Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Riding: MTB

Here, deep in the Selkirk Mountains, the trails flow over a huge granite base. Spruce and fir stands thrive up high, while trails in the valleys cross through cedar, hemlock, and ponderosa pine forests. The heavily incised drainages provide the ultimate zone for Nelson’s trails to evolve. Due to the harsh topography of the area, riding is almost completely a downhill/freeride affair. Long travel forks and disc brakes on hardtails and full squish bikes are normal gear here. Riders get decked out in body armour and full-face helmets to survive the nastiness. But don’t be alarmed - every area possesses easier ways down. There are some fun cross country routes, but most people who come to ride get the biggest smiles from riding the downhill trails. Chocked full of steeps, roots, rock slabs, bridges, and airs, the singletrack here is the epitome of trail riding in the woods.

Trail Difficulties

(G) Beginner to Intermediate – Mostly mellow, fast downhills with the odd steep bit and some cross-country riding.

(B) Intermediate to Advanced – Good technical singletrack, with the some steeps and stunts too.

(BLK) Advanced to Expert – Long steeps, high bridges, gnarly rock rolls and big airs.

The Riding Areas

Nelson has many riding areas up for offer. The Mountain Station trails are closest to town, starting in the uphill neighbourhood and funneling down to the old BNR railbed. The North Shore of Kootenay Lake’s West Arm is home to sweet single track and long, steep slickrock. Across the lake (on the Nelson side) trails in the Svaboda area pass through the West Arm Wilderness Park. Giveout Creek / Blewett is home to long vert, with a trail network that drops from the ridgeline to the river.


A map to accompany the following trail descriptions is available at the local bike shops.

  • Mountain Station
  • North Shore
  • Svoboda Road Trails
  • Blewett/ Giveout Creek