It’s not easy naming trails, and it’s gotten progressively harder as the sport of mountain biking has become more respectable. Somewhat off-color or “out there” names that captured the real spirit of the trail became harder to stick with when the trails made it into print — on maps, book guides, local tourist literature and MTBR.com. Still, our general belief is that trail names have become too sanitized and boring. In the spirit of celebrating mountain biking’s early radness and illegitimacy, we hereby list our Top 10 Mountain Bike Trail Names of All Time.
Subject to change of course. And if you have any favorites we left out, by all means forward them along.
10. Tapeworm (Renton WA)
Southeast of Seattle there’s a trail that switches back and forth in such close quarters you can shake hands with a rider behind you or ahead of you going the opposite direction on a separate section of the same trail. Especially in winter, when everywhere else turns to slop, The Worm offers challenging features and a good workout. What it lacks in poetical charm, “Tapeworm” makes up for in denotational succinctness.
9. Ladies Only (Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver B.C.) This was one of the first B.C. trails we ever rode, back in the early 1990s, atop Grouse Mountain on Vancouver’s NorthShore. We took the name literally. We were fools.
8. Comfortably Numb (Whistler B.C.)
Fittingly named Foreplay for several years while it was under construction, Comfortably Numb derives from a Pink Floyd song about surgical prep, but ably describes the slack-jawed glaze that starts to flow over you after a few hours of humping this, the longest 16-mile bike ride on the planet.
7. Analectomy. (Undocumented, B.C.) How befitting of the early risks of MTBing, when riders launching hardtails snapped seatposts on landing, forcing drastic evasive measures to avoid an impromptu and unwelcome colonoscopy au naturel. This name, originally assigned a nasty B.C. Interior trail with an inadequate transition, did not last long but remains inscribed in the memory of anyone who attempted it.
6. Poison Spider (Moab UT)
It may not be Moab’s best ride, but it’s Moab’s best name.
5. Kill Me Thrill Me (Whistler B.C.)
An early Whistler favorite, before the Mountain Bike Park existed, and has remained so over the years. Often the order of execution gets reversed, which is more logical, perhaps, but less imaginative. (We can only hope that the correct sequence is what awaits us in mtb afterlife.) Lots of challenge, including a slickrock dive worthy of Moab. Once I met a bunch of Canucks at the top who offered me a toke. No thanks, I said, checking out the drop. I want to be sure I have all my faculties. That’s funny, they said, we’re trying to lose ours.
4. El Pollo Elastico (Galbraith Mt., Bellingham WA)
One of the great legacy trail names on Galbraith Mountain outside of Bellingham. “Rubber Chicken” refers to a one-time trail ornament but also describes vividly the riding technique and/or psychological demeanor you need for Galbraith’s gnarlier singletrack. (That’s me in Mongo’s photo sequence.)
3. Severed Dick (Mt. Seymour, Vancouver NorthShore)
When I mentioned this trail in an article in 1995, the editors changed it to the more clinical “Severed Penis.” At least they kept the point; the trail still exists but in today’s PC parlance more often goes by simply “Severed.”
2. Organ Donor (Victoria, Vancouver Island)
We’re forever gratified that this trail name has not been “upgraded” to something more innocuous. But we do wonder what happens when a parent brings a grommet into ER and has to fill out the line on the form designating where the accident happened.
1. See Colours and Puke (Function Junction, B.C.)
This was originally the name of the Cheakamus Challenge, a hellacious one-day mass ride from Squamish to Whistler, and one can easily understand how it got bowdlerized as the Challenge gained in popularity. It survived for a time as the name of a key trail linking the main highway with Whistler Mountain. But today signage lists the trail name as Hair Straight-Back. We will always prefer the original, as it told the truth about the trail’s unique attractions and physical charms in its own inimitable fashion.