Another Header

August 8, 2009

Pemberton—Cream Puff

Filed under: BC 2009, MTB Travel — anotherheader @ 7:22 am

Josh rides Main Vein

Josh rides Main Vein

Pemberton has always been one of our favorite places to ride in BC.  We are in a bit of a rut, though, as there’s one particular trail that we make sure we ride on every visit north—Cream Puff.  It is the kind of rut we like, though, and we made sure we stayed in it on this trip.

Becky, a.k.a. Quiver, opted out for a rest day and a massage.  Comfortably Numb, a long a grueling ride, was looming on the horizon, so she figured that a day off was a good idea.  Before her massage, she volunteered to run a shuttle for us.  This appreciated gesture saved us the sometimes warm and always time-consuming ride up to Mosquito Lake.

From the drop off point near the lake, we rode the forest roads up to the intersection near Econoline, taking the left at the “Y”.  Immediately after the intersection we crossed a thin plank over the ditch.  We continued on the singletrack trail, pushing up the hill past the moss-covered “Meat Grinder” trail sign until we reached the left hand split for No Err.  No Err is a fast and relatively easy trail that drops on granite faces and loamy slopes through the trees ending back near Mosquito Lake on the service road.

No Mere Mortal main lines the Vein

No Mere Mortal main lines the Vein

We climbed the same road as before, but this time we took the right turn at intersection to Econoline.  Econoline winds about in between the small thin trees and moss-covered rocks.  Near the crown of a hill, Freak Boy splits right.  Freak Boy was one of the first descents we did at Pemberton and remains as one of our favorites.  The trail is still feral as it noses over several steep, short (on the Pemberton scale) rock faces.  When the last of the granite features is passed, the trail turns onto a steep loose logging grade that has been narrowed to the minimum by the growth of the brush over time.  With butts behind the saddle, we feathered our brakes and worked our ways down the hill until we reached Mosquito Lake.

At the lake we climbed the road back to Econoline.  This time we took the left turn onto Cream Puff.  It is a general rule, it seems, that if the trail has an easy sounding name, you can expect it to be hard.  Cream Puff certainly fits this description.  The trail heads steeply down the hill on a loose, rumbly track that is punctuated by slab sections.  The hardest sections on Cream Puff are two steep drops that combine jagged rock slab and powdery soil.  Traction on these sections of the trail varies abruptly from too good to too little with enough frequency to make these sections particularly difficult to ride.  This is one of the few cases in BC where I would have preferred to see more soil moisture on the tread.

Main Vein

Main Vein

Cream Puff connects into Main Vein.  Main Vein is one of our favorite trails anywhere.  The trail plunges down the nose of a ridge loosing most of its altitude on long smooth granite slab drops.  The drops start out easy and then become progressively steeper and trickier.  Traction is excellent, so you can hang on, pick a tight line, pucker up, and ride it out.  Every year, this stuff gets a little easier for us, but still the primal enjoyment of the steep drops remains.

The last drop, however, is beyond us and will likely remain that way forever.  This drop starts with a technical, steep slot drop that puts you in position to ride a narrow descending granite shelf with a sheer drop off to the left.  If you can navigate the tight, natural rock switchback, you finish with a diagonal run down a very steep granite slab that requires a lunge move in the middle.  This drop doesn’t get ridden often!


It goes without saying that we took the bypass trail.  Even the go around bypass trails are tricky and challenging in BC.  At the bottom, we rode along the railroad tracks to the truck that Becky brought down the hill for us.  Even with the shuttle, the ride took us over four hours to complete.  We’ve said this before, but it still applies.  Pemberton rocks.

More pictures from this year’s visit:

The report from 2008:

And from 2007:



  1. I need to make sure to do Pemberton again one day. It’s not high on my list of favorites, but my sample size of 1 isn’t big enough to write it off.

    Comment by Scott — August 8, 2009 @ 8:52 am

  2. I like climbing Happy Trail, but unfortunately that insists on a boring road ride to Mosquito Lake. And I wouldn’t mind a revisit to Overnight Sensation (with a big hit bike) it had some good views.

    Comment by surlypeach — August 8, 2009 @ 5:02 pm

  3. […] after we inadvertently ended up on Grumpy Grouse while trying to find one of our favorite trails, Cream Puff.  It had been two seasons since we were last ridden in Pemberton; the entrance to the premium […]

    Pingback by Mountain Biking: Pemberton’s Ph.D. Trail « Another Header — August 23, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: