Must do Mountain Bike Ride of the Month - Rotorua, New Zealand - Billy T to Roller
Vancouver’s North Shore is known as the birthplace of freeride mountain biking. Legends such as Wade Simmons, Brett Tippie, and Thomas Vanderham all still live and ride on the ‘Shore’. Today, there has been a resurgence of trail building and the wooden skinnies and sketchy drops to flat have been replaced with more modern flowy trails that are more doable for most mountain bikers. If you are after the old school tech-gnar though, don’t worry, it’s still out there. North Vancouver, BC remains a must ride destination for any mountain biker.
The Shore is made up of West Vancouver and North Vancouver and consists of three main riding areas. Cypress, which is perhaps the gnarliest area and also very easy to access by car shuttle for downhill or enduro bikes. Grouse (also known as Fromme), which is easily accessed by pedaling up a relatively mellow grade doubletrack road and is loaded with both old and new school trails. Last but not least is Seymour, which can be accessed either by pedaling or by shuttling. Seymour has a huge mix of trails ranging from old school tech to newer school flow. It’s the only area of the three that offers anything in the way of technical climbing or xc style riding (but be warned that it’s North shore style xc…) Of the three, Grouse/Fromme is likely the easiest to find your way around if you are only in town for a day or so.
(Photos: Jordan Manley)
We recommend that you download the Trailforks app to access this map on your smartphone and use your phone’s GPS to position you on the map while you are out on the trails. This app can be used offline as long as you pre-load the maps ahead of time, making it an ideal option when traveling. You can also use the Trailforks app to navigate our ‘Must do Rides’ listed below.
Trailforks Map of the North Shore
North Shore on Trailforks.com
Must Do Rides
Click on the rides below for more details and to sync the route to your Trailfoks app.
- Bobsled, Floppy Bunny – Fromme – Beginner/Intermediate Route – 30 mins – 1+ hour
- Floppy Bunny, Griffen – Fromme – Intermediate Route – 45 mins – 1.5+ hour
- 7th Secret, Crinkum Crankum – Fromme – North Shore Vancouver – Intermediate/Advanced Route
- Dales, Forever After, High School – Seymour – Advanced Mountain Bike Route – 1.5 to 2.5 + hours
- Seymour Mountain Shuttles – North Vancouver, BC – Advanced Shuttles
- Expresso, Ladies Only, Big Stupid – Fromme – Advanced Route
- Cypress Mountain Shuttles – West Vancouver (North Shore)- Advanced Shuttles
Awesome customer service, great brands and really well stocked. A Shore original, they can help you out with whatever you need.
Lynn Valley Bikes
A smaller shop, but really well stocked with awesome brands and very knowledgeable staff who are all incredible riders.
Expect awesome service and a well organized shop with two locations on the shore to serve you (and one over on Broadway in Vancouver). Different Bikes is a great bike shop.
One of the original bike shops on the north shore. They are incredibly knowledgeable, well stocked and competitively priced.
On Top Bikes
On Top is located near the top of Lonsdale Ave. This bike shop has the classic feel of a small shop, but their customer service is awesome and they are real mountain bikers who can sort you out if you have any issues or need advice.
Located at 1st Street on lower Lonsdale Ave, Obsession is a great shop and is owned by one of BC’s original mountain bike shredders.
We realize that these guys are on 26″ wheels and XC bikes… but we are tired of North Vancouver “freeride” mountain bike edits… this is one of our favorite North Vancouver segments of all time.
You don’t need long travel or cutting edge bikes to have fun on the Shore…
Bean Around the World
Huge supporters of mountain biking we love these guys. Great meeting spot before rides especially their Seymour location.
Some of the best coffee in Vancouver.
Located in the heart of Deep Cove at the base of Seymour. Great coffee and fantastic food, with locally sourced food and beverages including local beers on tap.
Google Maps Location | (778) 340-3222
Local coffee roaster with freshly baked treats. Located near a lot of the bike shops on the shore.
Two locations on the north shore.
Great coffee with a high end feel in their cafe’s. Located in main shopping areas on the north shore.
Tommy’s Cafe (breakfast)
Local’s breakfast joint thats a real mountain bikers hang out. Great place to start the day, located super close to all the riding trails.
Google Maps Location | (604) 988-0174
Surf inspired laid back vibe.
Google Maps Location | (604) 988-8203
The Little District
Cozy, small with great food. Located on the middle of Lonsdale.
Google Maps Location | (604) 770-2776
Comfort food in a laid back atmosphere with loads of different of stews and soups. Located at the bottom of Lonsdale.
Google Maps Location | (604) 904-0933
Pizzaria with very authentic and delicious food.
Google Maps Location | (604) 987-4992
We think this is the best sushi on the north shore.
Google Maps Location | (604) 987-8633
The Tomahawk Cafe
A real greasy spoon with a classic feel that you just can’t easily find these days. It has even been featured on the TV show ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’. Massive portions and great comfort food a great place for breakfast.
Google Maps Location | (604) 988-2612
The Local Lift Juice Bar
Located near the base Seymour mountain. Awesome serving great healthy food and smoothies all named after the local riding trails. Gluten free and raw food also on the menu here.
Google Maps Location | (604) 770-4177
Savary Island Pie Company
High end and delicious bakery serving delicious breakfast and lunches… not cheap, but incredibly good.
Google Maps Location | (604) 926-4021
Dozens of awesome food vendors in a vibrant open air shopping center. Located on the waterfront at the very bottom of Lonsdale. You can also catch the Sea Bus into downtown Vancouver from here.
Green Leaf Brewing
Located in Lonsdale Quay. Great local brews.
Google Maps Location | (604) 984-8409
Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers
Local craft beer and hot food as well.
Google Maps Location | (604) 770-1136
Bridge Brewing Company
Located right near Endless Biking and you can also get growlers of your favorite brews to go.
Google Maps Location | (604) 770-2739
Tap and Barrel Shipyards
Located on lower Lonsdale. Wicked patio with limited parking out front so you might be able to catch a parking spot and keep an eye on your bikes.
Google Maps Location | (604) 638-2339
Located at the bottom of Lonsdale.
Google Maps Location | (778) 338-4938
Gusto di Quattro
Located at the bottom of Lonsdale.
Google Maps Location | (604) 924-4444
Arms Reach Bistro
Located in Deep Cove at the base of Seymour. West coast cuisine.
Google Maps Location | (604) 929-7442
The Beach House
Located in West Vancouver right on the ocean. West coast seafood fusion.
Google Maps Location | (604) 922-1414
Looking for last minute deals? Here is a link to all of our available properties in North Vancouver and surrounding area. This is always worth a click as you can find great deals here. Just double check before booking to make sure that you are booking a place in North Van (if that’s where you want to stay) as our deals feed picks up the greater Vancouver area.
Best Western Capilano Inn & Suites
Somewhat centrally located at the bottom of Capilano Rd and a short walking distance to shops and restaurants on Marine drive. This location lacks ambiance though.
North Vancouver Hotel
Somewhat centrally located at the bottom of Capilano Rd. and a short walking distance to shops and restaurants on Marine drive. Like the nearby Best Western though, this location lacks ambiance.
Comfort Inn & Suites North Vancouver
Centrally located at the bottom of Capilano Rd. and a short walking distance to shops and restaurants on Marine drive. Like it’s neighbors though, the location of this hotel lacks ambiance.
Centrally located at the bottom of Capilano Rd. and a short walking distance to shops and restaurants on Marine drive. Like its neighbours though, the location of this hotel lacks ambiance.
Lonsdale Quay Hotel
Located on Esplanade overlooking the water and right in Lonsdale Quay. The Lonsdale Quay Hotel is a very good option as it almost feels like a Luxury Hotel but offers fairly reasonable prices. The location is great for off the bike enjoyment as it is located literally on top of shops, restaurants and pubs. The hotel is also right at the Sea Bus station so getting to downtown Vancouver from here is super easy and you won’t need to touch your car. Accessing rides from this location is doable if you love pedaling uphill in traffic, but you will most likely want to drive to the trail-heads. Note that their secure parking is underground parking and only fits cars, if you drive a larger truck or a tall van you will have to park on the street… not an ideal setup if you are all packed up for a long road trip.
The Classic Horseshoe Bay Motel
Located in West Vancouver in picturesque Horseshoe Bay. The motel is sort of a blast from the past and in many ways so is Horseshoe Bay. This is an extremely relaxing place to pass the time and Horseshoe Bay is much less congested than the rest of the North Shore (which can be very, very busy these days). The Bay is full of quaint little shops and restaurants and it is home to the BC Ferries terminal that accesses Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. If your riding holiday has you traveling to any of these places, this is an ideal spot to stay.
Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier
Located at the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue. The Pinnacle is really the only true luxury hotel option in North Vancouver. It has an awesome location for off the bike enjoyment as it is located right near loads of shops, restaurants and pubs. The hotel is also next door to the Sea Bus station so getting downtown Vancouver from here is super easy and you won’t need to touch you car. Accessing rides from this location is doable if you love pedaling uphill in traffic, but you will likely want to drive to the trail-heads.
Holiday Inn North Vancouver
While not technically a full blown luxury hotel, the Holiday Inn North Vancouver rates highly with guests and is also well located for accessing both the Seymour and Grouse mountain bike trails. It is possible to access much of the riding on the North Shore from here without actually driving anywhere.
Capilano RV Park
The only option for camping or RV’s on the North Shore. It is actually in a really cool spot as you are camping in quite an urban environment, yet you are right on the river and also close to some of the best mountain bike trails in the world.
Note: There is not much in North Vancouver for budget accommodations as it is a very expensive place to live and not a huge tourist location. You might try looking into hostels in the downtown Vancouver area or you might look into AirBnB rentals on the North Shore.
Beaches in West Van
There are some great beaches in West Vancouver to relax, swim or even paddle board. We like Ambleside (Google Maps Location), John Lawson Park (Google Maps Location), Caulfield Park (Google Maps Location), and Eagle Harbour, which is a bit quieter than the other beaches (Google Maps Location).
Awesome spot to relax and explore in the heart of the north shore rainforest. There is a suspension bridge, a cafe and great network of trails. The swimming area is called 30 foot pool with super clear water and some rocks to jump off of accessed by walking over the suspension bridge and walking north on the trail for 15-20 minutes. Be cautious if you do swim here as there are some currents in the water and some hazards if you jump the rocks.
Deep Cove – Paddle Board or Kayak
Deep Cove is beautiful in the summer and you can rent kayaks and paddle boards to get out on the water. An awesome way to pass an afternoon.
We won’t get into all of the fishing opportunities on the North Shore (Details), but if you like fishing there are plenty of great rivers to fish in and the ocean is an option too. We will leave it to you to look into this as it is really not our area of expertise.
Wow, there are so many places to hike in North Vancouver. We like hiking up in the alpine in Seymour Provincial Park (Google Maps Location of Trailhead) – the trails up here are too gnarly to ride so hiking is the only way to get around up here and it is really beautiful.
Lonsdale Quay shops, food and pier
The Lonsdale Quay is really just a market and restaurant area, but it’s a great spot to relax and people watch. Located at the bottom of Lonsdale Ave in North Vancouver and right on the oceanfront. You can also easily take the Sea Bus from here right into downtown Vancouver if you feel like exploring the city.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a major tourist attraction. It can be super busy at times so try to go mid week or off peak hours. We are putting it on here because it is pretty cool, however, as mountain bikers we see and do way cooler stuff, so this might be best if you are traveling with your family or are really into sightseeing.
Website: capbridge.com | (604) 985-7474 |
Another major tourist attraction, Grouse Mountain and the Gondola that takes you up there can be very busy… but once again we are listing it because it is pretty cool. There is a great hiking trail up from the parking lot to the top called the ‘Grouse Grind‘ (also gets very busy), you can hike up this as an alternative to taking the gondola up – it takes 40 minutes to 3+ hours depending on your fitness. Once at the top there are restaurants, attractions, more hiking opportunities and amazing views of Vancouver.
North Van has two climbing gyms which make for a great rain day activity.
There are loads of incredible recreation centers on the North Shore with awesome gyms and really great swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas and even some with steam rooms. Here are a few that we like:
Downtown Vancouver is right across the water from the North Shore. Easily accessed by the 12 minute Sea Bus journey from Lower Lonsdale. If you do decide to head over Gastown is awesome as is Granville Island.