Monday, September 15, 2014

Northwest Bay to Moriarty Lake and Beyond... (New Trail)

A few readers of both Dr. Siouxsie and this blog may remember the Key Trail which we found and rode for couple of seasons.  It was a way into the Nanaimo Lakes Road territory from the Northwest Bay Logging division without having to use the traditional (gated) route via 2nd Lake.  But it was long, rough going at times, and the actual "Key Trail" and subsequent route down towards Third Lake was choked with alder whippers.  We gave up on that trail and have looked for various ways though since. Yesterday, I found one...sort of...

Above (click to enlarge) The red trail is yesterday's ride.  The green trail is the old "Key" trail, so called because it was better than a key to the second lake gate...
Above: Turn left at 155-160, which is signed off 155 a few km past the hydrolines...keep on that extremely well groomed trail, and follow it to the end.  The views and ride are stunning. The connector waypoint at the bottom leads right to Moriarty Lake and the trails beyond...all the way to Nanaimo Lakes road near Third Lake.  It is blocked with 4 or 5 large logs, but where there is a will there is a way...
GPX File can be downloaded here.  Apologes for the quality of the return track.  The GPS seemed to lose it's position and jump around.  The waypoint is a little off, but just ride down 155 and you will see the sign post on the left "155-160".  Take it.  A DR, KLR or Vstrom could make this ride easily, it's wide well surfaced and well graded.  A caution - they are working on this trail, and towards the end you will see the equipment, and the blasting caps.  Weekends only.

Pics and Vids: I was pressed for time, so sorry for the lack of stills, particularly of the Moriarty trail...I'll be back soon and will flesh out this entry...

Alternative Tank Traps...
A tree has been felled in an alleged attempt to block access, again.  There were some rocks.  Rolling over was easy.  Shoddy workmanship by Tim Berwest again.
Marshall Creek Bridge has been dismantled...
Above and Below...Rode over this a couple of years ago.  Plenty of strength left then...

See original bridge here...
 Marshall Lake:
Above: Marshall Lake: the water is very low right now, super clear and the fish were jumping everywhere while I was there.  The trail up is in good repair and easily accessible by bike.
Below: 155-197 Spur.  A steep but easy and rewarding ascent - you really climb!  Views are stunning (iPhone doesn't do it justice...)
155-197 Spur - the end of the line.  This is what looks like the cribbing that I point up at from the Marshall route further south in the video below.
Time lapse you tube video of the ride...Click settings and choose 1080 HD

Google Earth Flyover of this track:

[Andy's Edit:  21/09/2014]

Really felt like I was missing out here, and so I did this route to Moriarty Lake yesterday to try out the new logging road that Paul mentioned.  Fantastic ride... "The Moriarty Highway."  No point in repeating this route with a new blog entry, so...

It's been about a month since I had a good ride.  An old back injury revisited me after hiking up DeCosmos on our last ride together.  I've been keeping off my feet as much as I can since then, but after picking up some decent pain medication that prevents me from emptying multiple bottles of the off-the-shelf stuff and having waiting for my back to recover considerably, I'm ready for a ride once again.  No Paul about!  Off sailing...  How la-di-dah!  (I can see the cucumber sandwiches with their crusts cut off).  Then I guess it's a solo ride.

Beautiful views along the serpentine "Moriarty Highway"

Approaching the lake from the upper road

Moriarty Lake from the road blockage.  (The road block is the pile of logs on the far left) 

The road block prevents you from riding down to the lake, although it's walkable.  
From what I can see, this blockage scuttles any chances of getting through to the roads that lead into the Nanaimo Lakes area.  I guess we have to start looking!

Mama black bear and her cubs.  Saw these guys on the return trip about 5 or 6km from the lake.  I was sure I had seen three cubs, but I guess not.

My track from Doumont to Moriarty Lake.

Made a quick visit to Rhododendron Lake and checked out the progress of the roads that appeared as if they're traveling towards Okay Mountain valley.  They don't connect yet, although there's now a cool trail that climbs a dead-end spur with good views of Okay Mt.  I took our usual route through the valley, back to the power lines, past Boomerang Lake and eventually Doumont using the original tank traps route.

Red shows track available from link directly above, (Doumont Rd to Moriarty Lake), and blue shows my return route.  The elevation profile shows the red track only, with the red arrow locating the highest point at 1023m (3356ft).  
Doumont Rd to Moriarty Lake:  Colour Coded Elevation Track

Here's the whole ride from Doumont Rd to Moriarty lake in time-lapse at 4x speed:

And, the tank traps through the original route at 3x speed.


  1. Gotta do it before snow goes high. Hope it doesn't rain too much before you get the chance, the surface is spectacular, and the views are staggering.

  2. Nice addition, Andy. I saw one bear in what looks to be exactly the same place - on the way up- didn't have camera on, but turned the corner and he popped out feet in front of me. Great ride, good to see the tank traps are up and running again. Thought the time lapse was good from the other way, even if Donati's Red Air twinned with the segment at 15:40 makes it look like were being visited by Meercats from Mars...;) What did you think of that surface up there?! Gotta find a way through that log jam...


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