Big often defines the riding stories we share. The multi-thousand foot uphill grind to get the long downhill descent. Twelve hour epics that finish in the dark. Multiple laps in Whistler Bike Park’s Garbanzo zone. You don’t need to do the highest, the longest, the hardest trails to have a memorable experience. Also delivering big are the little gems, those under-the-radar trails that lack the fame of the likes of Slickrock and the Swiss Alps yet have plenty to offer
What makes for a gem of a trail? Different reasons for different riders. It could be a loamy trail that quietly meanders along a river. Maybe it’s that sweet spot where you get twenty minutes of unadulterated flow. Perfectly spaced jumps are the ticket for some while for others it’s the trail they’ve sculpted in their backyard. It may not even be the trail itself but the fact it’s surrounded by a carpet of flowers or berries.
My favourite hidden gems tend to be trails that are rarely ridden or require some effort to get there. It’s like a treasure hunt, where the map shows the “X” and the bits of information you’ve managed to find point to something worth exploring. The trail doesn’t have to be miles long or involve an epic-undertaking. The element of the unknown and opportunity for new adventure is attraction enough.
The Lone Valley trail in the South Chilcotins is one such gem. Unlike its better known alpine brethren, this trail gets little traffic due in part to its more remote location and limited access via vehicle. Little traffic means the singletrack is in perfect shape. It gently winds up through lush green countryside to a shallow valley with a lake, the perfect spot for a mid-ride swim. Throw in some good friends, a sunny day and no set schedule, and this gem is the perfect antidote after a few days of big alpine riding
This little piece of paradise is a gem worth exploring. Where’s yours?