Riding Route: New Denver to Kaslo to Balfour plus Sandon - Hwy 31 and 31A

Updated: Dec 13, 2021
Submitted by: BC-Rider
Country: Canada
Province: BC
Region: Kootenays
Route types: Secondary Highway, Gravel Backroad
Riding Surface: Pavement (96%), Packed Gravel (4%)
Most Suitable For: Street Bike
Also Suitable For: Adventure Touring, Dual Sport


[Updated on RoadAndTrail.net] New Denver to Kaslo along Hwy 31A is one of the best motorcycle roads in BC. There should be enough corners for anyone. The scenery is great too. The route extends from Kaslo to Balfour along Hwy 31. Also included is a side trip to Sandon, an old mining town. The route is all paved except the side road to Sandon.

Route Map

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The essence of motorcycling in BC! That's one way to describe this route. The ride starts in New Denver, although there are other prime riding routes in the area. The road climbs out of the valley through a cut between the mountains. It twists and turns most of the way to Kaslo. There is no shortage of corners. This is one of my favorite stretches of road in the province.

The turn-off to Sandon is about 10 km from New Denver. It's about another 6 km to Sandon down a relatively smooth, hard-packed gravel road. This road is suitable for all street bikes. If you've never been to Sandon, an old mining town (or what's left of it), it's worth the detour.

The west half of Hwy 31A is bumpier (frost heaves), but it's not bad. There are some great mountain views. If you look closely you'll see remnants of old mining operations on the mountain sides. There are a couple of lakes along the way, at one of which there is a rest area. There are some creeks and waterfalls along the way as well.

Kaslo is at the east end of the pass and according to my map, is 47 km from New Denver. With my side trip into Sandon, I racked up 63 km. Kaslo is a quaint little town on the shore of Kootenay Lake. There is a full range of services here. Be sure to check out the waterfront as there is a nice beach, and an old steam boat.

Continuing on Hwy 31 to Balfour you'll find the road far less exciting, but enjoyable none the less. It starts off with gentle curves and short straight sections. Further on the road tightens up as it cuts through a cliff face and then descends down to Coffee Creek. There are some lake and mountain views along the way as well as Cody Caves Provincial Park and Ainsworth Hot Springs. Our route ends at Balfour (Kootenay Bay Ferry terminal), about 39 km south of Kaslo. You can continue onwards to Nelson, which is about another 34 km.

GPS File(s)      

No GPS files found for this riding route
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