Valemount Bike Park
The sun is shining, but the clouds keep it in its place. There's just enough heat to chase the mosquitoes away. It's the perfect day for riding.
We blast some 90's tunes as we drive up the old dusty road, truck fully loaded with broads and bikes. Gear on, bikes ready we drop in one by one.
My bike whips around the first berm propelling me down the trail. The dirt feels so good beneath the tread, I push myself to go a bit faster. With every jump I feel the increasingly familiar sensation of weightlessness- brief as it may be. My friend's throw around sick biking terms but I still don't know what any of them mean. Except for casing. I learned that one the hard way.
I've been down these trails enough times, I know almost every turn by heart. Still, the environment is ever changing and the evening sun glistening through the trees brings a smile to my lips. I realize that I've fallen behind so I ease off the brakes whipping around a few corners and up a short section to catch up. The breeze is welcomed and I connect with everyone on a straight stretch. We've picked up a few more riders along the way. There's talk of bikes, boys, babes, babies, bails, and beer. We do one last short grueling climb to get the most of our laps and work off the brew we're about to drink. My legs burn but they burn so good.
Sound good? Yeah I agree. It's definitely one of the millions of reasons why I live in Valemount. So if you want to come here to ride bikes, I've got the details for you.
How to get here:
Valemount, B.C. What did we do before the days of GPS? It's about an hour West of Jasper on the B.C. side of the border. Somewhere North of Kamloops, East of Prince George, and West of Edmonton. If you're planning on flying here you're kind of out of luck.
Okay so you made it to Valemount, now what?:
Drive under the big wooden "Valemount" sign and straight down the main street of town (known as 5th Ave. This is also where you will find many important businesses aka the brewery) until you hit the train tracks. Turn right after the railroad crossing onto Whiskey Fill and hang an immediate left on the dirt road named Hillside Drive. Follow the dirt road until you hit the staging area and the possibilities are endless from there.
Shuttle? Bike? Vehicle Access?:
The trail builders are currently hard at work building a climbing trail that's supposed to feel like you're not even climbing at all. I kind of have a hard time believing them, but everything they've built so far has been extraordinary so I am just going to have blind faith. For now you can bike up the road to most of the trailheads. That same road is the one you would drive up if you brought a vehicle and don't feel like pedaling. 4x4 isn't necessary but it doesn't hurt to have. Lastly (or firstly), we have this awesome new service called Peak Shuttles that operate Friday-Mondayish. All you need to bring is your bike (and helmet of course) and some change and you're ready to ride.
What is there to ride?:
New trails are being added all of the time. Currently, there are trails for everyone from beginner to expert. (single track, machine built, jumps, gaps, berms, roots, a track for kids, green, blue, black, double black, cross country) Instead of pretending to know what I'm talking about, I'm just going to link an up to date website here.
Where to eat?:
I may be biased, but for a small town I think we have some damn delicious food. For breakfast and a coffee- the Swiss Bakery, for lunch and a coffee- the Gathering Tree, for dinner- the Caribou Grill, for beer in between- Three Ranges, for delivery- Diamond H Donairs. Lastly, to satisfy those food truck cravings we have a pretty awesome Funky Goat that usually sets up shop on 5th Ave.(These are just some of the options of establishments in town. Visit Valemount has a full list.)
You forgot your bike, where do you rent one?:
Okay, first things first, I know you didn't forget your bike. Nobody forgets their bike. That being said, circumstances don't always leave room for a bike. In that case, Bikes and Bites to the rescue. They rent bikes and also do repair work.
Any other information like where to stay?:
The tourist information center is your best bet. It's right off of the highway across from a bunch of gas stations.