Hornby Island

Home for many years to Bike Fest, this island provides one of the most beautiful and secluded selection of trails in BC. Stop by Hornby Island Outdoor Sports beside the Co-op for information about the trails and history of the Island. A must do for any dedicated rider.

Oh yeah – and the standard disclaimer….

Mountain Biking is a potentially dangerous sport and the user of this map agrees to use this map at his or her own risk. This map does not attempt to distinguish between public or private property or imply access to the trails. The user therefore acknowledges that the trails may be on private property and will not ride on them.

Not all trails and roads are shown.

Liability : None!

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Trail Listings

  • Mt Geoffrey Trail Map – available at Hornby Island Outdoor Sports by the Co-op

Trail Descriptions

Jeremy from Hornby Island Outdoor Sports kindly provided the following information about the vast network of trails on Hornby Island. Be sure to stop by the shop and grab your own copy of the trail map, but here’s a preview of what to expect if you get you and your trusty bike over to Hornby Island!

Riding on Hornby Island:
If you’ve never ridden here you’re in for a treat, and if you’ve never ridden off road at all then you’ve come to the right place to learn. Hornby has had a strong mountain bike community for almost thirty years, and that time has resulted in a well maintained and extensive trail network with something to offer all riders.

The majority of Hornby’s settlement took place on the waterfront, leaving the interior of the island in several large pieces. There are three main pieces that make up the bulk of the islands public lands; Mount Geoffrey Regional Park, Mount Geoffrey Escarpment Provincial Park, and a large Crown Land Reserve. It is in these areas that most of our trails dwell.

The smooth nature of many of our trails is due to two things, a low annual rainfall, and good riding habits. If there was ever a time to practice not skidding this is it. Hornby’s dry climate helps cut down on water erosion in the winter, but in the summer it means that our trails are dry and easily chewed up by careless riding. Hornby’s terrain lends itself to smooth rolling hills with minimal erosion, and you can help keep it that way.

The majority of the trails on Hornby were constructed and are maintained by cyclists, and as a result most are well suited to bikes. One of the things that we are striving for is a comfortable relationship between cyclists, hikers, and equestrians, and as bikes can travel at great rates of speed and in relative silence it is important for cyclists to ride with care. Northwind and Cold Deck are the trails that most of the pedestrian and equestrian traffic use to access the top of Mount Geoffrey, so to avoid an unpleasant mishap, please limit speed to 20km per hour on these trails. They are wide fire access roads and not very exciting for a bike anyway.  For a more enjoyable down route we suggest using Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride to Tadpole and No Horses.

The mountain offers some fantastic walks for all levels of fitness and ability. The Rain Forest Trail walking loop starts at the Lea Smith entrance and passes through an especially attractive area populated by some of the island’s remaining first growth trees. This trail is for walkers only as it is especially sensitive. Also starting from Lea Smith is the Cliff Trail, and although the beginning of this route presents quite a steep climb, the view from the cliff further up is worth it. All of Mount Geoffrey’s trails are open to walking, however there are some that were built primarily as bike routes. It is important to remember when encountering a cyclist on these narrow trails that it is far easier for a pedestrian to step to the side than for the cyclist to go off of the path to avoid the pedestrian.

It is important for equestrians to stay on the multi-use trails only. These trails are Northwind, Summit, Colt’s Foot, and Cold Deck. These are the only trails that are capable of handling the impact of horses’ hooves and to ride on any others within Mount Geoffrey Park is against the park bylaws. Unfortunately, the majority of the smaller single-track trails are just too soft. The five trails that are open to equestrian traffic do offer some excellent rides. An ideal journey would be to ride up Northwind and Cold Deck, leave the horses in Heli-site Two and walk to the cliff edge for a stunning view, then remount and head back down to exit either at the Fire Hall or Slade Road. Heli-sites One and Two provide an ideal meadow to tether a horse so that the riders may explore the cliff edge. It is very important that horses not be taken on any of the cliff trails.

The Trails:

Non-Motorized Road Side Trails
Some of the major roads on Hornby have parallel pedestrian and cycling paths. These 4 foot wide gravel paths accommodate two way traffic and are an especially nice way to travel with small children. These trails run between the Cardboard House Bakery and the Ringside Market along Central Road and from the Ringside Market almost to Helliwell Provincial Park along St. John’s Point Road.

Beaver Slide • Intermediate • 600 m
Beaver Slide leads from Strachan Road at the creek crossing to Summit trail at the intersection of Bench, Summit and Beaver Slide. The first 400 meters from Strachan road are gently sloped but the final 200 meters are quite steep and wet in winter. There is a fork to the lake shore that crosses onto private property.

Bench Trail • Beginner • 2.5 km
Bench tail is a fast well packed superhighway of a trail with a fantastic cliff-top view of the Beaufort range on Vancouver island. From Summit, the first stretch of 400 metres gains 60 metres of elevation making it one of the steepest climbs on the island. The stretch from Euston Road/Outer Ridge to Mount Road is fairly fast and fun but look out for other users, Bench is a popular trail.

Bitchin’ Camaro • Advanced • 800 m
Drops steep and fast off Northwind Trail into a rocky rooty winter water course then over the lip of the bank  and off a log drop before curving through alders to join Slick Rock trail.

Beulah Creek Trail • Beginner • 1.1 km
Beulah Creek Trail runs along an old logging road from Colt’s Foot Trail to the top of Slade Road – It is a fun ride both ways. The trail runs over boardwalks through some low wet areas and offers some good viewing of ferns, alder forest and general low-land terrain.

Chris and Brad’s • Beginner/Intermediate • 690 m
Chris and Brad’s is a good piece of fast & twisty single-track with a steep hill near the top. Take Chris and Brad’s from Test Tube down and continue straight on to No Horses Trails for a wicked, swoopy finish to any ride. Fastest time for both trails is 1:48 set by Irah Vet. Think you can beat it?

Cliff • Beginner to Advanced • 3.2 km
Cliff has everything and a lot of it is steep. From the park entrance at Lea Smith Road it immediately starts up the steepest hike-a-bike scramble on the island. Because a long stretch of Cliff Trail is closed to bikes (safety concerns) riders must use Hot Rims and Slalom. The non-bike portion of Cliff is a very steep climb popular with hikers. Once riders reconnect with Cliff at the top of Slalom they can follow Cliff to the peak of Mount Geoffrey and Summit Trail or turn off on Devil’s Kitchen or Four Dead Aliens.

Cold Deck • Beginner • 1 km
Cold Deck is part of the main route to the top of Mount Geoffrey and doubles as the main fire-access road. It makes for a nice climb with lots of room to chat and provides access to some of the best trails on the island.

Colt’s Foot • Intermediate • 2.7 km
Colt’s Foot runs along a disused logging road and at most times is quite smooth and flat. It does have a stretch of downhill between Washing Machine and Spasm Chasm that is pretty fun and technical. It is also a good climb and often chosen to start a ride.

Devil’s Kitchen • Advanced • 334 m
Devil’s Kitchen is the trail equivalent of Hobbes’ natural state of mankind–”Nasty, brutish and short”. Actually it’s not really all that nasty or brutish, but it does have one very steep part and it is short. Devil’s Kitchen is always ridden as a down. The trail has a nice flow at the beginning, then a steep section and then finishes up with some nice flow before hitting Four Dead Aliens. To follow on The Way downhill route, cross Four Dead Aliens and continue on Purgatory.

Far Side • Intermediate • 300 m
A short bit of rolling singletrack, Far Side connects Slalom and Purgatory and puts you at the top of a ridge with sweet singletrack in either direction.

Ford Cove Trail • Beginner • 3.6 km
Stretching between Ford Cove and the ferry landing at Shingle Spit, Ford Cove Trail is a great walk and easy ride. Now a Provincial park the trail is smooth, gravelled and mostly level. Very rideable, even with kids in tow or on Trail-a-Bikes or trailers. There are a couple spots where bridges have been built over creeks and these have stairs on them, so be prepared to lift the bikes, trailers or joggers up a few steps.

Four Dead Aliens • Beginner/Intermediate • 1.4 km
Four Dead Aliens is a fast, flowy trail that weaves in and out of trees on a consistent downhill slope. Multiple water bars and occasional roots add to the excitement with mini jumps all the way down. Great as a downhill but also offers an excellent single-track alternative to the Northwind/Cold Deck climb.

Free Fall • Advanced • 300 m
Originally starting out as a Trials trail, Free Fall has morphed into a 300m black diamond jump and hit trail connecting Cold Deck, Northwind and Slick Rock. Start at Cold Deck, ride the skinny if you are up for it and enjoy!

Furry Freak • Intermediate • 400 m
This trail links Northwind to Mister Toad’s Wild Ride. Intermediate climb or nice fast decent.

G.F.T. • Intermediate • 330 m
G.F.T. is an old school single-track screamer that weaves in and out of small trees on a grown-over logging road. Sadly it is very short, but it makes a great addendum to Outer Ridge.

Hot Rims • Advanced • 1 km
Running parallel to the cliff from Cold Deck to Katimavic trail this intermediate downhill trail was designed by mountain bikers for mountain bikers and is bike only, so enjoy! The trail crosses Ozzmosis and Lox’s Bagel.

Inner Ridge • Intermediate • 1.5 km
This trail is a gentle intermediate climb from Summit to Four Dead Aliens and has only one small challenging spot just before the end. Or if taken the other way it is a nice rolling traverse.

Jessie’s Trail • Intermediate • 1 km
Links Colt’s Foot to Strachan Road at the foot of Summit Trail. Green with one black downhill and a bridge crossing of Ford Creek. Originally pioneered by Sasha and his Mom this trail winds through an amazing fern bed just before it exits on to Strachan Road.

Logging Railroad • Intermediate • 1.7 km
Logging Railroad takes you from the Firehall through a moister, mistier part of the park, with plenty of ferns to land in if you stray off your bike. After winding through the lower reaches of the slope it climbs up to meet Northwind, putting you well above the worst of the Northwind grind.

Lox’s Bagel • Beginner • 620 m
Lox’s Bagel is built upon an old logging road so it’s pretty smooth and fast. Makes a nice part of a climb.

Milo’s Meadow • Beginner • 1 km
Running from Slick Rock to Spasm Chasm this intermediate rolling singletrack has a couple of steep sections but otherwise is a fine lowland trail.

Mister Toad’s Wild Ride • Intermediate • 600 m
Named after the adventerous amphibian in the The Wind in the Willows, Mister Toad’s Wild Ride came about with the help of Chris G. and Brad F. Later Tig C., Sasha L., Frank and others completed the work. Linking Heli site 2 at the top of Cold Deck trail to the trail confluence of Four Dead Aliens, Tadpole and Furry Freak this classic Hornby trail  is short (4-10min) and fun! The trail winds through small firs with some water in winter then drops rapidly down into a smooth sexy singletrack looping through alders and crossing Purgatory before plunging around a mighty cedar and out onto an old logging road. Furry Freak flashes by on the left and then suddenly you are at the intersection of yet another great downhill singletrack. Left is Four Dead Aliens straight ahead takes you onto Tadpole (son of the wild toad).

No Horses • Advanced • 1 km
Hornby Island’s flagship trail, this gem was built in the heyday of trail building. No Horses follows a creek ravine down the slope of the landscape. Swooping in and out all the way down you can get going superfast, and the flow keeps coming! Enter onto No Horses from the end of Chris & Brad’s or, if you are coming from Northwind on Washing Machine take a left at the log. At the bottom there’s a little booter onto Strachan Road, or stay left and fly through the forest beside the road to the entrance of Colt’s Foot.

Northwind • Beginner • 3.1 km
Northwind is the main doubletrack trunk to access almost all of the riding on the mountain. Heading up from the parking lot near the end of Strachan Road (Look for the North Wind sign) it traverses the back of the mountain almost to the top. Near the top it heads right along the side of the incline while Cold Deck continues up and out to Cliff Trail. Follow Northwind right to connect to Lox’s Bagel, Spasm Chasm and other classics of Hornby riding.

Outer Ridge • Intermediate/Advanced • 3 km
Outer Ridge runs from the top of Summit to Bench Trail. The kid brother of Hot Rims, Outer Ridge offers amazing views of the Vancouver Island mountains as well as a great dry down or solid climb.

Ozzmosis • Beginner • 300 m
From the Ozzi album of the same name this fun downhill or challenging climb will satisfy your urge for bats and doves.

Purgatory • Intermediate/Advanced • 600 m
This is a very fast downhill singletrack that takes you from Far Side across Mr Toad’s Wild Ride and then dumps you out on Northwind and connects to Bitchin’ Camaro.

Sawyer Trail • Beginner • 500 m
Sawyer Trail is a beginner level .5 kilometer access trail that leaves Central Road at the water tower between Seawright and Sandpiper Roads and joins on to Jessie’s Trail.

Slade Connector • Beginnner • 100 m
The top of Slade Road is one of the most popular access points for Hornby’s Trail Network. It is also the one nearest to the Bike Shop. Slade Connector is a short climb past the entrance to Buelah Creek Trail and up to Colt’s Foot Trail.

Slick Rock • Intermediate/Advanced • 1 km
Slick Rock descends from Northwind and connects to Colt’s Foot. Named for the algae covered rocks that try to toss one into the creek-bed this trail is very challenging in winter and a brutal climb any time of year.

Spasm Chasm • Intermediate • 643 m
Spasm Chasm runs from Yeomans down to Colt’s Foot. It is best as a down trial but may also be ridden up. Parts of the trail are built in a seasonal creek bed and this provides for some interesting riding, especially when the creek is flowing. For the true Spasm experience ride this trail in the winter at the end of your day (because you WILL get wet!).

Summit Trail • Intermediate • 2.5 km
Summit climbs from the gravel pit to Cliff Trail and overlooking the ferry landing Summit Trail is nice quick way to the top or a fun fire road downhill.

Test Tube • Intermediate • 750 m
Another fast descent, Test Tube links the top Four Dead Aliens to the top of Chris and Brad’s, and continues out to Northwind past the end of Tadpole. Test Tube has some fun, tight, off-camber turns on the way down.

Your Mom • Advanced • 450 m
This is a fun, twisting trail, full of the biggest drops and jumps on the mountain. This trail is a black diamond (very advanced) trail. The drops are 3-10 ft. But, don’t let that stop you! The trail should only be ridden downhill for all the stunts are facing that way. The trail ends up halfway down Washing Machine and is easily recognized by the jump at the bottom.

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