The Hartland network of Mountain Bike Trails at Mount Work Regional Park is the most extensive, accessible, and popular trail system on the south island, and it is the center of the Victoria Mountain Bike Scene. Locals generally refer to it as "the dump" in reference to the neighboring landfill, but make no mistake; this place is by no means a dump. There are over 100 named trails on 210 hectares with over 300 meters of vertical drop, and there is a pretty good mix of trail difficulties and riding styles. Terrain ranges from doubletrack access roads and easy-rated cross-country trails for beginners to technical double-black trails with some steep rock rolls and rooty sections to a few great flow-trails with banks, berms and jumps for riders who like to get into the freestyle side of things. There is also a small technical skills training area near the entrance that was in the midst of a $100,000 upgrade at the time of writing. The terrain at Hartland is typical island riding, with lots of exposed bedrock and a few ladder bridges on mostly undulating trails through coastal rainforest filled with arbutus, Douglas fir, and western redcedar. And thanks to the mild climate, it’s possible to ride year round. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the scenery every now and then.
Thanks to the volume of trails within a relatively small area, there are virtually endless possible loop options within the park. The loop described here is just one example of an exploratory ride. From the parking lot, head into the park and take a right after about 140 meters, just past the large signboard with the park rules and map. The signboard also has a few different recommendations for beginner, intermediate, and advanced loops that should definitely be considered for anyone new to the area. Head up Regional Trail, a doubletrack access road that climbs toward the north end of the park. After about 1.85 kilometers of climbing, take a left on Old Payoff, a technical undulating black diamond trail that follows the ridge to the south. After about 900 meters on Old Payoff, look for Torpedo Run. This one is a great flow trail that has been machine built with jumps, berms and rollers for almost a kilometer of high-speed fun. If you enjoy this one, take a right to find a steep push-up trail that will take you right back up to the top. If you’d prefer to continue on, take a left at the bottom of Torpedo on Centrefold and then watch for a right turn onto Crazy Horse, another technical undulating trail that follows the ridge. After 400 meters or so, follow to the right onto Rolly’s Ridge, which is basically more of the same. A few hundred meters down Rolly’s Ridge, take a left onto Fire Drill and then follow it down to Inventive, which will lead back to Regional Trail and back to the parking lot. For a slightly longer ride, follow Legend down to Fun Trail, the latter being another great flow trail with lots of opportunities to get the wheels off the ground. From the bottom of Fun Trail, Say Ahh, Crossover, and Shock Treatment will lead back to the car.
As noted, the park has hundreds if not thousands of different loop options, so don’t be afraid to make your own loop. All trails are labeled and each junction is marked with a coded letter and numbering system that are also on the main trail map (which is posted around the park and available at any local bike shop), so navigating the trails here is fairly easy, although the frequency of intersecting trails means stopping often for those intent on staying on a particular course. For anyone who needs a riding buddy, the South Island Mountain Bike Society (SIMBS) hosts group "fun rides" every second Sunday year round starting at 9:30 a.m.