IMBA recently announced the 2017 class of IMBA EPICS. Nine new trails and rides have been added to the list of demanding, mostly singletrack experiences in remote, backcountry settings.
The 46 current IMBA EPICS are each more than 20 miles (32 km) in length and 80 percent singletrack. They can be found in many regions of the U.S., plus Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Europe. These “epic” routes are nominated by local riders and serve to offer inspiration.
The new class of IMBA EPICS range from a 50-mile backcountry ride in New Zealand that winds its way through remote valleys, across mountain tops and down river gorges and should only be attempted by experienced, self-sufficient riders; to the well-loved and well-known Tsali Loops along North Carolina’s Fontana Lake. In Europe, the Finnish Sininen Saavutus Trail in the Hossa National Park was designated as IMBA Epic.
Here’s the full list of 2017 designees:
- Aspen Snowmass Mega Loop, Aspen, CO
- Galena Grinder, Sun Valley, ID
- Heaphy Track, Nelson, New Zealand
- Johnson Pass, Kenai Peninsula, AK
- Mohican State Park MTB Trail, Loudonville, OH
- Old Ghost Road, Nelson, New Zealand
- Sininen Saavutus Trail, Hossa National Park, Finland
- South Boundary Trail, Taos, NM
- Tsali Loops, Bryson City, NC
Explore the full list of every EPICS route. Ride one today and tag #IMBAEPICS to showcase your experience.
Sininen Saavutus Trail
The wildlife of Hossa National Park is best experienced by biking on the Sininen Saavutus Trail, which runs as a 50 kilometres’ circular route through western Taiga forest spotted by eskers and glimmering waters. The mysterious rock paintings at Värikallio cliffs tell you stories from the shamanistic world thousands of years ago. The Sininen Saavutus Trail offers a variety of challenges but also a wealth of flowy natural trail sections to make up for a whole day’s adventure - unless you want to experience the arctic Midnight sun and ride through the night. The plentiful campfire sites on beautiful sandy lakeshores allow for dipping into the crystal-clear waters of the National Park for a quick refreshment.
Most of the forests in Hossa are pine-dominated and fairly rugged. There are spruce forests on upper hill slopes. The number of mires is quite high and most of them are small. Hossa is a meeting point for three waterways, and, therefore, there are a large number of flowing waters in the area. The number of lakes and ponds is more than one hundred. The waters are rugged and clear, except for the mire ponds with dark waters. There are traces of the Ice Age in Hossa. A formation consisting of several eskers runs through the area, including kettle holes and kettle-hole ponds.
Hossa National Park is located in the reindeer husbandry area, so you will often see reindeer in the area. The elk population is thriving. All large carnivore species have been spotted in the area, but bears are the most permanent dwellers in the area and almost every winter bears hibernate somewhere in the national park. In Hossa you can hear the sounds of the song thrush and the capercaillie. Visitors are often followed by Siberian jays. The area boasts whooper swans and bean geese, which thrive in large wilderness areas. Golden eagles and white-tailed eagles have also been sighted in Hossa.
You can cycle the entire circle trail in one day (minimum ~4,5 hours), if you already have some mountain biking experience. In other words, you do not need to be an advanced mountain biker. The rolling terrain with plenty of esker and hill ascents and descents make the trail physically demanding. However, with the plentiful rest sites along the trail there are lots of possibilities for refreshment. It is also possible to take shortcuts and optionally choose road connections instead of the trail.
Hossa National Park is a state-owned protected area, managed by the state enterprise Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland (later P&WF). P&WF adheres to sustainable development policies as well as the principles of sustainable tourism in protected areas, setting clear goals for protected area management from ecological, cultural and socioeconomical perspectives of sustainability.
In practice, visitors are well-informed of the instructions and rules of the National Park, for example responsible recreation, safety protocols and nature conservation values. P&WF monitors the impacts of national park visitation through appliance of the Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) framework. Visitor satisfaction and experience are surveyed every five years through a standardized field survey.
The most important partners in management of the trail are local municipalities and the cycling association of the City of Kuusamo.