There are many mountain bikers in BC’s Kootenay Rockies that will tell you their trails are the best, and not just because they built them themselves. Steep, seemingly endless descents, epic cross-country singletrack, every freeride feature you can imagine and massive lift-assisted bike parks are just some of the reasons why the Kootenay Rockies have become a Mecca for Mountain Bike trails that are second to none. Add in the colourful, adventure-oriented communities and general laid-back atmosphere and you have the recipe for a world-class mountain biking destination. Here are our eight favourite Kootenay Rockies mountain biking destinations:
Hailed as the unofficial “Mountain Bike Capital of Canada,” Rossland offers roughly 200 km (124 mi) of seamlessly connected riding, stretched out over nearly 60 individual trails. The most famous of these is the 36 km (22 mi) Seven Summits Trail, which has been designated as an EPIC trail by the International Mountain Biking Association. The EPIC title is held by just a handful of trails around the world, putting the Seven Summits in the same category as the Laugavegur Route in Iceland and the W2 Trail in Afan Forest Park, Wales. There are many shorter options to explore as well, and wandering through the charming mountain town after a day of riding is half the adventure – we recommend stopping for a pint at the Rossland Beer Company.
With over 100 trails found in the surrounding mountains, Nelson has a little something for everyone. Beginner mountain bikers can check out the Morning Mountain area, which offers some quick, easy thrills, while advanced riders can start out at the more challenging Wood Creek area. Steep, rocky, technical tracks and plenty of stunts, ladders and big drops will keep even the most discerning bikers occupied for days. Nelson’s status as an outdoor adventure hotspot goes hand in hand with its thriving arts and culture scene, so be sure to take some time to explore the cafes and shops in the day, or check out some live music and local food in the evening. Sampling a local, organic brew from the Nelson Brewing Company is the perfect way to cap off a day of charging the trails.
Mountain bikers of all skill levels can find the perfect run among the over 100 trails around Cranbrook, split between five major riding areas. Cross-country riding is the main draw here, with plenty of singletracks that winds its way through the beautiful pine forest. Plus, if you’re looking to log some airtime, the Cranbrook Bike Skills Park is a great place to go and blast some dirt jumps. With its low elevation at the bottom of the Rocky Mountain Trench, Cranbrook enjoys a remarkably long biking season, making for some awesome riding even when other places in the Kootenay Rockies are snowed in.
Home to some exceptional cross-country riding, there are 80 trails to explore in Kimberley, from leisurely, scenic rides to challenging climbs and flowing downhill. Kimberley Nature Park, one of the largest municipal parks in Canada, offers over 50 km (31 mi) of trails in the foothills of the Purcell Mountain Range. Novice riders can check out the Lois Creek Trails, while the Northstar Rails to Trails connects Kimberley with Cranbrook over a 25 km (16 mi) distance. There are even some jumps and flow lines for free riders, all set against a backdrop of towering Purcell Mountain peaks.
Fernie is a mountain biker’s paradise, with everything from gentle, beginner trails to challenging climbs and descents and a dirt jumps and skills park. There are well over 100 trails to explore in the area, and the Fernie Alpine Resort’s Bike Park has 42 trails of its own. This lift-accessed bike park has a little of everything, including aggressive freeriding terrain that challenges even world-class professionals. There is also a Thursday night race series, and beginners can take part in bike clinics that let you in on the basics of downhill riding. Other exciting options around town include S-Bomb, a snaking descent down Mount Fernie and the 45 km (28 mi) Trail to Ale Course, which spans three different mountains and earns you a cold one at Fernie Brewing Company if completed with photographic proof.
The main attraction for mountain bikers in Invermere is the lift-accessed network at Panorama Mountain Resort, which features an intricate and interconnected system of technical downhill trails along with easy, flowing runs and everything in between. There are over 30 km (19 mi) of trails to explore here, including cross-country rides that lead deep into the surrounding woods. Or, check out the Mount Swansea and Johnson trails – there are over 40 trails to explore around Invermere, making for some of the best mountain biking in the Kootenay Rockies.
It’s no secret that Golden is a hub for outdoor adventure of all kinds, and that includes mountain biking, with hundreds of kilometres of single track found within an easy pedal of town. The Moonraker, Canyon Creek and CBT trail systems offer over 130 km (80 mi) of interconnected trails to explore, including some that run right along the rim of the canyon – avoid these if you have a fear of heights. If you have a vehicle at your disposal, have a friend shuttle you up the Mount 7 Forest Service Road to take on some hair-raising descents. Or, head to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort to check out the highest elevation mountain bike park in North America. 31 trails are accessible right off the gondola and feature a variety of unique stunts and features that will get your adrenaline pumping.
Nestled between two mountain ranges, the Monashees and the Selkirks, Revelstoke is in the ideal location for high altitude adventure. As the snow recedes up the mountains, hundreds of kilometres of trails open up, from shuttle-accessed downhill runs to long-distance cross-country tours and technical freeride playgrounds. At Boulder Mountain, you will find tabletops, drops, berms, ladder bridges, log rides, wall rides and virtually any other feature you could dream of. Higher elevation trails such as the Keystone Standard Basin Trail lead you through the incredible scenery of alpine meadows and wildflowers, as does the Frisby Ridge Trail, which offers 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains from atop its rolling pinnacle. There are just too many options in Revelstoke to describe in detail – come and see for yourself!
You can find your way to these trails and many more with the help of our Kootenay Rockies Backroad Mapbook and BC GPS Maps. Our maps feature industry-leading cartographic detail and detailed Adventure write-ups for many of the region’s mountain bike trails including distance, elevation gain, access, highlights and much more.
Did we miss your favourite place to mountain bike in the Kootenay Rockies? Let us know in the comments below, or share your mountain bike adventures with us on Instagram using #brmblife for a chance to win prizes and be featured on our feed.