MOUNTAIN BIKING IS THE PERFECT CATALYST FOR US TO PURSUE OUR WILDEST ADVENTURES - TAKING US FAR AND WIDE, ALLOWING US TO ESCAPE THE RIGORS OF DAILY LIFE. IT SEEMS SIMPLE, RIGHT... BUT WHERE DO YOU BEGIN? AFTER MANY WRONG TURNS AND DOWNHILLS THAT FINISHED BUSHWACKING IN DARKNESS, WE WANTED TO CREATE A GUIDE TO SOME OF OUR FAVORITE TRAILS, BROUGHT TO YOU BY OUR GANG OF #WERIDECB RIDERS. SO, WITHOUT FURTHER EXPLANATION, WELCOME TO DAY TRIPPIN’. OUR TRAIL GUIDE SERIES FOCUSED ON SUPPORTING ALL LEVELS OF RIDERS PURSUING THEIR NEXT ADVENTURE.
For this volume of our Day Trippin’ series, we headed to Squamish, BC, Canada. Nestled in the MTB bucket list location of the Sea to Sky Corridor, Squamish is a small coastal town part way between Vancouver and Whistler. Over the years, this area has developed quite a reputation for its mixture of effortlessly flowy trails, steep rock slabs, and grade A quality loam.
With Squamish’s ever-evolving trail network, there are many options to piece together a ride of any length your heart desires. Much of Squamish’s riding can be found in the Garibaldi Highlands neighborhood, split between Alice Lake and Diamond Head. Both trail networks have their own distinctive feel, with Alice Lake being rocky and more technical, and Diamond Head, flowy with more of THAT famous loam. For us, our ride began at the Diamond Head lower parking lot.
Length: 28km / 17miles
Approximate time to complete: 4 Hours
Trailforks Route: Click Here
Ride Start/Finish: Click Here
To begin our ride, together with local #weridecb ambassadors Alex and Tabias, we ascended the Legacy Climb trail – a 800m/2,600ft piece of singletrack that traverses through the forest, giving preview to many of Diamond Head’s DH trails, and occasionally opening up to reveal an impressive view of the Howe Sound, North America's southernmost fjord. The trail offers steep punches with moments in-between to catch your breath, along with the odd stream crossing and tight switchback thrown in for good measure. Those who love to climb will enjoy over an hour of uphill bliss, while those less inclined may want to explore the local shuttle service - The Shred Shuttle - as there is a road option to the same peak our climb was headed for.
After over an hour of pedaling and a much-deserved snack break, we were ready for our first downhill of the day – Meadow of The Grizzly. At just over 3km/1.8 miles long, Meadow of the Grizzly is the longest descent in Squamish and one we just couldn’t leave out of our ride. Labeled as a “dark blue” trail, it transports you down the Diamond Head hill through a mixture of switchbacks, natural rollers, and the occasionally rough section brought to you by the harsh Squamish winters. With no major committing features, the trail can be ridden comfortably on the first go and provides an exciting challenge for every level of rider. For those new to long descents, there are many flat spots throughout the trail that provide a nice moment to rest your hands before continuing down.
After catching our breath and sharing some stories of the many moments just experienced, it was time to climb again. Turning left at the bottom of Meadow of the Grizzly, and heading up a fire road for around 10 minutes to one of Squamish’s most popular trails, Angry M. From the bottom of the previous trail, simply follow the road through several water bars, until you reach two turn offs’ next to a steep pitch in the road. To ride Angry M, as well as a selection of Squamish’s finest “loamers” – you’ll need to take the second
IN-BETWEEN SNACKS, AND WITH A SMILE, ALEX NOTED - “THIS IS MY FAVORITE TRAIL – TRY TO KEEP UP”. IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY FOR A LITTLE COMPETITION.
Angry M is rated as a black trail – most likely for how close you feel to every tree as you wind your way down the hill, across tree roots, down drops, and through some incredibly tight turns. Around a minute in, the trail crosses a wooden bridge switching character dramatically, as it opens into a less dense area of forest, allowing speeds to pick up.
High on life and with a sprinkling of Squamish loam in our shoes, we turned left on a fire road, and with just enough time for a round of fist bumps, we arrived at Fools Gold; another descent and another array of corners that would bring us endless excitement.
Fools Gold begins with a series of tight switchbacks that require looking ahead as far as possible, followed by a series of pumps and jumps that can send you skyward with only a moment’s notice. Stay tight to the ground through these to carry the most speed, and end with a few sections of slippery roots.
Turning left at the bottom of Fools Gold and across a bridge, high above the Squamish River, we began our final ascent towards our next trail, Somewhere Over There. Shared with the local motorcycle enduro riders, the climb is strewn with loose rocks, requiring the occasional track stand and not so occasional moment in first gear. The climb grows in grade and technicality towards the end, requiring many riders to grind through the last few minutes for an exciting uphill challenge!
The start of Somewhere Over There sits atop a rather daunting rock slab, an all-too-common feature in the Squamish trail system. Having ridden this many times, Alex gave us some pointers on how to tackle it and drop into the trail.
- Make sure you keep your heels down.
- Keep equal braking between front and rear.
- Shift your body position back.
- Keep your head up.
The first slab can be mentally challenging, but with the above tips, it can be overcome. As Alex dropped in and showed us how it was done, Tabias then dropped in following Alex’s line.
“JUST FOLLOW ME, IT’LL BE FINE” HE YELLED.
From there, the trail is a mix of more slabs, rock drops, roots, and the occasional puddle, making for the most technical trail of the day, and a true test for those trying to string together a full run.
After emerging onto the road, follow the path directly in front of you until you hit a nice gravel trail that runs through a row of trees. From there, it’s a straight shot back to the road and a quick pedal back to the Diamond Head parking lot.
Rain or shine, Squamish boasts too many good trails to count, and thanks to the Pinkbike crew calling Squamish home, most of them are available on Trailforks, so you’ll always be able to plan a fun, new route, whether you’re new to the area, or a seasoned local. So, give this one a go, or one of the many other trails Squamish has to offer.
With your ride complete, on your way back into town, you’ll see Corsa Pit Stop on your left-hand side within the Quest University campus – a helpful local store with a satellite space right next to the trails. If the trees, rocks, or roots, take a toll on your bike they are there to save the day. Heading back down to the 99 Highway, be sure to grab a coffee and food from Cloudburst Coffee, and ice cream from world famous Alice & Brohm, an all-natural fruit ice cream run by some local mountain bikers – we promise you won’t regret it!
So, there you have it – our grand day out in Squamish. We hope next time you visit the area, or pass through on your way to Whistler, you’ll give these trails a go. And honestly, we love to talk about these trails almost as much as riding them, so if you’re ever in need of some Squamish riding advice, drop us a message!