If you’re looking for exhilarating mountain biking experiences, the United States offers a lot of spectacular destinations for riders of all skill levels. Every state boasts a number of challenging trails and breathtaking landscapes that will make you come back for more. From cross-country to singletracks, mountain bikers can enjoy a variety of trails that cater to every preference. Check out our list of the best mountain biking destinations in the US and prepare to embark on an exciting journey.
Choosing the best place to mountain bike can be overwhelming especially if you were given hundreds of recommendations. Luckily, we are here to help you narrow down your choices by letting you know what makes a good mountain biking location. Here are several things that we think a great location should have:
For starters, the best mountain biking location should have a wide variety of trails that could be enjoyed by beginners and experts alike. Trails should vary in difficulty, terrain, and length so that riders can freely choose their route depending on their mood or preference. If the place has a little bit of everything, then MTB riders won’t have to go anywhere else.
A good mountain biking location should also have a pleasant natural landscape. Nature plays a huge role in the mountain biking experience. Aside from health benefits, most riders go mountain biking to experience the outdoors and witness everything that nature has to offer. As such, the location should have beautiful scenery that could keep mountain bikers occupied during breaks.
Additionally, it should be accessible and biker-friendly. It would be nice to have repair shops, restaurants, lodgings, and other essential facilities within the area. If the place is too remote, it could be inconvenient for riders, especially in the case of an emergency.
A supportive mountain biking community is also a must-have because it helps foster a positive atmosphere and encourages socialization among mountain bikers.
Now that you already know what to look for, check out our list of the best mountain biking destinations in the US. Who knows? You might even find your favorite on this list.
Park City was the first mountain biking destination to be recognized as a Gold Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) 1. With 450 miles of trails, breathtaking mountain views, and off-trail entertainment, it’s definitely one of the best mountain biking areas in the US. There are many trail options for all skill levels—get your heart racing in the uphill-only Armstrong Trail, challenge yourself in the Wasatch Crest Trail, or cool down in the Lost Prospector singletrack. After spending the day on the trails, you can wind down in bars and restaurants, art galleries, mini amusement parks, luxury hotels, and many more. It’s one of the most family-friendly destinations in the country as there are plenty of things to do aside from mountain biking.
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned biker, Moab should be at the top of your bucket list. Why? The red rock wonderland is home to “The Whole Enchilada”, one of the most epic bike rides in the world with its 7000 ft. drop for over 34 miles. It’s one of the best downhill mountain biking spots in the US. On top of that, the Slickrock Trail is also one of the most popular bike trails in the world, boasting over 100,000 visitors per year. But, one thing you should know about mountain biking in Moab is that most trails are technically challenging and hardcore, with several exposures that could lead to mountain biking injuries Trusted Source Mountain Biking Injuries: Current Sports Medicine Reports With the increasing popularity of mountain biking, also known as off-road cycling, and the riders pushing the sport into extremes, there has been a corresponding increase in injury. Using protective gear, improving technical proficiency, and physical fitness may somewhat decrease the risk of injuries. journals.lww.com if not met with caution. Considering Moab’s gnarly terrain, it is best to use a mountain bike that could effectively absorb rough terrain and impacts, such as the Schwinn Traxion Mountain Bike or the Chameleon MX D Mountain Bike.
Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley is another worthwhile mountain biking spot that deserves to be on everyone’s bucket list. Its upper portion, Aspen and Snowmass, are the perfect destinations for summer and fall getaways. The valley boasts more than 300 miles of diverse biking trails for all types of MTB riders. The Snowmass Bike Park in particular is famous among downhill riders around the world for its phenomenal 3000 ft. vertical drop. Whether it’s a lift-accessed downhill, cross-country, steep ascent, or singletrack, the valley has everything for everyone. If you want a highly challenging trail, you should check out Animal Crackers, which is the most difficult technical trail in the upper zone. It will challenge you for 2 miles with steep descents, rock gardens, and off-chamber traverses through loamy pine forests and alpine meadows.
Meanwhile, if you’re a beginner, you can start off with Verde, a beginner free-ride trail that is perfect for those who are still working on their cornering and fundamental skills. It’s a 3.5 mile flowing trail that takes you through the pine and aspen forest from Elk Camp to Base Village. Aside from these fun and challenging trails, the park also offers bike lessons and training for beginners or anyone who would like to take their riding to the next level.
Known for its summer alpine scenery, Crested Butte is one of the top destinations for a scenic mountain biking experience. You can ride over 700 miles of singletrack with breathtaking landscapes, wildflowers, and meadows to feast your eyes on. Doctor Park is one of the best trails to ride as it takes you to a fast, flowy, and downhill route through the aspen forest. You can also try the locals’ go-to favorite, Dyke Trail, which takes you to some extreme power climbs, tough descents, and stream crossings. Although it’s one of the more difficult trails in Crested Butte, the stunning views of Ruby Peak, Mt. Owen, and the aspen forest will make your experience worthwhile. For beginners, the Lupine Trail offers easy climbs, fast descents, and small feature drops along lupine-covered pathways where you can also enjoy a stunning view of the town and surrounding mountains. After spending the day on the trails, you can hang out in quaint shops and restaurants downtown.
Some of the best biking trails in the US can be found in Durango, Colorado, a quintessential Old West mountain town where arid desert terrain meets lush spruce forests. From easy flowing loops to downhill tracks, Durango has a variety of trail systems for beginners and experts alike. If you’re looking for an easy ride, try the out-and-back Horse Gulch trail which can be a great warm-up if you’re new in town. You can also check out the popular Dry Fork Loop which offers some steep but mostly moderate ride along tree-lined paths and meadows. Aside from these, Durango has plenty of unpaved roads that make for challenging gravel rides. When it comes to off-road trails, it’s important to be prepared and bring a bike that can smoothly navigate the rough terrain. Luckily, we have already compiled the best gravel bikes you can use to comfortably ride dirt and gravel roads.
Straddling the border of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe offers world-class mountain bike trails within the forests and peaks surrounding the lake basin. You can enjoy a scenic view of the lake’s pristine waters while riding through technical singletracks. If you enjoy thrilling heights, make sure to check out the famous Flume Trail, a moderately challenging 14-mile ride along the ridges above the lake. Keep in mind that some areas tend to be steep and rocky, with the elevation ranging from 7000 to 8100 feet. If you’re planning to tackle more technical trails and features such as in Lake Tahoe, it’s advisable to use a full suspension mountain bike that allows you to comfortably ride technical terrains. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our list of the best full suspension mountain bikes under $2000.
Kingdom Trails is a vast system made up of nearly 100 miles of singletrack spread out through a broad section of valleys, hills, and ridges. From flowy trails along the meadows to thrilling technicals, it offers an all-in-one destination for mountain bikers of all skill levels. Along the way, you may encounter fast and flowy machine-built descents, raw old-school singletrack, and rocky, rooty technical climbs that will make your biking experience more exciting. Burklyn Loop offers a beginner-friendly ride that is suitable even for kids. This trail is characterized by mild climbs, gradual elevation gain and loss, and tight-packed terrain that are perfect for gaining confidence. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with an amazing view of the town and the Burke Mountain which gets even more scenic in late spring when wildflowers are in bloom. Aside from Burklyn Loop, Heaven’s Bench is another great trail to ride if you like scenic views. It has a solid surface with no significant obstacles so you can fully enjoy the charming scenery of surrounding farmlands and mountains. Heaven’s Bench is actually one of the popular photography spots in Kingdom Trails. Aside from having an incredible trail network, the best thing about this place is the abundance of food trucks, restaurants, and cafes within the area. Mike’s Tiki Bar Trusted Source Mike Tiki Bar Located conveniently behind the Pub in down town East Burke. Stop by for a Cold Beverage of choice and enjoy our beautiful surroundings! www.tripadvisor.com , Cafe Lotti Trusted Source Cafe Lotti Cafe Lotti is your new espresso bar. Serving East Burke, Vermont with specialty coffee. www.tripadvisor.com , and Auntie Dee’s Homemade Baked Goods Trusted Source Auntie Dee Dees Homemade VT Baked Goods Artisan pastries, specialty sandwiches, breads and beverages. Breakfast and lunch on the go! www.tripadvisor.com are some of the best places to grab snacks and drinks in East Burke.
Of course, this list won’t be complete without the self-proclaimed “Mountain Biking Capital of the World”. With over 250 miles of MTB trails, a solid mountain biking community, and an ever-developing trail system, Bentonville definitely lives up to its name as a mountain biking paradise. It has a good mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced trails, so it doesn’t matter if you go with the young ones or a group of experts. Plus, there are plenty of bike shops, rentals, hotels, and restaurants within the proximity, so rest assured all your MTB needs will be met on and off the trails. Considering all the challenging trails and helpful amenities within reach, Bentonville is no doubt one of the best places to mountain bike in the US.
For MTB riders who are seeking the ultimate adrenaline rush, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park is a must-visit destination. It’s one of the best downhill mountain bike parks in North America, with over 4900 vertical feet of lift-accessed downhill trails. Over 120 expertly-crafted trails are spread throughout mountain zones, allowing riders to revel in breathtaking views in between breaks. For beginners, you can start at Fitzsimmons Chair which serves as the basecamp for the bike park. It is where you can find beginner trails such as EZ Does It, machine-built flow trails like Crank it Up, and classic jump trails like A-Line. Meanwhile, Garbanzo Chair is perfect for intermediate and advanced riders who enjoy the thrill of steep, technical, and long descents. If you want to test your limits, Blue Velvet is one of the fastest and flowiest trails in the entire park. Apart from offering adrenaline-inducing trails, Whistler also offers bike park lessons for beginners and a designated progression area for advanced riders to hone their skills.
With over 40 miles of singletrack, Copper Harbor is home to some of the most unique and challenging terrains in the country. In fact, it was designated as a Silver Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) in 2012. Whether you prefer cross-country trails, downhill trails, or flow trails, there are plenty of options to choose from at Copper Harbor. Additionally, the town is considered mountain biker-friendly with its restaurants, resorts, campgrounds, brew pubs, and bike shops that are easily accessible from the trails. So if you’re looking for the best mountain biking towns in the US, make sure to check out Copper Harbor in Michigan.
Tucked away in the western corner of North Carolina, the Pisgah National Forest is a mountain biking gem that deserves a spot on this list. The endless trail loops and options available in this place make it a total mountain biker’s playground. The terrain is full of steep, rooty, and rocky technicals that make mountain biking more challenging and exciting for beginners and experts alike. Although it gets a little steep toward the end, the Graveyard Upper Falls Trail is popular for mountain biking as it gives you a nice overview of the Graveyard Fields, with numerous blueberry bushes, trees, and wildflowers that adorn the pathway. You should also check out the Daniel Ridge Loop, a moderately challenging 7.2-km loop trail that begins on Lanning Ridge Road and leads to the beautiful Toms Springs Falls. It will take you to a relaxing ride through the forest, surrounded by calming streams, blooming mountain laurels, and wildflowers. The healing scenery and wilderness that come with the forest landscape is truly unmatched. If you’re a certified nature lover and mountain biker at the same time, Pisgah will never disappoint you with its abundance of wildflowers, gorgeous waterfalls, rock cliffs, and other picturesque spots that will make your mountain biking experience worthwhile.
Dubbed as the mountain biking capital of the Pacific Northwest, Oakridge is one of the only six cities in the world to be designated as a Gold Level Ride Center by the IMBA. It has more than 300 miles of incredible singletrack that weaves through the forest and hills of the Cascade Mountains. Most of the trails can be accessed through shuttles or climbing up fire roads. For newbies, Salmon Creek Trail is the best choice as it takes you to a mellow terrain right through town and up to Salmon Creek Falls. If you’re up for a challenge, try the Waldo Lake Loop for an epic ride around the pristine Cascades lake. Even though most trails are accessible all year-round, some of them get extremely muddy during the wet season, so be prepared and make sure to follow these quick tips for cleaning your mountain bike.
The red slickrock of Moab is popular among MTB riders all over the world, but few are aware of this incredible mountain biking destination in the southwest corner of Utah. The varied terrain, jaw-dropping views, and diverse trail networks make Hurricane one of the best mountain biking destinations in the US. If you’re planning to visit, you can start your exploration at the Hurricane Cliffs which is the closest one from town. It’s ideal for beginner to intermediate riders, with minimal side jumps, drops, and rocks for a bit of challenge. On the other hand, if you prefer a more difficult, rugged, or challenging route, you should check out Grafton Mesa or Little Creek. Finally, make sure to check the weather forecast before mountain biking in Hurricane. Since the area is covered in clay, rain turns the ground into a nasty glue that could get you stuck even if you’re in a high clearance 4×4 vehicle. Plus, there are several exposures that might endanger reckless riders.
Tucked away in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Downieville is another iconic downhill mountain biking spot for adventurous MTB riders out there. It will take you on a 15-mile journey downhill, covering a wide variety of terrain including rocky alpine landscapes, narrow sidehills, and other surprising features. However, what makes it unique from other locations is that it allows the use of e-bikes. Most mountain biking spots don’t allow e-bikes due to the risks associated with them, but they are welcome in Downieville, which aims to make the trails accessible for everyone. If you’re interested in exploring Downieville on an e-bike, then you should check out our list of the best electric mountain bikes under $3000.
Sedona’s incredible landscape, vast trail network, and grippy red rock make it the perfect location for mountain biking. It is divided into five mountain biking networks: the Village of Oak Creek, Dry Creek, Adobe Jack, Broken Arrow, and Carroll Canyon. The Village of Oak Creek is the best place to start especially if you’re only visiting for a few days. It’s where you can find the famous Bell Rock and the Hiline Trail. For advanced riders who prefer more difficult routes, Broken Arrow and Schnebly Hill have exciting and technically challenging trails for you. Since Sedona gets little snow even in winter, trails are accessible all year-round. However, the temperature can be a little extreme during the mid-summer and mid-winter months. As such, it is best to go mountain biking in Sedona during the shoulder seasons, from March to May and September to November.
With the amount of incredible mountain biking spots in the United States, no wonder people from other countries travel all the way to the US just to experience the thrill of mountain biking that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. In fact, there are plenty of other amazing locations that didn’t make it on the list. From extreme downhill trails to challenging singletracks, the country has a little bit of everything for everyone. So whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned rider, you will definitely find a favorite among the best mountain biking destinations in the US.