The Pacific Northwest of British Colombia is a diverse region of majestic beauty. Its landscape invites people from around the world to explore the rugged mountains, swift and twisting rivers, and its temperate coastal rainforest of 6.4 million hectares. This epic terrain is a grandiose playground for outdoor adventures. Skiers and snowboarders slash deep powder turns in the winter and fly fisherman chase wild salmon and steelhead on fabled rivers. Over the years, mountain biking has been making a name for itself along the Yellow Head Highway that snakes its way through towns like Burns Lake, Houston, Smithers, Terrace, and ending at the coast port town of Prince Rupert. (link to each town’s tourism site)
Smithers is a charming town of 6000 people located on traditional Wet’suwet’en Territory in the Skeena-Bulkley Valley. It sits halfway between Prince George and Prince Rupert on Highway 16. Hudson Bay Ski Mountain looks over the town, which is coined “little Switzerland” for its alpine ski town theme and is a hotspot for sports enthusiasts. What started as a small bike group in the 90s has transformed into a dedicated community of riders with infectious enthusiasm and optimism for mountain biking.
Smithers has trails for all skills and ages. They range from technical downhill, flowing cross-country, mellow alpine meadows, and family-friendly fun. Riding to the top of most trails is an option, or enjoy a shuttle ride in a van from Adventure Camp Tourism.
Adventure Camp works with Burns Lake Mountain Biking Association, Smithers Mountain Bike Association, Houston Mountain Bike Association and Terrace Off Road Cycling Association to design half day, full day and multi-day tours over their respective trail networks. Also, take the shuttle to the top of Hudson Bay Mountain and ride in the alpine or shred Backdoor – a 5,000 descent from the top of the ski hill to the bottom of Smithers.
The Smithers Mountain Bike Association has developed three riding zones:
Ptarmigan Recreation Site trails lie in the Wetzin’kwa Community Forest near Ptarmigan Road. There are currently two trails in the network: Huckin’ Eh and Pump Daddy.
The Bluff Recreation Site is a mix of 16 family-friendly fun, cross-country, and technical downhill trails.
Piper Recreation Site consists of three trails and offers an epic ride on one of the areas best-known trails – appropriately named Piper’s Down. This trail is a rollercoaster of tire biting, sing-track fun that starts from the ski hill, rocks through wooded forest, gaps the wreckage of a Piper airplane, then finishes with rock slabs that weave into a section of perfectly engineered berms. Rip it.
Smithers has beautiful scenery, friendly people, and impressive mountain biking. It should be one of your future riding destinations. Fly into Smithers airport or drive from Vancouver to Prince George, then pin it along Highway 16 to Smithers. You can ride in Burns Lake, Houston, then go to Terrace after you score sick single track laps in Smithers. Time to plan your next mountain bike trip to the scenic Pacific Northwest.
Bike Shop: Mcbike & Sport is your one-stop store for your mountain bike needs and wants.
Beer: Smithers Brewing Co. and Bulkley Valley Brewery. Enjoy a cold and frosty beer.
Food: Two Sisters Cafe does a healthy breakfast, lunch, or snack that will fuel your body.
Smithers Trail: The Smithers Mountain Bike Association runs the trails and is the best source for information.
Stay: The Riverside RV Park and Campground is a short drive outside of town. The Fireweed Motel is convenient and straightforward.
Coffee: Go to Bugwood Bean. Use the free air pump while you wait for your delicious cup of java.
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