Across America, people have discovered mountain biking, as not only a great way to get some exercise, but also the best way to experience all the beautiful vistas and unmatched scenery this country has to offer. America offers some of the best mountain bike trails in the world to add to your bucket list.
There is likely any number of great mountain bike trails to try in your area. But if you’re feeling especially adventurous, you’ve come to the right place. That’s because, in this article, we present a thorough and comprehensive bucket list of the 25 best mountain biking trails in America, for both avid mountain bikers and beginners alike.
Our ranking may include some mountain bike trails you already know, but also some stops that just might surprise you. And rather than basing it all on just our opinion, we reached out to travel experts, mountain biking fanatics, and outdoor aficionados before we compiled our list.
Our goal: to present a list of truly the best bike trails in America, unlike any other list you’ll find on the internet. Were we successful? You be the judge.
What’s for certain, though, is that by the time you finish reading you’ll want to visit some, or all, of the prime locations to mountain bike that we uncovered in our research.
So, jump on your mountain bike and get ready. The 25 best mountain bike trails in America are coming up around the bend.
Before You Jump on Your Mountain Bike
Before we dive into the ranking, we should mention a few things. The international mountain bike association reports hundreds, sometimes thousands of injuries every year. As such, the international mountain bike association urges beginners and experts alike to employ caution, because mountain biking is a true test.
This applies to planning your trip to one of the amazing trails listed below. Be sure to evaluate whether the trail matches your level of technical skills, or if you need to spend some time practicing on another trail system better matched to your skills first.
To work on your mountain biking skills, consider visiting one of the bike parks in your area or one of the fun trails near you. Cultivating mountain biking skills takes time, dedication, and most of all–patience. So don’t rush to ride a more advanced trail, take your time and practice building the correct mountain biking skills.
The technical aspects associated with the favorite trails of advanced riders cannot be understated. So remember to take it easy and consider practicing at your local bike park before you commit to the true test of an advanced trail!
1) McKenzie River Trail – Blue River, OR
The first pick in our ranking of the 25 best mountain biking trails in America came recommended to RAVE Reviews by several travel and tourism experts, as well as some experienced mountain bikers who’ve tried the spot.
The McKenzie River trail is Located in Blue River, OR in the beautiful and scenic Cascade Mountain Range, roughly equidistant from Bend to the east and Eugene to the west. And according to Kevin Hwang, CEO of Ultimate Kilimanjaro, a professional travel and adventure guide service, it’s not only the best mountain trail in the country, it’s one of the best mountain biking trails anywhere on the planet.
Remembering his time on the trail, Hwang says, “The Mckenzie River Trail in Blue River, OR is one of the best mountain biking trails I’ve ever had the luxury of experiencing.”
Over the course of about 26 miles, riders should expect what he calls “one giant mountain bike slide” through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, Hwang tells RAVE Reviews in an email that, filled with dramatic scenery such as waterfalls, lava fields, and the shade of 300-year-old trees.
“You’ll definitely want to make sure you have a full phone battery so you can snap some pics of the clearest lakes you’ll ever see along your mountain bike ride!” Hwang continues.
Marc Bromhall of Beginner Surf Gear is also a serious bikeoholic. He agrees with Hwang’s pick.
“It typically takes a mountain bike rider four to five hours to complete this trail,” he says, “but that’s usually because they’re stopping on a regular basis to capitalize on the amazing photo opportunities,” he says. For these reasons, this is one of our favorite trails.
Get More Information: Mc Kenzie River Trail
RAVE Meter: 100
2) Phil’s Trailhead – Bend, OR
A nomad at heart, Zander Buteaux has driven nearly every county, state, and federal road along the Western Seaboard with his mountain bike in tow. One of his favorite spots to mountain bike is Phil’s Trailhead near Bend, OR, one of the most extensive trail networks he has ever experienced.
At Phil’s, there are trails “suited for every skill level: from brand new beginner on a rented hardtail with plastic flats,” Buteaux tells RAVE Reviews in an email, for the weekend warrior, or more serious bikers excited to shred the “brown pow,” he says.
And even Canadian freeride mountain biker and rally racer Brandon Semenuk, who is paid to travel and dance with his mountain bike, loves Phil’s, Buteaux explains.
Funner-Tiddlywinks Loop is one of Buteaux’s favorite spots in the area, “scratching the itch of flow, technical, air time downhill,” he says, “combined with tough but not grueling uphill on a 13-mile loop.”
The Upper COD trail is also classic, he adds, with heavy technical sections but also rolling meandering tours through massive pine forests.
And for the particularly adventurous, Buteaux suggests the nearby North Umpqua Trail, an epic 71-mile, multi-day excursion.
“Or fine, do it in a single day if you’re a psychopath,” Buteaux adds, “But this is a destination worth mountain bike riding if you’re looking for varied cross-country.’
Get More Information: Phil’s Trailhead
RAVE Meter: 99.8
3) Crested Butte – Crested Butte, CO
Travel and mountain biking enthusiast Philip Westfall has been lucky enough to try some of the best cycling trails in America.
Located in the Rocky Mountains, Crested Butte offers some of the best of the best, he says. And his favorite trail in the area is the 401 Mountain Bike Trail, located near the town of only about 1,300 people.
“With a mix of road and single-tracks and the perfect combination of challenging climbs and freewheeling opportunities,” he says, “it’s every cyclist’s dream.”
And aside from the trail itself the scenery is astounding, he continues, with panoramic views of Elk Mountain blanketed in colorful flowers in the spring, and stunning views of Emerald Lake all year round.
Mountain biker Zander Buteaux also likes the 401, calling it an absolutely gorgeous singletrack carved into the mountainside for the downhill.
“Ride this trail!” he says. Also in the Crested Butte area, Buteaux recommends the Doctor Park Mountain Bike Trail, calling it a shuttle downhill with something for everyone.
At Doctor Park, riders plow “full speed flow through aspen groves, fast technical, high-skill technical, and carved flow,” he says. He only wishes the trail was longer.
Get More Information: Crested Butte
RAVE Meter: 98.6
4) The Dry Hill Trails – Port Angeles, WA
A great choice for beginners but also more experienced riders, the Dry Hill Trails near Port Angeles, WA in the beautiful Pacific Northwest is up next in our ranking.
Certainly, one of the best mountain biking areas in the nation, the Dry Hill trails area offers several must-try trails not just in the state of Washington, but “even possibly the entire Pacific Northwest,” says mountain biking enthusiast and owner of Adventures through Kayaking, Tammi Hinkle.
Hinkle’s business offers mountain biking shuttles, rentals, and tours in the entire Port Angeles area, including the foothills of the Olympic Adventure Trail (OAT).
“They wouldn’t hold the NW Cup Series here if this wasn’t the case!” she says.
On the Dry Hills Trails, only about a 10-minute drive from downtown port Angeles, riders of all skill levels choose from the Olympic Adventure Trail or “super technical downhill trails,” Hinkle continues.
Scott Tucker is a passionate mountain biking local and race director for the NW Cup. He calls Port Angeles a mountain biking mecca. Explore a little, and find pristine wilderness riding to the east on the Lower Dungeness/Gold Creek Loop, or to the west on the Mt. Muller Trail, he says.
Get More Information: The Dry Hill Trails
RAVE Meter: 97.3
5) Tahoe Flume Trail – Lake Tahoe, NV
Mike Miller, editor in chief of Wilderness Times, an outdoor and camping website, is an upper-intermediate mountain biker who has experienced many of America’s very best mountain biking trails.
His favorite is the Tahoe Flume Trail, a moderately difficult, one-way, 14-mile trail rising more than a thousand feet in elevation, with about four miles of singletrack. It takes the average beginner about five hours to complete the trail, and there are several steep sections not for the faint of heart.
“Flume is definitely one of my favorite trails of all time,” Miller says. As riders break through the trees, they’re greeted with views of Lake Tahoe’s water, “painted with different shades of blue and green,” Miller describes.
The first four miles of the trail are all uphill, and then you’re descending for the rest of your ride. “There are a couple of sections where you’ll have to carry your bike,” Miller adds, “but the rest is a pretty leisurely bike ride with great views,” he says.
For upper-intermediate riders, Miller continues, “this won’t be a very challenging trail,” but nevertheless, the breathtaking scenery is well worth it, he says.
Becky Timbers of the biking and travel blog Two Wheeled Wanderer has ridden the Flume Trail as well as the Tahoe Rim, and she recommends both.
“This is one of the most beautiful and epic rides on the West Coast,” Timbers tells RAVE Reviews exclusively, and the best way to ride it is to catch the shuttle from Tahoe Meadows down to Incline Village before enjoying the 24-mile ride with more than 2,000 ft. of elevation gain and more than 4,000 ft. of descent.
Best of all, Timbers says, “the views of Lake Tahoe and Marlette Lake are absolutely stunning.”
Get More Information: Tahoe Flume Trail- Lake Tahoe, NV
RAVE Meter: 96.2
6) Dawson’s Butte and Ridgeline Open Space – Castle Rock, CO
The next pick in our ranking is just one of many exceptional mountain biking trails located in the great state of Colorado.
Dawson’s Butte and Ridgeline Open Space comes recommended to RAVE Reviews by Rohan Kadam of Bikingknowhow.com, and it’s among the best choices in our list for a beginner, he says.
“It is easy to ride,” he says, since it’s mostly a single-track trail covered with lush green trees and beautiful landscapes.
At an elevation of more than 6,000 feet and made up of more than 300 acres of public land set aside for conservation and recreational use, there’s also the Dawson Butte Ranch Trail, a five-mile loop through forests and open meadows with views of the Front Range Mountains.
Expect short climbs through the woods, with lots of curves, and some riders even catch views of elk.
Get More Information: Dawson’s Butte and Ridgeline Open Space
RAVE Meter: 95.5
7) Cowiche Canyon Conservancy – Yakima, WA
Located on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountain Range, Cowiche Canyon Conservancy has more than 30 miles of trails through several distinct ecological zones.
Avid mountain biker and Yakima Valley resident Dan Langager tells RAVE Reviews, “With four distinct seasons, diverse geology and thousands of acres of meadows, woodlands and basalt cliffs to explore, the Yakima Valley is a prime spot for mountain biking in central Washington State.”
At Cowiche Canyon Conservancy, trails stretch across two hilltops and through a scenic canyon, with a diverse mix of smooth gravel routes and aggressive single-track, Langager describes.
Two of the most popular spots for mountain bikers in the area are Snow Mountain Ranch and Rocky Top, leading riders through rolling foothills with amazing views of the nearby Cascade Mountains, including Mount Adams, Cowiche Mountain, and the greater Yakima Valley.
Langager continues, “Trail maps and educational signage make it easy to know where you’re going and learn about the ecosystem along the way. And if your four-legged companion usually comes along, dogs are welcome too.”
After the ride, Langager also recommends Cowiche Creek Brewing Company, a short drive from the trailheads. Or instead, “you can even bike right up to Wilridge Vineyard, Winery & Distillery from the canyon,” he says.
Get More Information: Cowiche Canyon Conservancy
RAVE Meter: 94.8
8) Brim Mountain Bike Trail at Powder Mountain – Eden , UT
When most people think of the next stop in our ranking of the 25 best mountain biking trails in America they think of skiing, but according to mountain biker and Utah resident JP Goulet, there are also a number of great mountain biking trails in the Powder Mountain area, most notably Brim Trail.
Goulet tells RAVE Reviews exclusively that Brim Trail is moderately difficult, but nevertheless ideal for almost any experience level.
“Bumps and curves keep it exciting and challenging,” he says, “but not too many steep ups or downs makes it achievable for anyone.”
Breezing through the 6.5-mile trail in the summer, he continues, means catching views of wildflowers in full bloom, with temperatures remaining steady in the 60s and 70s, “even in the hottest part of the year,” he continues.
“You might even hear elks in the distance,” Gourlet says, reminding riders that the picturesque views in front of them are, in fact, a reality.
Get More Information: Brim Mountain Bike Trail at Powder Mountain
RAVE Meter: 93.2
9) Day at the Beech, Cranmore Bike Park, Cranmore Mountain – North Conway, NH
Next up in our list of America’s best mountain biking trails is another spot known more for skiing during the winter months, but has a lot to offer mountain bikers when the weather turns warm. One of the best trails is called Day at the Beech in the Cranmore Bike Park, a new lift-serviced downhill mountain biking trail system in the area.
According to Becca Deschenes, marketing director at Cranmore Park, Day at the Beech is an intermediate-rated machine-built flow trail, bringing riders on a smooth descent back down to the base area while weaving in and out of the woods with sweeping berms and rollers.
“Cranmore’s bike park offers terrain for all abilities from easy-going smooth flow trails,” she says, “to more technical-single track terrain.” And if you’re new to the sport of downhill riding, small group friends and family lessons are also available, she says.
Get More Information: Day at the Beech, Cranmore Bike Park, Cranmore Mountain
RAVE Meter: 92.3
10) Bear Creek Trail and the Pinhoti – Ellija, GA
There’s a reason why Gilmer County, home to Ellija, GA, is widely considered the mountain biking capital of the state.
Contributing to this distinction are the Bear Creek and Pinhoti trails, according to local resident Dondi Fontenot, co-owner of Cartecay Bike Shop, and certified mountain bike instructor with the Professional Mountain Bike Instructors Association (PMBIA).
The Pinhoti, he tells RAVE Reviews in an email, is a unique, long, and extremely varied trail that could keep any mountain biker entertained indefinitely.
“Epic,” he calls it, with two sections and more than four miles of trails climbing up to 1,300 feet to an overlook with views of a scenic ridge riding and “some tight switchbacks to test your skills,” Fontenot says.
Along the way, mount bikers pass through a wide variety of North Georgia flora and fauna that changes with every season,” Fontenot continues, and, “you’ll be rewarded with plenty of downhill on the return ride,” he says.
As for the popular Bear Creek Trail, it’s a technical single track with multiple stream crossings. It also passes by a giant Gennett Poplar tree that’s been alive for nearly a millennia. And from the overlook, there are spectacular, long-range views, Fontenot continues.
“The out-and-back route is six miles uphill,” he explains, but not too steep, “and then it’s a killer six-mile descent back to the car,” he says.
Furthermore, there are multiple ways to ride Bear Creek, “including a loop, a figure 8, or a gravel ride to the top,” he says.
Get More Information: Bear Creek Trail and the Pinhoti
RAVE Meter: 91.1
11) Demo Forest – Santa Cruz, CA
Demo Forest near Santa Cruz, CA is the next stop in our ranking in the best trails for mountain biking in America.
The bike trail also comes recommended by mountain biking and travel expert Zander Buteaux. He calls Demo Forest an amazing loop through a fog-laden hillside just east of Santa Cruz.
Get there after a rainstorm, he says, and the dirt is nice and tacky, giving it a “chef’s kiss,” which is mountain biking lingo for the perfect conditions.
The uphill could be better, he continues, “but it could also definitely be worse as it is a deep woods dirt road that leads you up to the mouth of the bike trail.”
And you can then take the downhill through amazing, long flow sections with sprinklers in place to keep things stable in the dry season. “Seeing sprinklers is how you know it’s legit,” he explains.
Buteaux also recommends taking a breather at the skills park and then dropping right back into it,
“There’s an exit after one of the sections to have an easier return to the car, or you can keep going for another two miles or so, on flow, he continues, adding, “This additional section adds a pretty serious burner of a return climb back up to the car, but the downhill is well worth it,” he says.
Get More Information: Demo Forest
RAVE Meter: 90.9
12) Mount Spokane’s Trail 140 – Spokane, WA
There are any number of great mountain biking trails in the Spokane, WA area, but if local resident Kate Hudson had to pick just one, she’d choose the Mount Spokane Bike Trail 140, less than an hour drive from downtown.
“It’s a wild, four sectioned, 3,500-foot, face melting descent,” she says. But at the top, mountain bikers enjoy views from Vista House while scurrying through patches of pines.
“Be on the lookout for what’s known as the Jedi Trees — a really cool thicket,” Hudson says, and the ride ends at Bear Creek Lodge, where you can grab beer and burgers, she says.
Another option is to take a shuttle to the summit. “Leave a vehicle either at the bottom parking area or at Bear Creek Lodge,” Hudson recommends, “where there is a small day-use fee to park.”
Get More Information: Mount Spokane’s Bike Trail 140
RAVE Meter: 89.8
13) Aquarius Trail Hut System – St. George, UT
For a luxury “bikepacking” experience, we recommend the new Aquarius Trail Hut System near St. George, UT.
This 190-mile route through Utah’s scenic backcountry, sometimes called the “color country,” spans Brian Head at more than 11,000 feet, and towns like Escalante at about 5,800 feet.
There are other well-known landmarks along the way, including Powell Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Dixie National Forest, among many others.
Both self-guided and guided tours are available for a fee, and riders can stay in huts made from repurposed shipping containers with amenities like showers, solar power for charging electronic devices, fully stocked kitchens, and bicycle repair tools and stands.
Adam York is experienced with the trail system and helps publicize the area. “Riders enjoy single-track, challenging jeep tracks, dirt roads, hidden lakes, and spectacular vistas,” he says.
“On the tour, guests ride to Brian Head Peak, down Proctor Canyon, and into the quaint little town of Hatch,” he continues, before meandering past the Tropic Reservoir and into Red Canyon, home of the infamous Thunder Mountain Bike Trail and the Red Canyon Bike Path.
“The route explores all the Dixie National Forest has to offer,” York says, “including a big climb up to the scenic Powell Point where John Wesley Powell surveyed Southern Utah. “Days average between 35 to 40 miles of riding and 3,500 feet of elevation gain,” he adds.
Or instead, simply “stop in at one of the bike shops in town to get helpful tips and insider information,” Tucker recommends.
Get More Information: Aquarius Trail Hut System
RAVE Meter: 88.6
14) Groveland Trail Heads – Groveland, CA
Feel like you’ve tried everything America has to offer when it comes to mountain biking? Well, one stop you may have yet to try is the Groveland Trail Heads near Groveland, CA, which are also some of the newest mountain biking trails in our list.
Olga Verkhotina from Visit Tuolumne County had this to say about mountain biking opportunities in her area.
“Co-creator of the bike trail, Dwight Follien’s goal was to create a route that could be a destination for mountain bikers,” she says, and “other trails intertwine at this location and are multipurpose for horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking.”
One of the newest trails in the area, affectionately named Tap 5, is strictly for mountain biking.
“This path is perfect for all skill levels and families at around 1.3 miles in length,” Verkhotina explains, where riders enjoy fun jumps, berms, rollers, and the double sneaky log drop, she continues.
“Each feature has a go-around so they can be avoided by beginners,” she adds, and Tap 5 can also be ridden in either direction with lines of sight throughout the bike trail for a safe new experience.
“As with most places to mountain bike in Tuolumne County, Tap 5 is open year-round,” Verkhotina says.
Get More Information: Groveland Trail Heads
RAVE Meter: 87.6
15) Bridal Veil Creek Trail – Telluride, CO
The next mountain biking recommendation in our ranking comes from Will Hatton, CEO of The Broke Backer.
Hatton says, “Colorado is home to few of the most scenic routes in North America: lush green forests and unending rows of tall trees, surrounded by mountains and rocky lands.”
The state is also home to a number of incredible national parks, mountain biking trails, and hiking trails, too.
“One of the most spectacular trails you could embark upon is the Bridal Veil Creek Bike Trail which will get you close to the Bridal Veil Falls, “easily one of the highest falls in Colorado,” Hatton explains.
The bike trail might be a little daunting for beginners, he says, “because it has a 2000 ft elevation and is about five miles long.”
But for regulars or anyone up for a challenge, “there should be no problem at all,” and you should expect a picturesque and refreshing mountain biking experience, he says.
Get More Information: Bridal Veil Creek Bike Trail
RAVE Meter: 86.4
16) Santos Mountain Bike Park – Ocala, FL
Although Joshua Francia of Surf Hungry is most often cresting waves on his surfboard he also enjoys mountain biking. He was quick to chime in when we requested his thoughts on America’s best mountain biking spots.
“Biking is extremely in trend now and most of the popular ones are always way too crowded for my liking,” Francia explains. “That’s why I prefer the lesser-known ones,” he says, like the sixteenth pick in our ranking, the Santos Mountain Bike Park.
And even though the bike trail lacks much elevation, “it is a thrill-filled ride,” he says, with more than 80 miles of single-track trails appealing to both experts and beginners. Don’t miss the wooden features at the park, or the Vortex Freeride area in a former lime rock quarry.
March is a great time to visit the area because the volunteer-based Ocala Mountain Bike Association presents the Santos Fat Tire Festival, with organized bike trail rides, demo rides, and a vendor village. Hundred attend annually.
For these reasons and a whole more, Santos is widely considered one of the best mountain bike facilities in America.
Get More Information: Santos Mountain Bike Park
RAVE Meter: 85.6
17) Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park – Seattle, WA
The next stop in our tour of America’s best mountain biking trails in America brings us to Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park near Seattle, WA.
Seattle is home to many tech startups, such as Friend With A, a peer-to-peer rental marketplace founded by avid mountain biking enthusiast Stefan Cordova.
Cordova loves Duthie Hill, calling it an awesome bike trail where locals rent bikes and enjoy 8-miles of trails with a variety of challenge levels from beginner to advanced.
And Duthie Hill, he says, is only a 45-minute drive outside Seattle on the Issaquah Plateau.
“It is framed by thick forest all around, giving it an awesome visual appeal,” he describes, with jumps, an XC single track, and killer freeride trails.
So, whether you’re heading there with kids or your friends, “it’s a good time all round and definitely one of the best in the country for variation and setting,” according to Cordova.
Get More Information: Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park
RAVE Meter: 84.6
18) Col Du Shade at Locust Shade Park – Prince William, VA
A relative newcomer to the national mountain biking scene is Col Du Shade, an advanced bike trail that’s part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Bike Trail in Locust Shade Park. Located just 30 miles outside DC, Col Du Shade is a 3.7-mile bike trail and the first in a series of new trails being developed in this regional county park.
“One of the most notable things about this particular bike trail is that it is a segment of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Bike Trail,” connecting DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, adds Nicole Warner of Visit Prince William County, who has experience in the area,
At Locust Shade, visitors explore and recreate amidst nature, history, and wildlife, while learning about conservation along their journey, Warner continues.
“Our Parks and Recreation team was involved with the development of this new bike trail and we continue to work on additional biking opportunities at this park as well,” she says.
Get More Information: Col Du Shade at Locust Shade Park
RAVE Meter: 83.9
19) Bangtail Divide – Bozeman, MT
The next pick in our ranking is Bangtail Divide near Bozeman, MT.
Bozeman is a fun enough city to visit in its own right, but Zander Buteaux says Bangtail Divide gives mountain bikers even further incentive to visit the area.
At Bangtail Divide, he says to expect “magnificent mountain biking” with a singletrack uphill section, he says, which is definitely a workout, but not so difficult that “you’re seeking the first cliff to throw your bike into a ravine and just give up,” he adds.
The payoff, he continues, are meadows filled with gorgeous, alpine lupines, stellar views, and simply stellar riding all around. “I can’t wait to go back to Montana for this bike trail,” Buteaux says.
And Bangtail is just one of many great trails in the Bozeman area. Cap off your visit to the area with a ride on South Cottonwood Bike Trail, only about thirteen miles from downtown Bozeman, or the Truman Gulch, a bitter father out of town.
But that’s not all. Other popular mountain biking destinations near Bozeman include Emerald Lake, a 10-mile out-and-back trail climbing in elevation at about 7,400 ft. Or instead, try the Hyalite Creek Bike Trail, a canyon ride past eleven waterfalls punctuated with views of a classic alpine lake, making it one of the most amazing trails on our ranking.
Get More Information: Bangtail Divide
RAVE Meter: 82.1
20) Rio Grande del Norte National Monument – Taos, NM
Public lands near Taos, New Mexico are a great location for any number of outdoor activities, including rock climbing, whitewater rafting, fishing and hunting, hiking, and mountain biking. Best of all, it’s drenched in more than 300 days of sunshine, according to Carl Colonius, Director of Enchanted Circle Trails Association, and local resident.
Northern New Mexico ranges from an elevation of 7,000 feet all the way to 13,159 feet at the summit of New Mexico’s highest mountain, the majestic Wheeler Peak.
The terrain is dotted by volcanic cones and steep canyons with rivers tucked away in their depths, and there are many trails to choose from in the Taos area: the scenic Taos Valley Overlook Bike Trail, the legendary mountain bike South Boundary Bike Trail, the hike to Wheeler Peak, and so may more.
Each has its own character, and offers varying degrees of difficulty, Colonius says.
“The ride to Lost Lake is one of my favorite mountain bike rides ever,” Colonius continues.
“You start riding along a branch of the Red River, and soon you’re climbing across these incredible rocky faces with some exposure — they really get your attention,” he says. “The reward is ending up at Lost Lake at something like 11,500 feet. Now that’s a chilly swim! And then, it’s all downhill, as they say.”
Another attribute of the Taos area bike trails is that they are relatively uncrowded. “It’s rugged, and wide open,” Colonius describes. “There’s so much terrain, so many options, it’s hard to choose the next adventure.”
Get More Information: Rio Grande del Norte National Monument
RAVE Meter: 81.1
21) Limber Pine Trail – Estes Park, CO
Another great trail in the Estes Park area of Colorado is the Limber Pine Trail near Red Rock. It comes recommended to RAVE Reviews by mountain biking enthusiasts and Visit Estes Park’s marketing and communications manager Rachel Ward Oppermann.
“The necessities for a great ride are all there on the Limber Pine Trail,” Opperman tells RAVE Reviews in an email, “but that’s not what makes it special. “
Limber Pine intersects with Kruger Rock Trail, a hiking-only trail that looks out over the Estes Valley and into Rocky Mountain National Park at its summit.
Riders can hop off their bike at the intersection, Opperman continues, take a quick hike up to Kruger Rock, and scramble to the top for stunning views.
“Limber Pine is an out-and-back trail with minimal elevation gain and plenty of moderate technical sections—adding on Kruger Rock takes this already awesome trail to the next level.”
Get More Information: Limber Pine Trail
RAVE Meter: 80.8
22) Snow Valley Bike Park – San Bernardino Valley County, CA
The closest lift-served mountain biking to the San Bernardino Valley floor, and only about 30 minutes from Big Bear Lake resort, is the Snow Valley Bike Park, the next stop in our tour of America’s 25 best mountain biking trails.
At the facility, bikers ride the more than 4,600-foot Snow Valley Express, accessing seven miles of trails suitable for all skill levels: from meandering beginner trails to challenging intermediate options, and even heart-pounding black diamond terrain.
There’s the expert-level “Quick Draw,” for example, a new, 5-mile long trail with a handful of small drops, two large rock drops, and even two small rollers on steep terrain. Otherwise, At Snow Valley has roughly a dozen trails open at any given time, including a dual slalom.
One new feature is trail enhancements on Winchester, a thousand-foot trail, with three new drops, berms, and a high-speed, low trajectory jump. Several major races are also held on-site, free to spectators, with first-come-first-serve bike rentals.
After a long day riding, guests enjoy outdoor dining at Snow Valley with beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages daily.
Get More Information: Snow Valley Bike Park
RAVE Meter: 79.3
23) Selma Erwin Nature Preserve – Milledgeville, GA
Bikeoholics seeking elevation in Central Georgia should head straight for the Selma Erwin Nature Preserve, according to Bonnie Simmons, who works at the preserve’s visitors center and has experience in the area.
At Selma Erwin, there’s a singletrack trail, “that will keep you on the edge of your mountain bike seat for the whole 6.5 miles,” Simmons says, or about 1000 feet of climbing. And overall, those who’ve ridden the trail call it the best workout Central Georgia has to offer.
And what these challenging trails lack in distance, they make up for in scenery, says Tom Glover, an avid cyclist who lives near Selma Erwin, with two creek crossings and some of the most beautiful virgin hardwood forests you’ve ever seen, he says.
“If you are looking for more mileage, you can ride across the field to connect to Bartram Forest trails where there are another 14-miles of trails to get you close to a 20-mile total ride,” and the trails are less than four miles from downtown Milledgeville where riders can enjoy some great food and great beer too.
In addition to a couple of difficult root sections, look out for the rocky switchback at the end of the trail where some riders end up walking their bikes. But otherwise, riding the trail in spring offers great views of wildflowers.
The well-reviewed trail is definitely not for beginners, some say, with several steep, technical climbs, but the downhills make it all worthwhile, according to reports.
Get More Information: Selma Erwin Nature Preserve
RAVE Meter: 78.6
24) Manistee National Forest – Lower Penninsula, MI
Dyllan Walker, a Manistee, MI resident, avid cyclist, and volunteer blog contributor for the Manistee County Visitors Bureau has ridden mountain bikes since his junior year at Michigan Tech University.
He recommends the Manistee National Forest featuring hardwoods and a variety of another terrain, calling it challenging for all skill levels.
With 25-miles of singletrack mountain-biking open April to September, this area is also groomed for fat biking in the winter months, making it one of the longest fat bike trails — if not the longest — in Michigan’s lower peninsula.
One trail in the area that Walker particularly likes is called “Big M,” offering classical single-track without anything too technical, he says.
But sheer variety at Big M more than makes up for the lack in jump lines and technical features, Walker adds.
“The outer loop is probably the most popular way to ride Big M,” he continues, “but there is a ton of additional trail in the middle of the outer loop.”
And Walker goes on to say, “if you get tired of singletrack, you can jump onto some of the forest roads in the area for some great gravel touring.”
Otherwise, the North Country Trail splits the Big M Outer Loop, “and you can ride that as well, and without 20-miles groomed for fat biking thanks to the generous volunteers of the Shoreline Cycling Club, riders bike this area all year long.
“The terrain handles rain very well.,” Walker says, and “Big M is a park where riders on any bike and any skill level can come out and enjoy the sport and the Manistee National Forest,” he says.
Get More Information: Manistee National Forest
RAVE Meter: 77.5
25) Downieville Downhill – Downieville, CA
Each year, travel expert and mountain biking enthusiast Zander Buteaux looks forward to riding the Downieville Downhill near the North Fork of the Yuba River in Sierra County in the northeastern part of the state.
Remote and desolate (no crowds!) Buteaux recommends camping outside of town on the river, “then over the next two days head down to the bike shop to catch the shuttle to the top of a 14-mile downhill burner,” he says.
By the end, Buteaux goes on to say, “your legs are cramped, your forearms are toast, your hands are lobster claws, and you’re ready to hop right back into the van to do it all again.”
Buteaux calls the Downieville Downhill, “a full loop experience with only a few miles of asphalt,” and he definitely urges any newcomer “to consider riding the full loop at least once — it really makes you appreciate the flowing downhill that much more. A few sections of very fast technical” he continues, but “you just need to lean back, grip it, and rip it,” he says.
Get More Information: Downieville Downhill
RAVE Meter: 76.3
Conclusion to Best Mountain Biking Trails in America
And there you have it. Without a doubt the 25 best mountain biking trails in America. The only thing left to do is try one or try them all. Either way, we’ll see you on the trail.