Craigmore Creek ORM Ride Park
The trails at Craigmore Creek are part of a 400-acre parcel of land owned by the Van Zutphen family of Inverness County, Cape Breton. The park is situated along rising terrain off Highway 19, just 15.2 kilometers north of Port Hastings.
What's in a name?
Craigmore Creek has been part of the NSORRA family of ORM ride parks since 2010. It is a beloved destination for many who travel there for its varied slopes and winding pathways that challenge and reward riders with a rhythm that is part of the mystique and beauty of Cape Breton.
It has a regular dirt bike ridership of young locals who almost always stop by to say hello. Many ride directly from their homes via the shared-use section of the Great Trail that runs the length of the original Judique Flyer Train line. The “creek” at Craigmore was once the source for a water refilling line that kept a reservoir filled for the steam locomotives that serviced this important transportation link along Western Cape Breton.
That rail line, now a shared use trail, is an active corridor of cyclists, OHVs, walkers and horseback riders that gives hundreds of locals safe access to linear, well-marked trail that accesses neighbours, community water frontage, and destinations like Craigmore Creek Off-Road Motorcycle (ORM) Park.
A practice track section on the lower left side of the property is accessed directly from the parking area. Ride direction is by default counter-clockwise unless otherwise posted.
A service road that runs perpendicular to the highway accesses a gravel pit that has intermittent use. The road should be traveled with caution as it is commonly shared by OHVs and occasional equipment operating to and from the pit area on the mountain top.
On either side of the service road, NSORRA has built and maintains an active system of trails that network climb and descend through the forest. When facing the mountain, the right side of the road is referred to as the South Side. The left is correspondingly the North Side. Naming each trail and posting signage is a NSORRA Trails objective for 2021.
The trail on the South Side starts at the far right corner of the property adjacent to the yellow gate. It follows a single track ribbon of undulating ascent all the way to where the trail exists and crosses a sharp hairpin turn on the service road. This trail can be ridden in either direction unless otherwise noted.
Please use caution and be respectful of rare but possible two-way traffic. There are several other entry/exit points along the trail for riders, walkers or EMS to access the road or trail.
The North Side trails have three main entry and exit points to/from the service road. The first access to the North Side is found shortly after crossing the small river about 300-400 feet past the top of the practice track. This is a 90 degree steep but short, rocky climb onto a nice single track that crisscrosses the fall line on the lower slopes of the mountain. Its switchbacks pull and draw up intermediate terrain with more challenging options for those ready to punch up steeper climbs.
There are sections of this trail that offer easier diversions as well, but riders should be prepared for brief pitches that require being smooth and confident on the use of throttle and brake. Within this lower slope of the North Side, there are loops wholly contained in the network that allow riders to stay off the service road and travel a ‘course’ of varied and challenges in the trail. There are occasional roots but larger rocks should be cleared often from the trail. The trail percolates well and rarely has water or mud issues.
Please be respectful and ride the dry line or wait until conditions improve to preserve our trail. Getting stuck, revving out or rutting the trail creates damage and hard work for volunteers.
Expert ride section
The second climb section of the North Side is an expert-only ride area because access is via three distinctly challenging climbs and descents. More confident riders will appreciate the opportunity to finesse these sections which we encourage riders to protect by riding within their ability. The very top of Craigmore Mountain has a rewarding loop that encircles a plateau ride zone. The views from here are stunning! Across the water is Cape St. George. The sunsets are incredible!
There is a large parking area that makes for easy staging and camping is permitted for NSORRA members. The Park has hosted annual hare scramble races, training events, destination ridership and NSORRA season finales. There is an outhouse on site as of 2020. Built by volunteers, it is clean and bright. Don't stare at the sky too long through the clear plastic roof; you might get dizzy! :)
This property promises to be good for those who can commit to riding this jewel in the NSORRA crown.
NSORRA’s President Josh Kelly, a proud Cape Bretoner, is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys every minute on the trails with family and friends. He particularly enjoys discovering new ride areas on the island.