Terrace is a Central BC town of approximately 20,000 people that most people think is in the North. Known by outdoor recreationalists for its fishing and Shames Mountain – a small ski area with incredible backcountry terrain run as a coop. What most people don’t know is that Terrace has some pretty great mountain biking trails!
When we first visited North Central BC and wrote about it in the longest trip report on Pinkbike ever Terrace only had a limited number of trails on Terrace Mountain and a bunch of older (but beautifully maintained) legacy trails in Copper Mountain. Since then the Terrace Off Road Cycling Association (TORCA) (general info and TORCA facebook) has been busy! The Terrace Mountain trails are pedal accessed and have been expanded under TORCA’s efforts with aid from the provincial government and the City of Terrace which has supplied funding for paid trailbuilding to augment volunteer efforts. TORCA is also making efforts to inventory trails in the Copper Mountain area which will open the door to more funding and more help from local and provincial government to further expand trails. Truly a success story in governments working with private volunteer mountain biking groups to make things happen.
Big lines at the competition, none at HawkAir – fly those friendly skies.
Great views of the Coast Mountains on this flight. In less then 2 hours we were stepping out onto YXT – Terrace’s airport
Maroon Mountain alpine trail.
In Terrace we met up with our friend Tyler Wilkes who (along with many other young, hungry British Columbians) made the move North to build careers in the resource boom. Tyler’s been steeped in trail advocacy through our efforts and is the trails director for TORCA helping coordinate funding efforts among other things. We managed to instill a liking for exploratory hike-a-bikes in Ty so he was keen to do some pleasant rambles to lesser known areas.
Our first ride took us 32km up the Nisga’a/Nass Highway to Maroon Mountain – a popular trail that accesses alpine and also purportedly has great views of the Wesach group and Kalum Lake. . Tyler assures us there is a good trail there into the alpine! And it was a good trail. A note that there is one section that was destroyed by blowdown from an icestorm from a couple of years ago which makes for a sporty bushwhack. There’s some other random blow down also on the trail but all-in-alll its a nice mostly hike to the sub-alpine interspersed with the odd pedalling section. We pushed/rode up 1000m in 6.4km, then we rode down smooth buff fast trails with the odd bit of chunk!
The alpine reward is a long traverse around Maroon Mountain to a small lake which is apparently cold but is worth the swim on a hot day. Unfortunately we started late and felt weather coming in so cut short the traverse halfway leaving further exploration for Tyler’s next trip.
Trailhead is well marked
We go up
Big blow down due to an ice storm in 2012 that at first glance looked like a massive avalanche went through the area.
Nice views once out of the trees!
Descent was buff.
Until we got to the blowdown.
The next day we checked out the new Steinhoe Ridge trail. As a sidenote it’s worth expounding more on something we touched on in the article about Economic Impacts of Mountain Biking Tourism. Will the Steinhoe trail be a draw for tourism? Will Maroon? It’s doubtful. People come to Terrace to work (the economy is booming) but its our submission that people choose to stay in Terrace because of trails, because of the ski hill, because of the fishing. Generally speaking people who live here like the outdoors. Trails help build a community; they attract engineers, skilled trades, families and small business-owners. The bike culture in Terrace was already there. With the support of TORCA by local government the local bike scene and bike culture will become stronger; the trail system larger and more diverse. More people will get into biking and that will then reap benefits in community participation..
Speaking of community support the Steinhoe trail’s construction started in 2011 with funding from various groups such as the City of Terrace’s Community Forest Fund and sped up in a big way by a $ 120,000 grant from a Province of BC job creation program. Most of the trailwork was finished by hand. Trailwork is now supported by many parties including a local provincial government champion, Carl Johansen of the Ministry of Forests which has allowed TORCA to hire with paid trail builders and a mini-excavator machine.
TORCA hopes to have the Steinhoe trail finished this year. The list of builders and supporters is a who’s who of the local bike community; Tony Moore and Dave Stewart (both 20 year builders, Kim Hayworth, Shane Spencer and Ted Mccreary; among other notables, . This 7.2km trail climbs 306m and descends 242m from Springcreek Ave to Kitselas Rd adding an accessible number of loops to trails close to Terrace and joining other trail systems that were formerly stand-alone. This includes the Terrace Mountain trails and the 7.5km Flathead loop; the go-to quickie ride from town which we rode last time around.
Kitselas Rd Trailhead
Machine built section
Tony & Dave building, Shane on the machine.
Bomber rock work, trail in progress! Duffey section. The rake is so appropriate
You can get to the Flathead loop either directly from town or by way of the T2 trail
Wheel of Fortune descends back to town. The soil changes remarkably quickly from loamy buffness to rock slab tech
Flathead trail on Terrace Mountain.
Paul on Flathead trail
In the subdivision of Thornhill is a small area called Copper Mountain (doc files). There are 18 named trails. Dedicated maintainers include Richard Blanes, Wade Muchowski and others. The builders and riders have been active here for over 20 years; the trails are STEEP and since there aren’t a lot of people who ride Copper Mountain they’re in great shape!
It’s hard to describe how special these trails are. To North Shore old-timers the hardest Copper trails are like the old steepest trails but with soft pine-needled duff carpeting the fall-line. Bombholes are pretty much non-existent (you need crowds to cause bombholes). The trails have rooty tech so that keeps all but the kamikaze suicidal off the steepest when its wet and with lots of snow in town the entire system is shut down for half the year thus relieving even more erosion concerns.
We rode Copper twice both times as odd-man out shuttles. A vehicle that is capable of decent off-road performance is a nice-to-have since the access road is pretty loose and steep.
- Packhorse – 1.5km, 200m Elevation Loss – Fast, more straight with some jumps, berms and milled lumber bridges built by Forest Service. Basically a nice warmup run
- Lucky seven – 1.9km, 320m Elevation loss – Bermy, flowy, one of the least steep trails on the mountain.
- Big Easy – 765m, 290m Elevation Loss – STEEP
On our second day we rode
- Lucky Seven
- Your Mom – 375m, 130m Elevation Loss – STEEP, twisty, lots of natural cut bridges, way better traction then milled
- ….-> Leftover – 540m, 110m Elevation Loss
- Ya Boi – 695m, 195m Elevation Loss
-> Wades World – 681m, 165m Elevation Loss
- Lucky Seven
Jess on Big Easy
Sharon on Big Easy
Lee on Big Easy
Paul on Packhorse
Jess and Shar on Lucky Seven
Paul on Lucky Seven
Maps of the areas that we rode
You can easily spend a good part of a few days exploring the trails of Terrace. The Terrace Visitors Centre website can give you ideas where to stay and eat. McBikes of Terrace can provide trail information as can the TORCA Facebook. Hawkair can get you to Terrace (or Smithers or Prince Rupert) from Vancouver.
Some other information that might help follows: