In the summer months, Great Canadian Heli-Skiing transitions into Heather Mountain Lodge – all of the great vibe, accommodation and food but no helicopters. So, other than hiking the top-quality trails in Glacier National Park, what is there to do?
Mountain biking is still not a recognized activity for Glacier National Park but both neighbouring towns, Golden and Revelstoke, are mountain bike meccas. Revelstoke is only an hour west of Heather Mountain Lodge and Golden a short 30 minutes east, making the Lodge a perfect base camp for northern Kootenay mountain bike adventures.
Golden is home to two major cross country style mountain bike trail systems and two downhill-style trail systems, with more than 150 km of trail in total. If you want alpine rides, long descents, flowly climbs, buffed out berms or technical rocks… Golden has it all.
Mt 7 and Mountain Shadows
The east side of Golden is home to Mt 7, the legendary mountain that hosted the Red Bull Mt 7 Psychosis downhill race for 10 years. While that race has since been retired, the network of downhill trails still live. Shuttle up the Forest Service Road and drop in at 3 km, 5 km, 10 km or 14 km, with the difficulty getting higher with the kilometres.
If technical “old school” single track is more your style, ride the Mountain Shadows trails at the base of Mt 7. These trails bench across the bottom of the downhill trails and form a network of about 20 km. Rock slabs, technical bridges and neat natural features pop up throughout this system.
CBT Mainline and MoonRakers
The famous Canyon Creek trail (c) Tourism Golden
While the Moonraker Trails are some of the older trails in Golden, they’ve been freshened up with great access from town via the CBT Mainline network. The CBT Mainline trail starts at the very bottom of the road to Kicking Horse Resort and benches up south of the road to the level of Cedar Lake and the Moonraker system – about 12 km from the trailhead. If you’re not up for the entire climb, consider sliding down the Mighty Quinn or Gold Rush – fun, descent preferred trails. You can make the climb to Cedar Lake longer by tagging on a loop around Old Age & Treachery.
The Moonrakers system starts from Cedar Lake (and ends with a fresh dip in Cedar Lake at the end of a hot day) and include more than 60 km of single-track, including a few different connections to the valley bottom and a new connection all the way to the base of Kicking Horse Resort. The classic “must-rides” in the Moonrakers are Canyon Creek and Arrowhead.
Kicking Horse and the Alpine
Kicking Horse Resort has provided lift access downhill mountain biking for more than 10 years. New to their extensive slate of downhill trails are two alpine cross country options. Terminator Ridge runs south from the top of the Gondola, involving some short hike-a-bike sections before descending through the alpine and into the forests, eventually ending in the Moonrakers. This is an advanced track for experienced mountain bikers, but definitely a must-ride if you’re up for some high alpine technical goodness.
More recently (last summer) the trail crew of Kicking Horse built an up-track in Crystal Bowl that services 3 separate short downhill sections. The uptrack is only about 2 km so an entire loop in the high-elevation, low oxygen zone is 5 km… but if you try all three down options you’re looking at 3 laps or 15 km – not bad!