Distance: 2.5 km
Time: 15 – 30 min
Elevation Gain: 1 m
Elevation Loss: 570 m
Technical Rating: Advanced – Intermediate
Physical Rating: Moderate
Season: May – October
Permit Required: No
Howler is a fantastic all-mountain descending trail accessed via the subdivision of Alpine. Completed in 2013, this is a great new addition to the valley trail network. Kudos to the trail builder Zander for having spent the last three years making this trail a reality. It’s quickly becoming a favourite among the local riders as it offers up some incredible views down a challenging descent. Zander tells us he’s named it Howler after the howling winds that pass through the area throughout the year, and in keeping with the area’s trail names; such as the Screaming Cat Lake Trail.
Howler is split into three distinct sections; Upper Howler, Lower Howler (main section) and the final section of Howler. The last short section of trail crosses the dirt road at the bottom of the main descent and measures only about 200 m. It was put in to extend the singletrack descent and cuts out having to ride around a long swooping switchback on the dirt road. Howler was built with the intermediate rider in mind, although most of it rides like an advanced trail until you reach the last ¾ of the trail from which point it gets less technical and more flowy. Zander continues to work on the trail to make some of the extremely rough sections smoother and to dumb down a few of the super committing moves; as his vision is, and always was, to introduce a trail that intermediate riders can tackle. WORCA along with several other local trail builders have been helping Zander complete this incredible ride.
Howler is relatively easy to find as it is well-marked; however, you will have to earn your turns as it takes about 1.5 – 2.5 hrs to access depending on your fitness level and speed. The climbing begins from the yellow gate located at the north end of Alpine Way. The trail beyond the gate is Rick’s Roost. Climb Rick’s Roost until you reach the Flank Trail. Keep right and continue to climb up the Flank (north) all the way to Upper Howler, passing the well-marked entrance for Howler. Side note: Upper Howler is more advanced than lower, and for some it will feel like a double black. If you’re not up to this level of ride, jump in on Lower Howler instead. Either way, your efforts will be rewarded with a fantastic descent down several ridge lines, rocks and a few steep and technical chutes. The trail flows great from top to bottom and eventually spits you out at the northeast end of Valley Drive in Alpine.
TRAILHEAD | N50 10.114 W122 58.137
Begin your ride by taking Rick’s Roost (doubletrack) from the end of Alpine Way. It begins behind the yellow gate. Climb Rick’s Roost until you reach the well-marked Flank trail. Keep right (left will take you through a yellow gate and out towards the west side trails), continuing to climb the Flank. You’ll cross the newly built bridge across the Nineteen Mile Creek, before the final long and steep climb to the well-marked Lower Howler. You can descent from here, or continue on up for another 1 km to access Upper Howler.
N50 10.114 W122 58.137 (Upper Howler)
N50 09.955 W122 58.270 (Lower Howler)
bikepirate rating: 5 Skulls