The United States contains almost every climate and terrain imaginable, making for some fantastic mountain biking destinations. This could easily be a list of 1,000 locations and trails, but it’s been narrowed down to the best of the best.
Here are the top five destinations for extreme mountain biking in the U.S.
1. Crested Butte, Colorado
Crested Butte has a claim to fame as one of the birthplaces of mountain biking, and it’s easy to see why this location was chosen. It has over 750 miles of alpine trails, including the famous Trail 401, Doctor Park and Deadman’s Gulch. Most parks can only dream of having so many options.
The town of Crested Butte is a gem in its own right. It’s nestled in a beautiful Rocky Mountain valley and is home to various food, beverage and bike shops. It’s as close to a picturesque biking scene as you could ask for.
2. Park City, Utah
The trail quality in Park City might be unmatched, as it’s the first town in the United States to receive gold-level ride status from the International Mountain Biking Association. The trail network is 100% accessible from downtown, taking you from city to wilderness in a quick eco-friendly commute and providing amazing views of mountains, canyons and valleys.
Newer trails in and around the Deer Valley resort are still expanding, while old classics like the Wasatch Crest Trail, Midmountain Trail and Old Town Area remain national staples of the mountain biking scene after decades of use. The town itself also has an old-school atmosphere, as some buildings from its original settlement in the 1800s remain in use.
3. Bangor, Maine
Maine’s mountains and forests are full of hidden cycling gems, but Bangor is perhaps the most versatile location in the state. The Bangor City Forest — also known as The Bog — has many singletrack trails for the experts and a family-friendly doubletrack loop as well. You can connect to other routes, including the Walden-Parke preserve, Orono, Oldtown and Dedham’s steep overlook trails.
Some trails also take you closer to the coastline, where you’ll find some of the best food, architecture and culture New England has to offer. Maine is a world apart from the rest of the region, and you’ll likely have that same feeling when you visit. While you’re there, make sure to visit Maine’s best barn wedding venues to see how good rustic charm is with modern amenities.
4. Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada
Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America and one of the clearest in the world, which is a good enough reason for most people to go mountain biking in the area. However, there’s much more than scenic views. The Tahoe Rim Trail is a well-planned collection of paths around the lake that offer every difficulty level.
Other trail developments around the lake’s southern end also see more traffic every year. The many shoreside towns have a seemingly endless supply of restaurants and bike shops, and the Northstar Resort is a cyclist’s heaven. Lake Tahoe is a hot tourist destination for many reasons, and cycling has quietly become one of the most popular attractions.
5. Sedona, Arizona
The Southwest United States arguably has the most ideal conditions and terrains for mountain biking, and Sedona is one of the main attractions. The town has easily accessible trails with every technical challenge you can imagine, as the red rocks, vortexes and other landmarks make for unique obstacles.
The state continues to legalize old social trails in the area. More singletracks appear in and around the metropolitan area every year, expanding the quantity of pathways to match the quality. However, old classics like Hiline, Hangover and the Hogs remain the most popular sites despite the trail expansion.
Test Your Mountain Biking Skills
These five locations will give you more than you can handle if you’re looking for a new mountain biking challenge. However, the well-designed trails shouldn’t be the only reason you visit. The breathtaking landscapes and pleasant towns also make these places the best all-around biking destinations in the country.