An eccentric mix of mountain folk and new-age hipsters, the region is peppered with ghost towns, artist studios, mining ruins, hot springs and trails as diverse as its culture.
There are so many gems in the Kootenay Rockies, it constantly blows me away… from the seemingly endless alpine trails to the legit 5000 vertical foot descents. The entire region is emerging for mountain biking and we’re just starting to tap into its unique historic and recently approved trail resources.Lorraine Blancher
The riding in the Kootenays can be remote and unforgiving, so be prepared. Most bike destinations in the area have services and guides for hire, which is recommended for first-time visitors. Nevertheless, plenty of other attainable riding exists throughout the Kootenays.
Set amidst the dramatic Rocky and Purcell Mountains in the southern part of the Kootenays, Kimberley is a biker’s paradise. This quaint Bavarian-themed town features Canada’s largest freestanding cuckoo-clock (who knew?!) and diverse bike trails inside the Kimberley Nature Park. In nearby Fernie, riders can lap the lifts at Fernie Alpine Resort or pedal up the many public trails close to town. A few hours away, Rossland’s colourful heritage contributes to the majestic trail views, most notably with the epic Seven Summits trail.
To the north, the Columbia Valley offers hundreds of kilometres of twisty mountain bike trails along alpine peaks and dense forests, with numerous resorts maintaining their own signature singletrack. In Golden, the town is marked by a history of adventure. Mountain biking is a natural fit in this outdoor mecca, attracting athletes from around the globe with its XC singletrack heaven and thrilling, gravity-fueled runs. Revelstoke’s reputation for big-mountain skiing and snowboarding transcends to summer months, with epic bikes rides found in the Monashee and Selkirk Mountains. Shuttle-accessed downhilling or double-digit cross-country rides will reward you with stellar mountain views that eat up the entire skyline.
Invermere on the Lake / Radium Hot Springs
The Columbia Valley lies within the majestic “Valley of a Thousand Peaks”. Invermere and Radium Hot Springs has diverse riding opportunities and an abundance of natural wonders in a mountain paradise.
Number of Trails: 186
Total Kilometres: 374 km
Highest Trailhead: 2,649 m
Loops of singletrack leave from and return to downtown Fernie, making the ease of access here, second to none. Explore the endless singletrack and flowly trails.
Number of Trails: 335
Total Kilometres: 726 km
Highest Trailhead: 2,769m
Fernie Alpine Bike Park
Fernie Alpine Resort has one of the largest lift-accessed trail networks in Western Canada. Combined with its extensive web of cross-country trails, it’s easy to see why Fernie is the perfect mountain biking destination.
Number of Trails: 46
Total Kilometres: 44 km
Highest Trailhead: 1,733 m
Golden is a community that wholeheartedly welcomes the mountain biking culture and the experts from the Golden Cycling Club have created some of the best trail systems in Western Canada.
Number of Trails: 138
Total Kilometres: 228 km
Highest Trailhead: 2,386 m
With 300 days of sunshine a year, Kimberley is a delightful biking destination that caters to the entire family. Located only an hour away from Fernie and Panorama bike parks, Kimberley is the perfect base camp for your biking holiday.
Number of Trails: 144
Total Kilometres: 247 km
Highest Trailhead: 1,911 m
In keeping with the Nelson Kootenay Lake culture, the mountain bike trails here appeal to the spirit of mountain biking, from gentle railway grades to steep technical tracks.
Number of Trails: 364
Total Kilometres: 614 km
Highest Trailhead: 2,272 m
From its location on banks of the mighty Columbia River, Revelstoke has two entire mountain ranges to use for a playground.
Number of Trails: 162
Total Kilometres: 298 km
Highest Trailhead: 2,596 m
With a deep history of biking on old railway beds, miners’ trails and whisky running routes, Rossland is one of the founding bike destinations in the country.
Number of Trails: 158
Total Kilometres: 271 km
Highest Trailhead: 2,332 m
Adaptive sports are growing around the world, and British Columbia is at the forefront of adaptive mountain biking trails that help bring the community together so everyone can enjoy the sport of mountain biking.read more
Dropping into Kamloops, sleet pelted the windshield as if the coastal rains were unwilling to let us go. We were on our way to meet Lisa Tedesco and her partner Marco van der Wilk, the winners of this year’s Bikes and Beer tour. It would be difficult to find a more deserving candidate: for the past 15 years, Lisa has been a dedicated member of the mountain bike community.read more
Beyond the Bike Park in Invermere, British Columbia Words and photos by Sam Egan Within the context of the exceptionally flexible seasonality of mountain biking, the chairlift-accessed bike park season is a short one at best. So, if all you know about mountain biking...read more
As far as British Columbia’s southeastern corner of the map is concerned, the region formally known as the Kootenays, Cranbrook is a comparatively bustling metropolis. Located less than an hour’s drive from the US border, the city is home to the Canadian Rockies International Airport and topographically, it rests in a sort of high country plateau between the Purcell and Rocky Mountain ranges that will feel familiar to visitors hailing from interior locales like Kamloops or Merritt. If you’re travelling in the Kootenays there’s a high likelihood that you’ll be passing through Cranbrook, and there are a handful of tips that will help you better explore the “mountains of opportunity” the community boasts as their city tagline.read more
A weekend is fast approaching and all you know is that Golden, BC (https://www.tourismgolden.com/activities/summer/biking) is a mountain biking mecca and you want to be there. What are the networks? Where do you bike? Where is the best food? Worry not, fellow mountain biker, I’ll show you the way.read more
Riding Revelstoke with photographer Bruno Long Bruno Long is a professional adventure sports photographer based in Revelstoke, BC. Originally hailing from New Brunswick, he quickly left the East Coast behind after graduating from university and began his hunt for tall...read more
Jikke Gyorki, a Fernie career mother of two, talks about her participation in the Fernie Lucky 7’s. What category are you riding in the Fernie Lucky 7’s and why? I’m riding in the Women’s 40+ Solo category because I like the challenge and to be able to do it on my own...read more
Tales of loam infested trails, steep chutes, and rock slabs tantalized me from afar. Sure, we have great mountain biking where I come from; there are more miles of singletrack and bike parks in Colorado than you can shake a stick at. But there was still something missing in my repertoire of riding. Something that you can’t find in the lower 48— wild, raw, and bonafide singletrack that takes you from the highest peaks down to the clearest lakes. Linking up the best trails in four destinations would typically be a challenge for a newcomer to weave together a seamless itinerary in less than a week. But jumping on board the Trans BC Enduro stage race provided the framework for a grand tour of Interior BC.read more
One of the oldest saloons in British Columbia and by far the oldest in Rossland, the name comes from a steam-powered helicopter plane constructed by Lou Gagnon, an ambitious Gold Rush-era inventor. Built of iron, wood, brass, canvas and piano wire, Gagnon imagined the “Flying Steamshovel” would carry ore down from the steep slopes of nearby Red Mountain. It didn’t. The craft first took flight in February of 1902, leaving the ground and wobbling a few stories skyward before crashing near the very spot we’re currently putting back burgers and beers.read more
Off The Bike
- With their therapeutic benefits, the region’s mineral hot springs are the perfect way to relax after a day of riding.
- Strap on a PFD and raft the mighty Kicking Horse River near Golden or float the Slocan River near Nelson.
- Nearby rivers and streams are ideal for fly-fishing and undisturbed lakes are primed for casting a line from a boat.
- The area’s rich mining history has left a number of obsolete heritage sites intact, perfect for discovering old settlements, railways and trading posts.