We learned about Burns Lake through the Video “Not Another Ghost Town” and loved the combination of biking, camping and the swimming dock. Having no real idea what to expect, we stuck it on the list and are now raving supporters of this mountain biking community…
We rolled into town on Friday around lunch time and made it up to Boer Mountain with only one small wrong turn. If you are actually paying attention to the signs it shouldn’t be an issue – trying to turn our adventure rig in traffic sometimes results in a missed sign 🙁 Boer Mountain is 3 km outside of town and it’s an easy access road to drive. The campground (free) is right off the main parking lot and there are a handful of car camping sites, 12+ walk in tent sites around Krager Lake and a large parking lot for RV’s to find a home in. There are no amenities and it’s “Pack-in / Pack-out” with respect to garbage etc. so it’s important to be self contained.
Right off the main parking lot is a very kid friendly skills park that keeps everyone occupied during any downtime.
The Burns Lake Mountain Bike Association has done an amazing job at Boer Mountain. It is truly a community resource that has something for riders of all types, styles and skill levels. It is also a perfect family facility and the 2km trail around Kager lake is a great place to get your riding started. It is a dirt trail that starts right from the campground, with small ups and downs and parallel boardwalk trails to keep things fun.
Next up is the trail network over at the Bike Park. It is a series of cross country and light downhill trails, nothing more than a couple of kilometers in length and they all start and finish from the Bike Park itself. The loops were just the right length to keep Hunter motivated and not overwhelmed with the climbs to get back up the hills. The bike park skills area is another great example of family friendly – lots of low to the ground features that enable everyone to challenge themselves while also providing some stretch opportunities as well. One of our favourite trails on this side of things was Smells Like Bacon, which is marked as a black diamond but we found very manageable and it is chock full of boardwalks, tabletops and small downhill sections.
One of the best parts of biking at Boer Mountain (rebranded as “BOAR” hence all the Pig like trail names) is the lake at the end of the ride. Both Friday and Saturday we ended our day by launching ourselves off the dock and into the water. Absolutely refreshing.
The other best part was the people that we met – a super big thanks go out to Ken from Burnt Bikes, as well as Pat and Susan from BLMBA. Everyone we met on the trails was so friendly and supportive and didn’t hesitate to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for mountain biking.
Saturday morning we were up and into town early to deal with a flat trailer tire. This meant we were ready to hit the trails by 10:00 am and decided to drive the truck to the top of Boer Mountain to catch the downhill trails. Our first run down (top to bottom) was Charlotte’s Web, Waterlew, Fire Crew, When Pigs Fly and BTweaked. The top of Charlotte’s was a bit tough as Hunter is still adjusting to his larger bike and the tight switchbacks were a bit uncomfortable for him. He was rewarded with the 800 meters of boardwalk on Waterlew and we loved the view point at the end of Waterlew. We were all hooting and hollering when we hit the lower section of Pigs Fly and understood exactly why it is their signature trail!
The best part was when we hit the parking lot and saw the Burnt Bikes shuttle van… on most Saturdays through the riding season, the staff of Burnt Bikes and some BLMBA volunteers run a shuttle van up the mountain. You pay by donation and it’s another great example of the community mindedness of Burns Lake. We hopped on the chance for a shuttle to the top and did When Pigs Fly from top to bottom. It is a MUST DO ride for anyone. It’s like a pump track that runs sideways down the mountain – nothing but berms and tabletops with gravity helping you along… All 3 of us had grins from ear to ear.
Our last shuttle ride to the top had us itching for more so we hooked up with Susan (local BLMBA biker) who was testing out their new EPIC trail from the top. It’s been 2 years in the making and they started from the bottom so the top section is just in the last stages of completion. FULL DISCLAIMER – this was a BAD parental decision, resulting from the absolute mountain biking highs of the past 24 hours. The EPIC trail (not yet opened to the public) started with a ride down a boggy cat track that was more hike than ride, a short bush wack and then 5km of very fresh trail. Overall we rode 18km of down/up/across/down trail and it took us just over 3 hours. We had tears, we had grumps and we had smiles. We even had an amazing burst of energy when we were close to the end. It will be a fabulous trail when it is burnt in next year. They are hoping that the entire 30km circuit will become BC’s 3rd certified “EPIC” trail and it’s definitely got all the right pieces – technical, view points, surrounding amenities. We would not recommend it for anyone with kids below the teen level. This is Tim and Hunter “resting” about half way down…
We couldn’t head out this morning without doing one more run down When Pigs Fly. To keep things simple, I shuttled the boys up on the ATV (which Tim has of course decked out to work as a bike shuttle) and then went for a very enjoyable walk around the Kager Lake trail. Smiles all around for everyone.
Soooo – be sure to put Burns Lake on your Mountain Biking itinerary and be sure to stop and visit Ken and Dave at Burnt Bikes.