Planning out the perfect ride? While you scour the web for the best mountain bike trails in the U.S., it’s better to narrow down what kind of adventure you’re after—whether it be the trails, the views, or the coolest places to kick back after hours of adrenaline rush. We’ve gathered together the best mountain biking vacation destinations, each with something unique to add to your trip.
If you’re looking to kick up the red dust of the desert or cruise along snowy alpine peaks, we’ve got you covered for where to gear up and shred. Here are our picks for the top bike towns, from east to west.
Offering an abundance of trail systems, access to the southern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and plenty of nightlife for post-ride recovery, Asheville is world-famous as an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. The city lies just an hour away from mountain bike trails in DuPont State Forest, Pisgah National Forest, and Fire Mountain. For beginners, head out to Pisgah Area SORBA Beginner’s Loop for shorter trails with plenty of variety for practice, while veterans will love Best of DuPont trail’s three creek crossings or Ridgeline’s easy flow.
Considered one of the birthplaces of mountain biking, this mountain town offers unbeatable alpine views, an array of bike shops, and over 700 miles of trails. You can take on the Lower Loop from downtown, a singletrack trail that is perfect for beginners and connects to other trails for a longer ride, or follow the well-known 401 trail for a more advanced ride, with a steady incline to start that pays off in 360° views and hills of wildflowers in the spring. When you’ve had your fill, mountain bikers flock to The Last Steep Bar & Grill to relax after a day on the trails.
Due to its rugged desert landscape, dependable blue skies, and access to national parks, Moab has been a major bike destination of North America for years. The city’s beloved SlickRock Bike Trail brings in around 100,000 well-seasoned visitors to its challenging terrain every year, while beginners can take their pick of routes to try at Klonzo Trails, about a 30-minute drive from downtown. During your visit, don’t miss out on trips to Arches National Park or Canyonlands National Park, and save some time in the evening for world-class stargazing.
Over 400 miles of singletrack await you, with easygoing and technical trails to suit your pace. Bald Mountain, only 30 minutes away, offers 3,100 vertical feet of adventure, with gondola access and the White Clouds trail network for family-friendly and beginner runs. In town, you’ll find golf courses and ice rinks, and nearby Ketchum has plenty of breweries and restaurants to check out.
The best way to experience Sedona’s stunning red rock landscape is by getting out to the city’s extensive MTB trails. If you’re seeking the thrill of a tougher ride and greater heights, Made in the Shade is your trail—otherwise, take an easier ride on Bell Rock or Deadman’s Flat. Off the course, hit the hiking trails or the downtown area for shops, spas, and art galleries.
Whether you bring your boat, skis, or mountain bicycle, Lake Tahoe has always been the place to be for outdoor adventure. Between water sports, golf courses, and nearby Carson City’s museums, this vacation hub pulls out all the stops. Beginner and expert riders alike can try out something new with Woodward’s mountain bike park, which offers a variety of easy and difficult trails, as well as a jump course for getting some air or trying out tricks.
Located in the mountains of central Oregon, Sisters is an ideal mountain bike destination for those looking for the best of high desert terrain and the Pacific Northwest’s active outdoor community. The Suttle Tie Trail is a great beginner’s track that brings you around to enjoy Suttle Lake, and if you’re up for a challenge, McKenzie River Trail is 25 miles of changing scenery with the reward of soaking in Belknap Hot Springs at the end of your ride. In between treks out, Sisters is a cute small town with saloons, antique stores, and the famous Sisters Coffee Company.
Take on the great peaks of B.C. one trail at a time. Whistler offers adventure season by season, fully outfitted with an alpine village for shopping and Scandinavian spas. Check out the bike park at Whistler Blackcomb, with lift-serviced trails for every level of rider and a bike shop for rentals and repairs.
Moab and Crested Butte have long been considered birthplaces of mountain biking in the United States, with miles of changing trails to suit different skill levels. With stronger trail networks paving the way for more challenge and exploration, Whistler, Asheville, Sedona, Lake Tahoe, Sisters, and Sun Valley are also on the rise with adventurers.