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The Backdoor Trail is Smither's local epic descent.
This incredible shuttle run drops a mind-boggling 3,500 vertical feet from Hudson Bay Mountain, descending all the way down to the edge of town.
Shuttles of this magnitude are few and far between, even for BC! This trail is signed and legal, but for some reason, it doesn't see as much shuttle traffic as a descent this epic would typically receive.
Perhaps Smithers is just too far north for the majority of North American mountain bikers? Hard to say, but this unsung epic is worth traveling a long, long way to reach! Making this shuttle even more attractive is the easy access.
A well-maintained two-wheel-drive dirt road leads all the way up to the ski resort, meaning that you only have a short, steep 550 feet of climbing to reach the top of the trail.
However, if you have a 4x4 vehicle, you can even shuttle all the way to the tippy top of the trail on a rough road that climbs up one of the ski slopes. The descent begins off of a ski run next to a small creek running down the mountainside and a wooden sign that says "Backdoor." The initial trail grade is fairly mild, and you'll soon find yourself swooping and flowing down a narrow, loamy trail laced with roots.
Don't get overconfident, though, because the trail only gets more difficult as you descend. Soon, you'll encounter a series of narrow skinnies built over soggy stretches of ground.
Some of these skinnies are quite narrow and high off the ground, and one series seems quite sketchy.
This sketchy skinny is complete with turns, ups and downs, and some sections that are starting to become quite dilapidated and fall apart.
There is no alternate line around these skinnies, but it is possible to tiptoe your bike down a few of them if you so desire. The trail tread gets rougher as you descend, with bigger rock gardens and rock features.
As you pass through the lower stretches of the ski resort, you'll spot a few optional double black diamond features: a skinny drop series and a massive wooden gap jump.
The gap jump comes directly after crossing a ski run near the bottom of a chairlift, and sometimes the warning sign can be obscured by vegetation.
Proceed with caution, and look for the ride around to the right.
This feature is experts-only. The lower stretches of the trail are steeper, rootier, rockier, and generally gnarlier.
The riding is challenging and is made dramatically more difficult if the soil and roots are wet.
In the lower stretches, you may spot a few alternate sections of singletrack for different ride options, but for your first run, it's a good idea to stick to the most well-worn line. In the final stretch, you'll spot a massive elevated wooden feature, and then in a few hundred feet, be confronted with a steep, slimy slide down a massive root drop feature.
Complete the ride by taking a right turn in the pasture and heading out toward town. Backdoor isn't for the faint of heart.
While most maps give it a single black diamond rating, whether this trail should receive a FATMAP "Severe" or "Extreme" difficulty rating is a tough one to judge.
This trail definitely toes the line of "Extreme," and then it vaults right past the line if you choose to hit all of the hardest features.
Make no mistake: Backdoor is a true brawler of a shuttle run.
But for those who are prepared for the gnar, it will leave a mental imprint that might last a lifetime.