Trailforks Trail of the Month: Purgatory (The Way)

Feb 17, 2015
by Brent Hillier  

Purgatory, Hornby Island, BC, Canada

Trail of the Month

Some of our global readers might be tired of hearing how great the West Coast of North America is for Mountain Biking. From Oregon to Washington and the home of Pinkbike, British Columbia, Mountain Biking truly lives here. And heck, that's why many of us live in the Pacific North West. It may be no surprise that February's Trail of the Month comes from the Mecca of Mountain Biking, but you may not have heard about this little paradise off the Coast of Vancouver Island. Hornby Island has been a long time Summer destination for those living in Southwestern BC, but in the winter this place can provide a quite, albeit wet, riding getaway. It's low elevation keeps it snow free all winter long.

Trailforks Trail of the Month Purgatory The Way images.

We sat down with long time Hornby Island trail builder, Sasha LeBaron and talked history. He explained that as more and more people visited Hornby, the trail usage inevitably increased, first with hippies and equestrians; but in 1982 the Mountain Bike arrived. One of the first trails built by Mountain Bikers was Devil's Kitchen. Sasha describes it as a "rather unsustainable but fun fall-line trail." Brett Trimble and Gerard D'Avino had created Bitchin' Camero, named after the Dead Milkmen song.

bigquotesBack in the anyone-can-build-a-trail "Wild West" days of Mountain Biking it came to me that there should be a way to get from the 1,080ft (330m) Summit of Mount Geoffry to the most central trail head on the island at the Fire Hall. - Sasha LeBaron

Purgatory is just one of many fast, flowy trails on Hornby. Leave your DH bike at home, you won't need it. In a land of tech trails, Hornby Island is a buffed out vacation that's just pure fun.

Trailforks Trail of the Month Purgatory The Way images.

After Purgatory, "The Way" flows into the "North Shore" inspired Bitchin' Camero and finishes with Milo's Meadow.

bigquotesPoor Milo was dragged along this new and very unfinished trail on his first, and last offroad ride. He had such a crappy time that we decided to name the trail after him. - Sasha LeBaron

bigquotesNo trail on Hornby was built by only one person, however I can and do claim the idea of The Way, and will continue to grin as Tig and I introduce our offspring to its twists and turns. For an extra dose of perverse pleasure I sometimes drag unwitting off-island friends backwards up The Way, which makes for one the most gruelling climbs on the island. We usually arrive happy and winded at the top for one of the most breathtaking views I know. - Sasha LeBaron

Hornby Island may be small but it packs a bunch of trails into it's network. An average day of riding will see you zig and zag your way across the island multiple times and their's no wrong way, almost every trail climbs as well as they descend.

Check out Riley McIntosh's ''Characters'' - Hornby Island

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Hornby Island has been a long time destination for Darren Berrecloth. Check out this video from his visit there in 2013.

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Trailforks Trail of the Month Purgatory The Way images.

If you like what you see then please support our friends at the Hornby Island Mountain Bike Association and earn some Trail Karma while you're at it.

MENTIONS: @mindspark @khansen @galyn @scottsecco

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Member since May 11, 2006
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