Mountain bike trails are running great in British Columbia’s Kootenay Rockies, and Nipika Mountain Resort is the place to head for some spectacular early season riding.
We recently spent a weekend biking at the resort and the trails were all in fabulous condition for so early in the year.
Nipika Mountain Resort is located approximately 45 minutes outside the town of Radium Hot Springs and has over 100 km of trails with difficulty suitable for all levels of riders. From technical flowy single track to wide double track trails, Nipika offers something for everybody; from novice riders to experienced mountain bikers seeking a challenge. You can even bring the kids along and send them cruising down Nipika’s easiest run, “Main Street” to a small cabin with a meadow to play in.
Go for the riding and stay for the weekend
Nipika offers the perfect opportunity to put on big kilometres of technically challenging riding while staying in the comforts of the cozy hand built log cabins. Nipika’s cabins can accommodate up to 6-8 guests per cabin and have cooking facilities so you don’t have to run into town after your day of biking. Relax on your private patio or deck with a cold beer and enjoy the sun in Nipika’s open meadow. There’s also a wood fired hot tub and pond for cooling off in.
For guests with children, the meadow outside the cabins is a natural playground. We joked that Nipika was all about “free range” movement with children running around and meeting new friends from other cabins, horses freely roaming the meadow (much to the delight of our kids,) and a handful of friendly dogs running around to occupy the kids when the horses couldn’t be found.
Want to plan a big weekend at Nipika with a large group of your best biking pals or family members and friends? The Rocky Mountain Cabin can sleep 13 comfortably and features a large living area, kitchen and deck overlooking the pond. Mountain living doesn’t get sweeter than this!
Finally, guests are encouraged to bring their well-behaved dogs for the weekend and Fido is more than welcome to run the trails with you, sleep in your cabin, and play freely around the meadow. The resort also provides boarding for horses if you should wish to bring yours with you to ride some of the equestrian-friendly trails on horseback rather than on a bike.
Teaching little rippers to ride at Nipika
We spent a weekend at Nipika with another family and chose to ride the double track ski trails most of the time with our three children. We were biking with a 4 year old and two 6 year olds, and by the end of the weekend, they might as well have spent a week at mountain bike camp! At the beginning of the weekend the older boys were still just learning to use gears and had yet to ride anything terribly bumpy or steep. They’d been off pavement before but Nipika has a few big hills on the ski trails and our boys were sufficiently challenged as they practiced their controlled braking. By the end of the weekend we had them riding some easy single track along the river and they were riding down every hill screaming with no fear. The boys are now very competent at using their gears and we owe the success 100% to Nipika’s awesome trail system.
Over the course of a two day weekend, all three children had biked over 15km and even the youngest child in our group managed to excel on the trails on her small 16” bike. My new motto is “skip the week of kids’ bike camp in the city and head to Nipika Resort for a weekend instead.” Nipika has the trails and terrain to offer an intensive learning experience for riders of all abilities, and even my riding improved over the course of the weekend. I’ve been riding trails over the last couple of weeks that I never would have had the confidence to ride before spending a weekend at Nipika.
The best bike trails at Nipika
Lest you should think Nipika is purely a family resort, don’t worry! The single track trails are technical enough that they should challenge the most experienced rider. The staff at Nipika are also great at recommending trails and might even accompany you for a ride if time permits.
Experienced riders will definitely want to try the 25 km Kootenay Krusher while at Nipika. The loop is predominantly single track and follows the beautiful Kootenay and Cross Rivers around the resort property.
Families can create their own Mini Krusher loop by following my suggested 5km circuit:
Bike Main Street to junction #16 at the first warming hut. Head west to junction #15 in a big clearing, and look for a sign that says Out and Back, Kootenay River. Take this trail to the river and head back south towards the resort on a lovely single track trail alongside the river. The trail ends at the bottom of a steep hill on Henry’s Loop. Climb the hill and you will be back at junction #18 on Main Street. From there, it’s a short ride back to the resort.
The other recommended loop all bikers should try to complete when at Nipika is to the Natural Bridge and back, crossing the bridge and returning via the Canyon Bridge. Pick up a trail map when you get to the resort and you will easily see the bridges marked in blue, with a variety of orange double track ski trails or dotted single track trails to follow. The brilliant thing about Nipika is that there’s a junction every few kilometres, so if you are in a mixed group of novice and experienced riders, you can split up and re-group at the next junction.
Our kids all completed the trip to the Natural Bridge and back in a 10 km loop that took us the better part of a day at a relaxed pace. Fast riders could do it in less than an hour.
Beyond biking at Nipika Mountain Resort
Come for the spring riding and return for a week of summer adventure! The Paddle & Hike Adventure Weeks run Sundays thru Fridays with a mix of beautiful paddling days on the Kootenay River and alpine hikes into the heart of the Rockies.
The Week of Rockies Rivers is a whitewater paddling experience in grades 1 – 3 water with instruction from experts. Guests will also enjoy great camping along the rivers.
For more information on these programs, visit the Nipika Resort website www.nipika.com/
If you only want to paddle for a day, the resort can also arrange that for you with a guided day tour down the Kootenay River. This complements a few days of biking at Nipika and offers the chance to rest while trying something new.
Plan your own trip to Nipika
For more information on the resort, their bike trails, and other events throughout the summer season, visit their website at www.nipika.com
It is also possible to visit the resort and bike the trails as a day user. There are no official summer trail fees to pay but donations are welcome with all fees going to trail maintenance and expansion.
Big thanks to the awesome folks at Nipika Mountain Resort who graciously took care of our stay at the resort while I gathered material for this story. I’ve been to the resort many times in winter but this was our first visit for biking. It definitely won’t be the last and I’m already planning a girls’ weekend next spring.