Creeker (noun): a trail that is situated beside a creek, stream or brook; often used by runners, dog walkers & adventurous cyclists; characterized by a variety of trail surfaces, frequent up and downs, bench cut sections and a generally soggy & damp surface; abundant in North Vancouver
If you were to play a word association game with any mountain biker, on the term “North Shore” what would the related terms be: Steep? Roots? Skinnies? Drops to Flat? Hucks? Scary? Normally you’d be 100% correct. One thing the North Shore has is it’s fair share of technical, steep, rooty & difficult trails. One thing that is behind most of these is water…lots of it. Whether it comes as an abundance of rain, or falls and snow, and inevitably melts, there is always water to be found. As a result, our landscape is striated with streams, creeks & waterways, running away from the mountains towards the ocean.
Water follows the path of least resistance down a hill. This path of least resistance erodes away dirt, rock and terrain, creating ravines, gulleys & drainages. The common denominator in all of these is that you’ll find a stream at the bottom; but if you search and explore enough, you’ll probably find a creeker trail (or 2).
I’ve spent the last 3 years searching out these trails; discovering them, maintaining them and watching them change. They vary from wide crushed gravel paths, to steep technical rooty climbs & descents, to wooden boardwalks, and the (more than) occasional set of stairs.
Anyone who says you can’t get technical within the city limits needs to come and ride on the ‘lower’ North Shore. You’d be amazed as to what may be just in the back yard. When I decide the road commute is becoming mundane, I can ride from my house to Orange Sport on 75% dirt (and stairs, and roots, and rocks, and more often than not, some water). All it takes is an exploratory spirit, a good set of lungs and some waterproof shoes.
While I won’t say these creeker trails best what the real Shore has to offer, I will say, that if you don’t mind getting a little wet, you’ll be surprised as to what you may find at the end of a cul-de-sac, alley or at the bottom of the stairs.
–Chris Courtney is the Inside Sales Manager at Orange Sport Supply and enjoys searching out new trails throughout his home in North Vancouver