of the cities in this region have discovered a very important concept:
mountain biking is now a big part of outdoor exploration. Towns such
as Fort St. James have grabbed
this concept and run with it. Don't expect to find ripping singletrack
just yet, but for the fat-tire tourist, there are a number of pleasing
day rides, like the six- to seven-hour Tezzeron Lake Return,
and a couple of extended trips, including The Great Northern Circuit,
a six- to seven-day journey along northern logging roads.
Other multiday trips include the Fraser Lake Circuit and the
Great Beaver Lake Circumnavigation. A ride that should have
any true bikepacker drooling is the Spatsizi Overlander Adventure
Ride, an amazingly lengthy ride from Fort St. James to southeast
Alaska. This isn't a formal bike trail, but for hard-core bike tourists,
this is the ride to end all rides. There is no estimate of the time
it will take you, but there is a challenge. Drop a postcard in the
mail in Fort St. James addressed to yourself in Telegraph
Creek (at the northern tip of Mount Edziza Provincial Park), and
try to beat it there.
Vanderhoof, the 19 miles
(30 km) of the Waterlily Cross-Country Ski Trails are open
to mountain bikes in the summer. A section of the Telegraph Trail
runs from Hogsback Lake for about 6 miles (10 km) until it is lost
under Blackwater Road. The trail connects to Blackwater Road, making
a 12-mile (20-km) circuit ride. The Omineca Trail, from Noonla
to Stuart River, is 9 miles (15 km) long. This was the old route to
the Omineca Gold Fields. Side trips include trails to McLeod Meadow
and to Wonder and Expected Lakes. The trail is located just north
of Vanderhoof, on the east side of Hwy 27. Note: Don't confuse this
trail with the Omineca Cross-Country Ski Trails near Burns Lake.
Mountains Provincial Recreation Area, 9 miles (15 km) east of
Smithers, has many trails
that are open to the mountain biker, including the Harvey Mountain
Trail, The Silver King Basin Trail, Onion Mountain Road, Cronin Creek
Trail, and Higgins Creek Trail. Many of the trails are also open,
at least partway, to four-wheel drives and ATVs.
Morice Mountain Ski Trails, in the Silverthorne Lake area of
the Houston Community Forest, are open to mountain bikes in the summer.
There are about 24.5 miles (40 km) of trail, including the 5.5-mile
(9-km) run to Morice Mountain.
The Stewart-Cassiar Highway (Hwy 37)
are very few mountain-bike trails in the northwest, and many multi-use
trails are too overgrown to make mountain biking any fun. A pleasant
surprise for the avid fat-tracker is that, unlike most provincial
parks in this region, and indeed, in the province, the Tatshenshini-Alsek
Provincial Wilderness Park is open to mountain bikers. There are
two main trails for mountain bikers to follow: the Parton River
Trail and the Chuck Creek Trail.
The Parton River Trail begins just south of Stanley Creek.
A road heads west from Hwy 7 to the trailhead on the Tatshenshini
River. If the river is running high, good luck getting across without
a raft (probably not a bad idea to have one anyway). There are no
bridges here, and this is only the first of two numbing river crossings.
Best bring a pair of waders; the water here is cold! The second river
crossing quickly follows the first, this time across the Parton River.
The trail runs about 18 miles (30 km) to an old airstrip, with a 1-mile
(2.5-km) side trail to the Shinney Lakes. The Shinney Lakes Trail
to the lakes heads right from the main trail near the 9-mile (15-km)
The Chuck Creek Trail begins just past Chuck Creek, beside
a big Tatshenshini-Alsek park sign. An old road leads into the park
to an old gypsum mine, but the best views of the Samuel Glacier
come shortly after fording Clear Creek, at the 4-mile (7-km)