We Put The Gnar In Gnarnaimo.
From the recently built Stevie Smith Bike Park to the downhill trails of Doumont, Nanaimo’s biking scene is diversified and full of hidden gems. One of the local favourites, however, is South Benson. Once you experience the bumps and thrills of some of its most famous trails, you’ll immediately understand why this mountain biking area is popular among locals and visitors alike.
Located just off Nanaimo Lakes Road, near Mount Benson Regional Park, South Benson is a relatively small area. North from the main parking lot, you will encounter some of its best diamond trails. Many of them will sound familiar to a Simpsons connoisseur, as their names are references to details from the popular cartoon. If you are looking for a mellower ride, the main parking lot is also the trailhead to several blue square runs south of Nanaimo Lakes Road.
To access Sexy Flanders, one of the better known trails in this area, be prepared for a long ascent up an access road. While the climb is not particularly steep, it can take a sturdy biker about an hour to reach the top, so plan accordingly.
Once you begin your descent, you will soon forget about the sweaty climb and enjoy the fun, bumpy ride all the way down. Sexy Flanders and Max Power can be connected to provide over 2km of giggle-inducing fun. These two trails have just the right amount of flow, technical bits, jumps and berms to challenge an intermediate-advanced biker without overwhelming them.
For non-locals, keep in mind that South Benson is approximately 1 hour 45 minutes from downtown Victoria, and half an hour from the Departure Bay ferry terminal. If you are an early riser, you can make it there and back on the same day, or add it to your to-do list for a weekend in the area.