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Mountain biking is a thrilling and adventurous way to explore nature and get some exercise. It’s no wonder that it has become one of the most popular outdoor activities in the world. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there’s always something new and exciting to discover on your bike.
In this article, we’ll share some of the best mountain bike routes in USA and Europe that you can try for yourself. You’ll learn about the different types of trails, the skills and equipment you need, and the safety tips you should follow. By the end of this post, you’ll be ready to hit the road and enjoy the ride of your life.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Mountain Bike Route
If you love mountain biking, you know that choosing the right route can make or break your ride. But how do you decide which route to take? Here are some factors to consider before you hit the trails.
First, you need to assess your skill level and experience. Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced rider? How comfortable are you with technical features, such as rocks, roots, drops and jumps? How much endurance do you have for climbing and descending? You should choose a route that matches your abilities and goals, not one that is too easy or too hard. A good way to find suitable routes is to use online platforms, such as Trailforks or MTB Project, that provide ratings, reviews and maps of trails in your area.
Second, you need to consider the terrain and conditions of the route. What kind of surface are you riding on? Is it smooth, rough, sandy, muddy or rocky? How steep are the slopes? How tight are the turns? How exposed are the sections? You should choose a route that suits your preferences and your bike’s capabilities. For example, if you have a hardtail bike, you might want to avoid routes with lots of rocks and roots that can damage your bike or cause you to lose control. Similarly, if you have a full-suspension bike, you might want to avoid routes with lots of flat and smooth sections that can make your ride boring or inefficient.
Third, you need to consider the weather and the season. How hot or cold is it? How sunny or cloudy is it? How windy or calm is it? How wet or dry is it? You should choose a route that is appropriate for the weather and the season. For example, if it is very hot, you might want to avoid routes with lots of exposure and little shade that can make you overheat or dehydrate. Similarly, if it is very cold, you might want to avoid routes with lots of snow and ice that can make you freeze or slip.
Choosing a mountain bike route is not a simple task. It requires careful planning and research. But by considering these factors, you can find a route that will give you an enjoyable and safe ride.
Skills and equipment
Some of the skills you’ll need to master include balance, braking, cornering, climbing, descending, and jumping. You’ll also need to know how to read the trail, choose the best line, and adjust your speed and position accordingly. You can practice these skills on easier trails or in a bike park before tackling more difficult ones.
As for equipment, you’ll need a reliable mountain bike that suits your riding style and the type of trail you’re going to ride. You’ll also need a helmet, gloves, pads, shoes, and clothing that protect you from injuries and weather conditions. Don’t forget to bring a repair kit, a pump, a spare tube, a multi-tool, and some water and snacks. You never know when you might need them.
No matter where you go, safety is always important when mountain biking. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Wear a helmet and other protective gear that suits your riding style and terrain.
2. Check your bike before every ride to make sure everything is working properly.
3. Carry a repair kit with tools, spare tubes, pump, etc.
4. Bring enough water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized.
5. Plan your route ahead of time and use a map or GPS device to avoid getting lost.
6. Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back.
7. Ride within your limits and respect the trail etiquette.
Top 5 Mountain Bike Routes in the US
If you love mountain biking and exploring new trails, you might want to check out these top 5 mountain bike routes in the US. They offer a variety of terrain, scenery, and challenges for riders of all levels. Here are some details about each route.
Route 1: Moab, Utah
If you’re looking for a mountain bike adventure, you can’t go wrong with Moab, Utah. This place is a mecca for riders of all levels, with over 150 miles of trails to explore. Whether you want to challenge yourself on technical slickrock, cruise along scenic sandstone, or enjoy some flowy singletrack, Moab has it all.
One of the most popular routes in Moab is the Slickrock Trail, a 10.5-mile loop that takes you over some of the most amazing rock formations you’ll ever see. This trail is not for beginners, as it requires a lot of skill, stamina, and nerve to navigate the steep drops, sharp turns, and exposed ledges. But if you’re up for it, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the Colorado River and the La Sal Mountains.
Another classic route in Moab is the Porcupine Rim Trail, a 14.4-mile point-to-point ride that starts at Sand Flats Road and ends at the Colorado River. This trail is also very difficult, with a lot of climbing, descending, and technical sections. You’ll encounter everything from smooth dirt to rocky ledges to loose gravel along the way. The highlight of this trail is the final 3 miles, where you’ll enjoy a thrilling downhill ride with spectacular views of Castle Valley.
If you’re looking for something more mellow, Moab has plenty of options for you as well. One of them is the Bar M Loop, a 7.9-mile loop that circles around the Bar M Ranch. This trail is easy to moderate, with mostly flat terrain and some gentle hills. You’ll ride through sagebrush, juniper, and pinyon pine, and enjoy views of Arches National Park and the Moab Valley. This trail is perfect for beginners or families who want to have some fun on their bikes.
Moab is a mountain bike paradise that offers something for everyone. No matter what route you choose, you’ll have an unforgettable experience on your bike. Just make sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and snacks, and respect the land and other users.
Route 2: Downieville, California
If you’re looking for some epic mountain bike routes, you can’t go wrong with Downieville, California. This place has it all: stunning scenery, challenging terrain, and endless fun. Here’s a detailed description of the Downieville trail system, so you can plan your next adventure.
The Downieville trail system consists of more than 100 miles of sweet Sierra singletrack, ranging from easy to expert level. You can access the trails by taking a shuttle from Yuba Expeditions, or by riding up the fire roads if you’re feeling strong. The most popular route is the Downieville Downhill, which starts at Sunrise (7,100 feet) and drops 4,000 feet in 15 miles to the town of Downieville. Along the way, you’ll encounter fast and flowy sections, technical rock gardens, steep switchbacks, and creek crossings. The Downieville Downhill is actually a combination of four trails: Sunrise, Butcher Ranch, Third Divide, and First Divide. You can also mix and match different trails to create your own custom ride. Some of the other options include Gold Valley Rim Trail, Pauley Creek, Big Boulder, Second Divide, North Yuba, and Downie River.
The Downieville trail system is not only famous for its downhill thrills, but also for its scenic beauty. You’ll ride through dense forests, open meadows, alpine lakes, and historic mining sites. You’ll also enjoy spectacular views of the Sierra Buttes, the Yuba River, and the surrounding mountains. The trails are well-maintained by the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, a non-profit organization that works with the Forest Service and other volunteers to preserve and enhance this amazing area. You can support their work by buying a map of the region, joining their membership program, or participating in their trail work days.
Downieville is a must-ride destination for any mountain biker who loves adventure and nature. It’s one of the best places to experience the thrill of gravity and the beauty of the Sierra Nevada.
Route 3: Kingdom Trails, Vermont
If you’re looking for some awesome mountain bike routes, you should definitely check out Kingdom Trails in Vermont. This place has over 85 miles of single and doubletrack trails for all skill levels, and it’s all on private land that the landowners generously share with bikers. You can ride through scenic farms, forests, hills, and valleys, and enjoy the natural beauty of the Northeast Kingdom.
One of the best things about Kingdom Trails is the variety of trails you can choose from. Whether you want to cruise on some smooth and flowy trails, challenge yourself on some technical and rocky sections, or get some air on some jumps and berms, you’ll find something to suit your style. Some of the most popular trails are Sidewinder, Troll Stroll, Kitchel, Tap and Die, and Moose Alley. You can also find some easier trails for beginners or families, like Farm Junk, Sugarhouse Run, or Dashney Mile.
The trails are well marked and maintained by the Kingdom Trail Association (KTA), a non-profit organization that also offers memberships, maps, events, and programs. You can get a day pass or a season pass to access the trails, and support the KTA’s mission to provide recreation and education opportunities for the community and the environment. You can also find some great places to stay, eat, and shop in the nearby towns of East Burke and Lyndonville.
Kingdom Trails is open from spring to fall, depending on the weather conditions. You can check the trail status and conditions on their website or on their Facebook page. You can also rent bikes and gear from local shops like East Burke Sports or Village Sport Shop Trailside. If you’re looking for a fun and rewarding mountain bike adventure, you won’t regret visiting Kingdom Trails. It’s one of the best places to ride in Vermont, if not in the whole country!
Route 4: Sedona, Arizona
If you’re looking for some awesome mountain bike routes in Sedona, Arizona, you’re in luck. Sedona has some of the most scenic and challenging trails in the Southwest, with stunning views of red rocks, canyons, and forests. Here are some of the best trails to check out, depending on your skill level and preferences.
For beginners, a good option is the Adobe Jack trail system, which has a mix of smooth and rocky terrain, rolling hills, and moderate climbs and descents. You can start from the Boynton Canyon Trailhead and follow the Aerie to Cockscomb loop, which is about 6 miles long and offers some great views of the surrounding mountains. Another beginner-friendly trail is the Sunrise trail, which starts from the Posse Grounds Park and follows a jeep road to a singletrack that loops around Thunder Mountain. This trail is about 4 miles long and has some fun twists and turns.
For intermediate riders, a popular choice is the Chuckwagon trail, which starts from the Dry Creek Vista Trailhead and winds through trees, cliffs, streams, and rocky sections. This trail is about 9 miles long and connects to other trails like Mescal and Aerie, so you can extend your ride if you want. The Chuckwagon trail has some technical spots and exposure, so be careful. Another intermediate trail is the Llama trail, which starts from the Bell Rock Vista Trailhead and follows a smooth singletrack along the base of Courthouse Butte. This trail is about 5 miles long and connects to other trails like Slim Shady and Easy Breezy, which offer more flow and fun .
For advanced riders, two of the most epic trails in Sedona are Hiline and Hangover. Both of these trails start from the Yavapai Vista Trailhead and require expert skills, courage, and fitness. The Hiline trail is about 4 miles long and climbs up to a plateau with amazing views of Cathedral Rock and Oak Creek Canyon. Then it drops down a steep and exposed slickrock section that will test your nerves. The Hangover trail is about 3 miles long and follows a narrow ledge along the edge of a cliff, with some steep climbs and descents, tight switchbacks, and technical rock gardens. This trail has some of the best exposure and scenery in Sedona.
These are just some of the many mountain bike routes you can explore in Sedona, Arizona. No matter what your skill level or style, you’ll find something to suit your taste. Just remember to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, snacks, tools, and a camera to capture the beauty of this place.
Route 5: Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina
If you’re looking for some awesome mountain bike routes in Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina, you have plenty of options to choose from. Pisgah is one of the best places to ride in the Southeast, with hundreds of miles of trails ranging from easy to very difficult. Here are some of the most popular and fun trails you can try:
This is a great trail network for beginners and intermediate riders, with about 30 miles of trails that offer a mix of flowy and technical sections. One of the highlights is Green’s Lick, a fast and fun descent that will make you smile. Bent Creek is also close to Asheville, so you can enjoy the city’s attractions after your ride.
This is a classic 10-mile loop in the Grandfather District that features a challenging climb, a scenic ridge ride, and a thrilling downhill with switchbacks and drops. Kitsuma is a must-do for any mountain biker visiting Pisgah.
Black Mountain and Thrift Cove
These are two of the most iconic trails in Pisgah, located near The Hub bike shop. You can combine them into a loop of 12 to 20 miles, depending on how much you want to suffer. Black Mountain is a steep and rocky trail that will test your skills and endurance, while Thrift Cove offers some smoother and faster sections. Both trails have amazing views and plenty of fun.
This is another popular loop of about 12 miles that starts from the Davidson River Campground. Avery Creek is a beautiful trail that follows a creek for most of its length, with some water crossings and rock gardens. It also connects to other trails like Bennett Gap and Clawhammer, so you can extend your ride if you want more challenge.
This is one of the most technical and exposed trails in Pisgah, with steep drops, tight turns, and narrow ledges. Bennett Gap is not for the faint of heart, but it rewards the brave with stunning views and adrenaline rushes. You can access it from Avery Creek or from Highway 276.
Laurel Mountain and Pilot Rock
This is a long and epic ride of about 25 miles that takes you to the highest point in Pisgah, Laurel Mountain. The climb is long and gradual, but the views are worth it. The descent on Pilot Rock is one of the best in Pisgah, with steep and rocky sections that will make you feel like a pro.
These are just some of the amazing mountain bike routes you can find in Pisgah National Forest. There are many more trails to explore, so grab your bike and get ready for some unforgettable adventures!
Top 5 Mountain Bike Routes in Europe
If you’re looking for some adrenaline-pumping adventures on two wheels, Europe has plenty of options to offer. From the rugged peaks of the Alps to the scenic coastlines of the Mediterranean, there’s a mountain bike route for every taste and skill level. Here are some of the best ones to check out:
This epic seven-day journey takes you from the high alpine terrain of Digne-les-Bains to the sunny shores of Menton, covering 270 km and 9,200 m of elevation gain. Along the way, you’ll encounter technical singletracks, flowy descents, and stunning views of the French Riviera. This is a challenging route for experienced riders who want to test their endurance and skills.
Sella Ronda, Italy
This classic loop around the Sella massif in the Dolomites is a must-do for any mountain biker. The route is 58 km long and has 3,300 m of elevation gain, but you can use cable cars and lifts to shorten the climbs and enjoy more downhill fun. The route offers a mix of natural and man-made trails, with plenty of berms, jumps, and drops to keep you entertained. The scenery is breathtaking, with jagged peaks, green valleys, and alpine lakes.
Finale Ligure, Italy
Finale Ligure is a paradise for mountain bikers, with hundreds of trails to choose from in a variety of terrains. Whether you prefer rocky and steep or smooth and flowy, you’ll find something to suit your style and level. The trails are well-marked and maintained by local volunteers, and there are shuttle services and bike shops available in town. Finale Ligure is also a popular seaside resort, so you can relax on the beach after a day of riding.
The Rothaarsteig is a long-distance hiking trail that runs for 154 km along the crest of the Rothaar Mountains in western Germany. It’s also a great option for mountain bikers who want to explore the diverse landscapes of this region, from dense forests and rolling hills to rocky ridges and open meadows. The trail is mostly gravel and dirt roads, with some sections of singletrack and asphalt. It’s not too technical or steep, but it requires good fitness and stamina.
La Palma, Spain
La Palma is one of the Canary Islands, located off the coast of Africa. It’s known as the “Isla Bonita” (Beautiful Island) for its lush vegetation and volcanic landscapes. It’s also a fantastic destination for mountain bikers, who can enjoy a variety of trails that range from easy to extreme. You can ride through pine forests, banana plantations, lava fields, and ancient calderas, with amazing views of the ocean and the neighboring islands. La Palma has a mild climate year-round, making it ideal for riding any time of the year.
Mountain biking is one of the most popular outdoor activities that can offer a variety of benefits for your health, fitness, and well-being. However, choosing the right route for your skill level, preferences, and equipment can be challenging. In this article, we’ve highlighted a selection of top-notch mountain biking routes in both the United States and Europe. These trails cater to riders of varying skill levels and offer an exciting means to immerse oneself in the wonders of the great outdoors. Whether you want to challenge yourself on technical slickrock, cruise along scenic sandstone, or enjoy some flowy singletrack, you can find a route that will make you happy. However, before you hit the trails, make sure you have a reliable mountain bike, a helmet, and other protective gear. You also need to plan your route ahead of time, check the conditions of the trail, and bring enough water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized. Remember, safety is always important when you ride a mountain bike, so be careful and respect the trail etiquette. With these tips in mind, you can choose the best mountain bike route for yourself and enjoy the ride of your life.