Fraser Valley: A Mountain Biking Mecca

Jan 26, 2015 at 15:30
Jan 26, 2015
by Wade Simmons  
 
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Local s Guide to Fraser Valley Rides cover

It’s always exciting becoming familiar with a new riding area, especially when it’s extensively developed and efficiently navigated. The mountain bike trails of the Fraser Valley (FV) represent just that. Undeniably overshadowed in the past by older, more established networks like the North Shore, Squamish and the Whistler Bike Park, the FV is definitely not eclipsed in trail quality. It seems people don't realize how close it is to Greater Vancouver; only a pleasant 40 min drive for me from the North Shore. The Fraser Valley Mountain Bike Association (FVMBA) has been working tirelessly to maintain these networks and provide a positive experience for all users as well as working with the local land managers and government advocating sustainability. They are why the Fraser Valley is a Mecca. Upon completing our Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides, Sharon Bader and I agreed that the Fraser Valley would be the next project.

The Fraser Valley is defined as the region of the Fraser River basin in southwestern British Columbia downstream of the Fraser Canyon and east of Vancouver. It is bordered by the USA to the south and the Coast Mountains to the north. The riding found on these mountains is some of the best around with a healthy variety at that. We list more than 100 trails in the Locals' Guide to Fraser Valley Rides, and with 6 main riding locations all within a half hour's drive; it makes for a perfect riding destination.

Variety is what stands out in the Fraser Valley. Possibly the most popular of these trails is the “Squid Line”. Located on Sumas Mountain, it is 5 kilometers of undulating-flowy-single-track goodness unparalleled anywhere. The hard-pan clay and gravel trails found in the Ledgeview trail network close to the heart of Abottsford, are unique to the Lower Mainland almost feeling east coast in nature with abundant deciduous trees and peculiar rock formations – a terrain rarely experienced by locals.

If DH riding is your forte, Vedder Mountain in Chilliwack serves up some of the best shuttling around complete with large gap jumps and technical features such as log-rides and drops. On the north side of the Fraser River, Bear Mountain has the in-famous Bear Mountain DH – a long-time running BC Cup race. (Currently undergoing a full revamp thanks to funding by Race Face and Pinkbike.com/Trailforks.com)

Visiting riders will find that there is no shortage of terrain variety or difficulty, and the trail networks satisfy to no end. In the Locals' Guide to Fraser Valley Rides we showcase 18 suggested rides of varying length and difficulty to help new and unfamiliar riders navigate the trails with ease. We hope you ride here enough to find your favourite loops and enjoy the Fraser Valley hospitality as much as we did.

Below is a short overview of each area:


Abbotsford
Located the most west of all the FV riding areas, Abbotsford is the largest municipality of the Fraser Valley Regional District with a population of 133,497 people. Driving through Abbotsford on Highway 1, one wouldn’t think that great trails exist here. But the ridge that parallels just north of Highway 1 is a riding mecca!

The larger eastern peak of the two, Sumas Mountain, has the lion’s share of trails. Sumas has a variety of trails ranging from newer style flow such as Squid Line to older ‘freeride’ trails such as Time Killer and Devil's Throat, both peppered with stunts and challenging terrain. The staging area has adequate parking, washrooms, and a great map for reference. If you are DH focused you’ll be happy to know that it is possible to shuttle most of the way up. If you prefer a serious adventure, the Chadsey Lake trail is well worth the effort.

Sumas

Sumas

The ridge running west from Sumas is what is referred to as Ledgeview. It’s a great compact trail network that will keep you busy for a good couple of hours. Ledgeview is an XC and all-mtn riders dream featuring fast flowy descents and punchy cleanable climbs with many small loops to link - check out the Xcellerator and Ambidextrous loops on the south side. If your fancy is more airtime, check out Daplow, Berminator and Paper Route. There are two main access points noted in the guide, so do some research and realize that not every trail is marked; the network is not too large so enjoy getting lost because you most certainly will!

Ledgeview

Ledgeview

Ledgeview

Ledgeview

Harvey, the owner of Lifecycles bike shop in Abbotsford, rides Ledgeview so much we felt obliged to name a loop after him! Check out Harv’s Haul.

For a post ride coffee and eats, check out the Wired Monk located conveniently on the south side near Highway 1.

We would like to thank Tourism Abbotsford for the support on this project and for supporting mountain biking in general within the municipality of Abbotsford.

Ledgeview's Quick Hit Lap:
Pinkbike.com/Trailforks.com's Tyler Maine joined me for a sample ride from our guide book. We chose to the Quick Hit from page 76 as it's a great lunch time, post work or night ride lap if you have 1-2 hours for a quick ride. At pace most riders will be around 60-80 minutes for this 5.6km lap, it's a Quick Hit.

Ledgeview Quick Hit and Classic rides

We chose the Quick Hit on the left page based on time to ride.


Climbing up Ledgview

Climbing the main access road off of McKee.


Dropping in

Entering the single track from the tower, trail is called Little Buttafuco.


Dry January day

Wade getting into Mixed Bag on the east side of Ledgeview.


Drop on Little Amy Fisher

Little Amy Fisher is the last trail before getting back to your vehicle. Wade hits up one of the bigger, optional features on the loop.


All pics from our quick hit lap here and more from Ledgeview area here.


Trailforks.com


Mission
If Abbotsford feels the most urban of the FV ride areas, Mission would be the most rural. Tucked up against the mountains on the north banks of the Fraser River, Mission is mostly forested upland rising from the Fraser River banks where the city core is located with a population of 36,426.

Mission has three main riding areas spreading west to east: The Woodlot (technically in Maple Ridge), Red Mountain and Bear Mountain. Red and Bear are located right beside each other and can both be ridden on the same ride.

The Woodlot gained notoriety in the Freeride heyday in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Trails such as Platinum, Hekyll and Jekyll and Giant Killer were filmed for MTB videos featuring their crazy stunts. Some stunts still exist, and most are rebuilt, better maintained and have more flow - a sign of the times. The Woodlot is predominately rider maintained, and many of the trails have been toned down, but are still extremely fun.

Woodlot

Woodlot

This network also provides great all-mountain loops best hit on a 150mm or similar travel bike. It is possible to ride 20km of great trail in an outing!

The mountains of Red and Bear sit beside each other and can be ridden together in a big day, or each separately providing great quality loops. Bear has seen the most recent trail construction with a good variety (climbing, machine built, DH) to sample. Red on the other hand, has an “old school” minimalist feel with technically challenging trails peppered with a few great flow routes – a perfect combination! Of all 11 of Red’s trails, most can be hit in one day. We’ve provided a great (19km/760m of elevation change) epic tour called Shred Red and it’s well worth the sweat!

Red Mtn

Red Mtn

Red Mtn.

Bear Mountain is a destination. People have been riding here for more than 17 years and the sizeable network reflects that. With more than 19 trails, Bear provides everything a mountain biker needs: uphill single-track climbs, technical DH course (currently being rebuilt), pumpy flow, technical “old school” root rock reggae, and everything in between. It is the most developed of all the Fraser Valley areas, and if the FVMBA were to have a showpiece – a piece de résistance – Bear would be it. The trails are easily navigated with great signage and the municipality has provided parking/staging areas with maps. All there is left to do is ride!

Bear Mountain Lookout

Bear Mountain

The best bike shop in Mission is Wentings' Cycle and Mountain Shop. Bruce has a great selection of outdoor equipment and quality mountain bike products.

To fuel up on caffeine and food before or after the ride, we recommend a visit to Grab - A - Java. It’s the best coffee in Mission.

Also check out the Mission Springs Brewing Company for lunch/dinner or a tasty beverage to end a great day. The pub is a big supporter of the FVMBA, and often feature MTB movie nights!

As with Abbotsford, Tourism Mission recognizes and supports mountain biking in its municipality and has generously supported the book.


Trailforks.com


Chilliwack
Vedder Mountain, the main riding location of Chilliwack, is located south of Highway 1 rising above beautiful Cultus Lake. This makes a great spot in the summer for a dip after sampling Vedder’s trails. Chilliwack is the eastern-most municipality of the Fraser Valley and is pinched between Highway 1 and the USA border. It is also the start of a magnificent mountain range going south called the Cascade Range.

Vedder

Of all the FV riding areas, Vedder receives the most DH activity due to an easily driven shuttle road; fortunately this does not deter the many all-mtn and XC riders from enjoying it as well. The riding area is quite compact and provides a good variety with numerous well-maintained trails. Riders will find the more than 14 trails all signed and easily navigated. This is also a popular multi-use area (motorcycle, horses, runners) and well thought out management these users also have designated trails, which provides a pleasant experience. Note: a new climbing trail is under construction so XC/AM riders rejoice!

Vedder

Vedder

The trail surface of Vedder is clay-based resulting in ultra fast and smooth conditions. This encourages many different styles and travel of bikes, but be cautious, the trails tend to be jumpy and stunty. Luckily most stunts do have a ride-around to accommodate a variety of levels.

The main Vedder network starts off Parmenter Road and the parking area is easily found on the south/east side of Vedder. Another riding area does exist on the north side, and these trails are part of the Duck Farm loop. This ride is an excellent all single-track alternative to the main area if you are looking for something of the beaten track!

We recommend stopping by Mt Waddington's Outdoors if you need quality outdoor products, and of course to pick up your copy of this guide book!

It's great to see that Government is finally recognizing mountain biking and Tourism Chilliwack has supported us from the start, thank you.

Check out all of Sterling Lorence's images from the Fraser Valley here.

Inside MTBTrails
Sharon Bader and I started MTBTrails in 2011 having a passion for riding and realizing people wanted/needed a comprehensive product to navigate and enjoy the North Shore trails. Our first product, Locals’ Guide to North Shore Rides, came out in spring of 2011. Shortly after, we created a North Shore iPhone app partnering with trailmapps recognizing the great product they develop. After many requests, we now have an Android version of the North Shore app available. These can be found at the iTunes App store and Google play.

As the North Shore evolved and the North Shore Mountain Bike Association’s remarkable TAP program took affect, we printed an updated and revised second Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides. At the same time the Locals' Guide to Fraser Valley Rides was completed and they both were published in 2014.

In the near future, we will be offering iPhone and Android apps for the Fraser Valley, we also have commenced work on a Locals’ Guide to Okanagan Rides, so exciting things are happening at MTBTrails!


Trailforks.com


Pinkbike and Trailforks
Pinkbike have been great supporters of MTBTrails since day one. In turn, we are big supporters of them, and have helped contribute to their new online trail resource/data base called Trailforks. Trailforks is the place to go to plan and research your global MTB rides. Keep up the good work Pinkbike.

Thanks to Sterling Lorence, Margus Riga and Wade Simmons for the images.



MTB Trails, created by Wade Simmons and Sharon Bader publish the Locals' Guide to Fraser Valley and North Shore rides. The books are available through our sponsors at:

MEC in Langley. Vancouver and North Vancouver
Lynn Valley Bikes
Different Bikes
Kinetic Cycles
Caps Westwood
Secret Cycles
Wentings' Cycle and Mountain Shop
Grab-A-Java
Life Cycles
Velocity Cylcles
Steed Cycles
CoveBike Shop
North Shore Bike Shop
Pinkbike.com
Mt Waddington's Outdoors
Jacks Cycle
Obsession Bikes
Bean Around the World - Seymour


Trailforks.com
Must Read This Week






75 Comments

  • + 65
 articles like these are only going to speed up my relocating to BC. My heart goes pitter patter just thinking about it.
  • + 1
 UFB UFB !!
  • + 2
 so beautiful it makes me want to cry. god damn BS is epic. why would people not live there?
  • + 4
 Im lucky enough to call Squamish home but there really is some amazing riding all through the Frasier Valley. Sumas and Bear have come so far in the ladt few years. Support the fmvba.com!
  • + 3
 TFreeman: you mean BC? BS is not living in BC!
  • + 4
 sorry bro. them autocorrects. my amurican phone is too dumb to realize BC
  • + 33
 Pinkbike. How is it you constantly spark the consumerism in me while simultaneously making me want to quit my job? This isn't healthy. Because there is no way in hell I'm making it to all these beautiful trails with my 9-5. Though, how else can I afford the latest enduro product I'm certain will be just what I need to step up my game.
  • + 11
 just another cog in the fun machine.
  • + 8
 @TahoeOrange I feel ya. There is power n #. All us bikers need to quite the 9-5 and start a homestead there.
  • + 17
 Not that hard... keep your jeans an extra 2-3 years, forget the new car and learn how to fix that 1997 Corolla (youtube can teach anything), 29er is not necessary your 26er will be just fine, a small home is awesome, bike to work to save petrol --> get lean and save on gym fees, forget about this addictive latest iphone, and so on.

Then you can easily afford days off and time of your life.
  • + 6
 @t1000 I wholeheartedly agree with this! except the 1997 Corolla; mines a '96 Smile
  • + 15
 Squid Line is freaking fantastic. It's "only a green" but even as an intermediate/advanced mountain biker, it's a blast every time. It's just a never ending run of grin-inducing flow, so pumpable that as an experienced rider you can just keep going faster and faster to increase the challenge. And, if you've got someone you'd like to introduce to the sport, it's perfect; you can both have fun together, noob and veteran alike. Seriously, if you haven't ridden it because of its green color, go ride it now.
  • + 11
 no don't it sucks Wink
  • + 3
 I almost never ride squid without going higher and doing Knob Gobbler first.. it extends the loop to about 17km, so it definitely takes a few hours including short stops at the viewpoints. It has techier sections than Squid but is loamy and has similar flow in between. Knob Gobbler ends where Squid Line begins, so it makes a perfect ride and is one of my all time faves.
  • + 3
 @grenade - That's the best loop to do, you get a bit of old school riding with Knob Gobbler and new school with Squid Line. Perfect mix IMO.
  • + 1
 Agreed.. always leaves me wanting more.
  • + 5
 @ grenade187 and valleyimagewerx, you guys nailed it! The Knob Gobbler - Squid Line loop we listed as our Sumas Mountain Classic named Fast and Furious (pg 62 in guide). It's a 15.7 km loop with 635 meters of elevation change. It's rare that you get as much single-track down as the climb up, but on this loop you climb about 7 km on the gravel road and descend trail for 8.5 km....even if you're bad at math that's a good ratio!!
  • + 2
 I say all that plus a rip down "Time Killer" and I have perma smile for weeks!
  • + 13
 Fraser Valley has some great riding for sure.

Don't forget to support the Fraser Valley Mountain Bike Association!
fvmba.com

and

Don't forget to follow us on:

Twitter
twitter.com/MTBTrailsco

Instagram
instagram.com/mtbtrailsco

Facebook
www.facebook.com/groups/mtbtrails
  • + 7
 My inlaws live in Abbotsford beside the Ledgeview trailhead. I probably get a little bit more excited than most people do about visiting their inlaws.... Wink Has nothing to do with the craigslist kona hardtail I have stashed in their furnace room... I swear.
  • + 11
 Such good riding in the FV. The trails still have dirt on themWink
  • + 3
 I moved away from NV three years ago to The Tri cities & thought my riding days were going to be a huge commute back to NV or at-least from 3/4days to 1 day a week riding, wow how i was so wrong! FV, tri cities have amazing riding, actually i rarely ride back in NV now Smile

Im just glad you didn't feature my local mtn, as id hate to see it get the traffic NV trails do. I like my loam to stay loamy! Wink )
  • + 6
 Looking forward to the Trailmapps version for my phone. So good being able to see where you actually are on the map.
  • + 2
 I live in chilliwack and ride Vedder mountain on a daily basis as well as I try to hit up sumas or ledgeview at least once a week or every two weeks. These trails are unreal and I am hyped to see an article show casing my local hills!
  • + 2
 Big fan of Sumas but make sure you keep valuables hidden, I had my window smashed in last time I was there (by non mountain bikers of course) but it left a bad taste in my mouth and makes me more hesitant to go back there despite the amazing trails!
  • + 4
 Anyone wanna make a trade...come to Utah, I'll put you up, show you all the goods (SLC, Park City, Moab, and St George) and I come to Canada and you do the same.
  • + 2
 That would be a rad thing.to do
  • + 2
 They have that web site where you can barrow or rent peoples homes/lofts/apartments. Someone should start a web site where people can set up vacation swaps like this. I'd be in.
  • + 3
 Yeah but not even a vacation swap. I'm talking something like you inviting your friend to visit and show them around type deal. I don't care about making a dime on it. I'm in it for the weeding out BS you are fed about (this trail is the sh(t) you need to eat/ stay here)...locals know whats up,and trading that info is what I mean. I think it'd be rad to meet new people into that same stuff that just wanna ride their bikes in new terrain and not spend a fortune doing so....
  • + 2
 I agree I have met people from other states, put them up and others have gotten hotels some stay with family but we hook up and I show them around. It's hard though if your not sure if they want to ride the same stuff you think is awesome. Still it's cool to meet them and make those connections.
  • + 5
 This is one of the reasons Wade and I created this guide. We travel a lot and when we do, we just want to ride good trails, not get lost and make the most of the day. Moab has come a LONG way wrt mapping and signage, but you can't beat local knowledge. Locals can often show you stuff that will never make a guide book This is also one of the philosophies on the trip reports Lee and I write for pinkbike. Travel, Ride have a good time.
  • + 1
 yes
  • + 4
 I make it a must to cross up to all these spots at least once a year. Well worth it.
  • + 2
 Once a year? You've been up here way more than that!
  • + 2
 I meant once to each spot, sometimes more but that's my bare minimum. Sometimes I like to hit up one or more a day...
  • + 4
 I've been waiting for a article like this. The valley has some of the best riding!
  • + 4
 Stay off sumas!! I heard it's all been closed!!
Smile
  • + 2
 Has to be one of my favourite trail systems in the province
  • + 1
 If by some messed up twist of fate you end up in the depths of the " lower pain land." i hope you land on your bike in one of these dope local trails with locals or Local Guides . Remember never trust a man that keeps pigs.
  • + 2
 Everyone has to check out bear dh the work that is being done is insane, it's probably going to be the best trail in the faiser valley. I can wait to sesh it all summer.
  • + 1
 Bear DH work is being done by the same guy who did Squidline. Quality of work will be acceptable
  • + 1
 Yeah talked him he's a great guy and really good at what he does
  • + 1
 When I made the trip to BC in 2008, I was amazed by Ledgeview (I'll always remember that triple rock drop!) and Vedder Mountain (so much flow and fun!). And of course the Woodlot is a classic!
  • + 3
 There is an amazing farmers market beforr you hit Sumas mtn. And Chilliwack sweet corn. For the BBQ after the ride.
  • + 2
 Lepps sausage rolls and chicken mmmm
  • + 2
 Oh yeah. Thats my pre ride meal. When you walk into the place the smell of the roasted chicken was intense! The burger patties came from the farm just behind the place.
  • + 3
 Anyone else having issues with their iPhone browser crashing from articles with embedded Trailforks maps?
  • + 2
 hmm first time this has been reported, but I just tried on a friends iPhone4 in Safari and it indeed crashed. Works fine on Chrome in android. So I will investigate.

Which iphone/ios vesion do you have?
  • + 1
 i get this on my iPhone ever since the embedded trail forks. 4s with iOS 7 safari
  • + 1
 Same for me - iPhone 4S, ios 7 using Safari.
  • + 3
 by the way the''local's guide to north shore rides'' is my best friend now to explore North Vancouver!! thanks!!
  • + 3
 Love/hate relationship with this article! Love the memories, but hate not being in the lower mainland anymore!
  • + 4
 Don't give out the secrets of the valley......
  • + 6
 Everyone go ride the Valley. The Shore has been flogged, it needs a break. Smile
  • + 2
 Some secrets are still safe
  • + 3
 Some of those photos are POD worthy.
  • + 3
 So glad to live in the Fraser valley
  • + 1
 l was just thinking about vedder the other day! l am gonna pick up a copy of the book and head up there. so close to where l live. thanks for the article
  • + 1
 The Locals' Guide to North Shore Rides has a brilliant iPhone app to accompany it. Will there be a similar app for the Fraser Valley?
  • + 1
 its in the works!
  • + 3
 Ledgeview is good times. Great trails and views.
  • + 2
 I wish I could look at the ridge lines around my house and know there are mountain bike trails...
  • + 2
 2nd to last picture, the headless exup
  • + 2
 Does the app have the updated trails of the North Shore?
  • + 1
 Yup
  • + 2
 I love all that green snow
  • + 2
 Is there anywhere in B.C. with bad biking?
  • + 3
 Yes Saskatoon
  • + 4
 Uhhh he said bc.....
  • + 10
 I meant Richmond damn autocorrrect
  • + 2
 ledgeview is so tacky!
  • + 2
 Ride on!!
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