Best Mountain Biking in British Columbia
Almost equidistant between Vancouver to the south and Whistler to the north, Squamish has equally enticing riding options as its neighbours. The trail system here can take you soaring up and down the mountains, or along the Howe estuary for unsurpassed views. Not only are the trails world-class, but the Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association (SORCA) goes above and beyond with its trail planning, bicycle advocacy and community events. Mountain biking and Squamish have a quarter of a century of history between them that has just kept getting better and better.
If you want some difficult but rewarding technical trails, be sure to visit Alice Lake and Highlands, the trails here are by and large cross country and hand-built but there’s everything from beginner to expert. Brackendale has plenty on offer for family rides or those of you looking for mellow, flowy trails. The Diamondhead Area is home to long, long descents on world-famous trails like Half Nelson – the variety of riding in this area is enormous. If you’re looking for old-school singletrack with roots rocks and switchbacks head to Valleycliffe, but bring a map because signage here is not as good as it could be. Perhaps lesser-known, out of all the other areas is Cat lake, here’ you’ll find a black diamond route and plenty of wood features too.
Fun fact: Half Nelson is the first trail fully funded by the government in Squamish. Pretty cool, huh? What’s also really cool is the trail itself. It is a 1.5-mile double track with +700’ of descent. Blink and you’ll miss it. This is a local favourite and a rider’s favourite with plenty of opportunities for jumps and high speed. Look for solid berms and lots of wooden bridges on the upper half and when you transition to the bottom the pumps and tabletops keep coming at you while you’re barrelling down. A must ride for sure.
Entrails is a downhill blast. But getting to its less than a mile long ride takes just a little care as you gotta travel via roots, bridges and make your way over some logs. After that, it’s a short switchback climb and then you’ve made it! Time to drop in and start flying, but only after you make it past the rocky start. Keep in mind that you’ll get 539’ of downhill in less than a mile, so make sure you plan your line and that your brakes work as intended. Good luck and godspeed.
This is another downhill gem with an equally entertaining name. This is a difficult trail but intermediate skilled riders shouldn’t be deterred, only prepared to walk when the going gets tough! Located just north of Squamish at Alice Lakes in the Garibaldi Highlands, CSMH starts off easily enough but quickly turns fast after several rock rolls in the first section of the trail. There’s amazing dirt singletrack and woodwork as well, but remember that you’ll get 770’ feet of descent in just over a mile. The trail ends with a fantastic downward 200’ berm that rolls over bridges and gravel before its terminus at Tantalus Road.
*Posted in collaboration with 57hours
Guides and shops
- Dialed in Cycling – mtb school and guiding company
- Flying Spirit Rentals – guiding, rentals and sales