Within 10km’s of Cumberland and the Riding Fool is the trails of the Forbidden Plateau/Comox Lake area. This area has some of the best singletrack descents in BC and some absolutely spectacular scenery. From the plateau’s trails you can see Comox Lake, Cumberland, Courtenay/Comox, Denman and Hornby Island and even over to the mainland and the vast expanse of the coast mountains.
Forbidden Plateau is an area rich in local history and folklore. The name is supposedly derived from a local native legend. The story has a few versions, but each version explains that a tribe or part of, “fell off” the plateau. In the hundreds of years following that incident, local natives have generally avoided travel to the “Forbidden Plateau”.
European settlement arrived in the late 1800′s and the plateau has since been a recreation destination. The first lodge was built on the plateau in the 1930′s and served as an access to the back country and to what is now Strathcona Provincial Park. In 1949, ski lifts were installed and skiing operations began as Wood Mountain ski park. In 1982 the original lodge burnt to the ground and in 1999 a huge snow load collapsed the roof of the day lodge. Since 1999, the lifts have not turned and what remains now are a few burned out buildings, the abandoned lift towers and some of the orange chairs of the main lift.
In 1946,the plateau was the epicenter for the largest earthquake recorded in Canadian history, measuring 7.3 on the Richter Scale. There was not much damage in the immediate area, but it was recorded that nearly all of the chimneys in Cumberland crumbled on that day.
The trails that Island Mountain Rides will show you descend down from the plateau, through mature and young forests. There are also open rock bluffs with spectacular views of the ocean, neighboring islands and the coast mountains in the background. The trails are mostly downhill and vary from technical steep lines to fast, flowy rips with short climbs and stunning views. IMR can take you there and will ensure that the ride down fit’s your style and needs. IMR can show you the classics and link them up with the new school lines for a great day of singletrack descending.
The trails of Forbidden Plateau feed into the Comox Lake area trails including the trails of Puntledge Park and Nymph Falls Regional Park. These recreational trails are well maintained and mountain bike specific. The trails are fun, fast and roll smooth, sometimes near the banks of the Puntledge River. Riding at Forbidden Plateau can begin and end with these trails as the two networks connect. The Puntledge Park area also serves as a great day of riding for beginners as the Nymph Falls, Bear Bait and Bevan trails are a nice tight loop through large trees with periodic views of the river. For more advanced riders, the trails can be used as a throughfare on the way up and down from Forbidden. Feeling really fit? These trails can also be accessed via road, doubletrack and singletrack right from Cumberland for an epic experience that you will never forget.
Following a great ride down from the plateau or around and near the river, relaxation along the Puntledge or a swim at one of the local swimming holes is always an option. Island Mountain Rides can bring it all together for you and show you all that these areas have to offer.
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