If you’re looking for a year-round riding destination that is close to home and offers up some incredible riding along a vast network of trails, I suggest you look to the Sunshine Coast. Home to the Coastal Crew, a group of professional riders who share their love for the sport of mountain biking through captivating media, and an integral part of the BC Bike Race, three days of the seven day stage race are held on the coast, the Sunshine Coast boasts a network of trails for every level of rider and ability. And the best part, it’s open year-round; with early spring and late fall being one of the best times to ride there.
A few weeks ago we made the short drive from Whistler to the Horseshoe Bay ferry. We boarded the Queen of Surrey and sailed across the bay in a brief 45 minutes, arriving in Langdale on the Sunshine Coast by early afternoon. It has been four years since I’ve been to the coast to ride and it sure felt good to be back. With Whistler, Squamish, the North Shore and the Island close by, I think that the coast can sometimes be overlooked as a riding destination. However, those that don’t look to the Sunshine Coast will miss out huge. There is virtually all level of trail and riding available. The Sunshine Coast is divided into several areas connected by forest service and hydro access roads. If you’re an endurance rider, this area can virtually be explored all on a mountain bike. The best part is that you can choose to stay in any one of the quaint towns along the coast and not be more than a 5 – 25 min drive or ride from one of these networks. We stayed at the elegant Painted Boat resort located in Madeira Park, about a 50 minute drive north from Langdale, and found access to the plethora of trails to be a short scenic drive or ride away.
Sprockids Park. Located a mere two kilometres from the Langdale Ferry terminal and home to the world’s first Sprockids Park, the area features a large network of intermediate to advanced trails; including a skills park with dirt jumps, wall rides and a pump track.
Roberts Creek. If you’re obsessed with biking and follow the downhill/freeride scene, chances are you’ve caught loads of film footage shot by the Coastal Crew in this area. The well maintained access road provides incredible shuttle access to a majority of the trails in Roberts Creek. Be sure to check out Mach Chicken, a fast and fun advanced downhill trail.
West Sechelt. This is a great area to explore on your x-country or trail bike. A vast network of flowy singletrack trails, all accessible from the Big Tree Recreation Trail and Picnic Area, await your visit. We spent several days riding here on our own and with our guide Gary from Off The Edge Adventure Sports. It’s a fantastic area to explore, but a little tough to navigate during your first ride in the area due to a lack of signage. Make sure to pick up a local bike map at the shops or download the Sunshine Coast app. Will be adding a trail page and write up on this area, including two suggested GPS loops, to bikepirate soon for your reference.
Halfmoon Bay. A fun area to ride for those that love technical riding. Many of the trails are rooty, making them a little more technical. About 20 km of singletrack trail can be found in the area and for the most part is easy to navigate thanks to the signage.
Madeira Park. This area is seeing many new singletrack trails being built to complement the Suncoast Trail system by the Pender Harbour mountain bike community. We spent an afternoon linking some of the singletrack trails in the area with access roads to form some fun loops that offered up some incredible views and flowy singletrack. Two fun trails in the area worth checking out is Highway to Hell and AC/DC. Look for them both to be posted to bikepirate soon.
After spending four days of riding on the Coast, one thing was certain, it wasn’t enough time to explore the incredible network there is to ride. Already we’re planning our next trip back to continue to document and post more information on this area. A task we’re more than happy to take on.
Sunshine Coast Bike Shops
Mountain Bike Guides
Accommodation for our trip provided by: Painted Boat Resort
Painted Boat is a luxurious five-acre resort on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia features 31 spacious two bedroom villas. Just a two hour trip, or 20 minute float plane ride from downtown Vancouver, the resort is nestled in the friendly small town of Madeira Park near Pender Harbour. Kayak and paddleboard rentals are available on-site, and there are a myriad of local hiking and biking trails.