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Coquihalla Hwy

Old 09-16-13, 06:30 PM
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Aerohip
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Coquihalla Hwy

Hi guys, anyone ride the Coquihalla(hope I spell it right!)Hwy from Kamloops? I'm doing a Edmonton to Vancover trip next Summer and was wondering if I should just avoid the Coquihalla and go around as I know it's quite the climb...
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Old 09-16-13, 06:55 PM
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Low granny, pack light. Or push.

Actually, when plotted on RWGPS it doesn't look too daunting. For a conditioned tourist. Looks to have a few grades in the 10% range.

But what do I know. Never done it. Have done routes with 16% grades and managed. On a loaded DF. Length of the grade is the big determinant.

Oh. Welcome to BF. Check out www.crazyguyonabike.com. There'll be a journal there about the Coquihalla.

Last edited by Cyclebum; 09-16-13 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 09-16-13, 08:50 PM
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I did part of the Coquihalla a couple ofyears ago as part of a trip from Calgary to Victoria. On the advice of someone (can't remember who), I avoided most of the Coquihalla.

I took the number 5A Highway from Kamloops to Merrit, which was wonderful. Not much traffic, reasonably flat and some nice riding beside a couple of lakes. You'll have to climb to get to it leaving Kamloops, but there's a lovely downhill section when you first leave. Also, a campsite right on the way on the outskirts of Kamloops, pretty much at the top of the hill.

I bypassed the first part of the Coquihalla from Merritt to Hope by taking Coldwater Road until it got to the Coquihalla. It has a couple of steeper sections than the Coquihalla but it doesn't climb near as high, so less total elevation gain, and again, way less traffic. The rest of the climbing on the Coq wasn't too bad and there is a fairly good shoulder. Going down hill into Hope was a blast on a loaded touring bike.
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Old 09-16-13, 09:59 PM
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Long steady grades out of Kamloops. Then a whizzbang downhill towards Hope. But it would get pretty boring. The scenery is not magnificent. The trade-off is that the traffic is less and the shoulders wider than the alternative. The uphill grades heading west appear to be a little less than heading east. Yes, be prepared for some constant climbing.

I've never ridden it, but driven it several times. Curiously, it is a designated bicycle route.
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Old 09-17-13, 09:15 AM
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5A is a great choice but the rest of the Coquihalla is a bit noisy. On the other hand if you aren't riding on the weekend it should be a little quieter. Be sure of your water supply unless you don't mind drinking creek water.
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Old 09-17-13, 10:03 AM
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I've ridden the Coq, and as "Rowan" says, several quite long steady climbs, and rather boring except when racing down the other sides of those hills. A far more interesting ride is the old hwy 5A once you gain the steep climb out of Kamloops. Be warned though, the last few years has seen a steady increase of commercial truck traffic as they've realized it is easier on their fuel and trucks to go that way. There is limited shoulders in some areas, especially on some of the many curves, and the trucks often are hustling along. Wear a high visibility vest. The truckers do communicate each other and monitor your position, so as long as you are alert and aware, you should be fine. Once you're in Merritt, you can take the Coldwater road, or better still, the Merritt to Spences Bridge road. It is a very scenic 40 miles. From there you ride down to Lytton, which is also a great ride, and then the scenic Fraser Canyon to Hope.
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Old 09-19-13, 11:52 PM
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Originally posted by me:

My wife and I rode it from Vancouver to Kamploops and this summer. We then took Hwy 1 from Kamloops to Calgary then turned south to Montana. It is a good ride, and the hills were not a problem. I thought that the scenery was pretty nice. Granted, the scenery was not as spectacular as that east of Kamloops, but it was spectacular in its own way. It is an ever changing progression of vegetation changes as you travel from the moist west side of the mountains to the drier east side.

We did run into a few days of 43C temperatures which was a challenge.
All wrong, but it was a fairly good description for the route we actually took!

Big Lew pointed out that I needed to look at a map more often. Although, he was a lot more tactful about it. He also did it by PM which was really appreciated rather than embarassing me publicly. Thanks Lew

We were actualy on the Trans Canadian Highway, Hwy 1, going From Hope- Boston Bar- Spence's Bridge, Cache Creek, Kamloops--not Hwy 5! I apologize for putting out the erroneous information. I really don't work for the Cache Creek Chamber of Commerce.

Last edited by Doug64; 09-20-13 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 09-20-13, 04:58 PM
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I agree with RickL about the route from Kamloops to Hope. If you decide to take the "Coq" (not my first choice) this is the best approach.. I also agree with Big Lew that there is now much more commercial traffic on the Kamloops to Merritt section of 5a. I would add that you should go through the Othello Tunnels when you get close to Hope. They are stunning. This would entail riding about 4km on a dirt trail.

However if I was you I would ride Hwy 1 from Kamloops to Hope. It is longer, but much more scenic and less busy. I can't talk write about the whole route but I have ridden twice from Spences Bridge and really liked the ride.

Last edited by Norsman; 09-20-13 at 05:06 PM.
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