Your Guide to Mountain Biking in Vancouver

Two people mountain biking in Whistler.

Mountain biking in the Whistler North zone. Photo: Tourism Whistler/Justa Jeskova

As the birthplace of freeride mountain biking, Vancouver has some of the best mountain bike trails in the world. And the local mountains are just minutes from downtown. Here’s everything you need to know to mountain bike in Vancouver.


Trails for Everyone

While Vancouver has a reputation for gnarly expert-level terrain, there are trails for all skill levels and terrain preferences. You can find riding options ranging from easy and flat green trails to serious pro-level double-black jump lines. Traditionally, Vancouver’s trails were known for steep, technical terrain, and skinny wooden features but these days you can find smooth flow trails with berms and banked corners too.

While Vancouver’s trails use the standard North American green, blue, black, and double-black difficulty ratings, it is generally accepted that the grading is a bit harder here than in many other places. For example, some blue trails in the Vancouver area would be rated black elsewhere. Go slow and roll each feature before you ride it. Except for the double-black and pro-line trails, most trails have ride-arounds that let you bypass big features while you are learning.

Volunteers from local mountain bike clubs build and maintain all of the trails in the Vancouver area. If you ride here, consider donating to the North Shore Mountain Bike Association or other local clubs through the Trail Karma program to help with ongoing maintenance, the development of new trails, and infrastructure like parking lots and bathrooms.

A person on a red bike poses on a mountain bike trail on the North Shore in Vancouver

Photo: Vancouver’s North Shore


Bike Shops, Rentals, and Guides

One of the best ways to get the beta on local trails is to head to a local mountain bike shop. You’ll find shops in Vancouver and surrounding communities including North Vancouver, Squamish, and Whistler. Staff can help with bike tune-ups and gear or outfit you with a rental bike if you didn’t bring your own. You can also ask staff for local trail recommendations that match your riding ability or get updates on the latest trail conditions.

One of the best introductions to Vancouver’s trails is to hire a mountain bike guide for a few hours. They can put together routes that link up the best trails so you can maximize your riding time. Guides are also great for boosting your confidence with technique tips or stops to session a tough feature. Many local bike shops have guides on staff or can recommend guiding companies.


Where to Ride

There are dozens of mountain bike zones near Vancouver. The best way to find and navigate the trails is to use the Trailforks app. Headquartered in Squamish, it is one of the world’s most popular mountain bike trail apps.


The North Shore

Known as the North Shore, the trails in North Vancouver and West Vancouver are just a few minutes from downtown on the other side of Burrard Inlet. This area is the epicentre of mountain biking in Vancouver. There are three main zones.

The Mount Fromme Zone is arguably the most popular, with a dense network of mostly blue and black trails accessed via climbing up an old gravel road. Blue-rated Boblsed is a great place to start. It’s a fun and flowy trail with lots of big berms. If you want to ride a North Shore classic, head to 7th Secret. Rated black, it has lots of wooden bridges, jumps, and skinnies.

The lower slopes of Mount Seymour are another popular zone with lots of blue and black trails. You can access it via the Old Buck or Good Sir Martin climb trails, but it is also possible to shuttle some of the upper trails using the Mushroom parking area on Mount Seymour Road. A good trail to start with is John Deer, a flowy blue trail with a few small jumps and some optional black features.

Expert riders should check out the Cypress Mountain zone, which has lots of black and double-black trails. It’s possible to shuttle most trails using Cypress Bowl Road. For old-school North Shore gnar and tricky tech, ride the double-black 5th Horseman trail.

A person mountain biking on the North Shore in Vancouver

Mountain biking on the North Shore. Photo: Vancouver’s North Shore



Located one hour north of Vancouver, the mountain bike scene in Squamish has exploded in the last decade with tons of new trails. You can find everything here from steep granite slabs like the black-rated In-N-Out Burger in the Highlands zone to machine-built flow on Pseudo-Tsuga, a blue trail in the Diamond Head zone. You’ll have to do a fair amount of climbing to reach most trails, but you can shuttle in the Diamond Head zone.

Three women mountain biking in Squamish

Photo: Tourism Squamish/Dialed in Cycling



Drive 2 hours up the scenic Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler for some killer mountain biking. Whistler Blackcomb’s famous lift-accessed Whistler Mountain Bike Park attracts riders from all over the world each summer, especially during the annual Crankworx Mountain Bike Festival. Held from July 19 to 28 this year, the event includes races, demonstrations, films, a photo challenge, after-parties, and more.

With dozens of meticulously maintained trails and a progression chart to help you advance your skills, the bike park is a great place for both beginners and experts to ride. Most riders will love machine-groomed, blue-rated Crank It Up, a flowy freeride trail with lots of berms.

Whistler also has several other mountain bike zones outside the park. Beginners should check out the Lost Lake zone, which features blue and green trails. Most trails can be ridden in both directions, which allows for lots of route variations.

Mountain biking the alpine trails in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park

Riding the alpine trails in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. Photo: Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane

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