Trail design can sometimes be a pretty complicated endeavour. One must balance many considerations when adding new trail to an existing network. This includes the basics like user types, difficulty level, existing trails, and the ever present question of sustainability. Furthermore, different types of terrain provide additional challenges; a beginner trail in rooty and rocky terrain can require significant effort.

Enter Mt. Sumas in Abbotsford. BC. The dense rainforest type terrain is moisture rich with plenty of small streams, low lying wet areas, and steep hillsides. The type of trail that dominates Sumas is North Shore style technical and steep, with, until recently, very little to offer beginner riders. One reason for this is simply that designing beginner trail in a dense, steep forest is quite difficult.

The Fraser Valley Mountain Bike Association, however, has realized the lack of beginner trail options and recently commissioned a new trail to meet this need. Called Squid Line, the new trail is a flowy and fast beginner friendly piece of singletrack that is great fun to ride. Whether you’re an advanced rider looking for flow or a newbie trying to figure out what mountain biking is all about, Squid Line will deliver.

The small section of singletrack that we designed and help build was a testament to the challenges of building beginner friendly trail in difficult terrain. Limited by large undulations and sumps, massive roots, and a wet flat area below, we had to creatively arc the trail through the hillside while avoiding areas that would make the trail more difficult or unsustainable. The project was a great example of what builders on Mt Sumas have been dealing with; balance. Balancing the terrain challenges with intended trail users and difficulty.

Special thanks to Metro Vancouver Regional Parks and the FVMBA for inviting us, and to Rec Sites and Trails BC for attending!