Now that mountain biking has gotten so mainstream and friendly, the once-secret gem in Smithers is starting to be discovered. This has been a great benefit for everyone as the trial system has grown to a world-class level. We’re starting to see people from completely different walks of life who wouldn’t have considered trail riding before, getting right into it. Smithers has everything you could ever need with first-class restaurants and a brewpub that is as good as any in BC. In many ways, it is a lot like a Vancouver suburb, but there are no crowds or line-ups wherever you go.
Smithers is large enough to support a mix of local industries, which translates to permanent, professional jobs, and has a reliable airport. The local ski hill, Hudson Bay Mountain is known to the larger action sports world. Biking is catching on and may someday surpass skiing in popularity.
Smithers is unique for mountain biking because of its location. It lies at the opening of the Bulkley Valley, on the edge of three different mountain ranges and the Interior Plateau. The area has a true 360 panoramic view of the mountains and the vibrant colours of the lowlands pop against the pockets of snow still clinging to the highest peaks.
One of our favourite trips is to heli up to an old road at the Silverking basin and Cronin mines. The mine has been closed for 60 years but the old road systems allow for some amazing, remote, wilderness access.
The 5,000-foot altitude alpine on Cronin Pass allows for a world-class descent and one that is easily accessible to all skill levels. There are some very steep switchbacks with some epic views. We follow this old road all the way back to town and make a point of finishing at the Smithers brewery for a fresh pint.
There is also a new trail network called the bluffs that starts at the base of Hudson Bay Mountain and works up. These trails are a quick, easy drive from our lodge and are fun, flowy and fast.
The gem of this network for any mountain bike visitor is called the Backdoor. In the winter it is a great ski run, but in the summer it is a 4500 -foot descent accessed by a short climb up the ski hill. It goes from a high-speed rocky section into a steep, narrow trail with lots of action. By the end, it mellows out to an easy, smoothly packed dirt road as you comfortably glide back into town.