Ride: Kamloops, Merritt, and Logan Lake via Barnhartvale Road, Hwy 1, Hwy 5A, Hwy 8, Hwy 97C, Meadow Creek Road (Hwy 97D) and Lac Le Jeune Road
Head east from Vernon on Hwy 97. Turn left onto Barnhartvale Road and ride through Dallas and then Hwy 1 West to Kamloops. Take Hwy 5A south to Merritt. Head west onto Hwy 8 and then turn onto Hwy 97C to Logan Lake. Continue onto Meadow Creek Rd (Hwy 97D) then Lac Le Jeune Road and then Hwy 1 back to Kamloops.Last Ridden: September 2012
Region: Thompson Okanagan, Thompson Nicola
Route Type: paved backroad, secondary highway, freeway / major highway
Riding surface: pavement (100%)
The east end of Barnhartvale Road intersects with Hwy 97 between Hwy 1 and Westwold at about 81 km from downtown Vernon. Barnhartvale Road is a narrow, hilly, sometimes bumpy, winding back road that passes through scrub forests, farmland, sagebrush, rural neighborhoods and a short canyon as it descends down to Hwy 1 on its west end (watch for the Hwy 1 West sign at the bottom). It’s about 26 km long. It’s a good side route that allows you to bypass some of the boring freeway stretch of Hwy 1 east of Kamloops.
Taking Barnhartvale Road will cause you to miss the best part of Hwy 97. Hwy 97, between Hwy 1 and Westwold, is a great motorcycle road with many corners with posted speeds of 50 to 70 km/h. There can be a lot of traffic on Hwy 97, including transport trucks, which can spoil the fun somewhat.
Kamloops to Merritt via Hwy 5A
Follow Hwy 1 West through Kamloops to the Hwy 5A exit to Merritt. Once on Hwy 5A the traffic becomes much lighter. Hwy 5A is mostly two lanes with lots of nice curves as the road hugs the hill sides and lakes. The highway rises up to a plateau and then drops down and runs through a scenic valley with several narrow lakes, the largest being Nicola Lake. There are some farms and ranches along the way and some small communities and small resorts, but there is no gas available until you get to Merritt. Stretches of the highway run close to various lake shores, and there is some public lake access along the way.
Merritt to Kamloops via Hwy 8, Hwy 97C, Meadow Creek Road (Hwy 97D), Lac Le Jeune Road, Hwy 1
Stay on the same road that you came in on from 5A – Voght Street. There are a number of gas stations and fast-food restaurants along here. Continue heading west on Voght Street and then turn right on Nicola Ave which becomes Hwy 8 / 97C which splits about 3-4 km west of Merritt. Take Hwy 97C to the north. The road passes through sagebrush and then forests as it ascends out of the valley. It’s another good motorcycle road with good scenery, light traffic and lots of curves along the way. The highway passes through farmland and by a small lake. At about 50 km from Merritt, Hwy 97C intersects with Meadow Creek Road a few km west of Logan Lake. Services are available in Logan Lake. Check out the Visitor Centre.
Meadow Creek Road (Hwy 97D) travels roughly east to the Coquihalla Highway about 76 km from Merritt. The road travels over a mountain plateau and is fairly straight with gentle curves thrown in. The scenery gets less interesting the further you travel from Logan Lake until you cross over the Coquihalla Highway. At some point the road name changes to Lac Le Jeune Road. The condition of the pavement (2012) deteriorates some, and the road gets narrower and somewhat bumpy, but there are a lot more corners and they’re sharper. The road winds its way through forest and past some small lakes. It’s a good ride and the scenery is interesting again. The road descends off the plateau and later passes by farmland / grazing land, up over and between hills with sagebrush and Ponderosa pines. There are some long straights, but the views are good. The road eventually connects to Hwy 1 near Kamloops.
Both routes between Kamloops and Merritt sure beat taking the Coquihalla Highway unless you’re in a hurry to get somewhere.
This route travels through areas where there were some major wildfires, floods, bridge and road washouts in 2021. Check road conditions in advance.