10 Greatest Places To Mountain Bike In North America
Mountain biking is great. It lets you know your true self like a martial art.
You get to travel as you look for more trails and paths you’ve never tried.
Plus, there’s a community of fellow mountain bikers helping to maintain and create new trails nearly anywhere you go.
These communities are the reason why there are thousands of trails in North America alone.
If you’re anything like me, odds are you want to visit them all too. Or maybe just make a bucket list of the best mountain biking trips on the continent.
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Narrowing down the 10 greatest places to mountain bike in North America is a monumental task. There are just so many places with so many trails that it’s hard to list just 20 let alone 10.
Below you’ll find our attempt at doing just that.
1. Crested Butte, Colorado
Crested Butte is said to be where the sport of mountain biking began.
Back in the 1970s, the locals would combine a mix of road bike parts, motorcycle parts, junkers, and some good old ingenuity to create what they called Crested Butte Klunkers. Jump ahead a few decades and Crested Butte’s home state of Colorado has been touted as the best state for mountain biking. In fact, the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA) maintains more miles of track than any other club in the world.
Crested Butte itself is home to more than 700 miles of singletracks. Odds are your legs are going to give out way before you hit all those tracks. Here are a few you should definitely hit:
The Lupine Trail is best suited for beginners to intermediate riders. You’ll encounter some forgiving climbs, zippy descents with berms, a few small feature drops, plus a scenic view of the surrounding mountains and the town of Crested Butte itself.
Doctor Park is better suited for intermediate to advanced riders. Mostly known for its downhill, you can also ride this trail as a loop or shuttle.
The Dyke Trail is perfect for advanced riders visiting in the fall. The combination of difficult power climbs, stream crossings, a difficult descent makes this trail too tough for those of lower skill levels.
2. Moab, Utah
Touted as the home of the greatest mountain biking in the world, Moab provides riders of whatever skill level some of the best and most scenic trails you can find.
The world-famous Slickrock Bike Trail can only be found here. The challenging trail stretches just 9.6 miles but is renowned for being the greatest mountain biking experience.
If you’re looking for an easier trail, you can hit the Klonzo network spanning across both sides of Willow Springs Road. the south side offers gentler trails while the north side takes riding difficulty up a notch.
You can also hit the Bar-M Loop to get a scenic introduction to the varied terrain and picturesque scenery next to Arches National Park.
3. Park City, Utah
Another place you can visit while in Utah is Park City. Most mountain bikers know the city as the only IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association) Gold-Level Ride Center in North America.
Park City has hundreds of miles of alpine singletrack. Not even the snow can stop riders from visiting this city as snow bike trails and paths are also available for winter enthusiasts.
If you’re looking for an epic intermediate ride, you should definitely hit the Mid Mountain Trail. This whole trail hovers at an elevation of 8,000 feet and consists of pristine singletrack. You can enjoy the spectacular views as this trail winds along pine trees and aspen groves.
4. Fruita, Colorado
Fruita is considered by many mountain bikers to be one of Colorado’s premier mountain biking destinations. It offers a mix of terrain to attract and challenge mountain bikers of whatever skill level.
Looking to just enjoy the scenery? Take your time riding the 18 Road Trails.
Do you prefer steep climbs, intense downhills, hair-raising switchbacks, and technical challenges to test your skills? Hit the Kokopelli trails and see if you have what it takes.
Or if you prefer terrain that’s very technical, loose, and rocky with flow interspersed, you can always head to the Lunch Loop Trails.
5. Pisgah National Forest, Western North Carolina
Pisgah National Forest is a premier mountain biking location in the southeastern US. with over 500,000 acres of land, this swath of wild forest is home to hundreds of miles of trails.
You can find trails in all three of the forest’s districts (Pisgah, Grandfather, and Appalachian).
The massively popular Bent Creek trail system is located within the forest’s boundaries. Its 30-mile network offers riders various trails to choose from and is also home to highly-acclaimed descents like Green’s Lick.
A longtime favorite loop is Kitsuma located in the Grandfather District. You can extend this loop by combining it with other nearby trails.
Considered by many to be the classic Pisgah trail, Black Mountain can be easily accessed on the edge of the national forest and ranges from 12 to 30 miles, depending on the beatdown you can endure.
6. Whistler Mountain Bike Park, Canada
If you’re looking for the greatest gravity-fed downhill biking experience then Whistler is where it’s at. The park offers four mountain zones, green trails, technical double blacks, and jump trails to cater to all riders of any skill level and discipline.
You’d ideally want to visit in the fall when temperatures are moderate, conditions are superb, and there are fewer riders on the trails.
Expect to find an extensive cross-country trail network and the highest-rated bike park in the world.
7. Winter Park, Colorado
Unlike its name, Winter Park offers some of the best summer riding for downhill mountain biking in the US. Dubbed the “Mountain Bike Capital USA”, Winter Park is home to over 600 miles of trails to explore.
These trails range in distance, difficulty, and scenic views and offer fun rides for riders of all skill levels. Expect to find anything from gentle rides to epic adrenaline-filled descents.
8. Snowshoe Bike Park, West Virginia
The Snow Shoe Bike Park is located on the Appalachian Mountain Range.
It features one of the largest trail systems in the East with nearly 40 trails and 1,500 vertical feet of descent. Anyone from first-time riders, cross-country lovers, and pro downhillers will find this place a perfect addition to their mountain biking bucket list.
9. Copper Harbor, Michigan
Copper Harbor has been touted as the place for Michigan’s best mountain biking. There you’ll find some of the most unique terrain making for some of the most challenging trails in the country.
Designated as an International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Silver Level “Ride Center” in 2012, Copper Harbor is currently ranked among the top five trail systems in the world. The Copper Harbor Trails Club and neighboring landowners contributed to the place’s 38+ miles of world-class singletrack trails — with more being built each season.
10. Bend, Oregon
Bend has some of the best mountain bike trails you’ll find in all of Oregon. The trails near Bend give you lots of options and can be enjoyed by any rider of any skill level.
Downhillers can enjoy riding high on the volcanic rock and trails at Mt. Bachelor. Riders who prefer cross-country can hit the trails at Phil’s where they can expect to find sweeping trails, big pines, and endless flow.
Many of Bend’s trails are accessible by pedaling from town or driving less than 30 minutes.
11. Susanville Ranch Park – Susanville California
Susanville Ranch Park is now one of, if not my favorite place to mountain bike in California. Most of the trails I road in California are charred, overrun with hikers, or simply too crowded. This spot in an 1,100 acre park, and has more than thirty miles of single track! And it’s predominantly mountain bikers. Non-motorized multi-use trails wind through canyons, around meadows, and up into the hills in this uncrowded and unspoiled park. From easy to challenging trails, all level of mountain bikers will find something to suit their liking at Susanville Ranch Park.
Susanville Ranch Park lies in the heart of one of the most unique and diverse landscapes in America. The best way to fully experience the landscape is to climb the foothills of the Cascades to one of the many vista points in the northern section of the park. Thank me later.
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