"Wherever you head, contact local mountain-bike clubs or stop in at bike shops for trail recommendations," says Teresa Edgar, publisher of B.C.-based Mountain Bike for Her magazine (mtb4her.com). "They'll remove the guesswork and recommend loops based on the terrain you like."
But what about her own favourites in a British Columbia region spattered with options from Squamish (sorca.ca) to Metro Vancouver's North Shore (nsmba.ca)?
"Powell River [bikepowellriver.ca] has put lots of work into their trails in recent years. It's fantastic for everyone from beginners to advanced," she says, suggesting Mountain Biking B.C.'s website (mountainbikingbc.ca) for additional trip-planning resources.
"The Frisby Ridge Trail, just outside Revelstoke [bikerevelstoke.org], is also one of B.C.'s most scenic alpine rides. And Revelstoke has a great cross-country network at Mount Macpherson for all skill levels," she says.
Adding Fernie [bikefernie.ca] for its well-marked trail variety and scenic ski-resort bike park, Edgar has an extra favourite in the Yukon. "Whitehorse has extended summer daylight so you can bike well into the evening on over 800 kilometres of trails," she says.
Alberta is also spoke-shatteringly hot – and not just in the usual Rocky Mountain haunts, according to Edmonton-based mountain-bike team Prairie Girls Racing (prairiegirlsracing.ca).
"Canmore has exploded with mountain bikers and world-class trails," team member Vanessa Mertz says. "Aside from the obvious Canmore Nordic Centre, the great G8 and Horseshoe loops are challenging and rewarding cross-country runs with switchbacks, mellow descents and fantastic mountain views."
Team co-founder Darlene Paranaque has her own recommendation. "Moose Mountain and West Bragg Creek is Alberta's mountain-biker playground, with trail variety ranging from rocky, rooty descents and wood features to cross-country nature loops with the family."
Fellow racer Nicole Barby adds that you don't have to abandon the city to have a great ride here. "Edmonton is often overlooked but it's a secret mountain-biker paradise with endless single-track to challenge and exhilarate even the most avid mountain bikers," she says.
Further east, la belle province is also a tube-popping hotbed, according to Eric Leonard, Quebec regional co-ordinator at the Canadian arm of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (imbacanada.com).
"Vallée Bras-du-Nord is an outdoor mecca with the most beautiful and challenging single-track along the Neilson River," he says. "Also, East Hereford and its Circuits Frontières trails are almost as remote as it gets. It's well-signed but becomes more challenging as you progress from the valley to the top of Mount Hereford."
And there's more. "The Bromont area has many miles of lift-served opportunities – you can spend days exploring here. If you need something easier before tackling the mountain, try the Mount Oak area. It's perfect for beginners with trails just challenging enough for everyone."
Any favourites beyond Quebec? "In Kanata Lakes – just outside Ottawa – lies the South March Highlands Conservation Forest. Its trails can be quite challenging and you'll need mosquito repellent – they're not called wetlands for nothing."
Over in Atlantic Canada, Andrew Smith – avid biker and mechanic at popular St. John's cycle shop Cychotic Bikes (cychoticbikes.com) – has his own ideas. "People travelling to Newfoundland usually visit St. John's, and Pippy Park is right in the city. It has a great variety of trails – and a place to swim on hot days."
And while East Coast bikers can rattle the rocks from Nova Scotia's Cabot Trail to New Brunswick's Sugarloaf Bike Park (parcsugarloafpark.ca/bikepark), Smith is planning for Newfoundland's Gros Morne National Park this summer. "I've always wanted to go. It's gorgeous in pictures and is becoming more bike-friendly with new trails and tours."
For Prairie Girls Racing's Paranaque, connecting with locals like Smith is the secret to successful biking vacations. "The mountain-biking community is very welcoming. I've made countless friends on my trips, with all of us exchanging stories, laughs and tricks of the trade. All you have to do is say hello."
OUR READERS WRITE
- P’tit Train du Nord arcing north from Montreal to Mont-Tremblant and beyond. Paved and chips&dust path and single track. With B&Bs and shuttles all along the way for your gear between stops. The scenery, the cuisine, the culture and mostly the people are wonderful. Ted Collins
- Definitely Fernie, B.C., for epic mountain bike adventures. K Holmes
- Avids love the Goodrich-Loomis Conservation Area – north of Brighton in Northumberland County, Ontario. And also Ganaraska Forest, Port Hope, Ontario, where – in September – they hold Paul’s Dirty Enduro [paulsdirtyenduro.ca]! @lovetrails
- A change of pace for mountain bikers (especially those drawn to wide-open western spaces) is Manitoba’s Spruce Woods Provincial Park. Try either the 14-km or 38-km Epinette Creek loops, which combine gentle sand hills, cactus- and wildflower-dotted meadows, steep-sided valleys and wildlife-filled forests. The nearby Brandon Hills, just south of Brandon, have some sweet trails, too, some of them more technical. Bob Armstrong
- There’s great family mountain biking near Kelowna. Don’t miss the Myra Canyon section of the Kettle Valley Trail with bikes available for rent at the trailhead. Even more fun is the 80 km downhill ride all the way to Penticton. Monashee Adventure Tours provides guides and shuttles. Leigh McAdam
- Central Vancouver Island, of course. Start on Hornby Island. Don’t miss Co-op store square, the Free Store and Tribune Bay for a dip to cool down after your exertions. Overnight at Ellerslie Bed and Breakfast, then head to Cumberland for the trails in the mountains. Cumberland welcomes mountain bikers all year round and is a charming village, once home to a thriving coal mine, now a haven of independent creative folk. Rebecca Kayfetz
- Lynn Valley’s Mount Fromme, B.C. It’s my local stoke; and all levels and ages are welcome. @Gierasimczuk
- Squamish. For the variety of trails and levels for all riders. @ABACKUSCOM
- Aside from the classic Whistler, there’s Fernie [B.C.], Newfoundland and the Yukon in the midnight sun … @canadanim
- Kananaskis, Alta., is a great adventure destination with views that make for great (if distracting!) company on a biking trip. @DeltaHotelsLtd
- Newfoundland would be my dream mountain biking trip. Any place that is nicknamed The Rock must have epic trails! @JenPinarski
- Try Medicine Hat, Alta., for an unexpected choice! @jasonknibbs
- Mount Seymour, B.C., is quite diverse with challenging obstacles (ramps, ladders, bridges etc.) – riders come prepared for roughness. Whistler Mountain biking is also good for families with its beginner trails. @advcardio
- My mountain biking brother lives near Rosehill in Kamloops, B.C., while other friends love Cumberland in the Comox Valley, Vancouver Island. @mirandasyndrome
- Williams Lake, B.C., for the diversity of the trail types – from mountain slopes and treed canopy to open grasslands and big skies. @carchicoa
- North Vancouver! Challenging trails, magical location and best of all it can be used year-round. Not many places in Canada can say that. @MyVancouver
- Revelstoke! Our high alpine biking is out of this world! @SeeRevelstoke
- Either Fernie, B.C., or the Yukon! @ToqueCanoe
- Vernon, B.C. Start with the offerings at Silver Star, then explore the trails at Ellison and Kalamalka Lake Provincial Parks. @kattancock
- Definitely Banff National Park of Canada. The park works closely with the International Mountain Bike Association. @Guy_Theriault
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