Friday, October 28, 2011

Looking for some world class epic mountain bike trails? Try Doumont!

When you think of mountain biking, family friendly probably does not come to mind.  But why not?  Let me tell you about one of our family adventures to the well known and very popular network of trails in the Nanaimo area... Doumont.  There were several reasons why this adventure was with bikes and why we chose Doumont.  It was the last training opportunity Joel and I had before competing in the best damn adventure race out there… MOMAR.  An adventure race where we combine kayaking, trekking, orienteering and mountain biking. (The race took place on Burnaby Mountain in May 2011) The kids also wanted to test out their “new to them” bikes.  We needed to find a place where one of us could ride trails while the other could ride with the kids. Doumont Trails in Nanaimo offer tons of trails with a good variety of downhill, free ride, and cross country trails. These trail have lots of jumps, ramps and log rides. Some ramps up to or over 100 feet long and 10+ feet in the air, drops up to 10-15 feet and lots of smaller ones too.  Clearly the kids were not going to attempt any of them.  In fact, neither was I.  But if that’s what you are looking for then this is the place for you.

Near the elaborate mountain bike trail system is Benson Creek Regional Park where Nanaimo’s largest waterfall, Ammonite Falls, is located.  We planned to bike down a few trails and then start riding towards Ammonite Falls.  If we made it great, if not it still made for a great day of adventuring.  We packed lunch so at the very least we were going to enjoy a picnic in the forest.

Ben (almost 6 at the time), rode his "new to him" NORCO bike for the first time on the trail called Mary Jane.  He definetly benefits from the gears and is now able to climb most hills.  And in case you are wondering, yes, he had a few crashes but came out fine. Liv on the other hand, did not come out fine on her crashes.  Nothing major but there were tears.  She actually did much better than I expected her to.  She was very happy to be riding on Ben's old bike.  Made her feel like a big girl.

Now that we rode down Mary Jane a few times, it was time to get pedalling and head towards Ammonite Falls.  There are two ways to get to Ammonite Falls.  One via Doumont and the other from Jameson Road.  Both are aprox 5km.  Liv, being only 4, did not have it in her this day.  The hills were just a bit to steep for her to pedal.  After pushing her along and walking the bikes, it was time to change things up a bit.  We knew we were getting close to the falls and Liv assured us she wanted to continue.  So we ditched the bikes in the bush and hiked the rest of the way.  Good thing too.  The last part of the trail was all downhill and it would have been a slow walk back up pushing Liv's bike plus our own.

We have hiked to Ammonite Falls before, from the Jameson Rd trailhead.  When you approach the falls from that way the falls are on your left and you are down stream from it.  You get a beautiful full view of the falls surrounded by the cliffs and lush forest.  I was a bit taken by surprise to find a completely different view from the Doumont way. Here we approached Benson Creek before the water falls and had to head left along the creek to see the falls.  It was different because we were standing at the top of the falls.  From here the view is not as spectacular but the power of the water sure is.  If we did not have a hike back up a hill and bike ride back to the truck, we would have explored a bit more.  Looks like there are some trails that would take you down to see the falls from below.  Next time.

This adventure was a success.  We got our last ride in before race day, spent time together as a family, and were active together.  Watched the kids ride on world class mountain bike trails for the first time, saw a beautiful waterfall and made memories that will last a lifetime.  This is why I love to adventure!

How to get there

The trails are located on Doumont Road off Metral Drive or Biggs Road off Jingle Pot Road.  You can park safely along the road and start riding the trails anywhere.  Near the motocross track, the yellow gate, and end of the road are popular spots to park.
Check out the link for a map of the trails: Phils map - Doumont

If you want to hike to Ammonite Falls, the trail head is the first pull off on the left after Doumont Road meets Biggs Road.  Check out the trail map: Trailpeak - Ammonite Falls from Doumont


  1. My little man is only four months right now, but I'm sure his brother and the neighborhood kids would get some use out of it before he gets to it!

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  3. Nice & world class epic bike trails, thanks for sharing