Rugged coastline and ancient rainforest combine with technical mountain singletrack for an enchanting experience through natural terrain.
Vancouver Island is a unique place in the world, not simply because of the vast network of trails so easily accessible but because the variety of styles provides riding for nearly everyone. Along with the coastal beauty and British feel of Victoria, the Island houses a myriad of tiny retreats and getaways that span the range from fishing to hiking, surfing to lush rain forests and snow capped mountains. Getting onto Vancouver Island forces you to slow down and smell the roses, the pace is relaxed and the people warm and friendly.
The Vancouver Island region is a large area on the edge of the Pacific, encompassing Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands on BC’s southwest coast. The region’s mountain biking hubs, Sooke on the southwest coast of the Island, and Campbell River and the Comox Valley on the central east coast, are all easily accessible by air or ferry. Hornby Island is a little oasis accessible by ferry off the east coast of central Vancouver Island. Each coastal town boasts a vibrant mountain biking community with their own distinct riding style and culture.
The Island (as it’s known by locals) has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Craggy ocean coastlines and beaches, old-growth rainforests, serrated mountains and powerful rivers create habitats for a multitude of wildlife species including bears, orca and grey whales, cougars, bald eagles, and all five species of pacific salmon. Mountain biking here is as close as it gets to becoming one with nature.
The island offers extensive networks of trails, with a diverse variety of mountain to coastal riding that ranges from steep and technical to smooth and easy.
Campbell River has established more than 100 km of singletrack to accommodate both technical thrill seekers and scenic cruisers, with trail heads starting close to town.
Number of Trials: 226
Total Kilometres: 242 km
Highest Elevation: 1,016 m
The unofficial epi-centre of island riding, Cumberland boasts legendary singletrack a few pedal strokes from downtown, and a riding culture that’s second to none.
Number of Trails: 268
Total Kilometres: 276 km
Highest Elevation: 843 m
Hornby Island is known for its fast and flowy trails that flank the coastal cliffs, exposing riders to vivid ocean views.
Number of Trails: 71
Total Kilometres: 65 km
Highest Elevation: 299 m
Nanaimo has quickly become one of the most popular spots on Vancouver Island for mountain biking. There are excellent trails, a comfortable climate, creative trail builders, and ample support services.
Number of Trails: 393
Total Kilometres: 370 km
Highest Elevation: 1,021 m
This week guestagrammer Brice shirbach shares some amzing places to ride in the beautiful Sunshine Coast area. Brice began riding as early as he can remember, and spent his formative years breaking bikes while flying down ATV trails in the mountains of Western...
Follow this itinerary for a week-long trip exploring Vancouver Island. Start up island and travel south, checking out some of the top places to ride on the island. Pair biking with local breweries and jumps in the ocean for the perfect way to cool down after long rides.
Winners of Mountain Biking BC’s “Bikes and Beer” contest learn about Vancouver Island time and what makes it tick. Words and photos by Robin Munshaw Day 1: Taking our time on the drive up the east coast of Vancouver Island, we got to know Rachael and Aaron as they...
Video by Ollie Jones Photos by Mark Mackay Words by Hailey Elise Waiting for the mainland trails to appear from under the snow is like waiting for Christmas – all-consuming anticipation. As the rumours fly, you keep your ear to the ground for any intel on the current...
Growing up in the West Kootenay, Steve Shannon developed an early love for the outdoors. He began skiing at age two and by high school was firmly addicted to exploring the mountains around home by a variety of means. From those early childhood past times, his appetite...
This week Guestagrammer: Dave Silver. Originally from Toronto and based in Nanaimo, Dave loves the lifestyle and year round riding on an ever evolving network of incredible trails there. You will always find him shooting/riding mountain bikes in the summer and skiing in the winter.
Hornby Island is home to quality singletrack in a very relaxed and scenic setting. Salt Spring is on the opposite end of the spectrum and although relatively quiet and friendly, it’s the most populated island and has a lot more going on because of this. Both are incredible islands to visit, with very different personalities
Off The Bike
The diversity of Vancouver Island is packed with potential adventure on or off the trails.
- Explore Tofino's 35 km of accessible beaches for some of the best year-round surfing spots.
- Charter a whale watching tour in Campbell River, Tofino or Victoria for the best views of an orca pod.
- With a vibrant art scene and native heritage in Victoria, British Columbia’s capital city offers the best of contemporary and aboriginal cultures.
- Discover the ancient culture of Vancouver Island’s native inhabitants at the First Nations Art and Culture center.