About the CMBA

The Calgary Mountain Bike Alliance has been a part of Calgary’s mountain biking scene for over 20 years, and we intend to be here for a very long time to come.

Who We Are

  • Our Vision: Bring together the Calgary and area community to create world class trails for all mountain bikers, and have fun doing it!
  • Our Mission: Build and maintain trail for the benefit of Calgary and area mountain bikers.

A Brief History

  • Founded in 1996, the Calgary Mountain Bike Alliance began as an advocacy group.  At that time, there was a push from local government to ban mountain bikes from the informal and formal trails in Bowmont Park and Nose Hill, and the writing was on the wall for similar bans to take place in Kananaskis.  The newly-formed CMBA was successful in changing minds and winning hearts within the City of Calgary and the provincial government, ensuring that mountain bikers can use most of the trails that hikers and horses have access to.
  • In the late 90s and early 00s, the group concentrated on trail maintenance and trying to get a bike skills park built somewhere in Calgary. The first official request to the City of Calgary for a skills park happened in 2002.
  • In 2008 the group was infused with new blood, and the purpose shifted away from advocacy and toward trail building.  Around 2009, luck and timing coalesced into the creation of the Ridgeback trail in Kananaskis.
  • In 2016, the CMBA built Calgary’s first public mountain bike skills park in the city’s SE, adjacent to the communities of Parkland and Deer Run.

Strategic Plan

  • We have set our goals for the next 5 years, including one that has been already achieved: the Fish Creek MTB Skills Park.
  • There is 160 km of trail that we need to keep in tip-top shape, and we would like to add 50 km more. Here is our full Five Year Plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where are all the trails in the Calgary area?  Is there a trail map?
    • Trailforks is the best way to find trails in Calgary and Kananaskis. It is free, user-based and has one of the best mobile apps out there.
  • Are you a charity?
    • The CMBA is a registered not-for-profit organization.
  • Do you get paid to be on the CMBA board?
    • No, the CMBA is volunteer-run. We sometimes pay people or companies to do trail work when it would be impractical to build with 100% volunteer workers.
  • How do you build trail?
    • Sustainably.  This means that when we build trail, we try to build it so that it has a minimal impact on the environment and doesn’t require much maintenance.  It doesn’t always work out on the first try, but we learn from our mistakes.
    • If you want to learn how to build sustainable singletrack,come out to a trail day. Also, get this book [it’s a great guideline].
  • How often do you hold trail days?
    • Official trail days are usually associated with trail building projects. Some years are busy, but some years [i.e. 2016] are quiet.
    • We typically have trail days in June, July, August, September and October.
    • Trail days can happen in Calgary [Fish Creek Provincial Park, Bowmont Park, 12 Mile Coulee, etc.] and Kananaskis.
  • Why do you close trails?
    • Trust us when we say that this is the worst thing we have to do.  We will almost always try and fix trails, but sometimes they can’t be fixed and have to be put down, so to speak.  Trails to nowhere, trails that don’t ever dry out, fall-line trail that promotes erosion, etc. usually aren’t sustainable.  It’s worth mentioning that when we close a trail, we can usually build a replacement line that has good drainage, better flow, etc.
  • What is the CMBA’s involvement with the trails on Moose Mountain?
    • The freeride trails [and also Pneuma] off of Moose Mountain Road are the responsibility of the Moose Mountain Bicycle Trail Society.
    • CMBA has worked on a few Moose Mountain trails, including Pneuma, Family Guy, Race of Spades and Special K.
  • What’s your involvement with the WBCASTP and GBCTA?
  • Who builds trails in the Calgary area?
    • Since 2008, almost all singletrack trail development and maintenance in the greater Calgary area has been handled by volunteer organizations:
      • The CMBA is the main [only?] trail building group working on trails within the City of Calgary and Fish Creek Provincial Park. The CMBA also works in Kananaskis on the Moosepackers and Ridgeback trails.
      • The GBCTA built and maintains the West Bragg Creek trails, such as Merlin View, Sugar Daddy, Snagmore, etc.
      • MMBTS builds and maintains trails off of the Moose Mountain Road, such as Pneuma, 7-27, SHAFT, and more.
      • CAMBA concentrates on promotion of mountain biking in the Canmore area
      • The FoKC works primarily on hiking trail in Kananaskis
      • The CTA is part of the FoKC, with a focus on the Canmore Nordic Centre
      • The BVMBA concentrates its efforts in Banff National Park, on trails like Topp Notch, The Toe, etc.
  • Who pays for trail building and maintenance?
    • Donations from the public to the local trail groups cover most maintenance costs, such as tools, insurance, etc.
    • For funding-intensive new trail builds, costs are often covered by a combination of donations and grants.
      • Grants can be public [Government of Alberta] or private [Calgary Foundation, Parks Foundation, etc.].