Pura Vida is a newer all-mountain trail that has a reputation for being one of the more flowy options dropping off the the Rainbow Sproatt Flank Trail. It has become a favorite mountain bike trail among Whistler locals over the last few years, and it can be conveniently combined with Danimal to make a loop back to the valley bottom.
From the parking lot at Rainbow Park, pedal south on Alta Lake Road for 2.7 kilometers before taking a right on Stonebridge Drive. After 1.4 kilometers, turn left on Stonebridge Place and follow it for another 800 meters. At the end of the pavement a 200 meter climb up a steep gravel access road leads to the trailhead for Darwin’s. Climb up the singletrack until you reach an obvious intersection with a sign reading Flank Trail. Take a left (south) here and then take the immediate right to continue Darwin’s, which soon reconvenes with Flank Trail (but is more pedal-friendly).
Once you get back on Flank Trail you’ll pass the entrances for Cheap Thrills, High Society, Legalize It, and a couple of lookout points with views across the valley. The entrance to Pura Vida is on the left, while the trail curves to the right approximately 200 meters after crossing a fairly significant creek. The trail begins with a few mellow loamy turns before entering a series of steeper chutes and technical corners. This ride has good flow and requires little pedaling as you descend into a moss-carpeted forest.
After crossing a wooden bridge back to the other side of the creek, take a right and then keep left onto Danimal South. From here the trail has some ups and downs and a few notable features until it spits you out at the bottom of Stonebridge Drive. Take a left and pedal up 1 kilometer to the intersection of Stonebridge Drive and Stonebridge Place again, but this time look for the Danimal North Trailhead on the right (it has the fanciest trail sign in Whistler, you can’t miss it!). Danimal is another popular trail built by the legendary Dan Swanstrom. It has very nice flow with some interesting wooden features, fast turns, and one notable rock slab. It can be done as a quick shuttle or loop on its own or can be combined with many other Westside trails.
Eventually you’ll pop out onto a gravel road under the power lines, take a left, and head past the yellow gate. After the gate there are three left turns in rapid succession; take the third one and you’ll reach another fork within 100 meters at Whip Me Snip Me. A right turn here will take you back down to Alta Lake Road and Rainbow Park.
If you like this ride and want to support local trail development and maintenance, check out the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association to see how you can help.