Coast Mountain 1200 Route Description
Distance: 369 kms
Climbing: 2928 m (9603 feet)
The day starts in Prince George at 6 am at the University. We start with a bit of a climb out of PG in the first few kms and then a long descent followed by an even longer ascent up onto the Nechako Plateau at the 44 km mark. Here we enter into the northern BC lake country characterized by farms, fields, hills, and big lakes. At 64 kms the Brookside Resort provides the first convenience store after leaving PG. After this the terrain remains much the same for the rest of the day. We have significant hills at 265 kms (Six Mile Hill) and 324 kms (Hungry Hill).
Services are very limited on this route but can be found in the major towns along the way:
- Vanderhoof – 97 kms
- Fraser Lake – 156 kms
- Burns Lake – 225 kms
- Houston – 306 kms
- Smithers – 369 kms
Be sure to carry enough food and water to manage the distance between services. There really isn’t anything in between. Cell service is generally reliable on this stretch.
The day ends at the Sunshine Inn at Smithers. There is a Tim Hortons a short way past the Sunshine Inn on the opposite side of the highway that is open until 10 pm.
Distance: 334 kms
Climbing: 3121 m (10,237 feet)
This day starts with some rolling terrain along the Bulkley River to its junction with the Skeena River at Hazelton. At New Hazelton on the highway there is a very good bakery on the right. Just sayin. Here we turn right and make our way into Hazelton. Partway along this short stretch there is a steel grate bridge spanning a very impressive gorge with the Bulkley River far below. This is a long uncontrolled one lane bridge with a narrow sidewalk for pedestrians. Please walk your bike across this bridge. You really don’t want to be wobbling across it in the traffic lane when an 18 wheeler decides to enter from the opposite direction.
At Hazelton we turn right and head up to Kispiox. This is a First Nations village with a fine collection of totem poles. Then we turn around and head back to Hazelton and back across the steel grate bridge. There is a good grocery store in Hazelton. You might want to stock up here. Back on the main highway the next stretch is about 55 kms to Kitwanga at the junction of the Stewart Cassiar highway where there is a gas station / convenience store / greasy spoon cafe. The next stretch is quite long with no services. Cell service gets pretty spotty from here on.
The ride from Kitwanga to Terrace along the Skeena River is quite beautiful. At the east end of Terrace we pass by the overnight hotel (Holiday Inn Express) where the drop bags will be. But the day isn’t over yet. From Terrace we have an out and back leg up the Nisga’a highway to a turnaround at the Rosswood general store. There will be a staffed control here as most riders will likely get here after the store closing time. Even the riders who get here earlier won’t find much in this tiny little store. Maybe fill your bottles at the “peeing tree” a few kms before the store on the right. There will be bonus points awarded to those who can explain how this thing works. The locals drink from this water source but be aware that it is unfiltered water.
From here we turn around and head back to the overnight hotel in Terrace. There is a Denny’s restaurant in Terrace that is open from 6 am to midnight. There is also a 24 hour Tim Hortons on the highway. The other Tim Hortons in town closes the lobby at night but has a 24 hour drive through that will not serve bicycles.
- Moreicetown – 32 kms
- New Hazelton – 67 kms and 106 kms
- Hazelton – 74 kms and 101 kms
- Kitwanga – 149 kms
- Terrace – 240 kms
- Staffed Control at Rosswood – 286 kms
- Terrace – 334 kms
Distance: 298 kms
Climbing: 3097 m (10,158 feet)
You might need to try really hard to get lost on this day. We get on the highway and ride to Prince Rupert where we turn around and ride back. There are a couple of bumps to ride over in the early and late stages of the ride with another fairly significant bump closer to Prince Rupert. In between the road is mostly flat as it rolls along beside the increasingly huge Skeena River. At about the halfway point the Skeena becomes a tidal inlet from the ocean. The scenery is spectacular if we get to see it. If not you may come to understand how Car Wash Rock got its name. At this point and one other nearby place the road has no shoulder for perhaps 100 meters due to the cliff on one side and railroad and river on the other side. Ride carefully here and be willing to wait if traffic is coming from both directions. The cars and particularly the RVs and trucks have nowhere to go to get around you. Fortunately traffic is not that heavy through here.
There will be a staffed control at a rest stop on the river side of the road at about 88 kms from Terrace. This is the only place to get food or water in the entire 145 km stretch to Prince Rupert.
At Prince Rupert there are plenty of services. The route will take you to the waterfront with an information control at a park. Then a short stretch along the shoreline will take you into Cow Town where there are some nice restaurants and a pub or two. If Tim Hortons or other fast food are more to your liking you will have to make a bit of a detour off the route into the main part of Prince Rupert.
Then it’s back to Terrace along the route already traveled. The staffed control at the rest stop will remain open until the last rider has passed through. If you need to abandon anywhere on this day please try to send word with other riders to the staffed control. There is no cell service at the control and we don’t want to worry about you if you don’t show up.
- Staffed control at rest stop – 88 kms
- Prince Rupert – 148 kms
- Staffed control at rest stop – 208 kms
- Terrace – 295 kms
Distance: 200 kms
Climbing: 2094 m (6868 feet)
This is simple. Ride back to Smithers along the route already traveled, but without the detour to Kispiox.
- Kitwanga – 90 kms
- New Hazelton – 134 kms
- Moricetown – 168 kms
- Smithers = 200 kms