The Trails up at Burnaby Mountain are a gentler but well-worn version of the North Shore trails. Good for working on skills, and ideal if you haven't been riding for a while. They can be a little muddy and washed out at times. If it's really wet, consider choosing another location. We've mapped out one of the major trails, featuring Mel's trail to start, then, Nicole's log towards the bottom. Explore the network of trails that crisscross the mountain. The jeep trail (under the powerline) we parked near gets you up the mountain where Simon Fraser University is located. With it's monolithic cement architecture dating from the 60's - you wonder if Stanley Kubrick and Arthur Erickson didn't share a few beers and maybe mix up their notes.
While riding up, don't forget to turn left off the main power line trail onto a somewhat steeper trail (Joe's) at marker 001 on our map. When we were at this intersection, there was a large board without a map at the turnoff. Turn left at marker 001, and ride up to marker 002 where you reach the campus, unfortunately, on the wrong side of the campus, so, cross the road, turn left, then a quick right as you pass under some buildings and cross the university heading in the direction of the Gym and track. You will have ridden past the gym on the road with the track on your right, and, you will turn left on the paved road that fronts the forest. Follow left for a short while, and you will know you are close when you observe a ramshackle area that looks like community garden plots, or perhaps some biology experiment gone bad. You are only on this road for a few meters when you see the entrance to the trail. If all that sounds a bit confusing, simply download our GPS waypoints and tracklog and dump that into your handheld GPS and use that to find the trail and stay on it. Looking at the tracklog you are building as you go versus the one you downloaded, you'll get a rough idea of where you should be.
The upper part of the trail is rather flat, but it winds its way down getting steeper, with plenty of switchbacks. One log ride (Nicole's) towards the bottom gives you something to work on. If you can handle that, go directly to the North Shore. The ride is nice because you end up just above where you parked, a nice out and back loop, no shuttling needed.
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Posted By: Atomic-Rob
- Sat Feb 23 04:31:23 UTC 2013
UpsideFor a lower-mainland trail system that isn't on the North Shore, this is as good as it gets. Easy access from Vancouver and surrounding area, especially on the weekend when traffic is low. Never crowded and always fun. Great workout too if you're riding up. DownsideWell, if you're a chairlift rider with a 40 pound bike, this hill is a haul. Unless you shuttle it. A lighter all-mountain or a hard tail with decent front suspension should do the job if you're pedaling up. I take my hard tail, which makes like a lot easier going up. I've tried it on the DH pig a couple of times and it's a slog. Besides, the hard tail keeps me honest coming down and adds an extra old-school challenge to the decent. CommentBlack Diamond here is not black diamond by Whistler standards, more like a Whistler blue...but still a blast. Almost year-round rideable too! Just keep an eye open for hikers.
Posted By: Camowen
- Thu Dec 11 19:43:40 UTC 2008
UpsideVaried intermediate terain in a loop that is easy to get to. Good cardio portion on the ride up. With a good reward on the down. DownsideCan get a bit muddy (you are riding in a rain forrest). Sometimes crowded. CommentGood all over trail it takes about a hour to ride back to your car. Good place to meet buddies for a after work ride. Good for skill development as ther is a huge variation all over the mountain. Really well taken care of. Good place to ride with the dog.
Posted By: barbphoto
- Wed Jun 11 06:34:33 UTC 2008
UpsideNicoles trail is Fun for most of the trail, great to develop new skills and train! DownsideSome difficult and very steep areas, for a beginner like me , had to walk some of them. Didnt like the short bike up the hill...it looks easier but I guess I was too tired! CommentFor sure I have to go and do it again, last time felt and broke my front rim, almost at the end when I was really enjoying it ,now got a new hard tail bike so better try myself and the trail, need to loose the fear
Posted By: justinhj_rm
- Sat Apr 12 18:06:19 UTC 2008
UpsideChallenging switchbacks, steep grade, lots of drops Downside10-15 minutes and you're down, also a little bit tight and hard to get speed up for the drops CommentLast comment I wrote was about Mels trail and the bunch of trails it leads to at the bottom East side of the mountain.
This comment is about Nicoles. It's very well signed. Nicoles is a black diamond run, but apart from a couple of steep rocky switchbacks you can take easy routes round most of it.
Posted By: justinhj_rm
- Sun Oct 07 02:48:34 UTC 2007
UpsideWell signed trails, well maintained, not too muddy even in wet weather DownsideQuite a short ride down, depending on your route CommentI rode from my house in Port Moody about 5kms from the North Rd entrance, and it's a steep climb just to get there so I was pretty tired.
I started out by taking a right onto what I think was a bit of the North Rd trail and came out on the powerline trail. The powerline trail is nice and wide and makes the climb quite easy.
Going round the corner onto Joes (which is marked as Trans Canada Trail now, not Joes, unless I was lost), things get steeper before getting very steep for Cardiac Climb. You share the climb with hikers, but today was pretty wet and cloudy up there, I saw few people.
Turn left at the top and follow the road round, that's easier than cutting across the campus unless you are familiar with it. Just keep going until you see an information point on the left hand side, just after the new apartments.
The trail head is right there and after a short simple trail you're at the junction for Mels and Nicoles. I took Mels, as I was on my own and I didn't want to do anything too risky ;-) It took about 25 mins to finish Mels, which was mostly easy for me as I've been riding a few years but it was fun. There was a bit more up hill than I liked, but I was pretty tired since I road up sea level already.
There are some steep bits and some quite twisty parts, and even a bit where you need to duck under a fallen tree. Fun!
At the end of Mel's are two long sweeping switchbacks made of stones or steps, take your pick, although the stones were very slippery and covered in leaves today, I took it slow.
After Mel's you come back out on the pipeline trail and at this point I just went straight over and down into some trails, so many of them in fact around the bottom of the mountain that I just kept riding and riding until I was completely lost. I found the bike skills park at this point which has some fun stuff.
I think what I did was ride down Dead Moped, then North Road tail, then Jims Jungle. All that stuff is a lot of fun, nothing too technical or death defying but plenty for my skills, and some more for people with insane skills.
To give you an idea, I was able to ride over almost everything but I skipped things like long narrow log rides with 3 foot drops and short landings.
Posted By: Frost
- Thu Aug 10 18:40:27 UTC 2006
UpsideGives you a good feeling for what the NorthShore Mountains trails have to offer if you ride Nicole's. DownsideQuite the ride up to the beginning of the trails unless you shuttle to the top of SFU. CommentI would recommend riding with good protection if you are riding these trails. First time riding Burnaby Mountain but I found it really enjoyable. Good place to practice downhill tech.
Posted By: KaLiStO
- Sun May 09 01:26:56 UTC 2004
UpsideTons of fun, sharp banks, big hills... Nicole's is definitaly for advaned/expert. Same with Mel's at times. If your just starting out, Mel's is still great, just at a slower speed. I would avoid Nicole's. DownsideA bash guard (a big hunk of metal that replaces your 3rd front gear) is recommended. Also, some pads and a full face if you plan on falling. Still tons of fun.
Getting back UP the hill... Bus works if you are carless. CommentAwesome. I was expecting what came, seeing I went in shorts and a t-shirt... I'm average, and it was tons of fun. I rode a hardtail down the whole hill which didn't seem to be a problem, although you will see quite a bit of full suspension bikes.
Trail is in good condition, and there seems to be more work being done to it. Tons of drops and some LONG log rides. If your unprepared for that, there's always a small detour! Happy trails.
Posted By: Freeskier
- Sun Aug 17 19:40:45 UTC 2003
UpsideNicholes Trail is really good, really fun trail, I also like upper snake hill. The trails at SFU university are fun for working on your skills at downhill biking, also they have a little sorta training area, they have some beams for balancing, and they got some really fun see-saws there. DownsideThe trails are probaly gone in awhile, they are destroying the forest to build a new area of homes and condos :( CommentGO THERE AND SEE FOR YOURSELF, you will be quite surprised to find that they are not the easiest trails.
Posted By: Matthew
- Sun Jun 29 04:44:21 UTC 2003
Upsidegreat riding on nicoles Downsidenicoles pole needs some work Commentdoes anybody know how to get to the skinny trail on burnaby mountain? if u do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted By: mtoonsdale
- Sun Oct 13 00:29:06 UTC 2002
UpsideFun ride, for the most part. Climbing the mountain gives you a good workout. DownsideGoing down the hill without parting company with your bike several times is next to immposible for a beginner like me. CommentI'll defenitely do it again. It seems like it'd be great for building the skills that I don't have. A full face helmet would be nice for those bad spills, which could definitely occur here.
Posted By: AmyDoll
- Fri Jul 05 15:57:28 UTC 2002
Upsiderecent work has made Nicole's Pole easier to ride and for the air seeking junkies, there are a few new ramps added off the side of the trail in Mels and Nicoles, small hucks but makes the trail more interesting
Posted By: gary
- Fri Oct 26 22:14:08 UTC 2001
Commentfun, fun, fun... The basic ride shown on the maps here is my favourite. Park on North Road; take Dead Moped than up Joe's through SFU, down Mel's & Nicoles and back to North Road. About 1.5-2 hours of fun riding that's not too difficult.
There's been some trail work by the Burnaby Mountain Bike Club of questionable necessity, but I guess that's the price for being able to retain access to these trails.