Building Sustainable Trails

In 1996, a handful of mountain bikers began creating a trail network inside Bukit Kiara.

These hand-sculpted trails initially connected the old estate paths that the Hash House Harriers and other trail enthusiasts were using. The new trails were built with sustainability in mind, in accordance with International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) guidelines.

When ravines, streams or steep sections were encountered, bridges were built over them using local hard wood and the sensitive trail surfaces were protected with rock armouring. Due to the strict adherence to these sustainable trail building protocols, all of the original trails still exist today, in good condition despite heavy use.

IMBA trail guidelines were also applied to the original estate roads, in order to refurbish and preserve them. Twin Peaks, for example, had become so severely eroded that at one point, it had 1.5-metre-deep channels forming.

This trail was reconditioned by digging robust water bars to get water off the trails during heavy rains and re-aligning some of the straighter stretches to twist and turn, thereby further reducing water flow.

While they were built by mountain bikers, the intent was (and still is) for the trails to be shared by all visitors to Bukit Kiara; hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners.

As is the standard practice throughout the world, the naming rights of each trail goes to the builder. And so there would often be some bits of personal history or anecdotes behind the names. For example, one trail was named “The Office” so that when the builder was working on it, he could answer with a straight face whenever he received a phone call asking where he was!