Every year, riders from near and far flock to the famous Galbraith Mountain. This renowned mountain biking mecca is ideal for riders of all levels looking to hone their skill on two wheels. With over 50 miles of trails, the options are seemingly endless as they meander up and down, crisscrossing and flowing through the timberland as if they had been born that way. But it’s the grit of local trail makers over the years that have shaped this mountain's soil to the pristine state it experiences today.
The famed Northwest author Tom Robbins once wrote, “The further we separate ourselves from the dirt, the further we separate ourselves from ourselves.” So with that, with every sublime singletrack, with every tight berm, with every jump and drop (manmade or not), this is how to hit all the best trails on Galbraith, all in one ride. You'll get muddy and maybe even a little bloody, but that's the way it's supposed to be on this mountain.
There are two main entrances to the trails on Galbraith. In order to maximize your time on singletracks and avoid logging service roads, as well as to get a more comprehensive ride of the whole mountain, start at the Birch Street Trailhead, on the north side of the trails . Ride up the Ridge Trail as it snakes up past gorgeous viewpoints to your first kiosk, checkpoint K... Welcome to Galbraith.
The mountain is a mix of cross country and downhill riding. From Checkpoint K, the cross country trail singletracks are rooty, technical, and surprisingly fast for both flat or uphill turns. Hop onto Cedar Dust as it rolls off into the trees. It’s a fun, all-mountain trail with two plank bridge features (neither of which are too challenging). Cedar Dust takes you to Checkpoint I, where you’ll ride service road 2400, aptly named “The Wall,” until you intersect with road 2000. You’ve got about 5 more minutes on the service road, turning uphill onto 2000 and following it right as it crests and then heads downhill to road 2050 (on your right). Crisscross back up the mountain on the singletracks all the way to Checkpoint F, riding Oily to Bottle Opener to Keystone.
Way up here, you’re staring out over all these trees, and you start to itch with the urge to fly. The ascent was superb, but the magical sensation of the upcoming descent is rivaled only by that freedom you felt as a child when you first learned to ride a bike. Coast across the Tower Trail to the official Galbraith Summit (1785 ft). Lower your seat and double-check your helmet; you’ve set yourself up to drop into the best of the mountain.
Traversing over to Stinger, drop into Evolution. It’s steep, fast, and challenging. But no matter how hard you ride it, you’ll be whooping and yelling all the way down. It pops you out onto a service road. Head left for a couple seconds, and you’ll see the pride and joy of Galbraith, an elevated plank feature that goes up and then rainbows back down, indicating the start of Unemployment Line. The perfect downhill trail, from shredders looking to rip, to beginners learning the skills of hitting double jumps and step-downs. The berms are built superbly to shoot you out of the turns. You can ride by all jumps, and it’s easy to skip any feature you don’t feel comfortable hitting. No matter how fast you ride Unemployment Line, you feel like a downhill pro, as it’s naturally flowy, and the transitions are smooth. You’ll be sad to see it end.
Come out from the trees and onto a road, heading right. Cruise until the end of the service road, passing the start of Atomic Dog (a great downhill, but save it for another loop). You’ll find yourself taking another right and slowly climbing up road 2000 again, taking a left at Checkpoint C (Blue Rock) and continuing up. It’s not a hard grind, but you'll be ready to get back on the downhill. It’s coming, don’t worry. Follow the road straight as you pass what you rode in the beginning of the ride. Rather than following 2000 right as it crests, go straight for another minute to Checkpoint G. Cruise up the trail (rd 2520) towards Golden Spike as it narrows, then takes you to a clearing in the trees. You’re back on the north side of Galbraith, perfectly primed to hit nothing but downhill the rest of your way to the car, dropping nearly 1,000 feet in elevation.
In short, from the clearing, ride Golden Spike to SST to Backdoor. But it feels like much more than just three consecutive trails. In the span of all three, you taste it all. Golden Spike focuses on single and double jumps SST mixes speed with technical jumps, step-downs, and drops, and Backdoor offers tight, fast, berms that cut up and carve the mountain like it was fresh snow. There’s a reason we’ve set this loop up to end this way. Evolution and Unemployment Line have given Galbraith’s south side the fame of downhill riding, but these three all-mountain downhills on the north side are the hidden gems. Less crowded than the south side, these trails are some of the most fun on the mountain. Just make sure, as SST ends and you pass Checkpoint L, take the first left you see, dropping through a basin and back up to the right into Backdoor. You won’t want to miss it. But shhh. It’s our secret.
At this point, the loop has come to an end. Backdoor shot you out a street away from your car - follow it down, taking Birch Falls Dr, and you’ll end up back on Birch St, beneath the trailhead. Brush the mud off, pack up the car, and head downtown to Boundary Bay Brewery for a beer and meal. The beer is handcrafted and fantastic - they have a collection of classics available at all times and they bring in a seasonal rotation as well. They even named a seasonal series after Galbraith Trails (the Cedar Dust is fantastic and aptly named). What better way to end a ride than at Boundary? Try a pint of Scotch Ale and the Beer-B-Q Pork Sandwich. Then do it all again the next day.