Sechelt Peninsula

The Sunshine Coast is its own little world, a place where things happen that defy expectations. One example is Sprockids Mountain Bike Park, a designated mountain-bike area in Gibsons designed with the younger generation in mind. Located at the north end of Stewart Road just off of the Gibsons Bypass, the park provides almost 9 miles (14 km) of trails that will appeal to mountain bikers of all ages.

With such a progressive attitude towards mountain biking, is it any wonder that the Sunshine Coast is a maze of mountain-bike paths? North of Gibsons, the area around Roberts Creek is a great hangout for the serious mountain biker. Three major loop trails – Roberts Creek (18.5 miles/30 km), Clack Creek (7.5 miles/12 km), and the Brodie Race Trails (4.5 miles/7.5 km) – will wear the tread off any tire and introduce riders to shorter technical routes such as Three Steps, the Mexican Jumping Bean Trail, Black Tower, and Portage, all accessed from Roberts Creek Forest Road, just east of Roberts Creek Provincial Park. All trails begin a short distance up the road at the BC Hydro power line. Each route is marked with a bike symbol and a different shade of paint.

In Sechelt, an area with some good intermediate/expert trails is the Angus Creek Bike Loop, between the Sechelt landfill and the Gray Creek Forest Road, about 6 miles (10 km) one way. A number of interconnected forest service roads will lead you to the singletrack. The Angus Creek route is marked with a biking symbol and orange paint. The steep approach on the Sechelt-Crucil Forest Road will test your ability to ride clean.

North of Sechelt, the area around Trout Lake has a plethora of trails for all skill levels to choose from. Look for trails such as Little Knives (also called the Trout Lake Trail; easy; 7.5 miles/12 km return) and Redroofs to the south of Hwy 101, as well as Shakecutters, Hydroline, Crowston, Wormy Lake, and the Microwave Tower Trails to the north. The trailhead for routes on the north side of Hwy 101 is on Trout Lake Rd about 6 miles (10 km) north of Sechelt. The Trout Lake Loop Trail (moderate; 9 miles/15 km) is marked with biking symbols and yellow paint. Trails on the south side of Hwy 101 begin at the south end of Trout Lake. An alternative approach to Little Knives (Trout Lake Trail) is from Redroofs Road in Sargeant Bay Provincial Park. The trail begins opposite the yellow gate that marks the entrance to the beach.

Other lengthy loop trails reached from the Trout Lake and Halfmoon Bay Forest Roads include the Carlson Lake Loop (moderate/difficult; 13 miles/21 km), which is marked by orange paint, and the Lyon Lake Loop (difficult; 10.5 miles/17 km), marked by yellow paint. North of Trout Lake, the Homesite Creek Bike Loop (moderate/difficult; 5 miles/8 km) follows the Homesite Creek Forest Road. The entrance to the road is obscure, so watch carefully for an orange ‘Trucks Turning’ sign about 3.5 miles (5.6 km) north of Trout Lake on the north side of Hwy 101, just past Homesite Creek. The 5-mile (8-km) intermediate/expert trail is marked by biking symbols and blue paint. The biggest reward on this loop is an extended downhill after a taxing opening ascent.

One of the most ambitious mountain-bike trail projects, the 20-mile (33-km) Suncoaster Trail, opened in the mid-1990s. At present, it extends between Homesite Creek, near Halfmoon Bay, through the foothills of the Caren Range to Klein Lake near Earls Cove. Along the way, it passes abandoned rail lines, BC Hydro service roads, old-growth forests, and rocky promontories, and near its northern terminus has incredible views of Ruby and Sakinaw Lakes. Although mostly gravelled singletrack, the trail follows Hwy 101 for short distances where necessary. The shoulders on the highway have been broadened to comfortably accommodate cyclists in these places. Eventually, the trail will extend to Langdale. One of the most scenic spots is beside a waterfall where a 68-foot (21-m) bridge spans Sakinaw Creek.

Malaspina Peninsula

The Upper Sunshine Coast area is well documented as having some of the best trails in the province, most of which are clearly marked with a white mountain-bike symbol and double bands of various-coloured paints, making the routes a breeze to follow.

The riding starts as soon as you get off the ferry at Saltery Bay, with the Elephant Bay Loop, a 30-mile (48-km) ride that will take you all day. Just follow the symbols. Except for a challenging ascent at the beginning, this is not a hard ride, but it is a long one.

An area rife with trails is along Duck Lake Road off Hwy 101 in southern Powell River. To name all the trails would not do the area justice.

A ride of epic proportion – the Bunster Hills Loop – is found about halfway between Powell River and Lund. It starts along Wilde Rd on the north side of Hwy 101, is marked by orange paint and white biking symbols, and gains 2,460 feet (750 m) over the first 7.5 miles (12 km), but the views – and the 13.6-mile (22-km) ride down – make the effort worth it. Another extended route still under development is the Malaspina Trail, between Powell River and Lund. One of the more scenic sections of the trail passes through Dinner Rock Forest Service Recreation Site.