Distance: Over 50 km
Time: 1 hr – 4 days
Elevation Gain: N/A
Elevation Loss: N/A
Technical Rating: Beginner – Expert
Physical Rating: Easy – Hard
Season: May – October
Permit Required: No
In the late 1800s New Denver was at the centre of one of British Columbia’s mining booms. Men came from around the country hoping to get rich mining the silver ore that had been discovered in the Slocan Valley. The towns of Sandon and Three Forks were home to hundreds and supplied the miners who worked up on Idaho Peak, Payne Mountain and other peaks in the area. Both are now ghost towns with only a handful of residents and some slowly decaying buildings. One of the highlights of riding in this area is discovering remnants of this boom that were left behind. Because a lot of the trails follow the old roads and rail lines that transported the supplies and the ore in and out of the mines, you don’t have to look far to find the rusting remains of old concentrators and the wooden shells of old buildings. Idaho Peak is itself a swiss cheese of shafts and adits with tailings spread like a rocky waterfall below the old mine sites. The trails that follow the old transportation network are all low-angle and pretty mellow with only the occasional technical section, typically where the trail has eroded over the years. It’s easy to climb or descend this network of trails and they can be ridden by people of all skill levels. There are a few options built on a steeper grades, generally running between the more mellow trails. These options have been purpose-built for mountain biking and are more challenging and technical.
TRAILHEAD | N49 59.474 W117 22.265
New Denver is located in the Slocan Valley, north of Nelson, British Columbia. The closest point of access to the Trans-Canada Highway is Revelstoke, 146 km / 91 min to the north, via Highway 6, Highway 23, and a ferry ride. Travel time from Vancouver is approximately nine hours, and from Calgary, Alberta, approximately eight hours.
bikepirate rating: 4 Skulls
New Denver is a small town with a small population. Because the trail network is pretty big in comparison with the number of people that work to maintain the trails it’s a good idea to stop in at Wilds of Canada Cycles and talk to Rob Farrell about what’s good to ride. Rob’s put in countless hours of love into the Idaho Peak trails; he’s in the know and will help with your trip planning, providing info on blow-downs and trail closures. Also a great shop to pick up a local trail map and get your bike some love.
The North Slocan Trails Society (NSTS) is one of the active trail groups in the area. If you’ve enjoyed riding the local trails, it never hurts to donate some money to the NSTS; they’re doing a lot of work out there. To get in touch with them visit the NSTS Facebook page.
New Denver Trails