Sharon noticed there was a new trail being opened on Maple Mountain near Duncan BC and got me stoked to go ride it. We initially wanted to go for the official opening day, but the stars didn’t align for us. I’m kind of glad – I don’t love riding in big groups and 140 riders showed up on that day plus another 100 hikers.
Instead we checked it out this past Sunday and got to enjoy it in solitude – only seeing 4 other riders on the trail and that lasted all of 60 seconds. Maple Mountain is about an hour drive away from us. You can play with an interactive map if you click on the image above as well as download a GPS track. Although the trail is easy to ride without any navigational aids.
To get to the start you ride and push up a steep logging road for an hour. At times it’s a full on effort just to walk your bike up the steeper pitches. You eventually get to a radio tower with some lovely views and the start of the ride. To get on the trail proper follow the fence around the radio transmitter and take a sharp left turn which will spit you out into the forest.
The trail is broken down into an upper section which is the original old skool techy line. It’s quite challenging without being expert only. You’ll need to make peace with steep loose, rocky and rooty gnarliness. The trail could have easily gone too far to the hardside and not been much fun for most riders. As it is I think nobody can complain that the builders dumbed the trail down to appeal to the masses. This is a tough ride, but one that challenges in a good way making you want to work on the difficult sections and come back to ride it clean.
The lower section of the trail is described as a new skool flow line. Don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s a buff roller coaster. There are some serious challenges and rough sections to conquer as well as some fun wooden stunts and berm-y goodness.
Conditions are for the most part quite nice. We still aren’t quite at the slick-as-snot winter conditions I would expect for this time of the year. There are some parts of the trail – particularly at the bottom where muddy sections will need some attention for longterm durability. But, at this stage in the trail’s life it’s looking great. I’m sure future trail maintenance efforts will focus on improving drainage where needed and/or building up low spots with wood/rock.
The GPS track at the top of this post includes:
- roll up the logging road to the radio tower
- Upper Maple Syrup
- Lower Maple Syrup
- Solar Coaster back to parking lot
Solar Coaster was the wettest of the trails being at the bottom of the mountain, but it’s a lot more fun than riding the logging road back to the parking lot. Although it’s worth noting the road is an option at a few spots if riders are getting too tired to keep shredding and want an easy way back to their cars.
The total ride was ~3.5hrs with breaks.
Great work Cowichan Trail Stewardship Society. You’ve built an excellent trail and we are looking forward to more fun riding on Maple Mountain in the coming years.