Photo Courtesy of Dan Barham Photography.
"There are strange things done in the Midnight Sun..." So starts the famous Yukon tale, The Cremation of Sam McGee, by Robert Service. What few people know is the real Sam McGee was a road and trail builder who pioneered much of the route known today as Mountain Hero.
The ride begins in the historic town of Carcross with a strenuous climb up old mining roads on Montana Mountain. The effort quickly pays off with stunning alpine views, historic mining artifacts and a chance to see caribou and other wildlife. From the remains of the namesake Mountain Hero mine, hand-built singletrack weaves through the alpine before linking up with a century-old pack trail for a brake-burning plunge down to the shores of Nares Lake.
Montana Mountain lies in the traditional territory of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation (CTFN), which assumed ownership of much of the mountain through its 2006 land claim settlement. Since that time, CTFN has overseen the creation of more than 40 kilometers of multi-use trails through the Carcross Singletrack to Success Project. The project has employed local youth as well as graduates of the Capilano College mountain bike operations program.
Location: Carcross, Yukon
Directions: Leave a vehicle about 17km south of Carcross on the Klondike Highway at the old Conrad townsite. (Look for the towers from the Mountain Hero mine tramway.) Ride or drive back to the town of Carcross to start your ride. The visitor information centre has maps and a waiver to sign. This is a 4-6 hour remote wilderness ride, so be prepared with adequate food and clothing — bear spray is a good idea too!
Length: 28 km (17 miles), climbs 1400 m (4500 ft).
Ride Time: 4-6 hours.
Other biking options: Get a Montana Mountain trail map and explore the expanding network of all-mountain singletrack.
IMBA-affiliated club: Contagious Mountain Bike Club
IMBA-affilated guides: Boreale Mountain Biking
Land Managers: Carcross/Tagish First Nation
Trail info: Montana Mountain