My first trip to ride the Harbourview trails near Sooke, BC featured a lack of local knowledge and we ended up so lost we never did ride the trails. Instead we did some fun, but unintended recon over the top of a mountain and down the other side into a completely different drainage.
Fun – yes. But that left Harbourview unexplored.
Happily a local Sooke rider, Steve, got a hold of me via my blog and offered to show me around. With my usual riding partners all busy, injured or having moved off the island I couldn’t say no to some company on the trails.
I’ve been out with Steve and his friends [Rob & Murray] twice now. They’ve been super nice and showed me their favourite Harbourview trails. Not forgetting how lost I got in the past I’ve been I have been collecting GPS data on each ride so I can go back on my own and to share with anyone else who wants to ride Harbourview, but doesn’t have any trail knowledge. You can download a GPX track file here.
The trails are all accessed by a well maintained gravel road you spin up and then you jump off on the trail of choice and ride it back down to the parking lot. The parking lot has lots of room even on a weekend and features bathroom, a picnic tables and bike wash. I’ve always been there on sunny Sundays around noon and not seen any other riders besides the group I was with.
Harbourview is a good trail network to have in the quiver. It’s not as well designed and maintained as Hartland Mountain Bike Park, but the trails are solid and given the 30-45min drive Harbourview is too far for mid-week or regular sessions, but it’s close enough to allow for a some fresh trails when closer networks are in heavy rotation.
My initial review of the trails would be that there are a lot of solid sections with interesting rocky/rooty riding that’s typical of BC. However, these sections are connected by bits of overly steep eroded or mega twisty/rough sections of trail that ruin the flow.
I need to go back to Harbourview and ride it on my own to see if I can find some more flow cruising at my own pace. I suspect a bit of repetition will raise my stoke level.
Freak Maps puts a local Vancouver Island Mountain Bike Guide which is worth buying as a resource to help you get the most out of Harbvourview. They also offer a georeferenced PFD trail map for Harbourview that I am going to buy for my smartphone.
One interesting tidbit from the Freak Maps section on Harbourview:
“…The CRD, who own the land, have proclaimed that Harbourview will be the next world class mountain bike destination park…”
I can certainly see the potential here and with a few million dollars and some elbow grease Harbourview could be an amazing trail network. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!