Guidebook

Discover Hidden MTB Trail Gems in Central British Columbia

Head off the beaten track to discover some of British Columbia's hidden MTB trail gems!

Greg Heil

Description

When you talk to mountain bikers about the trails in Central British Columbia, you could easily get the impression that the singletrack stops in Pemberton and Kamloops. "North of Pemberton... why would you want to go there? What's out there? Definitely not any decent mountain biking, that's for sure."

While you won't find any chairlift rides once you drive past the Whistler Bike Park, many remote corners of British Columbia are home to hidden treasure troves of fantastic singletrack that see a fraction of the traffic that pummels the trails of the Sea to Sky corridor. But if you want to explore these hidden gems, you'll need to be prepared to log some serious windshield miles to get there.

Heading north out of Pemberton, it'll take almost 4.5 hours of driving to hit the first hot spot on this list: Williams Lake. Williams Lake is home to four expansive trail systems, but one of the best is the Fox Mountain network. On Fox Mountain, you can either pedal or shuttle as the mood takes you—a theme that will be repeated in several places throughout Central BC. Check out Moose on the Loose, a fantastic professionally-built flow trail that runs down the mountain, and AFlow Daddy, the old-school flow line that helped put Williams Lake on the map.

Just an hour and 15 minutes beyond Williams Lake, you'll reach the bustling town of Quesnel. Quesnel is home to a few small but dense trail systems, the best of which is the Wonderland Trails. Riding a loop on the Wonderland Trail itself is a great way to get started in this trail system, with superb wooden bridges, rocky chutes, and wooden drops. Be sure to pedal back up to the top and try out some of the other rowdy romps, too!

After leaving Quesnel, you could try to stop and ride in Prince George, since there's definitely plenty of singletrack, but the topography is fairly flat in this area. To get back into more mountainous terrain, it'll take about three and a half hours of driving to reach the small hamlet of Burns Lake.

The Boer Mountain Trail System on Kager Lake, just outside the town of Burns Lake, is an absolute singletrack gold mine! On this small mountainside, you'll find a smorgasbord of professionally built mountain bike trails constructed to IMBA standards. Many of the most popular trails in the system are jump-filled flow trails built by the renowned Gravity Logic trail crew from Whistler. There's also fantastic free camping right at the trailhead, and Kager Lake is perfect for a post-ride swim.

Finally, another hour and a half of driving will bring you to the city of Smithers. Smithers is the largest community in this region of BC, making it a hub of industry and tourism. But beyond that, this region is home to some shockingly massive mountains! Hudson Bay Mountain soars 2,099 meters above the city of Smithers, topping out at an elevation of 2,589 MASL. The Babine Mountains form the skyline on the eastern side of town. And on the flanks of Hudson Bay, you'll find some burly shuttle trails that could rank among the best descents in British Columbia! And for easily-accessible riding, a dense trail system can be accessed directly from downtown Smithers.

Smithers, the northernmost extent of this incredible singletrack corridor, is a long way from Vancouver: about 12 and a half hours of non-stop. But since you have so many places to stop on the way up and the way back, this is one mountain bike road trip that is well worth the effort!

Wonderland Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Wonderland Trail

5.0 km
213 m
213 m
Ride fantastic wooden bridges and chunky rock gardens on the Wonderland Trail.
Difficult
Private
Loose Moose Shuttle
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Loose Moose Shuttle

4.4 km
10 m
375 m
Fox Mountain's brand-new top-tier flow trail descent.
Moderate
Private
Fox Mountain Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Fox Mountain Loop

10.4 km
387 m
387 m
A rewarding pedal loop on Fox Mountain.
Difficult
Private
When Pigs Fly Shuttle
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

When Pigs Fly Shuttle

4.8 km
1 m
382 m
A signature downhill flow trail built by Gravity Logic.
Moderate
Private
Razorback -> Pigasus Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Razorback -> Pigasus Loop

25.8 km
767 m
767 m
A full-blooded all-mountain loop with steep climbing and ripping descending.
Severe
Private
Piper Down Shuttle
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Piper Down Shuttle

3.3 km
8 m
579 m
A rowdy shuttle run that jumps straight over a Piper airplane!
Severe
Private
Backdoor Shuttle
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Backdoor Shuttle

9.4 km
176 m
1,098 m
An epic brawler of a shuttle run!
Extreme
Private
Auntie Flo Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Auntie Flo Loop

6.2 km
263 m
263 m
A popular loop through Smithers' easily-accessible trail system.
Difficult
Private