From beginners to advanced, we've got some great ideas for your next Revelstoke mountain biking adventure!
by Meghan Tabor
Revelstoke's quite the destination for mountain biking, if you didn't already know. There's plenty to take on that will give a heady taste of endorphins while nudging at those comfort boundaries. And we don't just have the technical and difficult stuff for the adrenaline junkies. Those that enjoy the chance to convene with nature with the fast-paced thrill of a bike also have options to satisfy.
AN INTRO TO MOUNTAIN BIKING
I eased into the Revelstoke mountain biking scene with a ride through the greenbelt. From a total novice point-of-view, I'd say this system of trails along the Columbia and Illecillewaet Rivers is the perfect entry point for beginners. It's convenient- any old clunky bike will do (I took my townie) and you can get a taste of why this sport can be so fun and addictive.
I went in the evening when storm clouds were threatening. With empty trails and a cool breeze, it was a chance to enjoy the outdoors and mentally recharge. It felt like a choose-your-own-adventure game, as each fork in the road offered an unknown trail to explore. I cruised through an eerie but peaceful shrouded forest (while wary of bears) before popping out into the open, right by the river. With it so close, I was conscious that my unstable movements could serve me a cool, unexpected dunk if I wasn't careful.
But then suddenly I was riding over an open bridge made up of wood planks, with water surrounding me. Keeping focus I made it over and followed the thin trail through long grass, enjoying the thrill of keeping speed while staying on the tracks. The next bridge was longer and I gave in to my fear. I shuffled over it with my bike, stopping to take a few shots.
AN EPIC TRAILS SYSTEM
Thanks to the Revelstoke Cycling Association (RCA) plus our community of avid cyclists and volunteers, Revelstoke enjoys a spectacular and vast trail system, making it a summer destination for bike lovers.
We're well known for our Frisby Ridge trail, which is out of action this year due to much-needed maintenance work. It has been a drawcard for its variety of jaw-dropping view points throughout the ride, but while this one will have to wait until next year, try Keystone Standard Basin as an alternative (see Intermediate tips) plus all the other trails on offer here.
And if you're unsure whether you have the right skills or right equipment to enjoy the sport, RCA president Keith McNab says mountain biking can be done by anyone that has a bike.
"It's fun, it's good exercise," he said.
TRAILS TO TRY BY LEVEL
As I did, head off the paved trail at the greenbelt and explore the numerous trails by the Columbia River. You can also follow them out onto the flats. Check out the video below to see what this trail looks like.
Another beginner trail close by is the 2km loop trail at Mount Revelstoke.
And while there are some trails rated easy at Mount Macpherson, McNab says these are a 'Revelstoke easy' which is more like a low intermediate.
Have a go at the whole 5km loop at Mount Revelstoke, or the Stimulus loop, which starts at the nordic lodge at Mount Macpherson, which McNab says is really popular. "It's rated as easier. It's the lower end of intermediate," McNab says.
With the popular Frisby Ridge trail out of order this year, the alternative is Keystone Standard Basin.
It's much more technically demanding than Frisby. The start is higher, and while McNab says the first kilometre from the trailhead is brutal, with loose rock, roots and steep ascents, it's a rewarding ride. "I don't even try to ride [the start] anymore," he says. "But once you get past that first kilometre, get past the tree line, the views are stunning. and you're on a big wide open ridge.
"And this time of year, right now the flowers — we just rode it — the flowers are right at their peak. There were whole floats of lupins and Indian paintbrush. The ride is really fun, but a little more demanding."
A ton of downhill biking is available at Boulder Mountain.
In the video below, live vicariously through riders Stu, Nash and Callum as they navigate gnarly features and get airborne on Boulder Mountain's Gravy Bacon trail.
Trail info: Gravy Bacon –Black Diamond
Boulder is accessed from the Westside Road From Revelstoke, head west on the Trans-Canada Highway. Turn right at the lights on Westside Rd, travel about 3 km. Turn Left on Jordan FSR, just past the Revelstoke Landfill. The parking lot for these trails is on the left just after you cross over the Jordan River.
Starts about 300 metres before the 5km corner on the Jordan FSR. Cross the powerline and stay straight at the junction to finish on the Boondocker or head left for a more intermdiate ride on Loggin’ Leftovers.
- For more information on mountain rides around Revelstoke from a local's inside information, check out rider Matt Timins' article Revelstoke's Signature Alpine Rides Guide in the July Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine, page 14.
- To have the best Revelstoke mountain biking experience, ride with local guides Wandering Wheels.