Steep hills are the name of the game in the Golden region of the Kootenay’s. Mount 7, former site of the Red Bull Psychosis, is a near freefall from the top of Dead Dog, and Kicking Horse Resort has it’s own steep trails with a rock slab about 100 feet long at a grade that would please scrambling hikers. In summary it’s an awesome place to ride a downhill bike, and our first stop on the road trip.
Waiting out the storms at the new Golden Pump Track
Golden sits in the Columbia river basin at it’s confluence with the Kicking Horse River. Mountain ranges on each side provide the dh trails and a network of xc and all mountain trails span the lower valley connecting town with the Moonraker Trails to the south west. Canyon Creek trail provides stunning vistas over a deeply carved chasm and flowy forested trails abound at the bottom end. The Golden Cycling Club have created the CBT trail and a few others which provide endless riding right from downtown. For this trip we were going to mainly focus on the DH options we missed last time. A newly created pump track and skills park was our playground while we waited out a thunderstorm before ascending the long steep mountain road to Mount 7.
View from the top of Mount Seven – Click image for Photosynth Panorama
Rising above Golden to the East is the peak of Mount 7, named for the numerically shaped snow field that appears near the summit. The trails drop from a shale knuckle partway down the mountain. This lower point provides excellent hang gliding launching, apparent by the 10 plus gliders getting prepared at the top. Each of our groups marveled at the craziness of each other (mtb is definitely safer).
Top of Mount Seven
Mount 7 offers a pretty broad selection of dh trails, from all mountain bike capable trails like Summit, to the double black dh of Dead Dog and Skid Marks. Clay predominates the soil types, so it gets dry and dusty in the summer but can get very wet and mucky after big rain storms. Lots of structures dot the middle and lower segments of the trails but look before you leap as some are definitely showing signs of wear. Bench cut, ridge line and bermed sections of trail keep you thrilled during the over 1100m /3300ft of descending. Check your brake pads before heading up on this ride!
The next day we headed across to the western flanks of the Golden valley for the bike park at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Offering Gondola access to over 2300m /7700ft of elevation, each lap gives you near 1200m / 4000ft of decending. During the 18 minute ride, keep your eyes open for Boo the Grizzly in his habitat mid mountain. Just above this is the largest of the rock slabs that make up a good portion of the terrain at Kicking Horse.
High in the Alpine
Experienced riders drop in from the top of the Golden Eagle Express. each run starts with a km of exposed fire road to the first trails in Crystal Meadows. Junctions towards the middle fan riders out to various different terrain areas, Blaster to the North and Superberm to the South. Riders wanting to build up their skill can use the Catamount Chair to access Super Berm, Easy Rider, and even Stump Jumper!
The best part of Kicking Horse, lineups are never an issue and rarely did we encounter riders on the trails.
After two great days of riding and lovely accommodations with our friends Julie & David, we headed south towards Fernie, our most eastern point on this Kootenay Road Trip.
Here’s a quick Vid of the trails on Mount 7 and Kicking Horse Resort!
Golden BC is located on Highway 1, 3 hrs from Calgary and 9 hrs from Vancouver.
Camping is available close to town at the municipal campground (at the bottom of Mount 7) or if you’re looking for the xc rides at the Moonraker trails, Sander Lake is right at the trail head. If camping’s not your choice, there is a hostel in town and lots of options right at the base of Kicking Horse Resort.
Bike maps, trail info, repairs and more can be found at Derailed Sports or Higher Ground Sports.
Good eats include Eleven 22 for fresh ingredient pasta meals, Peaks Grill at the bottom of the Gondola (check out the Sweet & Spicy Chicken Poutine!) and the Whitetooth Mountain Bistro.