Distance: Over 40 km
Time: 1 – 2 days
Elevation Gain: N/A
Elevation Loss: N/A

Technical Rating: Beginner – Expert
Physical Rating: Easy – Extreme
Season: April – November
Permit Required: No

Google Earth: click here
PVTA: click here


Located east of Pemberton Village and accessible by the Pemberton Farm Road East, the Mackenzie Area is well known for its incredible freeride, downhill and all-mountain riding. Over the past few years the PVTA along with other local trail builders have been working hard to develop new trails in the area to provide more opportunities for the intermediate x-country rider. They’ve done a fantastic job of this by introducing the very popular Happy Trail (climb), reworking Lower Mackenzie Cruise into an intermediate descent, and by building Back Pains, the new intermediate descent down from Nimby. It is now possible to ride a full intermediate singletrack loop in the Mackenzie Area as a result. For the accomplished endurance rider, you can now climb 100% singletrack to Jack the Ripper, located above the second paragliding launch site, by combining six intermediate trails for a total of 16.5 km of pain. Even though the area is starting to become friendlier towards intermediate all-mountain and x-country riders, it should be noted that the majority of the trails are still rated advanced to expert, making this a challenging area to ride. All-mountain bikes and some type of armour, such as knee pads, are recommended when riding this area. The higher up the mountain you go, the harder and the more extreme these trails become.

Access to the area’s downhill trails is via Happy, Nimby, Let it Go, Middle Earth and Skelula7, all climbing trails. You may also choose to ride or shuttle the Mackenzie FSR. The majority of Pemberton riders prefer to pedal, rather than shuttle to access the trails located here. The ethic around the village seems to be that you should earn your turns. However, shuttling is acceptable and a possible option in the Mackenzie Area. The Mackenzie FSR is the main access road to the area and it can be shuttled for those looking to put in a few laps. It is a decommissioned old access road that does not see any maintenance and as a result has eroded tremendously over the last few years. Sedans or low clearance vehicles are not recommended. Trucks or SUVs with large clearance are your best option if you’re planning on shuttling here, otherwise pedal up.

The great thing about Mackenzie is that it is south facing, allowing the trails in this area to dry out early in the season. The riding season typically starts the beginning of March and goes till the end of November, depending on the snow year. The trails in this area are best ridden in the spring and fall, as dry conditions in the summer make these trails super dusty and loose. Beware of other users on the trails in the fall particularly, as this is a popular hunting area during that time of year; wear bright colours.

TRAILHEAD | N50 19.219 W122 45.443

Take Hwy 99 east from Pemberton to Pemberton Farm Rd. E. Turn right (north) onto Pemberton Farm Rd. E. and drive to the gravel pit parking area located just before the railroad track crossing; park here. All of the Mackenzie Area and Mosquito Lake Area trails can be accessed by starting your pedal or shuttle up the Mackenzie FSR; the dirt road north of the tracks.

bikepirate rating: 5 Skulls

Trail options

For those riding x-country or all-mountain bikes, I would recommend climbing up Happy Trail to Nimby and descending down Back Pains. Back Pains will take you out on to Waco Connector from which you can take Lower Mackenzie Cruise to finish an intermediate (blue) figure eight loop.

There are plenty of ways to loop these trails, including the advanced to expert options if you’re up for the challenge. I would recommend checking out Blood, Sweat and Fear or Psychopath to start if you’re looking to ride the challenging trails in the area. These two advanced trails serve as a great introduction to the type of trails and terrain found in the area. If you’re comfortable riding these gems, continue on up the mountain. If this is not your cup of tea, check out the Mosquito Lake Area trails located to the east of the Mackenzie FSR. There are plenty of intermediate options found there.

Mackenzie Area Trails

Click on the trail name for a detailed trail page describing the ride and how to access it.

Mackenzie Basin Loop: The Mackenzie Basin Loop is an old access road and 4WD trail that serves as an important connector to the gravel pit located on Pemberton Farm Road E. A majority of the descending trails located in the Mackenzie Area exit onto the Mackenzie Basin Loop, while the Happy Trail climb starts from it. The first half of the Mackenzie Basin Loop, when ridden west from the gravel pit, is wide open and easy to pedal. The remainder of the trail that lies west of Hawaii sees very little traffic, except from riders exiting Stimulus. As a result, this section of trail will typically be overgrown during the spring and summer making it a less enjoyable pedal.

Eight Seconds: Eight Seconds has not seen much love in the last few years. It is overgrown in several sections and with deadfall littered along its route. Access to the trail is via Psychopath, yet it’s very hard to spot. The trail is not recommended to riding at this time; mainly because most of it is covered with dead fall and would require some work before an expert rider could descend it.