This page was last reviewed on October 4, 2016.
Way back in the 1980s, a freewheeling group of Cumberland tree planters began carving mountain bike trails around the local dump. In the ’90s, those mountain biking pioneers turned their attention to the gnarly, forested hills just south of the village, where today you’ll find more than 80 kilometres of Vancouver Island’s most legendary singletrack.
Welcome to Cumberland, BC – the unofficial epicentre of mountain biking on Vancouver Island.
From Cumberland’s decidedly chill downtown strip, you’re just a few pedal strokes from loamy, rooty and lovingly maintained singletrack that ranges from fast and flowy to rugged and gnarly. Epic vistas are awarded to riders with the legs and lungs to get them there, and GPS mapping makes it easy to lose yourself in the adventure without ever actually losing yourself.
Trail access and information
To access Cumberland’s legendary trail network, park at (or ride to) the Cumberland Recreation Centre at the corner of Dunsmuir Avenue and Sutton Road. Then simply roll down Sutton Road and veer left through the yellow gate where the road curves right toward Comox Lake.
Depending which trails you choose, you’ll find combinations of flowy, forested singletrack (Space Nugget), fast, bermed descents (Bear Buns), man-made features like boardwalks and A-frames (Thirsty Beaver), or technical cross-country rides that will test your abilities and make you earn every exhilarating descent (Queso Grande). Locals ride the Cumberland trails year-round, and many trails are equipped with reflectors so they can be ridden late on short winter days.
Cumberland mountain bike culture
The hub of Cumberland’s mountain biking community is the United Riders of Cumberland (UROC). Most of Cumberland’s vast trail network is located on private land in a working forest, and UROC has played a key role in ensuring non-motorized public access. A land-use agreement signed in December 2015 formalized trail access and allowed for the expansion and improved maintenance of the trail network.
Each year, Cumberland hosts a variety of mountain bike races and events, including the BC Bike Race, Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race (MOMAR) and annual UROC-hosted enduro, cross-country, downhill and marathon races.
Après ride, Cumberland style
Had your fix of riding for the day? Cool off in nearby Comox Lake, enjoy a spirited round of disc golf – a pursuit Cumberlanders take very seriously – or explore Cumberland’s fascinating blue-collar history at its local museum and heritage sites. At the end of the day, join the locals at one of Cumberland’s notoriously friendly and seriously casual establishments and swap tales from the trails over a locally crafted pint or expertly roasted cuppa.
Wherever you find yourself in Cumberland, local riders are quick to offer guidance and advice and expertly staffed bike shops are nearby to provide everything you need to make your next ride an epic one. With several accommodation options in the heart of this supremely walkable village, it couldn’t be easier to park your car for the weekend and rediscover your happy place in one of British Columbia’s premiere mountain biking destinations.
Other Comox Valley Trail Networks
While Cumberland is the undisputed hub of mountain biking in the Comox Valley, there are several other nearby trail systems that could be worth a side trip.
Novice mountain bikers will appreciate the trails of Nymph Falls, while adrenaline junkies will get their fix at Forbidden Plateau or the lift-accessed runs of the Mount Washington Bike Park. If you don’t mind a couple of scenic ferry rides, nearby Hornby Island also offers an exhilarating network of seriously flowy mountain bike trails. A local bike shop can recommend trails and point you in the right direction!
Other useful links and sources of information:
- United Riders of Cumberland
- Mount Washington Alpine Resort Bike Park