British Columbia seems to get all the attention when it comes to mountain biking in Canada. Heck I live in the epicentre of the scene out here on BC’s west coast. The thing is though we are in a bit of a bubble, we get stuck in our habits and favourite spots to ride. Well, let me tell you we need to change this, it is time to load up the bike and discover the amazing destinations for riding we have in Western Canada. Hinton Mountain Biking is a real sleeper of a gem and we need to give this place all the love and attention it deserves.
Hinton Mountain Biking
Hinton is a community built on a love for the outdoors. The town is tucked in amongst the forested foothills of the Northern Rockies in Alberta. The terrain is a perfect mix of dense forests, river valleys, rocky outcroppings and rolling hills forming into a mountain biking blank canvas of radness yet to be tapped.
Thanks to ZenSeekers, Travel Alberta and Explore Hinton I was able to spend a few days exploring the area. I brought along my Chromag Rootdown and set out to learn more on whats up with Hinton mountain biking. Swing over to my story on ZenSeekers to dive into my fun yet educational trip;
As with most riding destinations the trail network often starts out as a single rider building the trail of his dreams. Armed with a love for riding and a passion to create a work of art for 2 wheels these trails sprout up everywhere. Over time they evolve and eventually the community joins forces to form local bike clubs or associations. In the case of Hinton, the Hinton Mountain Bike Association formed in 2007. From that date on they set the bar high, not just for Alberta but for mountain biking in Canada.
The biggest crowning achievement for the region and honestly what blew me away was the Hinton Bike Park. For all the hype we have on the west coast of BC, I have yet to see a community with such an extensive park and trail network all linked together while the being right within city limits.
The entire Hinton mountain biking park, covering 37 acres of land, is comprised of two main zones. The Happy Creek Trail system and the 4 riding zones of the bike park. There is a skills park with wood stunts and boardwalk. A dirt jump zone with big booters to safe tabletops for new riders. The Drop Zone features varying degrees of difficulty in wood drops to slowly build your nerves and skills. Lastly is the pump track where you develop your cornering, flow and momentum on the bike.
Take all of these awesome and well thought out skill sections then wrap them in a stunning network of trails to find yourself with an enviable mecca for MTB in Alberta. Riding the network I had a blast on Flow Master but was impressed with the wall rides and big jumps on Fo’Sho & Slope Wars. I spent several hours in this part of Hinton and honestly barely scratched the surface.
Outside of this I only had time to explore one other riding zone which is the Hinton Nordic Centre. This is where the big climbs and black diamond descents call home. I sweated my way up the climb to the start of Froehler Coaster. A short way into the trail is a must stop for a break at the best viewpoint hands down in the region.
I was gifted a view looking across the entire western landscape into Jasper National Park and the Athabasca River below. After my break I dropped into the rest of the technical trail to the bottom. I felt right at home with steep descents, rocky single track slabs and good ole roots. The trail made amazing use of the fall lines getting you the most bang for your buck without wasting it all on a straight shot to the bottom. (shoutout to Mike and Kev for the deets on Froehler)
As with all riding destinations, us mountain bikers often search out the 3 crucial stops upon arrival. To be honest it is the criteria for any riding destination not just Hinton mountain biking. They are …. Where is the bike shop? Who has the best coffee? Is there a local Craft Brewery? I visited all 3 and I give you my MTB road trip thumbs up on each of them.
I really enjoyed my time riding here, Hinton mountain biking was a blast. The terrain was a nice change to what I ride at home and that bike park, I just can’t rave enough about the Hinton 37 acre MTB playground. It was the first of its kind in Alberta and one of the largest in Canada, for that reason alone you need to put Hinton on your radar. Load up your bikes, what are you waiting for?
When You Go
There’s so much to do in #ExploreNWAB – check out these stories for how to get trip planning:
- Be a dino hunter for the day near Grande Prairie
- Swim in a lagoon and go for a mountain vista hike in Hinton
- Hinton is biking mecca: Hit the epic Hinton Bike Park for a thrill a minute
For more on how to #ExploreNWAB, either search the tag on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or read more here. Share what you find when you #ExploreNWAB this summer, using the hashtag and you might be featured on ZenSeekers and/or our partners’ social media channels.
For other road trips and travel destinations check out my Mindful Explorer Road Trip Page As well I am always grateful for a follow on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter where I share more frequent photos and stories daily.