As a local, there are two things I associate most with the Sunshine Coast: bike trails and breweries. Trail networks criss-cross the entire region, from the family-friendly Sprockids in Gibsons to the more challenging Mount Mahony in Powell River, known for its high elevation and big descents. If you're like me, there's nothing better than finishing your ride with a pint of something delicious or bubbly. And we're spoiled for choice here, with five breweries and three cideries all situated within close proximity to varying trail networks. Here's my guide to pairing the Sunshine Coast's best trails and ales.
Bikes, Then Beer
A word of caution: nothing kills your fun more than a trip to the hospital. The best way to cap off your day—and visit to the Sunshine Coast—is in one piece. That means you should always ride first (and within your comfort level), and drink second. When you do partake, enjoy responsibly and in moderation. If you plan to have more than one or two drinks, arrange a designated driver or alternative transportation. Coastal Rides is a local rideshare service and Sunshine Coast Tours arranges custom charters. BC Transit buses come with a two-bike rack if you're busing.
Most of the best riding on the Coast happens off-road, but if you find yourself needing to ride on or cross Highway 101, do so cautiously. The highway services the entire Sunshine Coast, linking all of its communities, and during peak times is very busy. If you're riding on the shoulder of the road, keep single file. Locals are welcoming and accommodating, but remember that this highway is used by residents to commute, access important medical services, and more. Holding up traffic isn't in the local rider's code of conduct.
I prefer to keep off the main road and instead map alternate routes. Lower Road, which links Gibsons to the village of Roberts Creek, is a gradual flowy descent on a quieter street that runs parallel to Highway 101. The route to Sunday Cider requires some highway riding, but you can minimize your time on asphalt by keeping to back farm roads.
Persephone Brewing & Sprockids Mountain Bike Park, Gibsons
This classic pairing has a few things going for it. First, the brewery sits a mere one-kilometre from the Sprockids trailhead. Second, they're both located up the hill from the BC Ferries Langdale terminal, making this a doable day trip with your bike from the city—no driving required. There's even a connecting trail that links the ferry terminal to Sprockids. It's uphill so you're in for a climb, but that just means your return trip to the ferry is a guaranteed downhill descent.
Sprockids itself is home to nearly 15-kilometres of trails. The elevation in the park isn't high, so you don't have far to climb. (Bonus: a new uphill trail was recently punched in, making access even easier.) All trails are designed to loop back to the park centre, so you can mix and match all day for maximum fun. Downhill options like Doug's Detention and Fuzzy Hugs come with some classic features like berms and step-downs. Connecting trails like Flume and Pineapple Express are a mix of cross-country and rolling pumptrack. There are some techier trails including Technical Ecstasy and Check Minus, and a skills park for younger or newer riders to learn on. For me, the final lap of the day takes me down Stewart Road and straight into the parking lot of Persephone Brewing for a cold, tasty pint. This beer farm is an ideal post-ride spot. There are 11 acres to hang out in, burgers to crush, backyard games to play, a bookstore to peruse, and live music to take in.
Tip: If you prefer to start, not end, your ride with a climb, I suggest parking in the Visitor Info Park, located on Stewart Road between Sprockids and Persephone Brewing. This way you can park and ride without taking up space at the brewery (it's a popular spot with minimal parking) and avoid the hilly climb back up Stewart to Sprockids. Don't park on Stewart Road itself—it's a residential neighbourhood.
Tapworks Brewing & The 101 Brewhouse & Distillery via The Mahan Trail, Gibsons
There are a number of connecting trails tucked between Upper Gibsons along Highway 101 (Gibsons Way) and Gower Point Road, which runs parallel to the ocean from Gibsons Landing to Bonniebrook Beach. Mahan Trail runs north-south, while the flat, forested multi-use trails of White Tower Park loop behind the curling rink and aquatic centre. When combined, these trails make for an easy, fun rip. My go-to, post-work lap is the Mahan loop, largely because it offers a mix of everything—ocean views, chill gravel, beach stops (if you want 'em) and two breweries—and it connects lower to Upper Gibsons in one easy loop. The best thing about this route is that it can be biked in any direction and you can start or end from either brewery. Either way you'll find rolling hills, a short, punchy uphill climb, and craft beer.
I typically start from Tapworks Brewing in Gibsons Landing and head southwest along Gower Point Road towards Secret Beach. The access to the trail is located a few hundred metres past the beach on the right. From here, it's a gradual climb via Mahan Road until you reach the interconnecting trails of White Tower Park, which will exit you into Upper Gibsons from either Mahan Road or Shaw Road. Either way, you're a short pedal from The 101 Brewhouse & Distillery where you can sip on an easy drinking pale ale or lager and replenish with food on the patio. To get back to lower Gibsons, take the bike lane east and ride downhill along Gibsons Way, which ultimately ends up behind Tapworks Brewing. The view from Tapworks patio overlooks the harbour, Keats Island, and mountains of Howe Sound—one of my favourite views on the Coast.
Tip: Inglis Trail, which connects Stewart Road in lower Gibsons to Shaw Road in Upper Gibsons, is an alternative to Mahan and features short switchbacks. If you prefer to stay off-road altogether, take Mahan Trail up, over to Shaw Road, and down along Inglis Trail back into lower Gibsons for a fun loop with minimal asphalt.
Sunday Cider & Banditry Cider Farm Loop, Gibsons
When you're not feeling gravel or trail, there's some decent road riding to be found in Gibsons. The town's relatively flat, rural farmland is ideal for cruisey laps, and even better when you can end your ride at a cidery. Like the Mahan Loop above, this is a choose-your-own-journey. There are endless places to start and ways to tackle the route, depending on how far you want to ride and what cideries (or both) you plan to hit. I suggest parking in the Visitor Info Park on Stewart Road.
Option one: From here, head along the highway until you hit Reed Road, then take a right. Follow this road for two kilometres before taking a left on Henry Road, then a little further on, a right along Russell Road continuing through to Burton Road. Turn right at the intersection, and from there it's only 750 metres along Highway 101 until you hit Sunday Cider. Add a cider buffer into your route—Sunday makes some of my favourite cider in BC (ok, pretty much anywhere), so you'll want to sample a full glass. The ciders are dry, experimental and downright delicious, erring more on the side of funky and very drinkable pet-nats.
Option two: Making your way to Reed, ride until you hit Payne Road. Take a left and continue straight through the intersection of Pratt Road and Highway 101 (it's where the IGA grocery store is located) until you reach Banditry Cider. If you're in need of a mid-ride rest, Banditry's sprawling picnic area is ideal for kicking back and relaxing. Grab one of the lounge chairs, count the ducks wandering the property, and replenish with water and some seriously good cider. When you're ready to ride again, you could continue south until you hit Fircrest, take a left, then connect to the Mahan Road trail system. From there, bike until you meet up with Gibsons Way once more and en route back to your vehicle.
Tip: If you plan to do both cideries, make sure to leave enough time at each cidery until you're hydrated and sober and ready to ride. Want to finish your ride in an epic way? From Pratt Road, head along Gower Point and onto Bonniebrook Beach for sunset views from the beach. Just be warned: it's hilly on the way back.
The Wobbly Canoe and B&K Trail System, Roberts Creek
B&K is a huge and super fun trail network in Roberts Creek. There are trails for every type of rider and ability, from jump lines to mellow green trails to steep, rooty and rocky sections. You can climb these trails, but I prefer to shuttle for lap after fun lap. Mach Chicken is probably the most popular trail and for good reason: a fast, flowy line, it starts from a steep roll that chutes you through a narrow section linked by berm after berm and then into the bottom half of the run, featuring a couple of big drops and jumps. Don't worry, they're well-marked and both have ride arounds for those not looking to go full send.
But your best option for tackling trails here is to just… ride! Ask locals and other bikers on the trail for their recommendations, or explore and find the fun for yourself. There's nothing better than stumbling across a trail you might not have otherwise known about—then getting to ride it again on your next lap. Once your hands and muscles are sufficiently tuckered, pack up your car and head straight to The Wobbly Canoe in Sechelt. It's the perfect sunset spot with west facing views, a large patio that sits adjacent to the ocean, and highly crushable drinks and food. You'll find local beers on tap and a menu of classics, including the Wobbly burger with shoestring fries, and my favourite: the poke bowl. It's only available in summer, so don't miss out!
Tip: After dinner, cruise along the short, multi-use seawall in Davis Bay for a chill wind down. If you're brave, you can even ride out onto the wharf and jump into the ocean below for a little Wim Hof-style muscle treatment.
Coast Gravity Park and Batch 44 Brewery, Sechelt
It's hard to sum up just how fun the downhill trails are at Coast Gravity Park. The bike park is unlike any other in BC. First, it's low elevation so you can ride here year-round. Second, there's no chairlift access. Instead, shuttles are provided via a customized, open-air truck which fits anywhere from 15-20 riders. Then there's the trails. Coast Gravity was built by riders for riders and it's obvious—these are some of the flowiest, most fun, most creative examples of trail building I've seen. A series of progressive trails link into each other over 160 acres and have everything from pro-level jump lines to berm-laden blue routes to wide, smooth beginner runs. During the peak summer season, the shuttle zone is both social and scenic, offering ocean views, and a buzzy place to hang out before you catch the next shuttle.
Post-park, you can keep the good times flowing at Batch 44 Brewery, located 1o to 15 minutes away on Wharf Avenue in downtown Sechelt. Batch 44 is home to perhaps my favourite burger on the Coast: the Bayou Bite, a Louisiana-style chicken sandwich that is as good as it is huge. When I'm not feeling that, I opt for the lamb and beef gyro, an equally satisfying choice, which comes dripping with tzatziki and stuffed with onion, feta, and tomato. The beer is good too, and if you can, snag a spot outside on the sunny patio where you can enjoy your pint and people watch at the same time.
Tip: Like in Davis Bay, you can hit the multi-use seawall path for a chill post-dinner cruise. There are plenty of swimming zones along this stretch, but I suggest you cruise straight to e.b. 's Ice Cream for a scoop or two of something sweet.
Brickers Cider and the West Sechelt Trails
Brickers Cider backs onto the West Sechelt trails, a network of primarily cross-country routes and techier trails. This is a great option if you've had your fill of vert, are training for enduro, or looking or a pre-cider lap that verges on the chill(er) side. There are some fun uphill sections to navigate, plus gnarly rock rolls and pure gold—a.k.a. loam—to be found.
It's natural to wind up at nearby Brickers for happy hour. This cidery is all charm, especially on a sunny day. The orchard has picnic tables for sun seekers looking for max Vitamin D, while the covered patio provides shady respite. Any little shredders with you will find lots of space to run around, plus an old tractor which doubles as a jungle gym to play on. The food at Brickers comes courtesy of El Segundo, a popular restaurant located in downtown Sechelt. Their cidery location has options like flat breads, pulled pork sandwiches, and other snacks and small eats. The lineup of cider is just as tasty, with some varieties made from local, heritage apples. Recent faves include the Suncoaster and Cascadia.
Tip: The area around Brickers is the start of a network of logging roads—ideal for longer gravel rides—that run deep behind this part of Sechelt Inlet, making West Sechelt an area that can appeal to a group of riders each looking to find their flow.
Townsite Brewing and the Duck Lake Trails, Powell River
Powell River is my least-ridden trail network on the Sunshine Coast, so I can't vouch for individual trails, but what I do know is you can't go wrong. Take it from Trailforks instead, who has this to say about the area:
"Some of the best loamy rides in the west, hundreds of kilometers of singletrack and no crowds. Powell River charges onto the mountain bike scene with challenging, technical and fast trails through rainforest. Maintained by a thriving scene of committed local riders and trail builders, Powell River mountain biking trails are blowing visitors away with the amazing quality and volume of singletrack."
The best place to gather intel on where to ride though? Townsite Brewing. The town's only brewery, this is where locals gather for post-ride tailgate cheers or on rest days. Chat up friendly riders for the beta on trails over a pint of the brewery's Belgian-style beers or sessionable classics like the Zunga Golden Blonde. The hardest part about riding in Powell River is actually choosing where to ride. For epic descents and longer lines, you'll want to hit Mount Mahony, but for those times when you want a sustained cross-country ride, head to the Duck Lake Trails. You'll find mostly blue trails here, ideal for both new and established riders, where you can push lap after lap of fast and fun singletrack. Some of the most popular trails at Duck Lake include W8, Aloha, Bob's Yer Uncle, and Death Rattle.
Tip: Townsite Brewing, located in the historic Townsite neighbourhood, is situated close to the Millenium trails, another network of multi-use paths that you can bike, jog, or walk on. If you're short on time, or looking for a more leisurely lap to stretch your legs, these would make a good option—followed by a trip to the brewery of course.