Rush Redux

From mules to mountain bikes: pedaling the Sam McGee Trail

May 1, 2003
Outside Magazine

Riding high on 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, 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,