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Hinton, Alberta

Hinton Mountain Bike Association.  Our goal is to develop, maintain and promote the best possible mountain biking opportunities around the Hinton area, while ensuring responsible and safe practices in environmental conservation, trail construction, trail maintenance and riding.

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Filtering by Tag: Hidden Gem

Hidden Gems: Ranger



This week's gem has been a popular riding choice to many for the past few weeks.  I have had the opportunity to have a good chat with HMBA's Trail Coordinator, Kevin Myles, and hope it will be a testament to just how much goes into adding trails to our amazing trail systems.

Location: Happy Creek Trail System, connects EZ Lookout and GS.

Difficulty: Intermediate

Type: Singletrack

Description:  Like a Ranger patrolling the bush, scouting trails, scanning for wildlife, and keeping quads off protected areas, so too can you experience HMBA newest singletrack!

A pedally 2.4 kilometer trail that connects the EZ viewpoint with the GS trail in the greater Happy Creek trail system. Ranger has a different challenge depending on which direction you ride it with something new around every corner. As the trail is still new, your keen tracking skills will be useful for navigation and looking for flags on important corners.

Built with the help of the Alberta Junior Forest Rangers in the summer of 2014, Ranger is a fitting tribute. Also, if you’re into geo-caching, look for the cache that the JFR’s created near the EZ viewpoint. 

Directions:  There are two main ways to access this trail.  The northern trailhead is found off the spur trail for the EZ Lookout, a favorite lookout spot after going up The J.  The second connects from Halloween and a fun downhill extension with the GS trail. 


Q & A with HMBA's Trail Coordinator

HMBA: How did you decide to build where you did?

Kevin:  In talking with Tim Trahan, the previous HMBA Trail Coordinator, during our master trail plan meeting about the potential GS connector and how the EZ Viewpoint is such a good spot. Normally you climb to the EZ viewpoint, take the Halloween connector and then rely on the pipeline/cutlines to link together with the other trails. It made sense to consider a new trail using the interesting terrain below to connect a longer perimeter style trail with the other dead-ends. The next step was to get TFA (basically permission to build) from AESRD.  Tim guided me through the proposal and I gathered a rough trail location using map imagery, submitted the legal land coordinates and a description of the trail type, features and purpose and it was ultimately approved.

HMBA:  How did you pick the route?

Kevin:  Just started walking in the bush, looking at terrain, drainages, forest types, existing game trails, etc. Walked different sections and flagged what made sense.  Tried to use side hills and elevated areas to maximize the terrain and stay out of wet/low areas.  Linking tricky sections together, usually the hardest part, especially when there is no obvious route. Trying to minimize disturbance, avoiding cutting green trees, sensitive areas etc.  Using natural terrain features and grade reversals for good water drainage and staying within the IMBA guidelines as much as possible.

HMBA:  Did you do a lot of re-routes?

Kevin:  Not really, there’s still a lot of cool terrain to work with though.  I want to link to a new viewpoint and fix a few T corners.  Tim provided good feedback, like avoiding high-traffic game trails, hiding sightlines etc.

HMBA:  What were the biggest challenges?

Kevin:  Running out of time with the end of the season looming and without volunteer support to dig the trail down to mineral soil.  Having to rely on people riding it –which is great in the short term but may lead to more maintenance later as roots expose and corners and hill challenges get beat up.  More chainsaw work was needed to remove potential deadfall to lessen potential future maintenance.

HMBA:  What was the best part of building this trail?

Kevin:  The best part is yet to come!  More speed as it hardens up and we get familiar with the route.

HMBA:  Tell me about the volunteer support

Kevin:  The unsung hero is Gabby Lyons: she gets dragged out to work on every on-going HMBA project (sometimes willingly haha) and a normal ride will mysteriously turn into trail maintenance. Like after building Vigilante last year and having to hike out as many tools that we could pack or carry out in the snow. Also had a few organized trail days attended by HMBA members and the odd trail fairy clear a section of trail. Then of course the involvement of the Junior Forest Rangers -more later. So much more happens than what appears on Facebook.

HMBA:  Which way should we ride it?

Kevin:  Both ways. From Halloween and down GS, it continues the downward grade to the pipeline. Then steady mixed terrain and gradual climb to the viewpoint.  The ride from the EZ  out to GS is a bit more of a grunt on the last section. The goal was to have this trail link together with other trails back there and utilize more terrain and avoid using cutlines and pipelines. It makes for better loops, tying into Vigilante or longer rides along the perimeter.

HMBA:  How were the Junior Forest Rangers (JFR’s) involved?

Kevin:  The JFR’s were the big motivation for the trail. They have approached HMBA for several consecutive years now requesting projects where the JFR leaders can work and learn. So the building of the GS extension was the perfect fit and we organized 3 days of work on the extension (and one day on Jack’s). The JFR’s used this project to learn how to use GPS’s and maps to navigate to the site. They hiked from the beaver boardwalk in full nomex coveralls with tools and packs. They learned about the history of HMBA, our partnerships with land managers and the importance of outdoor recreation and tourism to the area.  They Learned trail building techniques and got hands-on experience with tools such as polaski’s and mcleod’s. In total the JFR crews put in approximately 300 hours on this trail this summer on the first 0.5 kilometer of the trail.  In total, over 400 hours was spent building Ranger!

HMBA:  Why "Ranger"?

Kevin:  After many hours of discussion over trail names with Julie, HMBA's VP, and whittling down some of my crazier suggestions, "Ranger" seems to be the most appropriate.   A bit ordinary maybe, but there needed to be a tie-in with the Junior Forest Rangers. They contributed hundreds of man hours so I think it's a decent connection to their contribution (and hopefully on-going partnership).


Hidden Gems: Totally Lost



This week's gem is not necessarily hidden (it can be found on current maps and signs), but may yet to be explored by those still unfamiliar with the park's network of trails.  A favorite to many, this twisty trail is a definite must when playing in the park!

Location: Hinton Bike Park

Difficulty: Beginner

Type: Singletrack

Description: This 1km flow trail keeps you guessing as it weaves and loops in all directions through the Park but don’t worry, it’s safe to leave your compass at home. Return to ride the opposite way or take “Okey Spokey” back to the start. Explore the other options such as “Gully Trail” or the new “Stinger” flow trail - another gem!

Directions: Two-way. Follow “Mid Access trail and look for the first trail on the right before the pump track to ride clockwise. Follow “Jodoin’s Journey” to the “Gully Trail” to ride counter clockwise. Are you lost yet?



Hidden Gems: Bubba's



Location: Happy Creek Trail System

Difficulty: Intermediate

Type: Singletrack

Description: Welcome to the backwoods. Pack your saw, bear spray and banjo as Bubba's is a root'n toot'n good ole remote wilderness singletrack along the outer limits of the HMBA maintained trails. Roughly 2.2 kms of mixed terrain with some navigation required on 4x4 trails and a mud bog crossing that will make your brakes squeal like a pig. Bubba's is a great extension to Phil's Thriller or Slowcooker, so grab yourself a 2014 HMBA map and go find your inner hill billy!

Wednesday Group Ride on Bubba's, Summer 2014

Wednesday Group Ride on Bubba's, Summer 2014


Direction: Bubba's can be found partway through on Phil's Thriller or across the southern entrance/exit to Slowcooker.  The suggested direction for a nice flow is starting from the Phil's Thriller intersection.


Hidden Gems: Vigilante




Location: Happy Creek Trail System

Difficulty: Intermediate

Type: Singletrack, Dowhhill

Description: Take the law into your own hands with this rowdy sub kilometer, downhill-grade, singletrack version of a high speed car chase. Tight and twisty, off camber and quick pedal sections make you earn your turns even more than the ride up. Access this from the climb up “Cleo’s”, “Halloween” or “GS” and look for the antler shed “Vigilante” sign. This trail was dedicated to founding HMBA super couple Stephen Hanus and Debbie Mucha.

Direction: Vigilante can be reached by climbing up Cleo's or Halloween Trails.  The quickest route is to follow Happy Creek West onto Halloween.  Follow Halloween past it's switchback climb.   Start on Cleo's with a quick right onto Vigilante.


Trail Background: Vigilante was built in 2013 by the Hinton Mountain Bike Association with the help of Junior Forest Ranger Leaders.   The name Vigilante is in recognition of a past president, Stephen Hanus, who's known to call his old truck "Vigilante".

Monday Ladies on Vigilante

Monday Ladies on Vigilante

Testing out a section built by the Junior Forest Rangers.

Testing out a section built by the Junior Forest Rangers.


Hidden Gems: Gasifier



Difficulty: Intermediate, Advanced

Type: Downhill Trail

Getting ready to rip down Gasifier!

Getting ready to rip down Gasifier!

Description:  A classic fall line downhill trail, nothing fancy here, leave your berms and jumps at home. Just get yourself to the bottom in one piece without gassing. Harder than it sounds, this trail is the venue for the annual AFD Gravity Cup downhill race where local rippers challenge pro and amateur racers from afar.

Direction:  Shuttle access only.  Travel South from the Bike Park on Robb Road (gravel road). Drop a shuttle vehicle at the Hardisty Creek Crossing Interpretive area. Continue and turn left onto McPherson Road until the second left. Follow the remote access road until the wellsite and find the trailhead on the NW corner. Caution: 4x4 vehicles may be required along gravel and access roads.  Please use caution when embarking and crossing the haul roads!  

Trail Background: Gasifier was built in 2012 by Nathan Friesen and many volunteers, including enthusiastic youth!   This downhill trail was built in preparation for the 1st AFD Gravity Cup in Hinton back in 2012.  This event is happening for it's 3rd year on September 13th and 14th!  Check out for more info.


Hidden Gems: Stinger


The Hinton Mountain Bike Association continually strives to promote mountain bike culture in Hinton.  The 2014 Trail Maps have been updated and released this summer, but all our trail signage updates are still on our to-do list - which we hope we can tackle in the near future.  We could always use your help! (hint hint!)

Unfortunately, some of our trails and features have not been fully explored by visitors and locals alike because they don't know it's there!   To help with this, we'll put out some posts about our 'Hidden Gems' to help all riders better explore and enjoy our great trails!

This week's Hidden Gem: Stinger

Location: Hinton Bike Park



Difficulty: Intermediate, Advanced

Type: Flow Trail - Loop

Description: Get your buzz on the Park’s newest flow trail featuring berms, bumps and quick direction changes. Swarm around the nest above, traversing the cut-banks in a 360 to where you started. Enter and exit the hive as you wish, with a return lap option at the bottom. Treat this as a mini-enduro, climbing your way to each new fastest descent. How many stages can you complete before you’re stung?

Direction: Ride from the parking lot through “Jodoin’s Journey” to the “Gully Trail”. The popular option continues right to the bottom of the rooty “Gully Trail”, with left at the wooden bridge.

Trail Background: Stinger was built in 2013 by Hoots Inc. and many volunteers.  The project was funded in part by Quality of Life grant, Hoots Inc. and HMBA.  Materials (wood) were donated by Hinton Home Hardware.  Food for volunteers was provided by Boston Pizza and Subway.

For other great trail descriptions in the bike park, visit our Bike Park Info webpage.