. Big Blue & Holy Grail (map) – 6,500 ft (1981 m) elevation, rated DIFFICULT