Sunday, 17 June 2018

Mountain biking around Puntledge River in Courtenay provides scenic river views

by Keith and Heather Nicol
     For anyone looking for a perfect mountain bike tour in the Comox Valley you couldn’t do much better than the loop around the Puntledge River, just west of Courtenay.  It is suited to a wide range of riders from kids to seniors and involves trails that are generally smooth with few hills or tricky descents. You could do this loop from a variety of starting points and in the past we have ridden this loop right from Courtenay but in this case we started from the Duncan Bay Main road near Stoten Falls. Fellow biker Norm Reynolds initially showed me this trail but on this day our son Michael who was visiting from Vancouver was keen to see it so he accompanied me. We parked 49 40.842 N 125 03.342 W and we followed the gravel road next to the pipeline. 
Michael along the first part of the trail
 You need to duck your bike past some gates in a couple of places but otherwise you can stay on your bike for just about the entire ride. Part way along the route jogs to the left off the gravel road and the trail from here follows the river and becomes more interesting as it winds around through the tall trees. There are short bridges across small streams and then it arrives at the bridge which crosses the Puntledge River at Comox Lake. 
The trail is well maintained with bridges and boardwalk in places
Just after the bridge look for a small trail which cuts right off the gravel road and this leads to a nice park with picnic tables. Again follow the trail next to the river and you are in for a nice winding flowing trail all the way to Nymph Falls Park. Once at the park we headed to the Forbidden Plateau paved road and followed it back to Duncan Bay Main road where our car was parked. Over all the distance according to our GPS was about 18 km and it took us about 90 minutes with a few stops for pictures. This makes this scenic loop an ideal morning or afternoon bike trip. The trail does have a few choices but if take the trail along the river you should be fine. 
Michael takes a picture at Barbours Hole on the Puntledge River


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