Maus-Sunken Creek Trail

A backcountry epic that puts the mountain back in biking. Expert riders and masochists only!

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Total Ride: 35km

Singletrack: 30%

FSR: 45%

Pavement: 25%

Ascent/Descent: +/- 1500m

Season: mid-July until fall.


Where to start:

There are a few options and some, or a lot, of shuttling is possible although the driving is slow and rough. Ride, suffer, enjoy! For the hardcore riding the complete loop, begin by parking along the gravel road that leads to Horseshoe Lake and the Sunken Creek Trailhead. This road is located 11km south of Fort Steele on the Wardner-Fort Steele Road.

The ride:

Ride the pavement north 9km and turn right on to the Maus Creek FSR. Ride up the road past the Mt. Fisher trail to its end at the Maus Creek tarns trailhead. Continue up the trail for about 1.5km to the first of the old mine ruins and turn right onto the signed trail to Horseshoe Basin/Sunken Creek. Now it gets steep and if you haven’t been pushing your bike yet, you will. Another 1.5km of very demanding climbing delivers you to the pass and a commanding view of the Kootenay River. Congrats, you have just climbed close to 1500m!

The descent to Sunken Creek and Horseshoe Lake is outrageously fun and challenging for expert bike handlers. It is 7km of steep, narrow, rocky, technical and very exposed sidehill. There are many, many locations where losing control of yourself or your bicycle will result in disaster. Ride within your limits, use extreme caution and expect the unexpected.

There are one or two spots where game trails might lead you off route. You may have missed a switchback. If things get weird, just backtrack and look for the trail markers. Two crossings of Sunken Creek lower in the valley provide refreshing breaks on a hot summer day. Watch out for horses and hikers on the Sunken Creek section.