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Mountain Biking in Canada

Canadian mountain biking has been growing in popularity since the early 1980's. Mountain biking trails have been carved out of the wilderness or shared with hikers and backpackers. Whether you enjoy downhill mountain biking…freeride mountain biking...and/or cross-country mountain biking...there are trails available to fit your needs.

History of Mountain Biking in Canada

Mountain biking originated in San Francisco, California in the 1970's and has been growing in popularity ever since. As is normal, the sport migrated northward into Canada and beyond. With Canada's plethora of mountains and vast wilderness it was a perfect fit.

In 2004, Canada opened its first IMBA (International Mountain Biking Association) office in Collingwood, Ontario to aid in building and maintaining Canadian mountain biking trails.

Canadian Mountain Biking Equipment

Mountain biking in Canada offers trails for the novice to the expert rider. Many ski resorts are offering off-season services to fill the demand for quality mountain biking trails. Due to safety concerns, it is advisable to use the proper mountain biking equipment.
  • Bring your own bike or rent a mountain bike. Make sure it is durable and the brakes are in good order.
  • Quality helmet
  • Bicycle gloves
  • Filtered glasses to protect your eyes from the sun and debris.
  • Relevant, protective clothing
  • Water and food
  • First Aid Kit
  • A GPS can come in handy
  • Extra bike tubes and pump
  • Bike Tool Kit
  • Body Armor consisting of knee and elbow pads, armored jackets, and padded shorts.
Canadian Mountain Biking – A Coast-to-Coast Adventure

Mountain biking in Canada offers many trails from novice to extreme...cross-country mountain biking trails...downhill trails...and freeride mountain biking trails. Many of Canada's Provincial parks have mountain biking trails and numerous ski centers across the country offering summer downhill mountain biking. Canadian National Parks have restrictions against mountain biking on the trails and relegate bikers to the fire lanes.

Yukon and Northwest Territories

The Yukon and Northwest Territories offer mountain biking trails, mining and logging roads through relatively untamed wilderness. This is real backcountry and wilderness survival training is highly recommended...and don't forget your bear repellant.
  • Kluane National Park has old mining roads for mountain biking offering views of Canada's highest peak: Mount Logan at 6,050 m (19,859 ft). A UNESCO World Heritage site; it contains the largest non-polar ice-field in the world. Additional activities include cross-country skiing in Canada and mountaineering in Canada.
  • The Canol Heritage Trail is a 320 km (200 mile) advanced backpacking trail that starts in eastern Yukon Territory at Macmillan Pass through to Norman Wells in the Northwest Territories. This is an extreme wilderness area of Northern Canada where the window to cycle these mountain biking trails is between June and August.
British Columbia

British Columbia offers some of the most scenic mountain biking trails in the world…enjoy ocean views from Vancouver Island...ancient coastal rainforests...witness historic glaciers from the ice age...and, of course, the majestic Rocky Mountains.

Vancouver has milder weather than many parts of Canada so there is more opportunity for mountain biking. Many trails are shared with those individuals who are hiking in Canada.
  • Mount Washington mountain biking trails will challenge any downhill mountain biking enthusiast. The Eagle Express chairlift will take you and your bike to the summit while you enjoy ocean and mountain views while you ride. It doesn't get much better than this when mountain biking in Canada. A dual slalom course is also available.
  • Parksville/Qualicum challenges expert mountain bikers with the Top Bridge Bike Park. Beginner and intermediate mountain biking trails are also available. The Hammerfest Bike Race is held in Englishman River Falls in May.
  • The Galloping Goose Trail in Victoria, B.C. allows mountain bikers to travel down Skirt Mountain. Canadian mountain biking at its finest!
  • Other notables include Seven Summits Trail, Moonraker Trails, Kootenay National Park, and Panorama Resort.

Alberta mountain biking trails are as challenging and scenic as British Columbia's trails minus the ocean views. The Canadian Rockies of Alberta offer panoramic views of snow covered peaks…the Bow River as it winds its way down through the foothills to Calgary…and encounters with grazing elk and other wildlife.
  • Crowsnest Pass has over 300 km (185 miles) of mountain biking trails. Other activities include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and fly-fishing in Canada.
  • Jasper National Park offers mountain biking trails up to 50 km (30 miles) long. Cycle the Icefields Parkway…visit Athabasca Falls…and end your day of hard mountain biking with a soak in the Miette Hot Springs to soothe those aching muscles. Don't forget to take a ride on the Jasper Tramway up Whistler's Mountain and enjoy panoramic views of the Rockies.
  • Other Notables include Waterton Lakes National Park, Banff National Park, Kananaskis and Canmore regions.
  • Bruce Peninsula Mountain Biking Adventure Park offers over 20 km of mountain biking trails consisting of 8 loops. There are technical features including elevated boardwalks, teeter totters, log rides, and suspension bridges.
  • Ganaraska Forest has hundreds of miles of old logging roads available for mountain biking. Also a great location if you are horseback riding in Canada.
  • Bromont offers 100 km (62 miles) of cross-country mountain biking trails and 12 downhill mountain biking trails with chairlift. Bromont has been the location for many Mountain Bike World Cups. For the performer in you there is a bike park available.
  • Parc Regional des Appalaches holds the annual Raid des Appalaches race which consists of canoeing, biking, and walking.
Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Gros Morne National Park offers mountain biking trails along the coast where tablelands and fjords rise 700 m (2,300 feet) from the ocean. The cliffs are a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to their geological formations.
If you plan on mountain biking in Canada, you will find friendly, helpful locals to "steer" you in the right direction. Canadian mountain biking offers downhill, free ride, and cross-country trails to test the novice and expert rider. With coast-to-coast mountain biking trails you can explore the coastal areas, the Artic region, and vast tracts of wilderness of Canada's interior.
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