Rush Redux

From mules to mountain bikes: pedaling the Sam McGee Trail

Riding high on the Sam McGee Trail     Photo: Derek Crowe

FROM MULES TO MOUNTAIN BIKES
PEDALING THE SAM MCGEE TRAIL
In its third annual report card, the International Mountain Bike Association gave the Yukon an A minus, the same grade Colorado and British Columbia received. The A is for potential: The Yukon is riddled with hundreds of miles of deserted mining roads and smooth singletrack. The minus is for lack of infrastructure: The entire territory has just one year-round bike shop, in Whitehorse, and the marquee ride, the 15-mile Sam McGee Trail, is one of the only officially named trails. Starting an hour southeast of Whitehorse, the trail follows an old mule path up 6,100-foot Montana Mountain. Sam McGee, who was made famous by poet Robert Service, was foreman of the 1905 trail-construction crew that made way for the world's longest-spanning tramway. The too-expensive tramway operated for just six months, but the mules and men left behind miles of howling-steep singletrack. The catch? You need a guide. The ride is unsigned and falls within Carcross/Tagish First Nation territory.
OUTFITTER Fireweed Hikes and Bikes Adventure Tours (867-668-7313, www.yukonhikes.com) is currently restoring the trail. They'll set you up with a bike and guide for $90 per person, including lunch and shuttle from Whitehorse. For information, bike repairs, and a brand-new trail map to the area, contact Riverdale Cycle in Whitehorse (867-668-7505, www.riverdalecycle.com).

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