One of our favorite parts of the MTB life is traveling. Mountain biking is a fantastic way to see new parts of the country (and the world). So with that said, picking out our favorite 10 MTB spots in North America took some time. From sea to shining sea, though, here it is! Dirt’s picks for ten must-ride trails across the North American continent (in no particular order).
Bangtail Divide Trail - Bozeman, Montana
With an elevation over 3,000 feet, the Bangtail Divide offers breathtaking mountain scenery from start to finish. During this ride, you’ll see fir trees, spruce, and lodgepole pines. Most people take the trail south to north -- there’s an intense switchback climb which is directly followed by a smooth downhill on Grassy Mountain. As an added bonus, the Bangtail Divide Trail is easy to get to -- it offers a long ride, without the long drive.
Poison Spider Mesa Trail — Moab, Utah
We couldn’t make this list and leave Moab off. But just west of Moab, you’ll find Poison Spider Mesa. The trail isn’t overly technical, but it presents long stretches of deep sand which is sure to test your conditioning. Poison Spider Mesa is dry, dry, dry -- bring loads of water! And fair warning… Poison Spider Mesa is a challenging trail -- novices may want to pick something else from this list.
Mills Peak - Downieville, California
As the birthplace of all things MTB, California had to have a spot on our list. While the Downieville Classic seems to hog all of the attention, Mills Peak is a nearby trail well worth a visit. For over 8 miles, you’ll coast through a neverending pine forest at Mills Peak. What’s not to love?
Top of the World Trail - Whistler, British Columbia
Perhaps the absolute pinnacle of alpine riding, the Top of the World Trail follows the flow of the world-famous Whistler Mountain Bike Park. Starting at the top of the peak of Whistler Mountain, Top of the World will guide you through Whistler’s alpine ecosystem. You’ll encounter switchback corners, free-flowing descents, and even some areas that are closed to skiers during the winter.
Broken Arrow - Sedona, Arizona
Over the past decade, Sedona has become a go-to destination for mountain biking. The desert boasts 230 total miles of singletrack and incredible views of towering cliffs. Broken Arrow only covers 1.5 miles of that area, but it can be combined with several other nearby trails to make for a perfect MTB day.
Trail 401 - Crested Butte, Colorado
At 8.6 miles, Trail 401 has plenty to explore. Riding a mix of road and singletrack terrain, you can expect to descend about 3,000 feet. The trail features panoramic and postcard-worthy views of Maroon Bells, wildflower meadows, and aspen groves. At 11,000 feet of elevation, it’s no easy ride, but it’s worth the work.
Powerline - Snowshoe Mountain, West Virginia
In the mountains of West Virginia, you’ll find Powerline. Powerline trail flows through the forest landscape on singletrack, and features plenty of obstacles for experienced riders to enjoy. Feeling competitive? The resort regularly hosts downhill race events.
La Tierra Trails - Santa Fe, New Mexico
La Tierra Trails feature 17 miles of well-marked trail riding, as well as two jump parks. The trail begins with a slow, scenic climb, before a free-flowing drop of about 3,400 feet. Elsewhere in Santa Fe, you can find plenty of other trails if La Tierra doesn’t quite scratch the itch.
Ridgeline Trails - DuPont State Forest, North Carolina
For our money, Ridgeline Trails is the highlight of North Carolina’s MTB scene. But, anywhere you go in the DuPont State Forest is sure to promise a great time. The forest offers a series of flowing, near-endless loops over the course of nearly 100 miles. You can expect lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and everything the cool mountain air has to offer. North Carolina is a place to be for any serious MTB enthusiast, and DuPont is the place to be in North Carolina.
McKenzie River Trail - Eugene, OregonEvery rider knows Oregon. It’s a can’t-miss state for enthusiasts. And within Oregon, McKenzie River Trail takes the cake. About an hour outside of Bend in Blue River, McKenzie River Trail boasts 26 miles of absolutely draw-dropping scenery. You can expect to see lava fields, waterfalls, and 300-year-old trees during your ride. The trail is split between the upper end and lower end, but riders can also opt to tackle the entire thing. The upper end features technical obstacles, while the lower side offers a more coasting-friendly ride.