Updated August 2022

Header photo credit: Freehub Magazine / Katie Lozancich

Late summer and early fall mean fewer crowds, moderate temps and superhero, tacky dirt – it’s a great time of year to hit the trails with your mountain bike.

Whistler’s vast and varied terrain beckons those looking to explore on two wheels. With over 300 kilometres of trails cascading through the valley, including those in the No. 1 mountain bike park in the world, there’s no shortage of riding for all levels, from beginner to expert.

A mountain biker comes down a root laden trail in Whistler's lush forest.
Roots, rocks and trees. It’s lush riding on Whistler’s trails. PHOTO OLLIE JONES

Fall Whistler Mountain Bike Park Experience

Cool temps, tacky dirt (often referred to as hero dirt), and fewer people (school is back in session) mean that the fall is a great time of year to get some action in the Whistler Bike Park.

The park is made up of four zones; Fitzsimmons Zone, Garbanzo Zone, Creek Zone (not open for the 2022 season) and Peak Zone. The opening of these zones varies throughout the season, so make sure to check the Whistler Bike Park’s hours of operation before you plan your ride.

We caught up with up-and-coming downhill rider, Jake Polito who graced multiple podiums in the under-17 category during this year’s Crankworx, for some fall riding tips.

“It’s definitely worth investing in a good waterproof rain jacket. Cold hands can be an issue when riding later in the fall, so getting a warmer, waterproof glove will be a big help. Also, when you’re cold while riding it’s easier to ride stiff on your bike which can make it more likely for you to slide on slippery roots and rocks when the trails are wet. It’s best to keep your body loose and be lighter on your bike to avoid doing this.” –  Jake Polito

The further into the fall we go the shorter the days, so you’ll see that the closing time gets earlier and earlier. This year, the Whistler Gondola stops running on September 5, and access to Top of the World finishes then too. However, you can still access the Whistler Bike Park via the Fitzsimmons Express and Garbonzo Express until October 10, 2022.

Two mountain bikers enjoy the trails in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.
No. 1 in the world – Whistler Mountain Bike Park. PHOTO HAILEY ELISE

There’s a lot to learn about the park, so we came up with two guides to help you with the basics in Whistler Mountain Bike Park 101: A First-Timers Guide and Whistler Mountain Bike Park 102: A Beginner to Intermediate Guide.

Think the bike park might only be for young guns? Think again. Take a read of Whistler Bike Park, Not Only for the Gen Zs.

Whistler Cross-Country Mountain Biking

Two mountain bike riders come down a steep rock face in Whistler.
Rock rolls galore on Whistler’s blue and black trails. PHOTO HAILEY ELISE

If you’re ready to pedal, there are multiple trail networks waiting to be explored outside of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. From the Lost Lake trails (good for beginner to intermediate riders), located right by Whistler Village, to the classic Westside cluster, and the lesser-known Whistler South section (for intermediate to advanced). Avid mountain bikers could spend weeks trying to get to them all (and do). Trailforks is a good website to navigate all these amazingly named trails. 

INSIDER TIP: A challenging blue and woodwork-full favourite among locals is Pinocchio’s Furniture at Lost Lake. Intermediate and expert riders should check out AC/DC, Beaver Pass, the rebuilt Cheap Thrills and the new Chipmunk Rebellion trail, all in the Westside section.

Bike Shop Rental Experience

Whether you’re new to mountain biking, travelling light, or want to test run something new, you can rent all the gear you need in Whistler. Whistler’s bike shops can kit you out with rental gear from head to toe including helmets, pads, gloves and a range of bikes, from e-bikes and cruisers to all-mountain, cross-country and downhill.

INSIDER TIP: It’s also good to note that if you’re heading to the Whistler Mountain Bike Park it can take quite the toll on your ride, so renting might be the better way to go even if you have your own gear.
A mountain bikers examines a trail map at Lost Lake Park in Whistler.
There are physical maps on some of the trail networks, but you can also use the Trailforks website/app or visit a bike shop and speak to the locals to help you plan your route. PHOTO OLLIE JONES

These Trails Don’t Build Themselves

We hate to break it to you, but there’s no such thing as a trail fairy; Whistler’s mountain bike trails didn’t magically appear. In fact, hundreds of hours go into building and maintaining the trails each year. You can support by donating, becoming a member and joining a volunteer trail-building night. Get the latest trail updates, know the riding code and connect with the biking community over at Whistler Off Road Cycling Association (WORCA).

Late summer and fall months are a great time to experience riding in Whistler. Fewer people, tacky trails and cooler temps – need I say more? See you on the trails!

If you have any questions, the Ask Whistler Live Chat Service is available seven days a week from 8 AM to 9 PM PST via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SMS and phone. Whistler.com also has a COVID information page for the latest updates and health advisories for Whistler.

Fall in Whistler offers great value on accommodation with rooms from $129 CAD, plus a free $100 CAD Dining Voucher when you book a stay of 3 nights or more.

Author

Hailey came to Whistler for a season and never left. Now, the local community, world-class mountain biking, and endless adventures are what keep her feet firmly planted in the mountains. When Hailey isn't writing, she can be found on a trail, photographing other athletes in action or working freelance as a digital strategist and content developer. Hailey's favourite mountain bike trail is Hey Bud on Blackcomb.