Destination Showcase: Sun Peaks Bike Park, British Columbia

Jul 24, 2019
by chris pilling  

SUN PEAKS, BC
Twenty Years Young
Photography & Words: Chris Pilling
Presented by Sun Peaks Resort


20 years, 20 summers of some of the best mountain bike lift access that the BC interior has to offer. In the bike park's earliest days the resort’s trail crew doubled as medics while they worked to scratch the first trails onto a blank canvas. And with that, in 1999, the chairlift was outfitted with bike carriers and the bull wheel started spinning for mountain bikers. A lofty endeavor for any ski resort to take on such a new sport, opening up 2000ft of vertical terrain to the public, but here we are 20 years later, and Sun Peaks Bike Park lives up to its name as one of the best resorts around. Following a development plan that started last summer, this year marks a historic investment in the trail network to bring machine built flow trails to the already impressive lineup of raw, natural trails.

Sun Peaks is located 45 minutes north of the mountain bike mecca that is Kamloops, BC. But unlike the desert city, there is no sagebrush and dust finer than powdered sugar. Instead, the mountain greets you with lush green forests, perfectly saturated soil, and a small mountain town feel that puts you right at home. The village, nestled at the base of the mountain, has no shortage of amenities; bike shops, restaurants, and plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained. Everything is at your fingertips as you approach the hill. As you wake up in your hotel room, or even your parking lot campsite, it is mere steps to the heart of the action. You can plan your day while having breakfast at Tod Mountain Cafe, grab any essentials from the local bike shops, and then spend the day grinning from ear to ear riding your choice of close to 70kms of trails.

The trail selection is better than ever, which might leave you scratching your head on how to fit it all in and what you want to ride next. The park offers up everything you need to progress, from the skill-building green trails like the aptly named 'Level Up', a brand new 9km flow trail taking you from top to bottom. For the intermediate and more advanced rider, 11 blue trails await, including the newly machine built 'Canada Line'. It has some of the best-linked corners and jumps Sun Peaks has to offer, and rivals the most famous trails from other West coast bike parks. If tech is what you're after then definitely check out 'Sugar', a fast, singletrack trail filled with roots, steeps, and optional jumps for some air time. But what caught our eye most was the new trail building and designs coming to fruition, breathing new life into the area; Sun Peaks offers a truly well-rounded trail network.

The Classics

Sun Peaks, still true to its roots, is host to some fantastic tech trails. The terrain seems to have that perfect mix of steep pitches with breaks of fast rolling open meadows. Options like Insanity One, Smitty's Steeps, and Honey Drop will keep you on your toes. It's where we decided to start our trip and in short time we were up to speed.

Garrett plunges down a ribbon of dirt to start his run. Riders in past races have been clocked at ~95km/hr on this section.


If the rains hit the bubbles are a lifesaver. Stay warm and dry on the way up so you can send it on the way down.

For those brave enough, optional gaps can be found throughout the park. For Reilly Horan, they are not optional.

You have to keep it light and fun at times though.
This place is about fun and Sterling knows how to have it.


It's easy to keep things on edge though. There is plenty of tech.

But also plenty of send.


The technical trails, though raw, have that certain flow that has you coming back for more. Corners that hook up and rocks that beg to be ridden. With our arms pumped and our stoke high we called it a day. We headed down to the village for some food at Bottoms Bar & Grill.

If you're in town on Tuesday, Bottoms does a mean Taco Tuesday.


The Resort

5 minutes. That's all it takes to get from bed to lift. The village stroll wanders along the base of the bike park with lots to see and do. Mini games scattered everywhere invite you to stop and hang out a while. We had a few games of table tennis as a cool down for our first day. A quick stop at one of the local coffee shops might slow you down a bit, but for good reason. Tod Mountain Café can whip you up a crepe and whatever soothes your caffeine addiction, a great way to start any day.


Get to the lift in style. No fun police to slow your roll here.

Get caffeinated and make your game plan.



The MCC track was an absolute blast. With rear breaks only and a course record of 58 seconds, these things are no joke!

A modified T-bar takes you up and sends you straight into the course.
Sterling was untouchable with a 1:01

Let's get back to the action. Day 2 was all about the flow!


A New Attitude

They have enlisted the help of Lifetime Outdoor and Landmark Trailworks to create 12km of new flow and jump trails which have really opened up the potential of the park, to go along with ‘Level Up’ which opened last summer. Now riders of all skill levels have an option, starting with the new magic carpet accessible Progression Park skills area, located right beside the village. Young riders, and those new to the sport, have a place they can get their feet wet in a comfortable setting before heading up the lift.

From there, trails like 'Level Up', 'Canada Line', and 'Steam Shovel' offer progressional rides down the hill. Level Up takes you through the paces of everything gravity-fed mountain biking can be, with a host of light rocks and roots with seemingly endless corners. Canada Line steps things up a bit. Jumps, rollers, compressions and fadeaways will have you whooping to your riding buddies the whole way down. Party trains with your friends are highly encouraged. Finally, take a ride down Steam Shovel, which has recently been updated and extended (with even more to come!). Test your skills on this high flying expert level jump trail.

Take a right off the chair and hit Level Up as it meanders its way through rolling meadows.

Reilly finds time to pop a wheelie.


Garrett eyes up his next victim... I mean corner on Canada Line.


The trail crew leaves almost too many opportunities to catch a bit of air time. As if that was ever a bad thing.

The consensus was clear, we had not had that much fun on a flow trail in a long time.
Not a boring moment.

Reilly catches some air time out of the trees.


Steam Shovel is sure to entertain with its layers of berms and jumps snaking its way through the landscape.

Garrett and Sterling play on the big set on Steam Shovel.


As you round out your lap take a ride through the terrain park and biker cross course.


It's easy to see how the summer days can go by fast in these hills. Get lost with your friends and discover what they have in store for you. As our time here is temporarily over we know we will be back for more, with new trails and new memories awaiting us. Sun Peaks is doing more for its patrons this year with extended days (the lift runs from 10am-7pm daily) and four bonus weekends running through September. To celebrate their 20th anniversary they have also introduced Windback Wednesdays, meaning you can ride the park from 4pm-7pm every Wednesday of the season for only $20.



Local Knowledge

Getting here: Sun Peaks is located in the interior of British Columbia, just a 45-minute drive from Kamloops, and only a four and a half hour drive from Vancouver. The Kamloops Airport is served by daily flights from Vancouver and Calgary, as well as a regular direct flight from Toronto in the summer.

Bike shops and repairs: Sun Peaks’ long-standing, dedicated bike shop is Elevation Bike, Ski, and Board, which offers an extensive rental fleet of DH, enduro and XC bikes, as well as protective equipment, plus plenty of parts and gear for sale. A newer shop, McSporties, also has regular and electric bike rentals. For any and all repairs, bring your bike into the mechanics at Fall Line Tuning & Repair Centre, connected to Elevation.

Lessons and tours: The Sun Peaks Sports School has a robust mountain biking program offering lessons, camps and clinics covering all ability levels, as well as guided tours to show you around the XC trail network.

Food and Drink: With over 20 cafés, restaurants, and bars to choose from in the Sun Peaks village you’ll find a variety of options to refuel and plenty of sunny patios to finish off your day of riding. Don’t miss a stop at Masa’s Bar + Grill, with Sun Peaks’ largest selection of draft beer!

Where to stay: Sun Peaks has a wide variety of accommodation options, with everything from full-service hotels and vacation rental properties, to a hostel and even camping lot parking. Most of the hotels in the village are bike-friendly and provide secure storage areas where you can keep your bike overnight. You can’t beat accommodation just a few pedal strokes from the lift.

Local Mountain Biking Clubs: Outside of the Bike Park, Sun Peaks has a small but growing network of XC trails that are being built and maintained by local volunteers from the Sun Peaks Recreational Trail Association (SPRTA). SPRTA is working on an ambitious Master Plan that will add a significant amount of new singletrack to the area over the next few years.

Non-bike Activities: There’s plenty to do off the bike in Sun Peaks too, from an 18-hole golf course, to lift-access hiking, racing your buddies on the gravity-fed Mountain Cross Carts course, or exploring local lakes via paddleboard or kayak.

For more information, visit SunPeaksResort.com.

Sun Peaks Resort mountain biking trails


Pinkbike would like to thank:
Sun Peaks Resort


MENTIONS: @pinkbikeoriginals @chrispilling


Regions in Article
Sun Peaks Resort


37 Comments

  • + 37
 I am at Sun Peaks right now and it is simply awesome! Tacky dirt today, 2000' runs off the high speed bubble quad chair, black diamond and double blacks galore, with more greens and blue trails than ever for my 10 year old daughter and her friends to rip. No lift lines and a friendly vibe with the locals. I love it here!!
  • + 3
 Hey, how's volume of the "raw, rugged, challenging" trails? Flow trails are fun, but like cotton candy, a quick, cheap, fleeting thrill at best. Its the tech that keeps it interesting longer.
  • + 3
 @MikerJ: Tons. That is what sun peaks is know for. Check out map.
  • + 2
 @MikerJ: We've got plenty of tech to keep things interesting. You can check out the progression chart on our trail map (www.sunpeaksresort.com/sites/default/files/inline-files/2019%20DH%20Map_web_0.pdf) for the breakdown between our freeride (flow) trails and tech trails.
  • + 2
 @MikerJ: Can confirm. Long time resident here, SP has some awesome challenging singletrack. Steep, gnarly, rooty, rocky goodness.
  • + 1
 yeah tippie!!
  • + 7
 Sun Peaks was nice enough to invite members of our local riding group up for free afternoon of riding a few weeks ago. Its clear the resort has spent a ton of time, money, and sweat bringing the bike park up to a level where it offers something to everyone. Beginner to expert, child to adult, there is now something for everybody to ride. If you haven't been up to see the changes and check it out there is no better time than now.
  • + 4
 It was awesome having the KBRA up here for a group ride. Glad you enjoyed the new trails!
  • + 3
 The last time I rode sun peaks it hadn't rained in a decade and most of the park maintenance crew was injured, and man the place was haggard, but we still had a ton of fun (was like 8 years ago). I can only imagine how awesome it is with properly maintained trails and a little moisture, it looks pretty sick in these pics.

The local food is also great and those rental condos are great for a group. If you go to whistler just rent a vehicle and make the drive, it is worth it and the drive is pretty beautiful.

We also rode a few of aggy's secret trails in the area on that trip which were a ton of fun.
  • + 4
 Man, that second photo is outstanding.

Easily forget how much work must go in to get shots like that.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/17441697
  • + 4
 Christ, just went back and looked through the whole article. Every photo is insane.

Props to @chrispilling
  • + 4
 Best mountain in BC. If you're up for it, hike a bike to the peak for incredible views and some fun single track back down. I've done it twice and it's amazing.
  • + 1
 Theres a trail called pin doctor down the backside that drops you from top of the world down to gnarcroft which takes you down to whitecroft. Like a 20 min push up for 45 min decent. Probably needs some weedwacking at this point tho
  • + 1
 @luckynugget
Where does it start?! We can’t find it.
  • + 1
 @jbob27: one way is to follow 7 mile road down from the junction of Altitude XC and the bottom of the T bar, that leads you onto a trail some locals call "No Homo". I used to ride up it on my dirtbike too (it started as a dirtbike trail).As luckynugget said it may be very overgrown now, I haven't been up there for a couple of years
  • + 2
 Gotcha I know the one @expat:
  • + 1
 take trail 10 from top of the world through west bowl. Pretty fun to shred down. Then take 7 mile once ur at bottom of tbar. Its a pretty overgrown deer trail. Then once you get to a large wood pile follow the trail behind it. Gets pretty steep. Then bomb the road until you see an obvious rock with wood on top. No homo cuts off of it a few road crossings lower
  • + 3
 I try to get up to Sun Peaks as often as possible. The bike park crew has done a great job of making something for everyone. The golf course, local lakes etc are so nice! Our family loves it there.
  • + 3
 Went there this year and it was great! The new trails make the park more well rounded and accessible plus they're just plain fun to lap.
  • + 1
 Stoked to hear you enjoyed the new stuff!
  • + 4
 Sun peaks is so nice! Taking my 10 year old son and his buddy this afternoon. 4-7 20 bucks!
  • + 3
 Returned to Sun Peak the first time in 5 years. Very impressed with the changes and improvements.
  • + 2
 Thanks for the visit. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the work that James and the trail crew have been doing over the past few years.
  • + 2
 The most hectic steepest commiting trails, tons of stuff not even on the map and now the flow trails have caught up to par too. Its like a less walmart whistler.
  • + 3
 Good on @SunPeaksResort for mentioning the Sun Sun Peaks Recreational Trail Association (SPRTA). Props for that.
  • + 3
 Go to whistler for braking bumps.
  • + 1
 Here is an interesting bit of info about the Terrain Park, it was originally envisioned for an event that was moved to Whistler just before it got started, called Crankworx
  • + 4
 Best bike park ever.
  • + 2
 hhhhhhm was that really just a add for Pabst blue ribbon?
  • + 1
 here is video of Matt Miles shredding it! Smile

www.pinkbike.com/video/206393
  • + 1
 Maybe some new single track for the loyal long time customers?
  • + 4
 We haven't forgotten about the singletrack and it's definitely still a big part of what makes the riding in Sun Peaks so fun. We're focused on adding flowy jump trails this year as that's what has been missing here in the past, but the trail crew are still working to maintain/improve all the classic trails and have some plans in mind for new stuff in the future.
  • + 1
 What kind of camera did you use for these epic photos, Chris?
  • + 2
 I used a Nikon D810 and some fancy glass in front of it
  • + 0
 Place sucks! Go to Whistler. Nothing to see here.
  • + 4
 Yes, YOU should go to Whistler

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