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Best Trail Rides in Whistler: MTB Capital of the World

Explore the best pedal-driven trail rides in Whistler, British Columbia—the mountain biking capital of the world.

Mountain Biking Difficult, Severe, Extreme

Photo: Greg Heil


If the planet has a mountain biking capital, one region that stands head-and-shoulders above the rest, that capital is unequivocally British Columbia. And if British Columbia has a mountain biking capital city, that city is the renowned resort town of Whistler.

While Whistler is best known for its world-class bike park, home to some of the biggest jump lines and gnarliest tech trails in the world, the deep forests of Whistler Valley hide an expansive network of singletrack trails that require you to pedal (and push) your bike to the top. The trails in and around Whistler may just be some of the steepest, most technical, and most challenging mountain bike trails in the world. While you can find some intermediate-friendly trails, some of the so-called “intermediate” trails in Whistler would receive a double black diamond rating in other places in North America. Proceed with caution!

Yet for the rider willing to brave brutally-steep climbs and even steeper descents—descents filled with steep rock rolls, thousands of roots, wooden bridges, rock gardens, and loose, off-camber corners—Whistler provides a veritable smorgasbord of technical mountain biking that could satisfy you for a year… or, if you’re a local, for a lifetime.

In this guidebook, you'll find a deep cut of the best pedal-driven trail rides in Whistler. Even with some 14 routes (and counting) included in this guidebook, these ride recommendations barely scratch the surface of the singletrack that Whistler has to offer.

As you analyze the various trail riding opportunities in Whistler, it's good to think of the trails as separated into different (although interconnected) zones. One of the oldest and most famous zones is the Westside, which is sometimes divided into two halves Westside - Sproatt in the south, and Westside - Rainbow in the north. The classic Westside trails are ultra-technical and highly demanding, but new trail construction in the area has added some more intermediate-friendly options. Now, you can also pedal high into the alpine on the Westside and access some of the most beautiful terrain in all of Whistler! Westside trails in this guidebook include the high-alpine epic Into the Mystic -> Lord of the Squirrels, Cheap Thrills, Howler, Working Class, High Society, Pura Vida, and A River Runs Through It -> Billy Epic. For an even deeper dive on the Westside, be sure to read this dedicated guidebook.

If you ask a Whistler local where their favorite place to pedal enduro trails is, without hesitation, they'll respond with simply, "Blackcomb." The trails on Blackcomb Mountain offer some of the longest and most sustained pedal-driven descents in Whistler! Blackcomb trails included in this guidebook are Dark Crystal, Microclimate, and Hey Bud. For a deeper analysis of the Blackcomb trails, be sure to read this dedicated guidebook.

The southern end of the Whistler trail system is known as either "Whistler South" or "Cheakamus," depending on who you ask. One of the best ride combinations in the Cheakamus network is included here: See Colours and Puke -> Business Time.

The northern end of the region is simply known as "Whistler North," and while it's a lesser-ridden part of the greater Whistler Valley trail system, you shouldn't sleep on the rad trails in this zone! In this guidebook, we've included the longtime classic XC ride Comfortably Numb, as well as a newer technical test piece known as Out There.

Finally, the Lost Lake trails are arguably the heart of the Whistler Valley trail system. This centrally-located network easily connects other nodes such as Blackcomb, Whistler North, and even Westside - Rainbow. If you're feeling at all trepidatious about the dramatic technical difficulty of the rest of the singletrack in the Whistler Valley, dip your toes into the riding scene with the mellow, approachable intermediate trails at Lost Lake. Even advanced riders will enjoy the high-quality singletrack and beautiful lake views found in this centrally-located trail system. This is the perfect spot to unwind after a long day of blasting through the rest of Whistler's gnar!

Routes included

Related guidebooks