Mountain Biking, Campbell River


Mountain Biking

The growth of the mountain biking industry world wide is just one more way Campbell River has been put on the map.  With such networks as the Snowden Demonstration Forest, Beaver Lodge Lands, the Pumphouse Trails, Menzies Mountain Trails and the McIvor Lake Trails, you could visit the area a couple of times a year and not duplicate your experience.  Snowden has gained international attention for its 100 kilometres of groomed single track trails, while Beaver Lodge offers much for the novice and intermediate, McIvor lake trails are a little more advanced and offer some amazing vistas along the way and if you are really crazy Menzies mountain trails are for the most extreme rider.

The McIvor Lake Trails, - Mud Run Ride - May 2012 - Click on the picture for the Video

What to Expect

On Vancouver Island in the past few years there has been a push-on for the de-activation of logging roads that no longer give right of entry to active logging areas. 

Although this practice has limited recreational access to certain areas, it has been one of the best things that have happened to the mountain biking enthusiast.  This action has given rise to loads of possibilities for circle routes in the immediate vicinity of the city of Campbell River.  The challenge created with de-activated roads produce conditions that are more attractive to your novice and to your most serious mountain cyclist than having to contend with traffic on dusty gravel roads in the middle of the summer, it also offers opportunity for both single and double track cycling.

These conditions generate opportunity for long and fast rides, with a virtual guarantee of not meeting anyone on the trail.  Nevertheless it is suggested that you proceed with caution as there is also an impressive number of wildlife species in the great outdoors and it is not uncommon to be barreling around a corner to come face to face with a mamma bear and several cubs.

It would be interesting to inventory possible access routes and build an off road cycling guide based just on the de-activated logging roads in the area, however that would be a massive undertaking.  As a matter of fact our musings have uncovered so many of these routes crisscrossing the landscape that it would be difficult even to begin listing them all here. 

The best course of action to undertake if you are truly interested in exploring these routes, is to purchase a Campbell River Search and Rescue back country map (not a bad thing to do if you are interested in any back country exploration) and simply go out and explore, it could keep you busy for years and you will soon identify your favorite routes.

The Snowden Demonstration Forest offers over 100 kilometres of single tract trail to explore.  This can keep even the keenest riders happy for a long time.  The diverse nature of the terrain is inspiring from sharp inclines to rocky knolls to every imaginable obstacle including, small tree bridges, puddles or what some people call small lakes, all of this while cycling amongst a stunning well established second growth maple and fir forest.

Also the Beaver Lodge Lands in the heart of Campbell River and the Pump House trails offer a wide array of cycling routes and that are very close to town.

Off Road Cycling Trail Etiquette

            Be Aware

Always be attentive of other trail users.  Anticipate the sudden corner where a horse or hiker may be around a blind corner and show down.  Prevent the sudden and unexpected encounters made possible by your bike’s rapid and silent advance; use a bell or friendly greeting to let others know that you are behind them when approaching.

            Yield the Trail

Give hikers and horseback riders the right of way.  When encountering hikers, slow down to their speed or stop and pull over.  When encountering an equestrian from the front, always stop.  You never know how a horse is going to react to a bicycle.  Move to the lower side of the trail to let the horses pass, because they are less easily spooked by an object on a lower level than themselves.  If possible put two or three meters clearance between you and them, depending on the terrain.  From the rear, follow passing directions given by the horse rider.  In general cyclists going uphill have the right of way.  Yield to other cyclists you encounter.

            Ride, don’t Slide

Minimize damage to trails through proper riding techniques, don’t skid whenever possible. It’s neither a safe or efficient way to ride; it will erode the trail surface, and can cause trail restrictions to bikes.  Take that turn slowly, or if it’s a tight switchback, dismount and walk it.  Feather your brakes down steep descents to hone you’re riding skills and prevent skidding.

            Stay on the Trail

Protect yourself from unnecessary slips and falls by staying to existing paths.  You will also help maintain the trails by not short-cutting switchbacks and corners.

            Be Fire Aware

Our forests are highly flammable and one discarded cigarette or lighted match could easily escalate into a fully fledged forest fire especially in the summer months.  Please exercise extreme caution with cigarettes, matches and open fires in wooded areas.

            Bear in Mind

You are in their back yard.  Please keep your pets under control at all times, even the best behaved dogs get excited when around wildlife.  Cougars have been known to attack dogs, all wild animals are potentially dangerous; bears are particularly unpredictable.  If you encounter a bear or cougar stay calm and back quietly away.  Never approach or feed wildlife and never leave anything that they would consider to be food behind.  If you encounter a fawn, do not touch or disturb it.

            Be Courteous

User conflicts can lead to trail closures, cyclists are the newest group to use our trails and in some cases they are the biggest challenge – in dispute, they are the first to go.  Respect private property and “No Trespassing” signs.  Leave gates as you find them.  DO NOT LITTER.  Carry out what you bring in and if you have room, carry out any garbage you may come across.

            Be Prepared

Carry a spare inner tub and pump, tools, adequate food, water and clothing, a first aid kit and if you have one; a cell phone and a GPS.  A short cycle makes for a long walk if something goes wrong with your bike and the situation can be infinitely more complicated if you are cold and wet or injured in any way.  Check the weather forecast and inquire about trail conditions and closures before you go.  Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return.  Most important of all, wear your helmet and cycle safely, a fun and successful trip is one without any injuries.

The BC Forest Service is responsible for managing recreation on public forest land.  For information regarding forest recreation, access restrictions, fire regulations or other forest matters, contact:

To report a Forest Fire:  1 – 800 – 663 - 5555
Ministry of Forests - Campbell River District Office
Address:  370 South Dogwood Street, Campbell River BC, Canada, V9W 6Y7
Phone:  250 – 286 – 9300
Fish and Wildlife Branch - Conservation Officer Service
Address:  101 – 370 South Dogwood Street, Campbell River BC, Canada, V9W 6Y7
Phone:  250 – 286 – 7630
Campbell River Search & Rescue Society 

Address:  261 Larwood Road, Campbell River BC, Canada, V9W 6J3
Phone:  250 – 923 - 2500
Fax:  250 – 923 - 6860
River City Cycle Club

Mountain Biking Trails

The Pump House – Elk Falls Provincial Park

Park Size:  1,087 hectares

Location - Access: 2 kilometres north of the downtown shopping core in Campbell River, follow Highway 28 north to Gold River, when you cross the Quinsam River, you are in Elk Falls Park.

The Pump House trails are an element of the Elk Falls Provincial Park and BC Hydro lands.  This zone proposes trails for all levels of riders, and is the starting point for many longer trails. From downtown drive north to Highway 28 past the logging road bridge immediately before Elk Falls Provincial Park. Turn right and proceed over the Campbell River on the old logging bridge to a short paved road that climbs a steep hill to the start of the trail. On your right will be what is deemed a “suicide slide”.  Turn left on the first gravel road if you can, if the gate is locked just park on the road at the gate, and the trail begins just to the left of the water tower.

Easy to advanced cycling around hiking trails and old logging roads.  There are currently no maps available for these trails.

Note:  These trails are for non-motorized vehicles only

Snowden Demonstration Forest

Note:  All Snowden Trails are for non-motorized vehicles only.  The River City Cycling Club are the sole "keepers" of the trails in the Snowden Demonstration Forest.  If you would like to volunteer to help or assist in their efforts please visit their website at:

The Snowden Demonstration Forest encompasses trails suitable for both beginners and experts.  This active forest contains more than one hundred kilometres of recently upgraded single track trails, which can be accessed from a variety of locations. The most straight forward approach from town is to follow Highway 28 North West to the top of General Hill, where you will turn right at the Loveland Bay sign, stay to the left and cross the John Hart Dam. Beyond this point follow the Duncan Bay Road to the turnoff at the PRT nursery, turn left on this road and travel approximately 1.5 kilometres, there is a sign on the right hand side of the road to meet the trailhead for the Lost Frog.

Cool You-Tube video posted by;

   Trail Name                 Rating               Length


    Easy     1.2 km

    Yellow Dot

    Intermediate     1.5 km


    Easy     0.7 km


    Easy     1.4 km

    Gooseneck Connector

    Easy     0.1 km

    First Bluff

    Intermediate     0.5 km

    Velvet Underground

    Intermediate     0.4 km

    Dean Martin

    Intermediate     2.7 km

    Separated Shoulder

    Advanced     0.3 km


   Intermediate     0.6 km

    Lower Deliverance

    Easy     1.5 km

    Upper Deliverance

    Intermediate     1.8 km


    Intermediate     1.2 km

    The Load

    Intermediate     0.1 km



    2.6 km

    Grilled Chez

    Intermediate     0.5km


    Advanced     3.3 km

    Pretzel Logic

    Advanced     0.4 km

    Vlad the Impaler

    Advanced     0.5 km

   Cinnamon Girl

    Advanced     1.4 km

    Three Pigs

    Easy     1.4 km

    Headbanger Hook-up

    Intermediate     0.5 km

    Gun Barrel

    Easy     0.8 km

    Wiley's Wood

    Intermediate     0.9 km

    Blood Donor

    Easy     1.5 km

    Club Ped

    Easy     0.7 km

    Demon Seed

    Advanced     1.5 km

    98 Connector

    Easy     0.4 km

    Lady Killer

     Varied     19.0 km

Snowden Demonstration Forest map      

Frog Lake Trails

Easy to intermediate trails along very old railway grades and logging roads.

    Trail Name                               Length                                   

  • Old Rail Grade Trail                         4.2 km                        

An historical rail grade, trailhead located north of Elmer Lake on the Frog Lake Road.

  • Lookout Loop                                    3.2 km                        

Begins from the Frog Lake road, climbs up and over rocky outcrops, and then down through forest and wetlands, joins with the Old Rail Trail, a vigorous ride.

  • Enchanted Forest                             4.3 km                        

Through lush forest and along rough gravel roads, it is recommended that this circle route be done in a clockwise direction.

  • Riley Lake Connector                       2.6 km                        

Forest trail and old rail grade that connects the Enchanted Forest with the Lost Lake trail.

  • Headbanger Hookup                        0.5 km                        

Intermediate downhill alternative for traveling east.

Lost Lake Trails

Easy to intermediate cycling and hiking trails along old railway grades.

         Trail Name                               Length                  

  • Lost Lake Trail                                 5.5 km                        

An easy loop with picnic tables at the south end of the lake, short hike to rocky viewpoint provides a break from the saddle; west side of loop is intermediate level.

  • Mudhoney Pass                               3.0 km

Intermediate to advanced single-track through patches of rock, salal, and Douglas fir forests.

  • The Lost Frog                                    8.2 km                        

Almost continuous rail grade, with a few rougher connectors, access is via the north end of Devlin Road or Frog Lake Road.

  • Frog Lake Road                                5.7 km                        

Optional link between the Frog Lake and Lost Lake trail systems, generally easy riding except for Cardiac Hill (sustained up hill).

Beaver Lodge Lands

Location:  South Dogwood Street, directly across the street from Timberline High School and North Island College.

Managed by: The Greenways Land Trust

Address:  #208 – 991 Alder Street, Campbell River BC, V9W 5B1
Phone:  250 – 287 - 3785
Fax:  250 – 287 - 3785

Situated in the mid-eastern inland region of Campbell River, within the Simm’s Creek
Beaver Lodge MapWatershed, with access via South Dogwood Street at North Island College and Timberline High School, these lands were logged by railway at the beginning of the century, and reforested in the early nineteen thirties. 

Riddled with trail networks that meander around maple and birch forests, small valleys, streams and brooks, these endowment lands are now graced with a canopy of 70 to 100 year old second growth timber.  Bordered by Dogwood Street to the east, the Airport Main and the Elk River Timber Road to the west, South McPhedran Road and Evergreen Road to the north and Elk River Timberlands private lands to the south, parking is available on Rockland Road across the street from Timberline High School, South McPhedran Road at the Kit Crescent connector, at the end of Trask Road at the very western edge of  Merecroft Road, and at the private gate at the most southern aspect of the Elk River Timber Road and at the top of the South Dogwood Hill approximately ½ a kilometre past the Hilchey Road Connector.  There is no parking available directly on Dogwood Street.

The evidence of the turn of the century logging is still under the awning and if you look closely at the decaying nurse stumps you may see the undercuts of spring boards which were commonly in use in those days.

The 1028 acres (415 hectares) of land was endowed to the people of Campbell River in 1931 by the Elk River Timber Company, given in trust to be used for experimental forest management.  This was one of the first forest plantations in BC.  In recognition of the binding obligation of the gift for forestry purposes the Beaver Lodge Forest Trust Renewal Act was passed in 1993.  This is the first experimental forest protected under its own provincial legislation.

The lands are located within the Coastal Western Hemlock bio-geoclimactic zone, typical of Vancouver Island.  Prior to European settlement this area which would have experienced natural fire frequency with the drier portions of the forest growing species that are well adapted to this regime – Douglas fir, big-leaf maple and red alder.  The wetter low lands are more favourable to red cedar, grand fir and sitka spruce.

Take note of the decaying logs on the forest floor serving the important function of providing nutrients to the budding new growth.  This ecosystem provides a perfect habitat for plants, insects and wildlife as well as restoring nutrients to the soil.

The Beaver Lodge Forest Endowment Lands are home to a wide variety of wildlife species including coho salmon and cutthroat trout which grow unimpeded in the Simms Creek water shed.  On land it is not uncommon to see black tail deer, black bear, bald eagles, owls and a myriad of waterfowl and small winged birds.

The Beaver Lodge Lands are under the management of the Beaver Lodge Forest Trust Committee a subsidiary of the Greenways Land Trust.