Backcountry Picks: The Top 10 Mountain Bike Trails in the U.S.
Plan Your Next MTB Vacation
Whether you prefer smooth singletrack, rugged rock gardens, or fast flow, our list of the top 10 mountain bike trails in the U.S. has something for every rider. From the high-desert terrain of Bend, Oregon to the lush forests of East Burke, Vermont, these bike trails belong on every mountain biker’s bucket list. Use this guide to start planning your next mountain bike adventure.
1. Western Rim: Fruita, CO
In a state that’s considered home base for American mountain biking, Fruita is the prize diamond among gems. For an introduction to Fruita mountain biking, head straight to the Rabbit Valley mountain biking area and ride to the Western Rim trail. You’ll enjoy six miles of fast, flat singletrack that follows the rim above the Colorado River. This route offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and vast farmlands below. Best of all, this is just one of many trails and loops in Fruita worthy of your attention. Kokopelli is another classic you’ll never tire of riding!
2. Bomb Dog: Anniston, AL
For exhilarating downhill miles in the southeast U.S., look to Coldwater Mountain—a Silver-level International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Ride Center. Bomb Dog is a five-mile point-to-point, and one of the top mountain bike trails in the region. It begins as a gentle climb through a hardwood forest with just enough rocks to keep you on your toes. Eventually, you come to a headstone for Deputy Floyd, the trail’s namesake and the first bomb-sniffing dog at the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office. Soon, a trail marker informs you that you’re beginning your descent―drop your seat and enjoy the next three flowy miles. Bomb Dog features bermed turns, fun rollers, and grin-inducing tabletops. Good dog.
3. Lower Whoops: Bend, OR
If features like endless berms, hand-built rollers, and jumps are your style, the Lower Whoops trail in the Deschutes National Forest deserves a top spot on your must-visit list. As soon as you set tire on this trail, you’ll understand why riders flock to it. The swoopy turns, tabletop jumps, and pumpy rollers leave you wondering one thing: how could trail builders fit so much fun into just two miles?
4. Spencer Branch Trail: Asheville, NC
North Carolina’s Blue Ridge wilderness is a trail-heavy area with several candidates for our list of favorites, so pack up your bike and head to Asheville. Make sure your trip includes a day at the Trace Ridge with a lap or two on Spencer Branch. After a steep two-mile climb up the Spencer Gap trail, Spencer Branch delivers three miles of fun flow with a mix of berms, drops, creek crossings, and rock gardens.
5. Rodeo: Moab, UT
Riding in Utah’s deserts isn’t for the faint of heart, but Moab’s Horsethief mountain bike trails are a perfect introduction to the Utah experience. All but one of the trails here are rated as green (the other is a blue), but these trails still deliver challenging fun. The main Horsethief trail, Rodeo, takes you on a nine-mile tour of what makes Moab one of the most beautiful and best mountain biking locales in the world: slickrock, sand, grassy fields, rocky shelves, steep downhills, and techy climbs. If you’re in it to win it, tack on a shuttled descend of the Whole Enchilada to your Moab bike trip.
6. Black Bear: East Haven, VT
Even with the closure of some of Vermont’s Kingdom Trails’ best singletrack in late 2019, there’s still over 100 miles of incredible riding here—and some of the newer ones have become fast favorites. Head to the Moose Haven Trails in East Haven and set your sights on the Black Bear Trail: two miles of pure downhill bliss with berms, bridges, drops, and rollers that’ll make your heart beat almost as hard as the climb up Haul Road to do it all over again.
7. Woopidy Woo: Copper Harbor, MI
The second of two silver-level IMBA Ride Centers on our list is Copper Harbor. Tucked into Michigan’s upper peninsula, Copper Harbor boasts 35 miles of world-class singletrack. One of the best trails here—due in part to its name—is Woopidy Woo, a 2.4-mile stretch of flow trail with tight berms and swoopy descents that rides just like its name suggests.
8. Gold Valley Rim Trail: Downieville, CA
Situated just 90 minutes northwest of Lake Tahoe is Downieville, home to a superb mountain bike festival: the Downieville Classic. Riders come from all over to prove themselves on the rugged trails of California’s gold country, including the Gold Valley Rim Trail. The five miles of singletrack take you along a few former PCT miles, a ridge with spectacular views of Lakes Basin and Plumas National Forest, and on a great descent with a handful of techy rock sections.
9. Slaughter Pen Trails: Bentonville, AR
To the uninitiated, it may be hard to believe that Bentonville, Arkansas is home to one of the top bike trails in the country. But there’s a compelling list of world-class trails within the Ozark region alone. The Slaughter Pen trails are where Bentonville’s bike development began, and they remain an impressive introduction to the area’s offerings. These trails feature over 20 miles of trails filled with flow, drops, jumps, tabletops, rollers, berms, and a wallride that thrust you into that glorious flow state.
10. Broadway Saddle Trail: Sun Valley, ID
There’s a reason Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain is one of our favorite places―and we’re not alone. The mountain is home to some of the best trails for lift-served shredding. Procure an all-day MTB lift ticket and ride until your quads quit. One of the prettiest trails here, the Broadway Saddle Trail takes you from the lift to more rugged terrain. The singletrack treats you to incredible views and alpine wildflowers for a little over two miles before easing you into an epic 13.6-mile descent.
Although the best mountain biking will logically be in the mountains, there are surprisingly technical trails in unexpected spots—even in “flat” states like Florida. Wherever you live, find a local trail to build your skills, and then plan your dream mountain biking trip to one of these top trails in the U.S.
Born and raised in New Hampshire, Ashley Peck’s early adventures exploring the woods behind her home proved the gateway to an adulthood as an avid hiker, mountain biker, climber and trail runner. When Ashley isn’t writing or wandering around the mountains, find her daydreaming about future trips or trying to convince her Australian shepherds that neither she nor her cats need to be herded.