Between them, stages 540 and 541 make a classic case for what goes up, must come down: whereas stage 540 gained sixteen hundred feet, stage 541 manages to lose it all again, and for only a third of that by way of a trade off in climbing. The route is north east, loosely following the Muskwa River on its journey from its source high up in the Rockies to Fort Nelson and beyond into the Northwest Territories.
The rollout, as predicted at the end of stage 540, is downhill. The road runs down a ridge, turning left round a sharp bend after just a mile to start heading north east. As the road eventually comes down off the hillside, it flattens out, catching up with Steamboat Creek at nine miles, and having run alongside that for four miles, Kledo Creek, which it crosses at thirteen miles.
That’s pretty much most of the descending done, and as the road deviates away from the creek at fifteen miles with the water starting to head south east, the next five miles offer a gentle five mile slog that goes ever so slightly uphill the whole way. But fear not: from nineteen miles to the finish two miles later in the middle of nowhere, Route 97 edges back down again and the straight run downhill to the line should be very pleasant.
Distance: 21 miles / 34 kilometres
Ascent: 607 feet / 185 metres
RGT Magic Road: fHhSHs0sTbTX
Max elevation: 2771 ft
Min elevation: 1400 ft
Total climbing: 540 ft
Total descent: -1684 ft