Ptarmigan Recreation Site
The Ptarmigan Recreation Site trails lie in the Wetzin'kwa Community Forest near Ptarmigan Road. There are currently two trails in the network: Huckin' Eh and Pump Daddy.
To access the trailheads, drive towards the ski hill on Hudson Bay Mountain Road and turn left on Ptarmigan Rd. Turn right on the Wood Creek Mainline near the end of Ptarmigan. You will see a pullout on your left about 200 metres up the road. You can either park here or shuttle up the Mainline to the trailheads. Both Huckin' Eh and Pump Daddy start 2.7 km up the road to your left - just before the gate.
Huckin' Eh opened in early 2009. This trail epitomizes flow and is suited for most abilities. There are two large stunts on Huckin' Eh — a large drop and a committing slab run off a boulder — but both have ride-arounds.
The trail ends at a junction with a quad trail. Take a left to get back to the parking area at the bottom of Wood Creek Mainline. Partway up the quad trail you will see another quad trail that takes off to the right. Follow this one if you want to finish off on Whistler Rd.
Pump Daddy was completed in late 2010. It is a machine-built trail with so many berms and tabletop jumps that you will think you're riding in a bike park. When the trail changes to more old-school singletrack, keep your eyes open for the cliff-side trestle to wall-ride combo near the bottom.
The trail ends on the same quad trail as Huckin' Eh.
The Bluff Recreation Site
Duthie Access Trail (Boardwalk trail) is the aptly-named access to the Bluff. Hundreds of meters of boardwalk make the once slippery and muddy access to the Bluff a joy to ride and behold. This trail/bridge is popular with many user groups and is suitable for riders of all abilities. Respect other trail users and ride in control at all times. The trail beings at an unofficial parking lot on CN Land, and exits onto the Bluff Road right near the bottom on Apocolypse.
Uptrack is a 3 km long trail offers riders a pedal-able route to the top of the Bluff and an easy ride down for novice riders. There are some challenging switchbacks and sustained grades sure to elevate the heart rate of even the fittest rider on the way up, and provide just enough challenge to be fun for novice riders on the way down. Downhill bike traffic must ride in control and keep speeds moderate at all times, as uphill riders have the right of way and the trail is very popular with hikers and walkers. Be respectful of other users and enjoy the grind on the way up and the smooth flow on the way down. Access is from the Bluff Road just above the exit of Penetralia. The trail also intersects the Bluff road at the Q1 junction and the top of Longway.
Cross Country Trails
Longway is another way to access the top of the Bluff, and is a moderate ride down for all riders, with a few technical sections. Watch out for two way traffic! There are lots of switchbacks, which makes for a less sustained ride up than Uptrack. From Longway you can connect to the other cross country trails (All Screwed Up leading to Meanstreak and Back in Black, and Soul Stipper leading to Stiff Upper Lip). You can cross back over to the Q junction by taking a big bridge to the right about half way up, and crossing Bug Block road back to Uptrack, or carry on to the top of Longway and join Uptrack there to continue to the top of the Bluff.
All Screwed Up
Upper Remembrance Day
Auntie Flo is fast, flowy and fun for riders of most abilities. The upper section offers technical corners, moderate steeps and flowing straights. Access is via the ‘P’; junction. The entrance to the trail is on the right just after the entrance stunt of Four Horseman. The lower section of Auntie Flo offers riders an assortment of low boardwalks, a teeter totter, some low A frames and a couple small jumps. The lower section of the trail can be accessed from the ‘Q’ junction via the Old Bluff trail or Smoothie for those who don't have the energy or time to do a full lap. The lower section of Auntie Flow crosses and shares a section of Smoothy. Use caution when entering this section of trail and yield to riders descending Smoothy. After joining Smoothy, take a right to stay on Auntie Flo, and enjoy some fun flowy berms (updated in 2017!) before joining lower Auntie Flo. The trail exits onto the Bluff Road just above the junction to the Boardwalk trail. Be aware of and yield to other riders and trail users on the Bluff Road.
Lower Auntie Flo was created in 2016 with funding from the Rotary Club of Smithers. It is a fast, flowy and fun way to finish off any ride on the Bluff. It can be accessed from Auntie Flo, from Penetralia (take a left when you cross the machine groomed trail near the bottom), or from Uptrack - take a right near the beginning of Uptrack where you see the Rotary Club sign. This makes a great way to finish off a cross-country ride on All Screwed Up or Longway, and is a fun short loop for little shredders!
Penetrailia is Bluff’s easiest trail, which is still rated as a blue square. “Penny” offers flowy singletrack on a moderate grade that is suitable for riders of almost any ability. Small A frames and log rides keep beginner riders challenged and on their toes. A large ride-over offers challenge to riders of intermediate to advanced ability. Access to Penny is from the “Q” junction. Penny exits onto the Bluff road a short distance above the exit of Auntie Flo.
The Shining is simply a Bluff classic. This trail combines most of what the Bluff has to offer into one trail. Steeps, berms, drops, stunts and skinnies keep riders of varying abilities entertained and challenged. Some of the features on this trail are big enough to be humbling. As always, look before you leap! Access to the trail is from the “P” junction. After a wooden stunt known as “237” that can be rolled or dropped, the trail heads to the right before starting its descent. A little way down the hill there’s a doubleblack cutoff to the left that leads to some steep hills and hip jumps. Continuing straight down the main trail will take you to another junction where the right branch leads back to junction “Q” (and the top of Penetrailia and Smoothy), and the right branch continues downwards. The trail crosses Auntie Flo near a skinny trestle that’s about 3 feet off the ground, and the lower section of The Shining eventually intersects and follows Apocalypse for a short section. The Shining exits Apocalypse on the left across a long log ride. There is another long log ride just around the corner. The rest of the trail is fast and flowy with smooth berms and a few floaty airs. The trail eventually intersects lower Apocalypse and delivers riders back out to the Bluff road.
Smoothie is a Bluff standby that was reborn in the fall of 2009. Fast, flowy, fun and nowhere near long enough pretty much sums this trail up. The smooth straights, tight berms and flowy airs will leave you wanting to do another lap. Access is from the “Q” junction. The trail merges into the bottom section of Apocalypse and takes riders back out to the Bluff road. Advanced riders will want to check out the “Bedpost” drop or the bigger feature to the left of Bedpost.
Remembrance Day is named after the day it was built on, this is one of the longest trails on the Bluff. It offers riders old school technical steeps with rocks and roots, intermediate log rides and some tricky corners. Access is via the ‘P’ junction, and the entrance to the trail is ~200 meters north past the entrance to Four Horseman. The top half of the trail is much steeper than the bottom half, which is actually part of the Old Bluff trail that originates at junction ‘Q’. Once you’re on the Old Bluff trail the route veers towards the right over roots and rocks, crosses an intermediate log ride over a giant puddle, and eventually spits you out at a pumphouse above Zobnick Road. From the pumphouse, riders can choose a really short steep section of singletrack known as ‘Pumphouse Hill’ that heads over the bank on the right, or the doubletrack access road. The two routes join again at a kiosk sign with a map, and rides can either cross the CN railway tracks on Zobnick road and make their way back into downtown Smithers via Railway Avenue, or head south on a hiking trail that hugs the bottom of the hillside and runs all the way back to the Boardwalk Trail (Note: you’ll pass through the edge of the CN Railyard at the base of the Grad Rock cliffs, but the trail continues on the other side!).
Four Horseman is one of the oldest trails on the Bluff. Very steep and rough, this trail should only be attempted by those with solid technical riding skills. The entrance stunt is a good indication of the level of difficulty of this trail. There are numerous off-camber turns, a difficult turn leading into a rock drop, a small gap jump, a step down and one of the roughest berms on earth. For those wanting to avoid the rock drop and gaps, there’s a ride-around trail with a few tight switchbacks that cuts off to the right, a little way down from the teeter-totter. Riders that survive the upper section are rewarded with a view of town from ‘Grad Rock’ and the fun section of trail known as ‘Apocalypse’. Apocalypse is home to a decent-sized wooden gap jump, a long log ride, a dirt gap jump, a small step up and a technical hip jump. Take a look at all of these features before hitting them, as they are all of sufficient size to humble the unwary. Apocalypse continues along the bank that the hip takes off from and eventually exits onto the Bluff Road just below the entrance to the Boardwalk trail. Be sure to check out the ‘Bed Post’ drop near the bottom of the trail -it is a great place for intermediates to hone their skills. There is also a larger feature to the left of the Bed Post drop that can be rolled or dropped according to a rider’s skill level and chosen steed.
Skitzo was built at the height of the steep, skinny, high and scary phase of mountain biking’s progression. Most of the old stunts have been removed, but steep, old-school gnar still abounds. Tired of flowy berms? Want to get waaaay out over the back tire just for old times’ sake? This is the trail for you. Access to Skitzo is just after the entrance to Remembrance Day on the access trail from the ‘P’ junction. The trail exits the Bluff at the pumphouse, near where Remembrance Day also exits. From the pumphouse, choose either Pumphouse hill or the doubletrack road that ultimately ends up at the turnaround on Zobnick road. As with Remembrance Day, riders can make their way back downtown via Railway Avenue, or back to the Boardwalk Trail and parking lot along the base of the hillside.
Piper Recreation Site
Piper Down is probably the best named trail in the valley, Piper Down launches from near the Prairie T-Bar on Hudson Bay Mountain. It is best known for its gap jump over the crash site of a Piper airplane. To access the trailhead drive up the ski hill road until you can’t drive anymore and park in the parking lot. There is a short hike-a-bike to your left up towards the large “ski cabin” at the top of the hill. The trail leaves from the top of the knoll and is marked. It finishes in the clearcut which is accessed off of Hudson Bay Mountain Rd, on the left just abouve McDonald Lake Rd. cutoff.
Piper Cross diverges to the left from Piper Down once you reach the rock slab in the clearing. This is the course for the annual Piper Cross race and includes fast single track, steep rock slabs and technical gullies. The 2nd rock slab has a ride around – look for it on the right. This trail has some exposure so ride within your limits and be safe. Both Piper Cross and Piper Down finish at the same place.
The Back Door is the longest shuttle trail in the valley. It is also the wettest around. When the weather has been rainy we do not recommend riding this trail. However, when this trail is dry it is 7km of amazing, sustained single track guaranteed to make you giggle. The top section has some wall rides and skinnies. This trail has a few advanced stunts with ride-arounds. To access the trailhead drive to Hudson Bay Mountain ski hill and park at the lodge. Follow the maintenance road under the t-bar and up to the right. Look for the trail on your right towards the top of the run.