Have you ever heard that old saying, “If you’re going to break you face from mountain biking, you may as well do it somewhere beautiful?”
You probably haven’t (I just made it up, so if you have that’s, well, weird), but I’d say it’s a pretty good criterion for choosing where to go on your next mountain biking excursion. So in the spirit of this fake proverb, here are some of the best (and most beautiful) mountain biking trails in the good ‘ol US of A.
McKenzie River, Oregon
An amazing single track in the Cascade Mountains, this trail is about the length of a marathon, clocking in at 26.5 miles. The distance will fly by though, thanks to the lush forest scenery. But if you’re looking to take a break from the thrills this trail provides, why not check out one of the many hot springs you’ll pass on your way back to the trail head?
The Whole Enchilada, Utah
If you haven’t taken your bikes through the red rocks of Moab, you simply haven’t lived. It’s hands down some of the best scenery in the world, Moab is also home to the Whole Enchilada, which will take you from 10,000 feet down to the Colorado River. It’s actually made up of several trails all in one, and its staggering diversity is more than enough to fill a day: prairie, mountain, riverbed and forest, this track’s got it all.
Big Boulder Trail, California
The location of the nation’s longest downhill race, the Downieville Classic, this trail is perhaps one of the most epic in the Downieville network. It’s part of 35 miles of trail for your riding pleasure, and if you’re ever looking for a place to pull over and take a dip, look no further than the dozens of swimming holes provided courtesy of the Yuba river.
Lippman Park, New York
Outside of Ellenville, the Lippman Park system has something for everyone. Although it’s a relatively small trail system at 14 miles, there is a staggering variety of technical challenges that riders face here. You’ll find everything from tight berms to raised boardwalks as you navigate the forest, the level of difficulty increasing as you move up the mountain.
Trail 401, Colorado
Colorado is a biker’s mecca. There are so many amazingly scenic trails that picking a favorite becomes basically impossible. Yet if you ask any of the locals, there’s likely to be consensus that 401 is a good place to start. Its 14 miles of pure, jaw-dropping beauty, with plenty of climbing (you’ll gain and lose about 2500 feet on the ride). My recommendation? Go for a night ride through the wildflowers during a full moon. You can thank me later.
Cuyuna Lakes, Minnesota
The Midwest doesn’t get enough love from the mountain biking community, but the Cuyuna Lakes system is reason enough to change that. Ride around dozens of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes and through thick Birch stands as you navigate 25 miles of trail, which ranges from beginner’s single tracks to runs extreme enough to nauseate a pro. Word to the wise: don’t forget your mosquito repellant. Or just ride faster.
Bull Mountain, Georgia
This ride is gorgeous. I could cruise on single track runs beneath the canopies of Bull Mountain’s beautiful forest forever. No seriously, forever. Not out of choice necessarily, but with more than 50 miles of trail in the Bull Mountain network, it’s easy to get lost. What I’m saying is, bring a map. Or don’t, in which case it was nice knowing ‘ya.