Let’s face it: We’d all like to spend days on end exploring every last spot of sweet singletrack this country has to offer. But we can’t. (I know, the truth hurts.) So, after riding and researching some of the very best mountain bike destinations in the U.S., I’ve narrowed it down to five must-see spots. Start with this list the next time you’re searching for a prime place to pedal.
1. Moab, Utah
Perhaps the most popular mountain bike trail in the world, Moab’s Slickrock trail welcomes more than 100,000 visitors per year. But it’s not the only trail in town. Countless more, including Sovereign and Amasa Back, offer moderately technical options. Klondike Bluffs and the Intrepid Trail System among others offer a technically-easy ride.
No matter what trail you choose, you’ll be riding in the desert. So, plan accordingly.
Located in western Colorado’s high desert, Fruita offers hundreds of miles of trails that will please just about anyone looking for a thrill.
Ride the Book Cliffs area for wide-open views of the Grand Valley basin. Got some endurance? Chutes and Ladders, the classic run, offers steep climbs and descents that aren’t for the weak. At 2,000 vertical feet above the basin, The Edge Loop—a designated International Mountain Bicycling Association Epic trail—offers tight singletrack.
Rockier and a bit more technical than trails at Book Cliffs, the Kokopelli Trails are geared toward intermediate to expert mountain bikers. Those looking for smaller scale riding can survey the natural beauty of Fruita’s landscape while taking a spin on the 18 Road Trails.
Nestled between the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains, the energetic town of Asheville offers as much excitement as its natural surroundings. But make no mistake, the real attractions lie outside downtown, within the western North Carolina mountains.
Look no further than the Pisgah Mountains for supreme mountain biking. Here, singletrack weaves past waterfalls and opens up to meadows.
Just a short distance southeast, more trails—hundreds of miles of them, actually—exist in DuPont State Forest. Unlike Pisgah's red-clay, DuPont's trails are a mix of grippy granite and sandy soil. Take a trip to see for yourself why Asheville has been nicknamed the Moab of the South!
East Burke may seem like it’s in the middle of nowhere, but Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom is just a couple hours from the cities of Burlington and Montreal—and you better believe it’s worth the drive. The tiny town was put on the map in part by Kingdom Trails, a mountain bike mecca that offers more than 100 miles of non-motorized trails.
It’s not hard to see why the International Mountain Bicycling Association designated Kingdom Trails an "Epic" ride. The place is brimming with flowing singletrack, well-manicured terrain and beautiful landscape. Trails are easily identifiable with beginner, intermediate and advanced markings. Belted cows, maple syrup tubing and sugar shacks dot the landscape for a truly New England experience.
Located in the Western edge of the Rocky Mountains, Park City offers some of the most breathtaking scenery around—literally. At 8,000 feet above sea level, the 20-or-so-mile Mid Mountain Trail boasts close to 3,000 feet of up-and-down altitude change. Give yourself ample time to acclimate.
The recommended Mid Mountain route starts at Silver Lake at Deer Valley Resort, but you can create your own ride by taking Sweeney North, Sweeney South, Daly Canyon or Deer Valley to Mid Mountain. No matter which route you take, prepare to climb!
Sure, some trails are mighty rocky and, yes, there are a few unrelenting uphills, but Park City offers a variety of trails, fit for both beginner and experienced mountain bikers. Map your route accordingly.