Located less than a six-hour stunning drive north of Vancouver, Williams Lake and the Cariboo Chilcotin region are your doorway to the most unique mountain bike experience in the province. In the ‘Puddle’ there is literally a trail for every mountain biker, regardless of age or skill level. Surrounding the city endless all-mountain terrain and epic cross-country adventures are in abundance, with most accessible from anywhere in town.
With more than 400 kilometres of legally established trails, in four different networks (200 kilometres within city limits and another 200 kilometres just outside) and the largest bike park in the Interior at Boitanio Park, Williams Lake is truly the Shangri-La of mountain biking in North America.
In Williams Lake there are three main trail networks and over 150 trails that can be accessed via a short pedal from any hotel or lodge. This volume of trails provides every type and every style of rider with virtually endless days of mountain biking pleasure. We have yet to meet anyone who has ridden the entire network in a single visit, so be ready to be blown away. You can also expect your experience to change from visit to visit as the Williams Lake Cycling Club (WLCC) works hard to maintain, enhance and develop the network.
Building upon the successful trail developments over the past couple of years, the Xat’sull First Nation has developed a 26-kilometre multi-purpose single track nature trail that connects the existing trail networks of two communities, Soda Creek and Deep Creek. This includes the development of a cross country trail that is aligned along the top of a ridge overlooking the Fraser River valley and Cariboo Highway 97. There is also a climbing line and two downhill (DH) trails located in the area right next to Blue Lake road which makes for great access.
West of town, the Desous Mountain bike network has a new 11 km climbing line linking up the backside downhill trails to the front side. This spectacular and scenic climb gives ambitious riders the option of not having to set up a shuttle to enjoy the almost 1,000 metres of steep classic downhill lines that the backside of Desous has to offer. In addition to that, a multi-spot recreation site that features a custom outhouse and massive fire ring has been developed. Multiple green-rated trails and a small pump track around the site adds to the family-friendly and diverse offerings of the mountain. The WLCC is hoping to use this facility to host multiple events in the future. With a new A-line style jump line, a technical hand-built DH line and some tuning of the existing trails, the front side of Desous has got it all. The road has also received extensive work allowing for much easier access to the entire network.
Furthering the Cycling Club’s ambition to develop an around the ‘Puddle’ route, 2016 saw the building of a new climbing line at the East end of the Southsyde network. This ambitious and breathtaking trail provides scenic views of the lake and area from an entirely new perspective. Climbing towards and under the red bluffs of South Lakeside, the trail connects back to the top of the network and allows for endless singletrack options.
Williams Lake is a doorway into the unique and diverse culture of the Cariboo. If you’re looking for mega-malls, bungee jumping and thousands of people on the trails then the Cariboo is not for you. However, if you are seeking a one-of-a-kind landscape, endless and uncrowded single track, an eclectic mix of Indigenous peoples, cowboys and one of the most welcoming and unpretentious mountain bike cultures in the world then the Cariboo is waiting for you.
Check out www.ridethecariboo.ca for all your mountain bike travel information. This site hosts online maps, trail descriptions and all the travel resources a visiting rider needs to enjoy the region
Find out more at The Williams Lake Tribune