Climbing up to Postill Lake Lodge is EPIC. 10km of winding, steep, challenging gravel, and finishing with 5km of of rolling, smooth, hard packed gravel — then a final steep punch before you arrive at the camping area. But where do you ride from there??
Lots of riders climb up to the lodge at Postill and descend back down. A fine choice, since the climb is HC category and ~15km long — a challenge in and of itself. But once you’re at altitude there are a few options to extend this climb and have a gravel-fuelled adventure!
This route departs from YLW Airport at the parking lot just off the Rail Trail, and there are lots of options to extend and start/finish from Kelowna, Lake Country, or Vernon. Climbing up to Postill Lake Lodge takes an hour or more for the 15½km @ 5%. The first ⅔ of the climb are challenging, while the last ⅓ isn’t as steep or rough.
Once at Postill Lake Lodge, there is an option to visit the small camp office to refill your bottles and stock up on snacks. Or, as the route intends, simply turn off Postill Lake Rd 1½km before the Lodge onto Brunette FSR. Brunette FSR is rolling and is comprised of mixed surfaces: from well-maintained hard-packed gravel, to rough rock slabs and ATV trails. Brunette takes the route to Ideal Lake & Belgo Dam, the main water source for Black Mountain and East Kelowna.
Descending down to Joe Rich on Philpott FSR is fast and rough. The last 6km of this descent are paved before joining Highway 33 and continuing the descent down into East Kelowna to Black Mountain. Finally, a short climb up to Black Mountain Golf Course, then down Swainson Rd and along Old Vernon Rd to YLW airport to finish your ride.
A gravel or cross bike, or even a hard tail MTB, is a great choice for this ride. 33mm tires (at minimum) are required for this route, and wider rubber (40-50mm) is recommended. Filtering water or refilling at Postill Lake Lodge is an excellent option, but most riders should be able to pack enough food and (3×) water bottles to safely make it to the gas station at the base of Black Mountain @ 71km.
Surfaces & Traffic
~75% gravel with light traffic. Expect to see a few ATVs, cows, and a handful of cars while on the gravel portions of this route. With that said, plan and prepare for any mechanical issues and bonks that could occur
- Postill Lake Lodge Climb @ 4km. 15½km @ 5%, first ⅔ are rough, winding, and challenging, while the last 5km isn’t as steep. Fast times are just under 1 hour.
- Brunette FSR to Ideal Lake & Belgo Dam @ 19km. 16km of rolling gravel connecting Postill Lake to Ideal Lake.
- Philpott FSR Descent @ 38km. 18km rough and rolling descent, last 6km is paved.
Points of Interest
- Postill Lake Lodge @ 19km
- Ideal Lake @ 34km
- Belgo Dam @ 36km
- Joe Rich @ 55km
- Layer Cake Canyon @ 69km
- Black Mountain Golf Club @ 73km
And please be sure to…