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Gillard

adrian-on-carl_s-revenge-1a Gillard forestry service road is located on the south slopes of Kelowna. Drive south up Lakeshore road until you see a power line (and road) heading straight up the mountain. Turn onto this road and follow it up to the first big switch back (about two km in from Lakeshore Rd). Park you retrieval vehicle here as this ride is a shuttle and requires two vehicles, preferably trucks, the road to the top is very rough. At the top (the Kettle Valley Rail Bed or KVR) you can park and ride in to the left or right and drop in on any number of great descents.

The now infamous Gillard Trails started off as only two or three advanced technical descents and have now become a major, well known trail network. Consisting of about fifteen different downhill trails, Gillard’s trails range from technical intermediate trails to very advanced freeride runs. Many of these trails consist of rocky technical terrain and built up wooden stunts such as bridges, drops and transitioned technical jumps. After the fire of 2003 destroyed some of the best trails in the network builders have been hard at work re-inventing the network. The result is a network of shuttle trails that attract riders from all over the northwest and even from across Canada.

the-gambler All of these trails are meant to be ridden on downhill specific bikes and riders must wear full face helmets, and full armor, no exceptions. With advanced trails like ‘Kerplop’, ‘Wobbly Pops’, ‘Hucking Grass Hole’ and ’Boss Hog’ even the best riders will find some stunts that may make them think twice. For riders who are new to freeriding try the trails off to the left at the top. With about five trails off of this area (and great views of Bellevue Canyon and Myra Bellevue Park just across the canyon) there are enough new challenging stunts and trail sections to keep you occupied for a whole summer and then some. These trails offer tamer versions of the jumps and stunts found on the trails on the other side of the road. They have more flow to them as well. With the ability to combine different trails on the way down the fun is endless. A full descent of Gillard can take anywhere from 30 minute (pinning it) to about two hours depending on your route and skill level.

Get some advice on what run will suite your skill level while you are at one of the local bike shops picking up a Gillard Trail Map. Remember, Downhill bikes, armor and a rugged vehicle is required. www.mtbco.ca

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