An enchanting and spiritual wilderness excursion that offers inspiration for the entire family.
I love biking in Northern BC because the riding is as unique and as the diverse cultures that reside in each extremely friendly community!
The Northern British Columbia region is an untapped natural haven that covers over half of the province, measuring twice the size of the UK or approximately 500,000 sq km/193,051 sq mi. Northern BC is flanked by the Haida Gwaii (a.k.a. Queen Charlotte Islands) to the west, Alberta to the east and Alaska to the north. Mountain biking culture thrives in places like Smithers and Burns Lake, where singletrack and flow trails are growing in popularity.
The summers are short but the days are long, allowing you to ride well into the night. Although the mountain bike scene is flourishing with more family friendly and progressive trails, Northern British Columbia is rough, rugged and wild to the core. Typical riding here is found in subalpine forests, with machine-built singletrack, modern flow trails and classic freeride and downhill trails that snake through pines, spruces and aspens.
Vivid scenery ranges from tiny islands on the coast to gargantuan mountains on the mainland, and lush forests provide the perfect habitat for wild animals such as the rare, white furred Kermode bear. The region is also as rich in culture as it is in wildlife, supporting the First Nations for over 10,000 years and preserving their art, culture and history.
Many communities in Northern BC are part of a burgeoning trail scene – most notably in Burns Lake, Smithers, Prince George and Terrace.
Where dirt is perfectly progressive…Ten minutes from downtown, Boer Mountain and the Burns Lake Bike Park launch miles of classic singletrack and some of the best downhill trails you’ll find anywhere.
Number of Trails: 84
Total Kilometres: 47 km
Highest Trailhead: 1,245 m
Smithers is home to three mountain bike zones which include the Bluff Trail Network, an extensive system of intermediate to advanced routes, and Piper Recreation, known for the Piper Down trail and its infamous gap jump over the crash site of an airplane.
Number of Trails: 54
Total Kilometres: 86 km
Highest Elevation: 1,828 m
Where rugged wilderness and urban sophistication collide…From Otway’s cross-country to Pedherny’s all mountain and downhill, there are trails that cater to all levels and skills of riders.
Number of Trails: 217
Total Kilometres: 253 km
Highest Elevation: 2,038 m
Terrace is a booming community surrounded by impressive mountains and the mighty Skeena River. Residents embrace adventure and Terrace has created two incredible trail networks on Terrace and Copper mountain.
Number of Trails: 37
Total Kilometres: 59 km
Highest Elevation: 1,417 m
I’m following a 16-year old ripper off a tabletop on When Pigs Fly. A grandmother is on my tail and an 8-year old surprisingly close behind. In our group of 15 riders exploring Burns Lake’s 100 kilometre trail network, there’s everyone from middle-aged teachers to bike bums, expert to intermediates, in jogging pants and on triple crown downhill rigs. I’ve never ridden with a more diverse crew, especially not on assignment.
Follow this itinerary to explore a 7-day trip through Northern BC to explore riding communities of Smithers, Burns Lake, Terrace, and more.
Off The Bike
Take a break from the bike to explore the vast, untouched nature that encompasses the entire Northern BC region:
- Discover Northern BC’s rich, historical cultures and raw, natural wilderness on one of many scenic road trips like the Gold Rush Trail, a 1,900 km-long journey that follows the path of 10,000+ gold miners from the 1860s, or the Heritage Discovery Circle, a 2,400 km loop that tours BC’s ancient Aboriginal civilization.
- Plan ahead for a long drive on the Alaska Highway (a.k.a. the Alcan) by means of the Yukon Territory.
- Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands), an archipelago of 150+ islands accessible by plane or ferry, is famous for its old-growth rainforests, secluded villages and First Nations history.
- Witness magnificent wildlife in their element on a guided bear watching tour at the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary.
- Visit untouched land in the northern region that is only accessible on horseback.