Nowhere on earth is mountain biking culture as rich and vibrant as it is in British Columbia. It why people call it the spiritual home of mountain biking. Canada's westernmost province is a diverse 944,735 square kilometre (364,800 sq mi) landscape squeezed between the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. BC's trails have long been used to connect communities, facilitate trade, and inspire adventure—beginning with the First Nations who have called this place home since time immemorial.
Find out why this must-ride destination—worthy of icon status—is a place every mountain biker should experience at least once in their lifetime.
10 Reasons BC is an Iconic Mountain Bike Destination
1. The Birthplace of Freeride
BC is the birthplace of freeride mountain biking. Pushing the limits, riders and trail builders in the mid-1990s from the North Shore (North Vancouver), Kamloops, Sunshine Coast, and Rossland we're inpsired to ride terrain in their own backyards in new ways. Learn more about BC's freeride roots in the film, "The Moment".
2. 17,000 Trails Across Diverse Terrain
From alpine riding in the Rocky Mountains to trails through old-growth forests that hug the ocean, the riding in BC is nothing short of diverse. Over 17,000 trails weave their way through every corner of the province where the environment can range from dense rainforest to arid sagebrush hills to craggy alpine peaks. From west to east and north to south, the terrain choices around BC are neverending.
3. Unique Backcountry Biking Experiences
The range of options mountain bikers have to access remote backcountry riding experiences are vast. Jump in a helicopter or a floatplane to access alpine trails, shuttle laps up remote backcountry roads, or book into a backcountry lodge for a true wilderness experience. The opportunities are endless.
4. Incomparable Land Access
In BC, 95% of the land is available for public access. In 2006, the BC Government authorized the building and use of mountain bike trails on public land, becoming a watershed moment for the future of mountain biking in the province. This, along with natural resource extraction—which has supported BC communities for decades—has created a labyrinth of resource roads that provides incredible access for mountain bikers.
5. Origin of Iconic Bike Brands
6. World-Famous Bike Events and Races
Festivals, epic stage races, and themed events—it all has a place in BC. Home to world-famous events like Crankworx Whistler, the largest mountain bike festival in the world and the BC Bike Race, where riders navigate endless singletrack trails in multiple bike destinations over seven days. There are endless events and races across the province for all abilities and types of riders.
7. Thriving Mountain Bike Culture
In communities across BC, trails networks are built and maintained by hard-working volunteers and committed riders, local ride nights and unique events are put on by passionate bike communities, and bike advocates work with local and provincial governments to acknowledge the importance of trails. Everyone pitches in, and it's what makes the bike community in BC so unique.
8. Home to World-Class Athletes
Top mountain bike athletes from all over the world have either grown up in BC or have chosen to relocate to this corner of the world. Athletes from all disiplines have planted roots in communities across the province—from Vancouver to the Sunshine Coast, Whistler to Rossland, Kelowna to Smithers—and now call BC's trails home.
9. True Wilderness Riding
BC is wild. Home to tens of thousands of plant and animal species living in a rich diversity of habitats and ecosystems, riding here is untamed. Many trail networks are located in remote wilderness areas and encounters with wildlife are common.
10. The World’s Best Bike Park & Festival
The Whistler Mountain Bike Park, which opened in 2000, is arguably the best mountain bike park in the world and is home to the famous Top of the World trail—descending from the top of Whistler Peak to the base of Whistler for nearly 5,000 feet of downhill riding. BC is also home to the biggest mountain bike festival in the world—Crankworx—which all began in Whistler in 2003.