Deciding which mountain bike trails to ride on a day out in Squamish can sometimes be just as challenging as choosing what to eat at your favourite local restuarant. All the options are tempting and there is plenty of variety, but in the end, no doubt you will pick something that fits your mood at that time. You can stick with your go-to favourite but it's just as rewarding to take a chance and try something new.
Thankfully there are plenty of trails on the menu here, so no rider should go home at the end of the day without the satisfaction of a day of fun.
One of the many things that makes Squamish special is that it has many different types of terrain, all of which are easily accessible from anywhere in town. Perhaps nowhere in B.C. or the world for that matter has all the bases covered so well in terms of possessing so many different types of trails to satisfy the appetites of riders as does Squamish. You can start by picking up a trails map at the Squamish Adventure Centre on Highway 99.
Breaking down the vast trail network into different zones, each with their own flavour, can help visitors make the decision on what to ride that much easier and the Squamish experience that much more rewarding.
Maybe what you’re after is to head up above Quest University for some flowy trails packed with berms and jumps like the ones found on Half Nelson and Pseudo-tsuga? One of the great things about riding in this zone is that you can do a series of loops by climbing back up and choosing a different descent each time. Recycle and Angry Midget are also right there for the taking, so by pedaling back up you can spend a few hours in the same area but ride a number of different trails.
If those types of trails are not your thing or you’ve done them enough times and are craving something new, then perhaps head over to the Alice Lake area for some less groomed trails such as Credit Line and Entrails. Expect steeper more technical terrain full of rocks, roots and creative lines. If you’ve cleaned these two classic trails and want even more of a challenge then the double black diamond jewels of Value Added and Mark My Word are calling your name. Again you’re staying in a relatively small area but have plenty of options.
Haven’t ridden Cheshire Cat yet? It possesses a good mix of terrain and one can stop by Cat Lake for a dip on a hot day and take in the views. A great way to ride up there is to avoid climbing up on Highway 99 and to search out the Alder Trail and Bridge Trail, which spit you out near Brohm Lake. Then take a short ride down to the entrance of Cat Lake (after a safe crossing of the highway, of course) to make the final climb up to the trailhead. This makes for a great off road connection to Cheshire Cat from the Cheekeye Fan area trails. It’s worth the pedal up as you can easily link up to the Wonderland trail or back up towards Alice Lake after finishing ‘the Cat.
The Valleycliffe area is the place to be if you want to go for a ride and have the trails almost entirely to yourself. The forest is lush and the trails have their own character made up of good old fashioned rocky and rooty terrain. The Meet Your Maker trail is worth searching out with the reward of a great descent after a stiff climb up to reach it. Try finishing with the Summer’s Eve trail on a sunny day with its majestic views of the Stawamus Chief and Howe Sound.
No matter which area of the trail network you choose to ride, you can easily link up more than one of them if a longer day in the saddle is in the cards. Stop into one of the local bike shops in town and ask some locals to tell you about their favourite trails and how best to put together a good ride for the day. To keep up with all that’s going on in Squamish mountain bike-wise, check out the SORCA website at www.sorca.ca.