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Mountain Biking Services
Welcome to mountain
biking bliss! Nature has been exceedingly kind to British Columbia,
resulting in thousands of scenic narrow trails and crazy single
tracks through rugged mountainous terrain.
is mountain biking bliss!
One of the more
exhilarating fitness sports, mountain biking on Vancouver Island
caters to newcomers experiencing their first-time high, as well
as hard-core muddy madmen pushing the envelope of extreme competition.
There's some good biking around Campbell River. Nestled in a nook
between Iron River Road and Campbell River itself is an area known
as the Pump House Trails. To reach this easygoing network
of well-marked single-track trails, turn west off Highway 19 in
Campbell River onto Highway
28. Follow Hwy 28, then turn north onto Duncan Bay Main and cross
the Campbell River.
A trailhead is located just south of the intersection of Duncan
Bay and Iron River Road. Another trailhead is located west of Duncan
Bay Road on Iron Bay Road.
Farther to the north and west of Campbell River on Hwy 28, a trail
leads from a parking lot on the right of Loveland Bay Road (on the
way to the Loveland Bay Provincial Park Campground) and into mountain
bike heaven, the Snowden Demonstration Forest. Trails here
are suited to all levels of mountain bike riding skills and include
the Frog Lake System's five major routes and the Lost
Lake Trail System's four main routes. Trails run from 2 to 8
km in length and frequently feed from one into the other to create
longer rides. Some of the easier-going routes follow the railbeds
left from logging here in the 1920s. This is some of the finest
intermediate mountain biking on Vancouver Island, and is a sign
of things to come as Forest Renewal BC funds are channelled into
rehabilitating old logging roads as recreational trails. Detailed
maps of the trails in the Snowden Demonstration Forest are available
from the BC Forest Service district office in Campbell River.
The Comox Valley, which
comprises the towns of Courtenay,
Cumberland, and Comox,
is blessed with a plethora of multi-use and mountain biking trails.
Many of the trails revolve around the Puntledge River and Comox
Lake. A network of nine moderate-to-difficult trails, known collectively
as the Comox Lake-Puntledge River Trails near Courtenay,
for instance, starts at the dam on Comox Lake. Most of the trails
here are hard-core singletrack, so if you find yourself chewing
dirt, you can't say we didn't warn you. About 15 minutes uphill
is a trail that leads off to the right. This is called Puntledge
Plunge, and you'll figure out why in the first few seconds of
a near-vertical descent. More moderate trails begin off both Lake
Trail and Bevan Roads east of the dam. Watch for a stone pillar
marked with the sign 'Number Four Mine' on Bevan Road. Ride along
a fireroad that begins here. The first fork on the left leads to
an old mine site where mounds of tailings define the terrain and
provide the challenge (the fun) for riders.
For those who like their ascents easy, and their descents long and
sweet, you can't get any easier and sweeter than catching the chairlift
up Mount Washington, and
riding down. Check with the Mount Washington Ski Resort for hours
of operation and costs. The mountain biking season here generally
begins by July 1 and extends through August. Mount Washington is
1,590 metres above sea level. At the end of the day you can take
a long time making your descent back into the Comox Valley. Follow
the signs to Mount Washington from Hwy 19 at the north end of Courtenay,
a distance of 25 kms.
North of Comox, Seal Bay Nature Park doesn't have a lot of
downhill, but then, it doesn't have a lot of uphill either. This
is a nature park, but if you're trying to find some easy cranking
and some peace of mind, you could do a whole lot worse than the
multi-use trails here. All trails are well marked and begin from
the park's main trailhead on Bates Road.
The Dump is another area located next to a landfill. Unlike
the relatively pleasant-smelling Hartland Surplus Lands near Victoria,
these ones, quite frankly stink in places. But if you can put up
with the occasional olfactory assault, the riding's pretty sweet.
The Koksilah River/Burnt Bridge/Eagle Heights region offers some
incredible mountain biking trails just west of Shawnigan
Lake. This is the site of the annual Burnt Bridge Classic
Race Loop in the Can-Am Trails. Lose yourself for hours or even
days in this challenging, but not overly technical area.
Located in the
Maple Bay area east of Duncan
is one of the most naturally challenging trails on the island, Mount
Tzouhalen - it's a behemoth of a ride. After parking or meeting
at the bottom of the mountain, riders must ascend fire roads and
rutted creek beds for quite sometime to reach the initial plateau.
From there on in, Tzouhalen is an adventure of epic proportions.
Extensive singletrack leads the rider flying by the seat of their
pants at high speed through natural wonders. The forests are tall
and magnificent and the trails hewn from the same natural beauty.
In the trails you will find downhill runs so steep they'll make
your eyes water - any moderately skilled mountain bikers should
go and see for themselves.
Both Nanaimo and Parksville have well-organized mountain bike trail-building
groups. In Nanaimo, The
Abyss is perhaps the most beautiful mountain biking spot and
best-known trail on Vancouver Island because of its notoriously
technical challenge. The trails are very pastoral, with rocky plateaus
covered in moss and bracken. The magnificent thing about The Abyss
is the scenery. Travelling through a gargantuan forest surrounded
in the scents and sounds of nature, riders are guaranteed to enjoy
themselves. Numerous trails branch out and reconnect, making this
a true woodland experience.
riding is found nearby in the Westwood Lake area, reached by following
Jingle Pot Road onto Westwood Road. More demanding trails can be
accessed at the northern tip of the lake, along Westwood Ridge.
Parksville is the site of
one of the major mountain-bike competitions on Vancouver Island,
the Hammerfest. In addition to the difficult race course,
the Arrowsmith Mountain Bike Club has created the Top Bridge
Mountain Bike Park, where more moderate adventuring awaits.
Log Train Trail Regional Park: Once the railbed for a logging
railroad abandoned since 1953, it is now a multi-use trail extending
25 km along the foot of the Beaufort Range near Port
One of the most interesting rural sections of the Galloping
Goose Trail runs for about 20 kms from Roche
Cove Regional Park to Sooke Potholes
Provincial Park and Leechtown. You can pick up the trail south
of Roche Point on Rocky Point Road, just east of a donkey farm.
Watch for a parking area just west of Rocky Point's intersection
with Malloch Road. Trail markers indicate that this is the 'Km 29'
point west of the Johnson Street Bridge. Such markers occur at regular
intervals to acquaint you with your progress.
Trails to Matheson Lake lead down the steep hillside above the lake.
(Note: No bikes are permitted on the Matheson Lake trails.) Although
the trail is mostly a level grade, it covers bumpy but solid ground
with the exception of stretches of gravel near several bridges.
The parking area beside Roche Cove Regional Park occurs at 'Km 35'
on the east side of Sooke Basin. From here views begin to open up
to the west, and the temptation is to pause beside the clear blue-green
ocean water to enjoy the view. Along this stretch, a number of rough
picnic spots can be reached by a short scramble downhill. The forested
environment features broadleaf maple that burn gold and red in autumn.
Snowbrush scents the air and its white clusters of flowers provide
a rich contrast to the evergreens. You'll encounter light traffic
wherever you go along this portion of the trail, where butterflies
often outnumber bikers.
Galloping Goose Trail: this was one
of Canada's first Rails-to-Trails conversions. Starting in Victoria,
it runs for nearly 61 km through some of the island's finest scenery.
The official trailhead is in Victoria,
and travels through Metchosin
following backroads to Sooke
and beyond. The Galloping Goose is very much a family ride, but
definitely worth mentioning. A paved trail with abundant scenery
makes for a smooth journey.
Surplus/Mount Work: This is the best all-purpose mountain biking
trail in Victoria. Trails are well marked and rated accordingly.
Technically challenging trails extend out from powerlines through
fire roads and singletrack. Hartland is undoubtedly the most populated
trail in Victoria. Many fanatical Victoria riders swear by Hartland
as the best overall course for training to race cross-country.
From Hartland you
can ride to Goldstream Provincial Park
or to Millstream Highlands. There are more runs on Hartland than you
can shake a stick at, and trails are easy to find. Not to mention
a bathroom, water, and a 70-car parking lot. Access is via Hartland
Avenue off West Saanich Road in Saanich.
Highlands: Located fifteen minutes outside of Victoria, the
Highlands area straddling
the eastern edge of Goldstream Provincial Park offers excellent
single tracks and challenging climbs for skilled riders. Highlands
has some of the most intense downhill runs on Vancouver Island.
Dirt bikers started carving the trails out in the 1970s - the whole
Highlands area is massive and steep. There are trails here hard
enough to make even the most wizened mountain biking veteran get
accidentally airborne. Access is via Millstream Road - park at the
Of all the southern islands, Galiano
Island has the most well-organized mountain biking trails system.
When exploring the rugged, spiny island, visit Bluffs Park, the
site of some spectacular views and the beginning of a network of
trails and roads around Mount Galiano.
Exploring Lasqueti Island
by mountain bike (or even on skinny tires) makes a delightful day
trip. You can easily ride the 18 km from False Bay at the north
end of the island to Squitty Bay Marine Provincial Park on the southern
tip in less than two hours.
On the ferry ride from Denman
Island over to Hornby Island,
you can't help but notice the spectacular cliffs that drop almost
to the ferry landing. Imagine the exhilaration of travelling atop
those cliffs on your mountain bike. Then ride the Bench Trail,
which is atop the cliffs, and feel your knees go wobbly, and not
just from the 305-metre ascent to get there. Trails crisscross the
island in all directions, and though the Bench Trail offers the
best views, they are all worth exploring, especially the No Horses
Trail, a half-pipe-like trail that follows an old riverbed.
The bike shop has the skinny on all the trails on Hornby. Keep an
eye out for members of Team Orb while you're there, either
on the trail or in the shop. Team Orb is the best collection of
trails riders in British Columbia, and they are easy to spot. They're
the ones doing things you thought couldn't be done with mountain
Sechelt Peninsula: The Sunshine Coast is its own little world,
a place where things happen that defy expectations. One example
is Sprockids Mountain Bike Park, a designed mountain-bike
area in Gibsons designed
with the younger generation in mind. Located at the north end of
Stewart Road, just off the Gibsons Bypass, the park provides almost
14 kms of trails that will appeal to mountain bikers of all ages.
With such progressive attitude towards mountain biking, is it any
wonder that the Sunshine Coast is a maze of mountain-bike paths?
North of Gibsons, the area around Roberts
Creek is a great hangout for the serious mountain biker. Three
major loop trails - Roberts Creek, Clack Creek, and
the Brodie Race Trails, will wear the tread off any tire
and introduce riders to shorter technical routes such as Three
Steps, the Mexican Jumping Bean Trail, Black Tower,
and Portage, all accessed from Roberts Creek Forest Road,
just east of Roberts Creek Provincial Park.
In Sechelt, an area, with
some good intermediate/expert trails is the Angus Creek Bike
Loop, between the Sechelt landfill and the Gray Creek Forest
Road, about 10 kms one way. A number of interconnected forest service
roads will lead you to the singletrack. The Angus Creek route is
marked with a biking symbol and orange paint. The steep approach
on the Sechelt-Crucil Forest Road will test your ability to ride
North of Sechelt, the area around Trout Lake has a plethora of trails
for all skill levels to choose from. Look for trails such as Little
Knives (also called the Trout Lake Trail; easy 12 km return)
and Redroofs to the south of Hwy 101, as well as Shakecutters,
Hydroline, Crowston, Wormy Lake, and the Microwave
Tower Trails to the north. The trailhead for routes on the north
side of Hwy 101 is on Trout Lake Road, about 10 kms north of Sechelt.
The Trout Lake Loop Trail is marked with biking symbols and yellow
paint. Trails on the south side of Hwy 101 begin at the south end
of Trout Lake. An alternative approach to Little Knives is from
Redroofs Road in Sargeant Bay Provincial Park. The trail begins
opposite the yellow gate that marks the entrance to the beach.
Other lengthy loop trails reached from the Trout Lake and Halfmoon
Bay Forest Roads include the Carlson Lake Loop (moderate/difficult;
21 km), which is marked by orange paint, and the Lyon Lake Loop
(difficult; 17 km), marked by yellow paint. North of Trout Lake,
the Homesite Creek Bike Loop (moderate/difficult; 8 km) follows
the Homesite Creek Road, and is marked by biking symbols and blue
paint. The biggest reward on this loop is an extended downhill after
a taxing opening ascent.
One of the most ambitious mountain bike trail projects, the 33-km
Suncoaster Trailer, opened in the mid 1990s. At present it
extends between Homesite Creek, near Halfmoon
Bay, through the foothills of the Caren Range to Klein Lake
near Earls Cove. Along
the way, it passes abandoned rail lines, BC Hydro service roads,
old-growth forests and rocky promontories, and near its northern
terminus has incredible views of Ruby and Sakinaw Lakes. Although
mostly gravelled singletrack, the trail follows Hwy 101 for short
distances where necessary. The shoulders on the highway have been
broadened to comfortably accommodate cyclists in these places. Eventually,
the trail will extend to Langdale.
One of the most scenic spots is beside a waterfall where a 21-m
bridge spans Sakinaw Creek.
There are several good sources of mountain bike information and
rentals on the Sechelt Peninsula.
Malaspina Peninsula: The Upper Sunshine Coast area is well
documented as having some of the best trails in the province, most
of which are clearly marked with a white mountain-bike symbol and
double bands of various coloured paints, making the routes a breeze
The riding starts as soon as you get off the ferry at Saltery Bay,
with the Elephant Bay Loop, a 48-km ride that will take you
all day. Just follow the symbols. Except for a challenging ascent
at the beginning, this is not a hard ride, but it is a long one.
An area rife with trails is along Duck Lake Road off Hwy 101 in
southern Powell River. To
name all the trails would not do the area justice; to describe them
all would take forever. Best talk to the folks at the cycle shops
in Powell River.
A ride of epic proportion - the Bunster Hills Loop - is found
about halfway between Powell River and Lund.
It starts along Wilde Road on the north side of Hwy 101, is marked
by orange paint and white biking symbols, and gains 750 m over the
first 12 kms, but the views - and the 22-km ride down, make the
effort worth it. Another extended route still under development
is the Malaspina Trail, between Powell River and Lund. One of the
more scenic sections of the trail passes through Dinner Rock Recreation
The Sunshine Coast Forest Service District has provided a remarkable
service for mountain bikers. Pick up any of the Forest Service mountain-bike
maps and take some time to explore. To obtain a free copy, stop
by 7077 Duncan Street in Powell River.
alert and yield to hikers, horse riders and other trail users
- courtesy avoids conflict!
a helmet - mountain biking is potentially dangerous
or improve your skills at a mountain biking clinic