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Breathtaking Views off the Beaten Track

Off-roading refers to the activity of driving a vehicle on rough terrain and taking adventurous journeys off public roads.

If you haven’t tried it, Vancouver has many places where off-roading adventures are not far away and where you can immerse yourself in stunning scenery, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and forested lakes.

My group of friends and I left UBC in the morning and shortly after we arrived in Squamish, where we took a small road heading north toward Brackendale.

We passed by Eagle Run Vista Point, where thousands of eagles gather in late fall and early winter. We then continued on a gravel road into a logging area. On one side was a creek sourced from melting snow or glaciers displaying a mineral-rich green color.

As we proceeded, the slope became ever steeper as we climbed the mountain. The road was not much more than a steep gravel path, and as the elevation increased, we needed to not only keep the steering wheel steady but closely control our speed.

Going too fast would make the Jeep difficult to control; going too slow would prevent us from climbing the slope. Halfway up the mountain, we encountered a van parked on the side of the road with no one inside. Perhaps the passengers had gone for a hike. It did seem quite adventurous to drive a vehicle like that far up the mountain.

As we continued driving uphill, we came across seven or eight hikers. We stopped to say hello—a back-country courtesy.

Looking down from halfway up the mountain provided a wonderful panoramic view. A winding creek flowed among the green trees in a valley surrounded by mountains. As our vehicle bounced along, I looked down from the cliff, seeing the meandering river and its sandbanks, which were shielded by the shade of trees.

The entire mountain basin became warm and peaceful under the embrace of the surrounding peaks. When we took a short break, air on the mountaintop was cool and fragrant. The nearby mountains appeared close at hand but were in fact quite far away. The cliff edges seemed bottomless, while the mountains were covered lush forest.

The older trees displayed their vitality while new shrubs presented vibrant green colors. The mountains on the opposite side were covered in snow, and this year it seemed there was more snow than usual. Birds flew easily to mountaintops that people have struggled to reach.

Jumping back into the car, a wide ditch blocked the road ahead. Our off-road vehicle’s front wheels dipped into the ditch, followed by the left rear wheel. As the front wheels climbed out of the ditch, I could feel the rear right wheel hanging in the air as it entered the ditch.

There was a momentary sense of lost equilibrium but then we successfully climbed out. But as we left the ditch behind, three motorcycles came speeding by, kicking up a cloud of dust. Before we could even see the riders clearly, they had crossed the deep ditch and disappeared into the distance.

Taking a right turn on the return journey led to a lake, and after crossing several wooden bridges we stopped by a waterfall with a wooden bridge across a steep gorge. The water cascaded over rocky shoals on one side that turned into a roaring torrent on the other, before thundering into the gorge below. From the bridge, we couldn’t see the bottom of the gorge.

After descending, we marked the map and shared details of our route.

We’ll be back, but other off-road adventures await, with many unknown scenic views ahead.



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