Diamond Head Trail Project
Squamish Mountain biking is about to get even better. The new development of the Diamond head trail project will take Squamish trails to the Top – Literally. The plan is to extend the current climbing trail, Stl’lhalem Sintl’, by at least 6 kilometers. But who likes to just climb? The plans for the new downhill section making a 20km single track loop look simply epic.
The first phase of this project was started in 2012, with funding from the District of Squamish and the remaining sports legacy trust funds to build the Stl’lhalem Sintl’ trail. With the bigger vision of a fun, fast and flowy intermediate level decent, that will link the trails in lower Diamond head to form a 20km single track loop.
Thanks to generous donations, the technical skills of local trail builders, and the Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association (SORCA), Squamish is poised to complete an epic 20-kilometre loop through old growth forests and has breathtaking views of Howe Sound.
The Diamond Head Project – Expanding the Trails
The terrain is challenging for trail builders, making their way through trees and volcanoes. In order to complete their vision of a trail network that can help open up further trail building in the area, SORCA partnered with two world-renounced trail building companies. Gravity Logic and Joyride Bike Parks. While Gravity Logic carves its way up, Joyride Bike Parks will work on improving Upper PowerSmart and Skookum area, building a whole new trail for the descent.
This trail building effort has not been without its challenges, however. Paddy Kaye, owner and lead builder for Joyride, says the descent has required all his 20-plus years of experience. The aforementioned volcanic rock has made for delicate route selection. This, combined with the unforgiving steep grade of the hillside, has Paddy pulling out all the tricks of his trade.
Paying for the Diamond Head Project – a Community Comes Together
To complete this ambitious project, the community of Squamish really had to come together. Mountain biking is a big part of our community and what makes Squamish as a great place to live, work and adventure. Initially a goal of $125,000, was set by SORCA on their crowdfunding page. “The crowdfunding for this project has been a great opportunity to involve the whole community in a project,” said SORCA representative Jeffrey Norman. Squamish certainly heeded the call. By June 26, SORCA surpassed their goal raising $133,007. Donations were made from over 540 people and companies. With enough funds, all that’s left is to complete the trails.
Making Progress on the Diamond Head Trails
Planning the trails is one thing, actually constructing them is a bit more complicated. “When building a bike trail in the mountains you don’t always know what you are going to run into,” Norman said. “We’ve run into a lot more rock than we expected right below the surface that has slowed the construction down a little bit.”
Despite the challenges, he expects the project to be finished summer 2017. The new loop’s trails are worth the wait. It’ll have better drainage making it accessible in different types of weather conditions. Once finished, the trails are sure to draw biking enthusiasts from all over, but the Squamish community has even more to gain. Aside from the gut wrenching, wind-rushing descent, the Diamond Head Project will open up future trail building in the area.
Norman explains all these factors mean the new loop “will be a can’t miss ride in Squamish.” Although the finished trails won’t be open for a while, you can still enjoy a ride on the old sections and any one of the dozens of other trails at Diamond Head.
For more details please see the map below: