#BestofCanada: Top places in Canada for mountain biking

The snow has melted away and the sun is shining. It’s time to make this summer’s trip epic. Do yourself a favor and add some two wheel time to your crazy schedule. Why? Putting *YOU* first pays off in smiles.

Besides the feeling of freedom that comes with cranking the pedals on a sunny afternoon, mountain biking is not too shabby and should get your priorities straight. So grab the handle bars as we check out the top 10 places for mountain bike vacations in Canada. The key is finding the right place to ride, but don’t worry- in Canada we are fortunate to have some of the best mountain bike destinations in North America. From single track to downhill crazies to rails to trails, there’s something for everyone in each one of these mountain bike destinations.

Mountain biking in Vernon, BC

Mountain biking in Vernon, BC – Photo: Robb Thompson

Cumberland, British Columbia, fits that long overused term, ‘a hidden gem’ of a place to ride. Easy access from Courtney and Comox, the sleepy little village is a spot for serious spoke time. Locals have poured their hearts into creating trails winding around the old coal town with authentic charm. Riders will be entertained with a mix of old and new school riding options. You will enjoy the fruits of their labour on the many big sculpted banked turns, weaving back and forth under the thick forest canopy.

Cumberland mountain biking

Cumberland mountain biking – Photo: cumberland.ca

Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia
If you are into downhill cranking this is the grand-daddy of all bike parks in North America! The Whistler Mountain Bike Park served by a myriad of lifts will have you riding some serious vertical and enjoying a broad variety of features, flowy and sustained stretches of downhill. Note to self: the place also has incredible cross country riding throughout the valley.

Mountain biking at Whistler Bike Park

Mountain biking at Whistler Bike Park – Photo: newguyphotography.com

Vernon and Silver Star, British Columbia
Summer means lake time here, but don’t forget to pack your riding gear as the mix of trails is definitely worthy of exploration. If you are into cross country, check out Silver Star, Ellison and Kalamalka Parks, some with don’t-miss new trails – which means soft and flowy fun to be had. Silver Star beckons for the nice mix of both options, and is renowned for its downhill trail offering.

Vernon, BC - Photo: Steve Austin

Vernon, BC – Steve Austin

Sun Peaks, British Columbia
There is a reason the Canadian National Downhill Championships were held in 2014 at Sun Peaks. Anyone can throttle up here. There’s a big variety, with 38 trails to excite the energy drink-fueled rider or tame the first-timer on easy cross-country options.

Mountain biking at Sunpeaks Resort

Mountain biking at Sunpeaks Resort

Burns Lake, British Columbia
Fly to Prince George, British Columbia to check out this new kid on the mountain biking scene. Talk about community spirit getting in gear- the crew who built this legendary network of trails, put their heart and soul into creating a must-ride selection that has the usual array of amazing scenery, but also includes their one-of-a-kind additions like half pipes and knuckle shaking cork-screws. Put the 30+ trails at Burns Lake on your to-do bike map.

Mountain biking at Burns Lake -

Mountain biking at Burns Lake – Photo: burnslaketrails.ca

Powder Highway- an epic mountain biking destination
This is where mountain bike dreams come true. Fly into Calgary International Airport for a perfect Canadian Rockies biking experience. In a trip as short as a few days, you can hit up some of the best mountain biking in Canada. From the sports soul- the big dog, with over 200 km of trails for all abilities, Fernie has an epic mix of cross country and downhill. Then head to Golden, British Columbia, home of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, which is legendary for its barn burner downhill thrills. The local biking community has also added a ton of new-school cross country in the area, like the Moonraker trail system. Kicking Horse has over 100 km trails to entertain you and satisfy your every mountain biking need. Go ahead, The Powder Highway is a “big smile” trip for true mountain bikers.

Mountain Biking the Powder Highway via Tourismfernie.com

Mountain Biking the Powder Highway – Photo: Tourism Fernie

Golden, British Columbia
Looking for a real mountain bike adventure? Golden really rules. Pick your pleasure as both the downhill and cross country are epic. From the original and infamous downhill rippers on Mount 7 to the biggest vertical and over 10 km descent, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort will have you pinning it all day on some of the most challenging trails in Canada! Plus, there are cross-country classics to keep you busy for a lifetime with over 100 km of trails to explore.

Mountain Biking at Kicking Horse

Mountain Biking at Kicking Horse – Photo: Dave Best

Fernie, British Columbia
We’ll make the decision easy for you- this is a bucket list stop for mountain bikers in North America. Fernie has the trail variety to entertain every mountain biker’s interest. Due to the hundreds of kilometres of trails that will have cross-country enthusiasts salivating, and a downhill offering of 37 legendary descents accessed by lifts, you won’t want to leave your saddle from the time you arrive at Fernie Alpine Resort until the time you leave.

Mountain biking at Fernie Alpine Resor

Mountain biking at Fernie Alpine Resort – Photo: Nick Nault

Horseshoe Mountain Resort, Ontario
Just north of Toronto is Horseshoe Mountain Resort, a fantastic location for mountain biking. Many people don’t realize it, but there over 30 km of lift-serviced downhill trails to be had here, with a basket to fit all riding styles from first-timers to experts looking for some action on ladders, boxes and bridges! Don’t forget the nearby cross-country bonanza of over 400 acres of single track riding, located in Copeland Forest.

Mountain Biking at Horseshoe Resort

Mountain Biking at Horseshoe Resort

Mont Ste-Anne, Quebec
Eastern Canada’s best mix and variety of trails is so close to Quebec City airport that you can be riding the day you arrive. The stats speak for themselves- and it’s an extraordinary mountain biking destination. Mont Sainte-Anne has 28 km of downhill trails and 130 km of cross country trails with a mix of classic and new school. The bonus: ride eat until your heart’s content here!

Mountain Bike Mont Ste-Anne

Mountain bike Mont Ste-Anne – Photo: Patrick Fallon

Prince Edward Island
Why not treat yourself to some riding, oysters and yummy lobster, for a coastal mountain biking experience that is tops in Atlantic Canada. A mix of flowy and new-school riding can be found at places like the Brookvale Mountain Bike Park, Gairloch Road Trail or the Beck Trail. From oceanfront to forest-lined, there are trails for all abilities waiting for you to explore on Prince Edward Island.

Mountain biking in PEI - Island Trails

Mountain biking in PEI with Island Trails.

This guest blog post is by Matt Mosteller, a top North American Ski Blogger, adventure & travel writer and author.