Top 10 Mountain Bike Trails in the US
Whether you love fighting through tough technicals, testing your muscles and endurance with long climbs, or getting bugs in your teeth on steep and narrow singletrack descents, mountain biking has it all, when you find the right trails. One of the most popular outdoor sports in the US, for good reason, if you’re an avid mountain biker you owe it to yourself to try out some of these great trails.
10. Trail 401 – Crested Butte, Colorado
Consistently rated as one of the best singletrack trails in the U.S., Trail 401 is part of the Crested Butte trail system. The trail starts with a fairly brutal uphill climb, but survivors are rewarded with amazing 360-degree views of Crested Butte, and an awesome downhill singletrack for over 9 miles all the way back to town.
9. Bangtail Divide Trail – Bozeman, Montana
Bangtail Divide is an awesome trail. It’s a fairly new, having just been completed in 2003, and thus it isn’t crowded, it’s well marked, and it’s well maintained. The Bangtail Divide Trail itself is 23 miles long and not steep or overly technical, and almost the entire length of the trail is singletrack through beautiful trees and meadows.
8. Buffalo Creek – Pine, Colorado
A nicely varied trail system outside Denver, Buffalo Creek rewards riders with great views, fun singletrack, big climbs, and some all-around exciting trails. Pick your own loops or out-and-backs, and ride mile after mile of technical roller-coasters, or go on an epic 40 mile afternoon ride. The choice is yours!
7. Copper Harbor Trails – Copper Harbor, Michigan
Located on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan, the Copper Harbor Trails comprise of over 25 miles of scenic singletrack. It may be somewhat hard to get to, but you get rewarded with flowing singletrack, awesome technical features, tough climbs, fun wood pathways, and fast rollers. The trails are beautifully maintained year-round, and the area has nearby camping and hotels for multi-day trips – which you’ll definitely want to do.
6. Gauley Headwaters – Slatyfork, West Virginia
Ride over 37 miles of trails in beautiful Monongahela National Forest, including the famous Tea Creek Mountain descent, the best singletrack descent on the East Coast! These trails aren’t exactly for speed lovers, but technical riders will think they’ve died and gone to heaven.
5. Maah Daah Hey Trail – North Dakota
The Maah Daah Hey Trail is the one truly epic ride on our list. The result of a 30 year-long dream of spanning the Little Missouri National Grasslands to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the trail was finally completed in the late 1990′s – and the time spent was well worth it. A 96-mile long singletrack through western North Dakota, you get to ride through scenic grasslands and buttes, barren badlands, and more than a few downhills along the Little Missouri River. The ride is fun, not too technical or steep, and worth a few day journey.
4. The Big Boulder Trail – Downieville, California
You name it, The Big Boulder Trail has it. Long climbs? How about a 17 mile climb up a rarely used fireroad? Fun and fast singletrack descents? How about a 5,000 foot vertical drop trail down the Sierra Nevadas, with stream crossings, waterfalls, long bridges, and yes, technical rocky areas. And the ride ends by the Yuba River, with several great swimming holes to cool your feet and rest your tired muscles.
3. Monarch Crest – Salida, Colorado
Part of the world famous Continental Divide Trail, Monarch Crest has more than 30 miles of fun trails and scenic views near Salida, Colorado. Take a shuttle to the top, and start riding at about 12,000 feet above sea level! It’s usually only clear of snow from July to August, so check before going, but it’s an amazing 30+ mile ride down a roughly 6,000 foot vertical drop.
2. Tsali Trails – Bryson City, North Carolina
One of the great rides in the Southeastern U.S., the Tsali Trails offer two main rides – the 12 mile long Left Loop and the 11 mile long Right Loop. Each loop features some nice climbs, fun loops, and great banked turns. Both trails feature views of Fontana Lake, if you happen to notice the view while zipping through the fast singletrack.
1. Slickrock – Moab, Utah
Slickrock in Moab, Utah is probably the most well-known mountain bike trail in the country – possibly the world. It’s definitely unique – riding on mostly flat slickrock is something you can’t really do anywhere else. The beautiful, desolate scenery is also quite stunning, and the challenging trails add some fun to the ride. Come prepared for the heat with plenty of water, and with a camera for all the great photos!
Randall Pinkston is the founder and editor of travel deal aggregator Neotravel.com. When not traveling or writing about travel, he’s busy riding in the rain and mud of Seattle USA.