Distance: 35.3 km (includes Dewdney)
Time: 4 – 7 hrs
Elevation Gain: 1,162 m
Elevation Loss: 1,962 m
Technical Rating: Advanced
Physical Rating: Extreme
Season: mid July – October
Permit Required: No
Seven Summits is an incredible ride, well deserving of its IMBA Epic ride status. Not for the inexperienced rider, due to its length and advanced technical rating, this point-to-point trail should be a part of every rider’s itinerary when visiting the area. As the trail name suggests, the rider will crest seven summits along this route, each with incredible 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains. Amazingly buff singletrack climbs, fast and technical rocky descents, and breathtaking scenery will greet all those brave enough to tackle this epic. Seven Summits is not suitable for beginner riders. However, intermediate riders should not be discouraged from riding this trail as for the most part the climbing is very buff, albeit long. If you are a fit intermediate rider with unlimited endurance and don’t mind walking the few sections that might pose a problem, than consider giving it a go. The endless singletrack stretching across infinite ridge lines and the uninterrupted descents will make you glad you did.
All along this trail you will pass signs for peaks accessible from the trail via short side trips, along with other notable features. These are intended more for hikers, but if you’re not in a rush, some are well worth the look. Please read the full Seven Summits detailed description below the photos to get a better idea of the flavour of the trail and to prepare for this epic ride.
To ride the Seven Summits you will need a shuttle. You can setup your own or consider using the MountainShuttle which runs daily from 8:00 am; a very convenient and inexpensive way to get everyone to the trailhead. Detailed information about setting up a shuttle is listed below the photos under the logistics heading.
TRAILHEAD | N49 12.252 W117 53.650
The Seven Summits begins directly from the Nancy Greene north trailhead, 21 km north from Rossland. It is meant to be ridden north to south as a point-to-point ride. Therefore, setting up a shuttle to avoid pedaling another 30 km along Hwy 3B after you complete this epic ride to retrieve your vehicle is highly recommended. Or consider taking the <a href=”http://kootenaymountainshuttle.com/” target=”_blank”>MountainShuttle</a> from Rossland. Read more about the logistics below the photos.
bikepirate rating: 5 Skulls
Detailed trail description
Seven Summits starts from the Nancy Greene parking area and heads south along a very buff and flowy singletrack trail located right behind the trailhead kiosk. After a short 600 m cruise along this trail, just enough time to warm up your legs, the climbing will begin. The climb is gradual, getting steeper and a little more technical as you near the first summit 3/4 of the way up. This is the longest climb of the day, just over 620 m in vertical gain, and it will start to wear you down as you near the top. Once you reach the first summit the trail will descend from there; rolling along the side of the mountain and across a well-defined ridge over to a short technical climb. The quick up is followed by an exhilarating and awe dropping descent, about 4 km in length. Enjoy this long section of down and make sure to stop and take a break before continuing on up the next climb; a technical climb which will take around 25 min to complete. A few more ups and downs will follow, until you reach the 20.5 km mark on the trail. From this point forward the trail is virtually all downhill, with the exception of a few extremely short ups that can be cleared when maintaining your speed. At the 30 km mark you will spit out onto a fire road (Rossland Cascade Rd.). Continue on across Cascade Rd. to the well-marked trailhead for Dewdney to complete your descent down the remaining 5.4 km of flowy singletrack. When including the Dewdney trail, the descent is almost 14 km in length. The actual Seven Summit trail ends at the Rossland Cascade Road; however, most riders will take the Dewdney trail the remainder of the way down for a much more enjoyable finish.
For most riders the Seven Summits trail will take the better part of the day to complete and one should plan on 4 – 7 hours for this epic ride. After all, for most this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience an IMBA Epic and Bike Magazine’s 2007 ‘Trail of the Year’ and therefore rushing it is not recommended. Take your time, take in the views and enjoy your surroundings. We’ve been told that the fastest riders will take under 3.5 hours to complete this point-to-point, but for many just completing the full length of the ride is a formidable accomplishment.
CAUTION: Seven Summits is a very remote trail with limited cell coverage. Riders are advised to bring lots of water, food and extra layers, along with a good rain jacket, as the backcountry can sometimes be unpredictable. There is a stream located about halfway along the trail (marked on the GPS track provided), but it is not recommended that you drink from it unless you have a filter or water tablet to clean it of bacteria. Also remember to bring a few spare tubes as punctures along this trail, mainly due to its length, are not uncommon. We encountered two in our three-person party during our ride.
The full length of Seven Summits, including the Dewdney descent, is 35.3 km. There are three options to exit the trail should you find the trail too hard or a quick exit is required due to unforeseen circumstances. First exit out: Located at the 10.4 km mark and the junction for Old Glory Mt., one can descend the Plewman Trail down to the Hanna Creek Trailhead located on Hwy 3B. Second exit out: Located at the 13.7 km mark and the Gibbard junction, one can descend down Old Glory Trail to the Hanna Creek Trailhead located on Hwy 3B. This option is not recommended, as Old Glory Trail is in really rough shape. Third exit out: The final option to bail on this ride is at the 18.4 km located at the Red Mountain Ski Area. Take the South Side Road (dirt road) exit down to the Red Mountain resort and ride back to Rossland.
The Seven Summits is a point-to-point ride meant to be ridden in one direction, north to south. Most riders will link it with the Dewdney trail, a 5.4 km descent taking the rider down to Hwy 22 near the US border in Paterson; 8.7 km south of Rossland. We suggest hiring MountainShuttle to access the trail if you only have one vehicle or would like to make things easier on yourself. If you decide to set-up your own shuttle, please note that you will need two or more vehicles depending on the size of your party. A retrieval vehicle should be parked at the Dewdney trailhead, located 8.7 km south of Rossland along Hwy 22. Look for the well-marked trailhead located on the right (west) of the highway. From there drive back (north) along Hwy 22 to Hwy 3B. Keep left and continue north on Hwy 3B for 21 km until you reach the trailhead for Nancy Greene. It is also very well-marked with a sign for the start of the Seven Summits. Park and begin your ride by taking the singeltrack trail located directly behind the trailhead kiosk. From there the trail is easy to follow, taking the rider all the way back down to the Dewdney trailhead located along Hwy 22.