Some of the best XC riding in Whistler is on our doorstep. There are great big rides on the Westside, which will take you up the Flank Trail and descend 'Howler' a black trail that descends the entire side of the mountain and is quite literally 'Epic'. The pic below was taken at the beginning of the descent into Howler, and takes in the entire Whistler valley.
However, as a more gentile introduction to mountain biking Whistler / BC style, there's no better place than the trails around Lost Lake.
Situated just outside the main village the Lost Lake, can be reached by valley trail, and the bile trails that are hidden in the forest above the lake are known colloquially as the Zappa trails.
As someone who re-discovered their love of mountain biking after a 20 year absence, it is worth keeping in mind that the riding in Whistler, is among the most difficult anywhere, it is gnarly steep, is very rocky, lots of roots and therefore can be reasonably unforgiving. But with a little effort and perseverance there is something for all levels, and there is little that can compete with the natural high of greta exercise outdoors, on a bike with unparalleled scenery.
So my advice is, find your legs at Lost Lake Zappa and if your super conformable then you have a good benchmark for exploring further afield. And trust me, I am no bike expert, I am passionate about it, but i am relatively new to the sport, rediscovering its modern form in 2013. I'm fortunate to have some great biking friends to show me the ropes.
So this is a simple loop, starting at the 'Passive Haus' the entrance to Lost Lake from the village valley trail. If your driving you can park easily in Lot 5, and follow the valley trail a few hundred metres left to the Passive Haus marked at the bottom centre of the map below.
About 20 metres after going under the arch, take the wide opening on your left. You will see two trail heads. The one to the left is Peaches en Regalia and is your first trail. The one to the right can be enjoyed on a bike or on foot and traverses the park without worrying about rocks, roots, bridges, drops and rolls :)
Ascend Peaches, and feel comfortable that if you feel out of your depth you can duck out onto a normal bike / footpath at the top. If your enjoying yourself, and you've every right to, because its 'Brilliant' then go straight across into Dinah Moe Mumm, and this is pretty much how every trail ends and starts. There is an opt out if you feel you've had enough, as you cross a major trail head before diving back in.
Cross the next trail head into "Disco Boy" and from there "The Torture Never Stops"; which is not as bad as it sounds, but as you've probably gathered, these first few trails are the UP part of your ride. They are not brutally steep but enough to get your lungs and legs working hard.
Next is 'Fountain of Love' which starts to level out a little and by now you should be really enjoying yourself. You will have had a gentle introduction to the wooden bridges that help the trail to flow and cross uncrossable obstacles, and after Fountain of Love you will cross the path 'Tin Pants' and see the entrance to "Pinnochio's Furniture." As the name suggests this is a trail featuring lots of wood. It is a fun descent with some tricky but fun wooden bridges built in.
There is another descent to avoid the wooden structures, and while this is quicker, it is steeper and involves some rock rolls. Both have their fun aspects.
From here continue on into Dwarf Nebula, Zoot Alores and Toads of the Short Forest. All have some great features. Toad's ends with a super fun rock roll down to a wooden bridge which brings you out and onto 'Gee I like your pants' and 'Mr Green Genes'. By now you will have worked out that you are mostly descending. The trails are super flow, more dirt than rock, and howlingly good fun.
On passing the Disc Golf area descend into JellyRoll Gum Drops and smile all the way down to the bottom.
You will pop out by the river and see a large Map Sign. To the left is the trailhead that is the proof that Mr Newton was correct in his theory that what goes up must come down, and in mountain biking the opposite applies in that what comes down, must go back up!
Actually you don't have to. You can cross the bridge and have a slow meander along the river valley trail all the way back to the main village, or....you can go up that trail and climb back up Hooktender which will take you back into the forest trail system. Much more fun eh! Honestly, its not too bad its a 4-5 minute gentle but steady climb.
Follow Hooktender until it becomes Tommy Moore. Both trails are wide double track pea shale, and you can in fact opt to follow this trail all the way back to the Passive Haus. It involves some gentle but fun climbing and descending around the upper Lost Lake.
Along Tommy Moore however you will find the entrance to Central Scrutinizer and Treacherous Cretins. Treacherous takes you back to Toad's which is an option, but more fun to continue the loop on Central which will take you back up a little higher onto 'Packard Goose' and 'I'm not Satisfied', cross the path and up a brief steep incline onto 'Why Jonny Can't read' and you will have rolls and bridges leading you to 'Grand Wazoo' which is a rip roaring descent with some switchbacks through the stunning forest and pops you out on the other side of the lake.
From here enjoy a cool down and the scenery back to the passive haus, or....do another loop!!!
This loop is just under 10k, by adding in a few variations and trying some of the other loops, or testing yourself on challenging areas its possible to enjoy a good 2-3 hour ride of some 25-30km.
If your feeling really into it, try Comfortably Numb, a long epic trail out of the village.