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Muskoka
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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
The climb up the road to the start of Nielson was well worth it in my mind.
Agreed-totally worth it!! My only issue was that the trail is marked as 10K on their map. It's a loop so I assumed it to be a 10K loop. I felt like I rode 10K uphill on the fire road before I even started the descent! When I mentioned this to staff in the visitor centre they told me the 10K is just for the descent along the river, I was told the entire loop is 20K. Well that is pretty confusing to a visitor because at some point on the climb one thinks one missed the turn in to the river having ridden much further than expected! Apparently this is to be corrected on next year's map.
 

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Agreed-totally worth it!! My only issue was that the trail is marked as 10K on their map. It's a loop so I assumed it to be a 10K loop. I felt like I rode 10K uphill on the fire road before I even started the descent! When I mentioned this to staff in the visitor centre they told me the 10K is just for the descent along the river, I was told the entire loop is 20K. Well that is pretty confusing to a visitor because at some point on the climb one thinks one missed the turn in to the river having ridden much further than expected! Apparently this is to be corrected on next year's map.
Yeah that is a good point. I didn't even realize how long that trail/road combo was until I got back to the car. I must have read the 10km note as well, but wondered why I felt so tired afterwards haha.

On the plus side, the water station part way up the road was nice.
 

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I'm planning on riding these trails Oct. 19, 20, and 21. I am renting a car in Montreal and bringing tenting gear. Any tips for me? I heard the Nielson north trail may be closed as of Oct. 10 because of hunting season. Is that true and are other trails affected? If trails are closed, does that mean you can't drive to the trailhead but it's possible to bike in or is it because of safety that it's closed during hunting season?

Are campgrounds still open those dates I'm planning on going? Here in Saskatchewan, campgrounds are all closed this time of year but that just means the power and water is shut off; there's nothing wrong with still camping. Anything different there?

Any tips are appreciated.

Thanks,
Rogan
 

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Muskoka
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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
I'm planning on riding these trails Oct. 19, 20, and 21. I am renting a car in Montreal and bringing tenting gear. Any tips for me? I heard the Nielson north trail may be closed as of Oct. 10 because of hunting season. Is that true and are other trails affected? If trails are closed, does that mean you can't drive to the trailhead but it's possible to bike in or is it because of safety that it's closed during hunting season?

Are campgrounds still open those dates I'm planning on going? Here in Saskatchewan, campgrounds are all closed this time of year but that just means the power and water is shut off; there's nothing wrong with still camping. Anything different there?

Any tips are appreciated.

Thanks,
Rogan
The campground at Shannahan is unserviced so no water or Hydro anytime. There is water available at the visitor Centre. Yes you should be able to drive to the visitor Centre and campground and ride the other trails. Best advice I can give is to check out their website ...lots of info there. Also call and email staff for answers to specific questions, that's what I did and they were very helpful!. No way would I plan a trip like this based solely on what I read in a forum! Speaking of which, there are some great Vallée BDN threads over on Pinkbike :)
 

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Keep on Rockin...
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Resurrection...


Camped at the Vallee Bra Du Nord area about a week ago. Spent 6 days there. The riding at Shannahan is great.

Neilson North, South, and East combined to make probably the best trail I've ever ridden. Had more fun there than Moab, and I love Moab.
 

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Some guy
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How does this place compare to the Kingdom Trails? We went to Kingdom in August and it was absolutely fantastic. Wondering if our next extended biking weekend should be to VBN or just go back to Kingdom :).
 

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If you have beginners in your group, then Kingdom might be a better fit.

If your group are all intermediate to advanced, then VBN might be more to your liking.

If you like post-ride tiki bars, ice cream shops, pastry, and a lively after-ride scene, then Kingdom.

If you want to escape from civilization a bit, then VBN.

Both have great scenery, great riding, and stuff to do off the bike, just in different flavours.
 
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Keep on Rockin...
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How does this place compare to the Kingdom Trails? We went to Kingdom in August and it was absolutely fantastic. Wondering if our next extended biking weekend should be to VBN or just go back to Kingdom :).

It doesn't compare to Kingdom. Its in a whole other league. Way better.

That said, KT is good - don't get me wrong, but I'm one of the few that I know that was not totally thrilled with the place. Seemed too groomed, and too many trails and riders packed into a not so big area. Didn't feel like I was "out there" riding, nor did it have much challenge.


VBN -

The lower trails seemed similar to KT. Very nice but very groomed. La Boreal (pardon my spelling/French) was on the lower sections and was challenging and a lot of fun.

The three Neilson trails are world class. I travel to ride a lot, including both trail/all-mountain and DH, and I've yet to come across a trail I've liked as much (note, I've not been to British Columbia, yet). They have it all, tech up and down, sustained descents, natural gnar, man-made hits and berms. The Neilson East gives you that feeling of really being "out there" as well. As a trail builder myself I can appreciate the amount of work that went into those trails.

If anyone from VBN is listening, great job !!!

Please keep some of the trails challenging. The climb to Neilson East was tough, but not as hard as everyone says. It makes the descent worth while and keeps out riders that should not be up there. Not every trail has to be accessible to everyone. Loved the few drops on that trail, including that downed tree launch. Waiting for you to open Mad Max.
 

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VBN is great and the Shanahan sector is better than St Raymond. The Neilson trail is a gem. I've been several times and we have skipped the St Raymond trails in favour of riding the nearby Sentiers du Moulin and the Shanahan sectors.

Neilson East is an amazing trail and a must do experience. The road up is a slog but VBN now offer a limited number of paid shuttles on weekends. If you have your own capable vehicle (4x4) it can be shuttled by purchasing a $10 ZEC pass. You can't park your shuttle vehicle at the top so someone has to be willing to be the round trip shuttle driver.

The entire Neilson trail is great and worth the trip to experience that alone.
 

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VBN has been on our bucket list. Is there a best time to ride?
Weekends were busy at the bottom trails. But the climbs to the top of the Neilson trails weed out a lot of riders - as it should. Even on the busy weekends I wouldn't say that any of those Neilson trails seemed "busy".

Of the three Neilsons, South is most accessible and therefore saw more traffic but still not bad at all. Especially when you see how many cars are parked in the lot. North is more of a climb and had even less traffic. East has a pretty intense, steep, loose, climb on double track. It keeps that trail very unpopulated. I've heard too many complain about that climb, but to me it was a great challenge and made the DH all the better. Also, its really not that bad in the granny ring. Heck my 11 y/o son rode it several times. But, on Sunday AM, IIRC, they run a few shuttles to the top. Maybe avoid that.

Durring the weekday, all the trails were all mine. Virtually empty, and that was during prime time, late August, beautiful weather.

Working hard to get back for a long weekend before they shut down around the 3rd w/e in Oct.
 

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I just got back from a weekend there. It is definitely worth the drive. The pictures don't lie. These trails feature multiple waterfalls, rivers and bridges, and they are MTB only. I have been very few places where features like this are on dedicated trails. I did a Friday, Saturday, Sunday morning ride. Left at 10:30 am and made it back to K-W area at 8:30.

Camping was easy at Accueil Etsanha but it was a 20 minute drive to the trails. Camping Shannahan would likely be a better option as you can ride out from the campsite.





 

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Keep on Rockin...
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I just got back from a weekend there. It is definitely worth the drive. The pictures don't lie. These trails feature multiple waterfalls, rivers and bridges, and they are MTB only. I have been very few places where features like this are on dedicated trails. I did a Friday, Saturday, Sunday morning ride. Left at 10:30 am and made it back to K-W area at 8:30.

Camping was easy at Accueil Etsanha but it was a 20 minute drive to the trails. Camping Shannahan would likely be a better option as you can ride out from the campsite.






Great pics but I can't place where that last one is at. I'd like to stop there next time I'm up. Where is it?
 
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