Clemina Creek, Valemount BC
DISCLAIMER: Snowmobiling in the mountains carries inherent risk. It is up to the rider to gain the necessary training, skills and experience required for safe snowmobiling in the mountains, and to exercise caution in areas with avalanche danger and other hazards.
A favourite of many visitors to the area, Clemina Creek in Valemount BC has something for everyone. The technical tree rider, the open bowl shooter and the powder searching sled skier will all find Clemina Creek to be one of the most accessible, well maintained and best snowmobile areas in BC.
Clemina Creek boasts extensive opportunities for shredding some of the finest BC powder with an average yearly snowfall of 14m at 1800m elevation. In addition to the exceptional sledding, the area also provides amazing sled skiing and beautiful views of the Kinbasket drainage, Dixon Glacier and endless mountain peaks.
Riders access the Clemina Creek area via a large staging area 30km south of Valemount on the east side of Hwy 5. The turn off comes up quickly, so be prepared; After passing a large truck pullout on the right side of the road roughly 29km south, expect to see the first sign for the riding area which comes up on the left. The large staging area is typically well maintained although users should come prepared to operate in heavy snow conditions and four wheel drive, as white surprises can fall out of the sky in the dark hours of the night. Large trucks and trailers are easily accommodated in this facility and all that is asked is that visitors think of others when parking to be sure everyone can park safely and efficiently.
Speaking of safety, please remember to utilize the BCA Transceiver Checker that is located on the collection booth before heading up the trail, and also have a good look at the large kiosk which contains signage explaining the avalanche terrain rating for most of the popular play areas. Familiarity with the riding area and a little pre-trip preparation are the best ways to ensure you get to tell great stories while enjoying g a cold one at the end of an epic day of riding. Checking the bulletins for the North Columbia regions at avalanche.ca before the ride is a must-do as well.
After stopping at the collection booth located on the south end of the staging area and paying the $20 per day user fee, riders head up a consistently maintained 17km trail that leads to a sub-alpine cabin to uses as a base before shooting off to any one of the multiple play areas that Clemina holds.
On the way to the cabin there are many opportunities to get that first powder and boondocking fix. And if the cabin is not the chosen first destination, there is an option to take a quick left hand turn at approximately 13.56km where there is a singletrack trail leading through a cut-block that leads riders to the Morning Glory area which contains nice open meadows, great climbs and some scenic views. For the more adventurous, a circle route can also be completed from this area that travels through multiple bowls and back to the Goat Ridge Bowl area and ultimately back to the cabin.
If instead checking out the cabin on the way in, once having stowed fuel and gear, there are a couple of options; continue up the groomed trail approximately 3km to the Goat Ridge Bowl and Lakeview Plateau areas, or return 1km down the trail toward the staging area and take a quick left turn up through a cutblock and access some killer riding around the old Clemina Hillclimb site, Dixon Glacier and Bauer’s Second Chance areas. Please have a look at the signage located in the warming cabin to help find these hidden gems and observe that the Dixon Glacier area is only open after April 30th unless otherwise noted. The cabin site also has some great boondocking and play areas directly out its front door for new riders to develop their skills in a safe and comfortable environment before heading into alpine terrain.
The Goat Ridge Bowl and Lakeview Plateau areas are some of the most easily accessed mountain riding areas in BC. Riders of any age and ability can access these areas via a very gentle groomed trail. The ridge surrounding Goat Ridge Bowl on the SE side offers a spectacular place to sit and enjoy lunch while watching the show as riders enjoy the snow and challenge themselves on the nearby slopes, or simply to just sit and gaze at beautiful views of the Kinbasket drainage and surrounding peaks.
Keyhole, a smaller area with skatepark-like terrain, can also be accessed from the Clemina Creek staging area. Simply ask at the booth for directions from the parking area if unclear, although it is quite straightforward. There is a 9km long trail leaving from the Clemina parking area that terminates in a high elevation cut-block where the access then turns into somewhat of a singletrack trail through the last remaining bit of forest until you reach the alpine. This upper section can be a bit challenging for new or novice riders, although it can be easily managed with some coaching by more experience riding partners. Please make note that no cabin or outhouse facilities exist in the alpine area. This trail is groomed when the valley bottom snow conditions allow.
Dixon Glacier, after April 30th, is a most do! But the date is very important. VARDA asks that riders pleas respect this land-use agreement and not enter into this area until the opening date or until the website and signage state otherwise.
Rider safety is a top priority for the representatives of the Valemount Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA), so the cabin site at Clemina Creek holds a BCA Transceiver Station where visitors can practice their transceiver searching skills. If there at the same time as the VARDA Snow Host team, chase them down and say hello and ask for a lesson or demonstration on how to use this great training tool. The cabin has a wall mountain SPOT device as well to aid in a quick and effective rescue in the event of an emergency. Although this is great tool, the fastes and most effective way of initiating help is to call 911 with the most accurate information possible.
Cell phone service can be obtained 6km on the groomed trail.
- Cabin GPS Lat and Long: N 52˚ 32’ 16.97”, W 188˚ 56’ 47.56”
- Elevation: 1729m/5672ft
- Distance to Valemount: 30.12 +/-1.7 km
- Annual Snowfall: 5.4m/18ft
- Average Winter Temperature: -10˚C
- Groomed Trails: 17
- Grooming Season: December – mid-April
- Terrain Rating: Easy to Expert
- More Info: VARDA