Balsamroot, Simpson and Shale

A great way to link 3 Knox Mountain trails in less than an hour.

Mountain Biking Difficult

Distance
8.4 km
Ascent
323 m
Descent
323 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
355 m
High Point
632 m
Gradient
Balsamroot, Simpson and Shale Map

If you're pushed for time and want to see what Knox Mountain has to offer, this is a great way to sample the best of the mountain. It takes in 3 trails (plus a tiny additional section of singletrack down to the Knox Mountain marshes) in return for just 320m of vertical ascent.

Description

Start out at the Knox Mountain parking lot, and climb up Knox Mountain Drive - a road closed to cars but open to bikers which provides an easy way to gain height. The climb is just under 4km, and ascends 257m. Trying to break your record on it is a good way of turning it from a road climb into something a little more interesting!

There are some great views all the way up the climb and, while being on tarmac isn't necessarily what mountain biking is all about, the road is an easy and convenient way of getting up Knox Mountain.

The road ends at Pioneer Pavilion, the Knox Mountain caretaker’s residence. There are also some washrooms and a map at the Pioneer so it's a logical place for a pit stop.

Head north 10 metres to reach the start of the Balsamroot Bluff Trail (which is clearly signposted - see the photo attached to this route) and begins with a short, sharp climb up some steep switchbacks. At the top of these head down some fun, rocky singletrack and swing around to almost meet the Magic Estates Trail. Ride parallel to this on a fun singletrail and then make another climb before dropping back down to Pioneer Pavilion.

Head south-east down a steep trail (named Marsh-Knox Connection) which leads you down to the Knox Mountain marshes and then along a brief section of road to the top of Simpson Trail. The top section is just as fun as it looks, and the faster you can ride it the more the bumps and jumps will reward you. There are plenty of gap jumps as well as some small tabletops so being comfortable taking some air is key to enjoying the trail to the maximum.

The Simpson Trail eventually meets the Shale Trail, which in turn leads down to meet Knox Mountain Drive. From Knox Mountain Drive there are 2 options for the next section of trail - the left trail is easier than the right hand trail (which is the one drawn on here) and both options are clearly signposted.

The closer you get to the bottom of the trail the tighter the hairpins get, but the camber and smoothness of the trail means that even the tightest of turns feel straightforward enough. All too soon you'll pop out onto the lower section of Knox Mountain Drive.

Depending on energy and daylight levels, either another lap or a drink will beckon!

Difficulty

Difficult

Mostly stable trail tread with some variability featuring larger and more unavoidable obstacles that may include, but not be limited to: bigger stones, roots, steps, and narrow curves. Compared to lower intermediate, technical difficulty is more advanced and grades of slopes are steeper. Ideal for upper intermediate riders.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November

Features

  • Flow
  • Technical
  • Picturesque
  • Singletrack
  • In the forest
  • Road sections
  • Jumps
  • Roots
  • Gap Jumps
  • Rock Rolls

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area