Mountain bike trails have always been well loved because of their beauty and closeness to nature. Some provide ample scenery and good fun while others provide challenging terrain that tests your wits and abilities. However, some mountains are more challenging, more loved, and more fun than others. Here’s ten awesome mountain regions every mountain biker needs to bike in their lifetime.
Moab is well known for the world famous, and highly technical, Slickrock Bike Trail. This challenging 9.6 mile trail is considered by many to be the ultimate mountain biking experience. Moab, however, also contains an assortment of easy and extremely scenic biking trails. The Bar-M Loop Trail, for example, provides a great introduction to the varied terrain and beautiful scenery adjacent to Arches National Park
Whistler is located in beautiful British Columbia and is often referred to as the best mountain biking destination in the world. The Whistler Bike Park offers 50 marked trails covering 120 miles. Each trail varies in difficulty and technicality which means mountain bikers of any level and age will be able to find a trail they can handle. There are even mountain biking classes available for those looking to improve their skill set. Outside of the park there are even more trails and opportunities to explore the mountainside.
3. Alps, France
The Alps offers a giant playground for bikers around the world and is a particular favorite of mountain bikers from the UK. No matter what you want to get out of your ride through the Alps, there’s a trail that will deliver. For example, the long considered epicenter of Alps mountain biking, Morzine, offers chair lifts to take you to the very top of the mountain trail. This is for those that prefer downhill riding and don’t want to waste all their energy getting up the mountain. Many French towns in the Alps offer biking-friendly accommodations and bikers from all over the world will love the many trails available.
Park City, Utah is located in the Rocky Mountains and boasts some of the best trails in the world. This is a mountain that caters to those who can handle and enjoy high altitude biking. The town of Park City rests at 2100 meters above sea level but the trails themselves are even higher. The trails cater to all skill levels and to single track riders looking to work on technical ability.
Rotorua, New Zealand hosted the 2006 World Championships and is now the trendy new spot to mountain bike. With over 100 km of trails twisting through the Whakarewarewa Forest, Rotorua has deserved its popularity by offering lush paths. Another unique aspect of these trails is that they are the oldest mountain bike trails in the country.
6. Finale Ligure, Italy
Finale Ligure is a Mediterranean resort town that holds stunning trails at a lower altitude. The highest hill here tops out at 1,400 meters with trails reachable by shuttle instead of chair lift. While these trails do require some more technical ability the view is incredible. Finale Ligure suits 120-160mm bikes so any lightweight and all-mountain bike will be able to handle the trails on the mountain.
Squamish, located in British Columbia, has steep granite mountains and a wet, rainforest-like climate which gives the trails a real natural feel even over the manicured pieces and wood bridges. A well known and popular trail is the Half-Nelson which is considered to be less terrifying than other trails on the mountain. There are no shuttles to reach the Half-Nelson (biking will actually get you there quicker) and the downhill descent requires little to no pedaling. However, the dozens and dozens of berms, water crossings, and jumps will give you plenty to do on your way down.
Copper Harbor is well known for its wood bridges and berms. Located 11 hours north of Detroit and not always easily accessible, Copper Harbor has 25 miles of playful trails that make the trip worth it. A popular trail here is called Woopity-Woo and is 2.7 miles long with berms and a lot of sweeping sections that make the trail one of the most fun in the park. However, this mountain is mostly an up and comer in terms of providing a variety of trail types. There are plans to build single tracks that extend all the way to the shores of Lake Superior so bikers can enjoy biking along a Great Lake.
9. Shelter Cove, California
Here is an underdog trail: funded by a state facing bankruptcy the Shelter Cove biking trail, Paradise Royal, is the first mountain bike trail ever built in California. Not only does this trail have descents and climbs that work through the forest, you’ll also be treated to views of the Pacific Ocean. With switchbacks, whoops, tabletops, and banked turns, there is plenty on this trail to keep you occupied and challenge your skills. The last of the trail ends in an 8-mile long single-track with a beautiful ocean view. Shelter Cove also has skills trails for all levels and campgrounds for those looking to make a vacation of their visit.
10. Sandy, Oregon
The Sandy Ridge Trail System was inspired by Whistler and offers high quality mountain trails that have minimal pedaling and maximum fun. For people who can’t make the trip to Whistler, Sandy Ridge is a wonderful substitute, located 40 minutes from Portland and with a wonderful 4-mile road climb. At the top of the road climb is the much loved Hide and Seek trail. This is a trail with jumps and minimal braking and pedaling. With more trails on the way, the Sandy Ridge Trail System is a wonderful park to bike through.
11. Dragon’s Back, Wales, U.K.
This is a trail that must be biked at some point in your life because Dragon’s Back is the trail that inspired Europe’s mountain biking revolution. Located in Snowdonia National Park, the Coedy-Brenin Bike Center has seven single-track loops that were very carefully built into the rocky Welsh Landscape. Dragon’s Back is the oldest and best of these trails, extending over 20 miles and offering rocky challenges for you test yourself on. This trail has been drawing bike riders for years and its popularity has allowed Wales to build a trail network totaling 180 miles. This is a trail for anyone who appreciates the history and challenge of mountain biking.
There are many more trails that you should consider biking in your lifetime but these are a must for many mountain biker. No matter what kind of mountain biking you prefer and no matter what your skill level, most of these amazing places have something for you to enjoy.