Backroad Driving BC: Need to Know

While most of us stick to the main roads and highways that take us to beautiful spots all over BC, there are many that look to the backroads when searching for the next adventure. With over 620 000 km of backroads to explore in BC alone, it is important to understand the risks and necessary tools you should have when you choose to drive down one of these backcountry roads.

In British Columbia, Forest Service Roads (FSR) are administered by the BC government and are maintained primarily by the forest industry under road permits, along with the gas and oil or mining industries. Remember – always be prepared to move out of the way for larger trucks coming down these roads as the permit-holders always have right of way!

It is of extreme importance that when you choose to go down a backroad, you understand what you are getting into.  These roads can be unforgivingly rough, far away from cell service, and leave you alone in the wild if anything were to go wrong. We aren’t saying it isn’t worth the risk – but better safe and aware than sorry! Here are a few tips to get you started.

Understand the Conditions

Backroads can be rough. Weather may create adverse conditions that result in wash-outs, flooding, and leave potholes for years to come. There might be soft muddy sections that turn into hard gravel with extremely sharp rocks, and running into residual debris is a common event. Caution is always advised and it is best to be aware and up-to-date on any weather conditions that can impact your drive. Often, these roads will have little to no signage or barriers identifying hazards or dangers, and you will have limited visibility when turning corners and driving up gradients. We would advise cars without four-wheel drive do not attempt to drive on backroads, and checking road conditions will help you make that decision.

Know What You Can Access

First things first – these roads are licenses and operated for use by the forestry industry and are extremely active during the summer months. As mentioned, these roads have little to no signage or barriers for hazards, and leave little room to get out of the way should you encounter a large logging truck – which ALWAYS has the right of way. Be sure to look at the BC Government’s road closure and active logging information page for any closures beforehand, as well as the road safety information they have on their website. These roads are monitored by law enforcement and you will be subject to punishment if you break the law.

Map It Out

We know we don’t have to say this, but having a well-informed map to plan out your route and have on you during the trip can reduce your stress and ensure your trip will be worthwhile. Backroad map books are available at most visitor centers across BC, and provide great insight to these roads and places they lead you to. By utilizing these map books as well as the internet to view road closures and safety information, you will be better prepared to handle these roads and be prepared for the conditions!

Below is a list of resources to help you plan out your backroad trips and ensure you are well-prepared when it comes to the drive. Remember that if you need a hand our drivers at Westshore Towing can help you out on these roads as well -, don’t hesitate to call when you need us!


Resource Radio Road Communications:

Resource Road Information:

Road Closure Information:

BC Transit  Driving Resources:



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