Kootenay mountain biking at it’s finest
In the late 1800’s, there were more people living in the Slocan Valley and surrounding areas than there are now. They came here aiming to strike it rich in the sub alpine mines around Sandon, Slocan, Retallack and Cody. Today, you can strike it rich mountain biking in the Kootenays.
The galena (a lead sulphide mineral) rush ended over 120 years ago, but the packhorse trails and roads once used by the miners still trace their way across the steep faces and ridge tops of the Southern Selkirks.
I parked at Three Forks and rode up Idaho Peak via the “H road” to the Sundowner trail. It’s a 1300m climb to the summit with a number of possible descents. This time I rode Sundowner, a flowy blue trail to Choices, a steep loamy black back to Three Forks.
The climb from Three Forks to the top of Reco Peak travels through two ghost towns and numerous abandoned mine sites. As I ground my way up the 1450m climb, I thought of the people who had travelled these roads before me and what life must have been like back then.
Retallack Lodge runs a Unimog powered mountain bike shuttle program in the summer and has built over 100km of trails in its tenure. Fortunately, the trails are open to the public, so I got to enjoy a 1500m descent down to highway 31A.
The single track descent mixes some exposed trails off the summit, to some outrageous single track that traverses the east face of Reco and plunges its way down through steep Selkirk forests.
The ride back to Three Forks via highway 31A is a pleasant one, passing Fish and Bear Lakes—perfect for a mid ride swim. All in all, this circuit is 71.5kms with 3,280m of climbing, it’s worth every last drop of sweat!
If your interested in rides like these, check out: