Vital MTB’s Guide to Must-Hit Whistler Trails - Part 2, Whistler Valley 2

We all know the Whistler Bike Park is incredible, but relatively few know just how good the riding is away from the chairlift. Here's the local scoop!

Vital MTB’s Guide to Must-Hit Whistler Trails - Part 2, Whistler Valley

Temperatures are rising, the snow is fading fast, and the days are getting longer. If you think a trip to Whistler is in your future, now is the time to act. Whistler, British Columbia, is the world's premier mountain bike destination, full of trails for all ages, riding abilities and styles, but there are so many incredible trails, that first-timers to the area (and even regulars) may miss out on some gems. That's where we come in. Vital has compiled our years of Whistler-shredding experience to create this handy guide, full of our favorite rides, so you won't miss any of the radness both in and outside of the greatest bike park on earth.

Part 2 of our two-part trail guide focuses on legit trail bike rides, as it turns out Whistler has way more to offer than just the park. Get familiar with the trails using the Whistler Trail database, then grab your gear and get after it!

1. See Colours and Puke >> High Side >> Hi Hi >> Duncan’s (It’s Business Time) >> AM/PM

Intermediate / Expert

What was once a heinous climb has been refurbished into some of the best corners in the entire valley. See Colours features perfectly contoured turns with plenty of huck-worthy rollers in between. Throughout High Side, Hi Hi, and Duncan’s, things remain flowy with the odd climb for good measure. AM/PM is a high speed, more technical descent to wrap things up.

Steep downs, steep ups, and lots of fun in between on Duncan's and AM/PM. plasternak

2. Microclimate

Expert

Nearby Blackcomb Mountain offers some incredible riding for those willing to slog up a steep fireroad. This trail debuted in Whistler’s 2014 Enduro World Series race and offers a very BC ride experience, complete with loamy goodness, root doubles, dense ferns, and a sense of being away from it all once you’re in the trees. Stay out of the holes (or jump them), find your flow, harness some speed and you'll be in two-wheeled heaven.

Join the Focus Trail Team for some ripping fun on Microclimate, aka "one of the best trails ever." Lahnvalley Crew

3. A Rockwork Orange >> Korova Milk Bar >> Wizard Burial Ground

Expert / Most Difficult

This lap features a unique blend of rock slabs and technical challenges, but what we love most about it is how they’re seamlessly linked almost as if nature intended it. Also of note is that there are a few optional lines on Rockwork and Korova, so it is a great lap for riders of mixed – albeit still technically sound – riding abilities.

A post shared by Nick Dethridge (@nickdethridge) on

A Rockwork Orange lives up to its name. Simeon Patience

4. Top of the World >> Khyber >> Middle of Nowhere >> Kashmir >> Kush

Expert

Though this ride makes use of Whistler’s chairlift system, you’ll feel miles away from the hustle and bustle of the bike park as you navigate some incredible terrain. Any lap that begins at an alpine summit and wraps up in the valley is a guaranteed winner. Middle of Nowhere and Kashmir are ‘technical’ cross country (i.e. bring your 160mm wagon wheeler and dual ply tires) tracks with a few gnarly bits. Kush gets a little more fall line and narrow, yet retains a similar flavor, and is the perfect way to wrap up a massive lap.

It's no wonder why Rocky Mountain chose this lap to showcase the new Slayer. Dirt ribbon goodness at its best.

5. Gargamel

Most Difficult

Widely regarded as one of the gnarliest trails outside of the bike park, this rocky 1,800 foot descent will put your skills to a true test. If you’re still full of beans at the bottom, you’ll find yourself in the No Flow Zone… don’t let the name fool you though, these trails are a blast and the faster you go the smoother they get.

Whistler speedster Rémy Métailler gives us mortals something to aspire to by making Gargamel look far easier than it really is. Stane Productions

6. Yummy Numby >> Foreplay >> Packard Goose >> Why Johnny Can’t Read >> Grand Wazoo

Expert / Intermediate

Sure, Yummy Numby is a single track climb, but we still decided to put it on our list. As cassette ranges have improved most riders can slowly meander up this trail rather than redlining for it’s entirety. Foreplay (which is actually just the end of Comfortably Numb) is a classic, rocky descent with amazing views of Green Lake. It also has a few line options, with some great rock slabs scattered throughout. Once Foreplay ends you’ll find yourself on the Lost Lake Trail Network (a.k.a. The Zappa Trails) where you can descend Packard, Why Johnny, and Grand Wazoo right to Lost Lake.

Bonus: Instead of descending Foreplay, riding Comfortably Numb backwards to Jeff’s Trail or Young Lust. The recently built trail Out There is also a great alternative for those looking for a longer, more XC-oriented lap.

A post shared by Dave Burch (@dbwhistler) on

With climbs like this, you'll find inspiration to keep spinning those cranks around every bend. Dave Burch

7. Pura Vida >> Baby Snakes >> Danimal Middle >> Danimal North

Expert / Intermediate

After a grueling climb up through the Stonebridge area of from Function Junction, riders can expect several minutes of natural Whistler singletrack before arriving at Alta Lake to cool off. These trails are regularly used for local events, and once you’ve ridden them you’ll understand why. While not as gnarly as some of the other laps, the sheer volume of corners, roots, and rocks is sure to challenge even the most seasoned riders. Think you’re quick? Take down Rocky Mountain EWS racer and Whistler local Jesse Melamed’s KOM on Pura Vida.

8. Hey Bud

Most Difficult

Ahhhh yeah! Steep and rowdy are the name of the game on this exciting dive back to the valley floor. It parallels Microclimate and offers some techy bits that'll make you think twice and thank the bike gods for good brakes.

Get your lines dialed by watching some of the world's best riders tackle a steep section of Hey Bud during Stage 1 of the 2015 Enduro World Series at Whistler.


9. Upper Howler >> Howler >> Delineator >> Lower Anal Intruder

Expert / Intermediate

Those who put in the effort are rewarded in Whistler and this lap is the perfect example. It's quite a haul beginning and ending from Highway 99, but there’s a creek in the middle to cool off and the descent is absolutely worth the effort. Howler is a relatively fall line trail that allows riders to carry momentum from top to bottom. This lap is a true test of descending skill and fitness, and riders can expect that their upper bodies will be almost as tired as their legs from absorbing compressions and railing corners throughout.

10. Lord of the Squirrels

Intermediate

What a gem this will be! Once the snow melts in summer 2017, this several year effort by the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association and dedicated trail builders will be the talk of the town. The trail has yet to open, but we can tell you that this mega descent off of Mount Sproat is well worth the wait. A climbing route is under construction as well. The alpine trail environment is very sensitive so riders are asked NOT to ride the trail until it is officially open to the public. Plan on a big day as you climb to a high alpine lake above Whistler, take in some epic views, and bomb back down. The trail ends near the top of Pura Vida (#7), opening up options for even more fun.

Officially opening this summer, Lord of the Squirrels on Mount Sproatt delivers high alpine goods that'll leave you hyped on life. Ollie Jones

Legs tired yet? Hop on the lift and keep the party going! Check Vital MTB's Top 10 Must-Hit Whistler Bike Park Trails for a complete rundown of the sickest laps in the park.

While in Whistler, you’ll want to get as much out of your trail time as possible, but you’ll also need some downtime to recover and rejuvenate. Thankfully, they've got you covered there too, with tons of bike après spots, lakes to hangout at, and a bunch of great bike-friendly accommodation options.

Title image by Sven Martin


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