On the west side of the Columbia valley above the hamlet of Nicholson there is a large bench and it is here that the Moonraker trails are found. The roots of cross country mountain biking in Golden, these trails can be traced back to the late 1980’s when a network of Nordic ski trials were built. The ski trails were eventually abandoned and resurrected a decade later as x-country bike trials. These smooth flowing trails are the hallmark of x-country riding in the valley. Along with great riding, the Moonraker trails are rich with natural scenery; there are four lakes and numerous ponds, views of the Purcell’s Dogtooth range to the west and the Rocky Mountain’s Beaverfoot range to the east, and Canyon Creek with its spectacular gorge dropping over 200 m from the canyon’s edge to the creek below.
The lay of the land in the Moonraker system slopes downward from north to south, with Cedar Lake at the north end and the canyon (Canyon Creek) at the south end. As such you’ll find many fast descents when riding south in the direction of the canyon.
Moonrakers offer something for everyone. The smooth flow of the trails make this system a great choice for those somewhat new to trail riding. Notwithstanding, there are several trails that more hardened riders will enjoy for either fast cornering descents (Devil’s Slide, Moonraker Trail) or steeper technical terrain (LSD, Canyon Creek). Combining your rides in Moonrakers with the trails of the CBT Mainline will offer some of the best riding in the province (see Signature Rides).
All trails are well marked with a signed 4×6 post at every junction (with the exception of the ride up the Tallis Forest Service Road from Cedar Lake Trailhead to the Canyon Creek and LSD trails – these signs seem to keep going missing). Nonetheless, take a map and get the app. The app requires a data connection which you should be able to obtain throughout most of the Moonraker network. The Gudjonson Trailhead is a notable exception – there is no data connection (or cell connection) right at that trailhead. You have to go about 1km up the trail or 1km back towards the hamlet of Nicholson for data/cell service.
For the most part, the Moonrakers are located on crown land and are shared with hikers, runners and horse riders. There are several parcels of private land and a woodlot operation also exists. The relationship between GCC and the local woodlot licensee is an exemplary demonstration of how such groups can work together.