Mountain biking is an exciting way to build, or maintain, fitness through the snowless months. Certain trails that offer long, easy climbs and extended flat stretches, where most of the ride will be at a steady, aerobic pace, tend to be ideal when fitness is the goal. This may not be the favourite terrain for those seeking thrills, but they’re great for novice or nervous riders.
At Sun Peaks, the following trails have sustained climbs and flats and as a bonus, they aren’t lift accessed so they’re available as soon as the snow melts.
McGillivray Lake Trail (MLT) is likely Sun Peak’s most used route. It has some short, steep climbs so bikes with functioning gears and brakes are necessary. The best access is from Vista Trail. The half-hour ride to the lake is mostly uphill, so the return trip is a gravity-assisted coaster.
Once at McGillivray Lake you have several options. For a further 20 minutes of climbing, go left and head north on the Forest Service Road (FSR) past the Morrisey Lake turn off. Keep to the main road by bearing left at each junction until you are back at Sun Peaks. From the FSR’s summit, it’s a fast descent to the resort. Beware of vehicles on this route.
Another option from McGillivray Lake is to head north on the FSR (about 100 metres) to Morrisey Lake Road. Ride the rolling gravel road to the campsite at East Morrisey Lake. This route, round trip, including MLT, is about 20 kilometres.
A third possibility takes the FSR south from McGillivray Lake (toward Chase) and turns right at the 17 km sign. This road goes to the S turns on Holy Cow Trail as long as you go right at the first fork (see the new bike trail maps available in the village). Left at that same first fork accesses a long climb up the back side of Mt. Morrisey, and connects with the Kamloops Outdoor Club trails.
The lift maintenance road to the summit of Mt. Morrisey (1,674 metre elevation) is a long, demanding climb. From the Umbrella Café, riders cross the bridge to the lift station, and bear left toward Vista Trail. The maintenance road is found between The Sticks and the beginning of Vista Trail. This climb will take a fit rider 45 to 50 minutes.
For further options, check out the Sun Peaks Biking Trail Guides (map). All maintained trails are shown, and coded for difficulty.
Potential hazards at Sun Peaks are the same as you might find on any trail, including bears, bugs, hikers and other bikers. Wear a helmet, don’t ride alone, and make noise so as to avoid sneaking up on bears. Stay to the right on trails (this is Canada). Use marked trails, and leave a trip itinerary, and an ETA with someone so you will be missed if you have a mishap.
See you on the trails.