Nelson, British Columbia Mountain Bike Trails

Nelson, BC
More gnarly British Columbia riding…
Props to the guy (sorry I don’t remember your name if you are reading this) at the Gerick cycle shop. It was very nice to encounter someone so generally stoked about their local trails that they were willing to give me the inside info even before the store was open and they were trying to clean their own bike. He even took the time to let me in the shop and go to the register to sell me a map/guide book. This was a big deal to me because it got me on out on the trail earlier since I didn’t have to wait for them to open up.
Nelson is known for having challenging free ride stuff with big stunts, steeps and rock slabs. (Free ride means that there are manmade stunts and or natural obstacles that are meant to be ridden rather than avoided in addition to typical single track). I experienced a cross section of this with everything up to, but not including, big free ride stunts. I started out by climbing a logging road up and up. Along the way I encountered some other friendly riders near the top that had stopped to pick huckleberries. I stopped and ate a few handfuls. Yum. From here I finished the climb and searched for the route down. I decided to step it up and ride one of the signature trails, Paper Bag. Paper Bag is steep, meandering and littered with huge rock slabs. These slabs are crazy steep with wicked exposure at times. Sometimes you have to climb a short steep slab. The first photo shown below is one of the short steep climbs up a slab. I cleaned the next section shown second down also.

Nelson, BC Paperbag trail

Nelson, BC Paperbag trail

The red line shows the route I took

I felt good about this section since the route I took was the A-line and not a more simplified easy ride around option. The slab shown at the top may be short but its steep enough I had to drop in rather than nose in order to avoid catching a chain ring.

The signature feature is “the dirty crack”. Being out there by myself and not having armor and a full face helmet I thought better of riding this. A fall here would likely mean cartwheeling like a rag doll down the line at best, or the far more likely event of going off the edge and falling 10 -15 feet onto a hard rock.

The dirty crack, Nelson, BC Paperbag trail

Looking straight down at the dirty crack. The line is just to the left of the tree in the center.

Nelson, BC Paperbag trail, the dirty crackAgain notice the tree in the center of the photo, you have to ride behind it (to the left in this image) in order hit the dirty crack. The crack is really a steep slanting rock shelf that is only 24″ wide, has a ton of exposure and a ledge you have to ride off in the center. It would be cool to someday ride this thing.

After finishing Paper Bag I rode along the rail trail and onto a logging road. This took me into the Mountain Station area. There are a ton of trails packed into this little area. Most of them are solidly in the intermediate to expert category. I rode up a logging road, Espresso and a trail called Shasta. From here I accessed the top of the new and much acclaimed Eli trail. This is one of the newest trails in the system. It was faster and more flowing than most of the more freeride oriented trails in the area. I also rode some of the middle and bottom sections of Smiling Buddha. Smiling Buddha has lots of nice wooden stunts. The most memorable being a big ladder bridge that finishes with a teeter totter (which you can see in the video below). Smiling Buddha is a lot of fun because of these interesting features and because they are not too big to be tackled by a competent rider on a hard tail. Technically challenging enough to be a lot fun but not so huge that a full face helmet and armor are absolutely necessary. Here is a link taken from the Nelson cycling club page showing a video of someone else riding the Buddha: http://www.pinkbike.com/video/205544/

Cottonwood Lake

Cottonwood Lake, accessible after kilometer marker 16 from the Great Northern Rail Trail

Sharon rode the Great Northern Rail Trail, an incredibly scenic trail that goes from Nelson out past Cottonwood Lake in one direction and back to kilometer marker, 0 in the other direction.  She rode both ways, covering about 33 kilometers and singing loudly to herself to ward off any potential bears (there were signs about bear activity in the area).

Great Northern Rail Trail, Nelson, BC

One of the beautiful wooden trestles on the rail trail

 

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3 responses to “Nelson, British Columbia Mountain Bike Trails

  1. Wow, interesting post, as usual. I couldn’t believe that the guy in the video started his ride without his helmet on. I’m glad that you took a pass on the super dangerous ones since you didn’t have a full face helmet and body armour….BODY ARMOUR!!!???? Sheesh! I’m go glad for you that you and Sharon are getting these opportunities.

  2. Learned two things reading this post:
    1. Jay, you’re a really good writer!
    2. You’re crazy – but have good judgement (as indicated by your passing on the dirty crack).

    Keep riding, writing, and making the most out of your time here on earth!

  3. That video was SO COOL!! Of course, I’m not going to do it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate how COOL it is!

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