Exploring North America’s Most Stunning Paddle Board Destinations
Must-Visit Mountain Bike Destinations in the US Updated 7.21.22 We have been traveling in our RV ..Read more
We have been traveling in our RV since the summer of 2017 exploring the best outdoor towns in the U.S. This is our “best of” compilation of our favorite mountain bike towns that we’ve found along the way. Some are well-known destinations, others are barely on the radar – but we feel they are all very worthy of the title.
In addition, we share our favorite trails in each town – for further trails details and route planning we recommend using Trailforks, Singletracks and MTBProject.
Please comment below and let us know if we have missed any great towns!
|More than just mountain biking||Too hot in the summer|
|2 epic National Parks in close proximity||Too many jeeps, depending on the time of year|
|Endless trails to choose from||Can be crowded during peak season & spring break|
|Some of the most scenic mountain bike trails on the planet|
Moab is one of our favorite places to ride on the planet! Not only is Moab epic for mountain biking, but the outdoor adventures around this small Utah town are endless. With spectacular National Parks and State Parks like Arches, Canyonlands and Dead Horse nearby, plus the Colorado River flowing through it, there’s something to meet almost everyone’s outdoor desire. Plus, it’s very RV and camping friendly!
In addition to outdoor adventures, you can rent an RV to get you there on TripOutside!
|Lots of trail riding options for all ability levels||A big tourist destination, avoid peak times.|
|An easy to get to destination, only 2 hours from Las Vegas||Near Zion NP, one of the busiest National Parks|
|Lots of free camping areas||Very hot in the summer|
|Options to add on other activities|
The Hurricane and Virgin, UT area is known for the magnificent Zion National Park nearby. For mountain bikers, the areas surrounding the park have some truly incredible trails, and Hurricane is known as a mecca for mountain biking. With great free camping options just off the trails, and tons of trails for all levels of riders, Hurricane is a great biking getaway for the whole family.
|Mountain biking birthplace (arguably)||High elevation riding, sits at 8900 ft|
|Over 700+ miles of trail||Hard to get to, 4 hours from Denver. Lack of affordable nearby airports|
|Options to ride straight out of town||You’ll hate your hometown trails afterward|
|It’s a mountain bike party, all the time|
|Downhill options at Mt. Crested Butte|
Crested Butte is a top adventure destination in Colorado, earning one of our top spots for mountain destinations. When the snow melts and summer comes, Crested Butte transforms into a biking getaway where trails spanning hundreds of miles and intertwine with scenic wilderness. The town is also surrounded by alpine lakes and rivers for SUP and kayaking after the snow melts. Hiking trails are plentiful right out of town, and hikers will be rewarded with scenic vistas, potential for wildilfe spotting, and wildflowers of every color.
Crested Butte has impressive mountain biking stats – with more than 700 miles of singletrack to choose from, bikers of all skill levels can find adventure in these mountains.
Our favorite bike shops in CB:
|Easy to get to from Colorado Springs||High elevation riding|
|Great for multi-sport adventures||Limited trails for beginners|
|Dispensaries and breweries|
You may have never heard of Salida, Colorado, a quaint town in the Colorado Rockies surrounded by peaks over 14,000 feet. With so many other famous Colorado destinations, Salida often gets overlooked. But that only adds to it’s intrigue. Salida is only a 3-hour drive from Denver, and this outdoor mecca plays host to mountain bikers, mountain climbers, rafters, rock climbers…and the list goes on.
|A hidden gem in the Midwest||Short season|
|Rated #1 outdoor town by Outside Magazine||Mosquitoes in the summer|
|Miles of epic riding right out of town||No free camping, BLM or National Forest options|
|Lots of technical trail options|
Duluth, MN is an up and coming mountain bike destination in the Midwest. Duluth was recently voted Outside Magazine’s Best Town Ever. It’s an outdoor mecca surrounded by the pristine Lake Superior and the iconic Northwoods. With 6,834 acres of city parkland, 178 miles of wooded trails, plus Lake Superior, there’s not much you can’t do when you are outside in Duluth. Minnesota’s “City on a Hill” overlooking Lake Superior has some of the best mountain biking in the Midwest. There’s over 150 miles (and growing fast) of bike trails, and Duluth is one of only 5 places in the world with the “Gold Level Ride Center” designation by IMBA.
|Multi-sport options available||California gas prices|
|Other close by towns with epic riding||Lack of great free camping|
|Make it a road trip, so many options||Tahoe very busy in the summer|
|Close to SFO and Reno for fly-in & out options|
|Downhill options at Northstar Resort|
Downieville is a charming and colorful adventure town along the Yuba River in Northern California. It began as a gold mining mecca in the 1800s, and has now transitioned into a hub for outdoor adventure. It is well known as a mountain biking mecca, and the renowned Downieville Downhill is the most popular (albeit advanced rated) trail. Overall, Downieville is a more advanced trail system tailored to intermediate and advanced riders, with technical features, and a few hike-a-bike sections.
Truckee is a charming town perched just north of Lake Tahoe that has it’s fair share of fantastic outdoor adventure. From biking the infamous Flume Trail to paddling the crystal clear Lake Tahoe, Truckee makes a great Northern California getaway.
|Post-ride hot springs||Limited bike rental options|
|Downhill park riding||Short season on higher elevation riding|
|Free camping, oh.. by hot springs||Starbucks|
Mammoth Lakes may be best known for its ski resort, but summer adventures abound around this town in the high Sierras. The Mammoth bike park (nominated one of our 10 best downhill parks!) caters to mountain bike adventures while hiking and backpacking the nearby John Muir trail is a rite of passage for many. Convict Lake has stellar paddling opportunities, and camping options in the area come with spectacular Sierra views and natural hot springs.
|Easy to get to from Phoenix||Too hot for summer riding|
|Shoulder season mecca||Lack of fun post riding spots and lack of nightlife|
|Lots of trail options||Very touristy, think pink jeep tours. Just pass them while you bike and wave|
|Lots of trails for the advanced to the expert rider to test out their skills|
Sedona is considered by many one of the most beautiful places in America to visit. Geographically, Sedona rests in a transition zone between the Colorado Plateau and Upper Sonoran Desert. This sacred and powerful place is home to several spiritual energy vortexes, as well as an extensive trail system with unparalleled options for mountain biking and hiking. Sedona offers astounding red rock vistas and is a perfect destination for the off-season months when the rest of the country’s trails are covered in snow.
|Remote, wilderness riding experience (not in the wilderness)||You’ll want to move to Idaho|
|Chairlift options available at Grand Targhee||A hard to get to destination|
|Close to some of the best National Parks in the country||Riding in grizzly country, carry bear spray, please.|
The quieter western side of the Tetons is home to some of the best mountain biking, hiking and paddling in the area. Even better, the crowds dissipate once you cross the pass from Jackson. Summer opens up the incredible lift-served biking trails at Grand Targhee resort. Victor is known as the ‘wild west’ of mountain biking, with trails that start near town and stretch into the Big Hole mountains. The Big Holes offer a ton of varied riding opportunities and are known for their wild, rugged nature.
|Lots of free camping options||You’ll want to move to Idaho|
|Off the beaten path||Your family will never come to visit you because they think Idaho is just potatoes|
|Many miles of incredible riding in Sun Valley||Hard to get to|
|Lift serviced trails at Sun Valley resort|
Sun Valley is the perfect adventure spot for mountain bikers of all abilities! Whether it’s your first time trying it or you’re an experienced rider, Sun Valley has a trail for you! The best time to visit Sun Valley for mountain biking is absolutely during the summer months – summer is trail time.
|One mountain, all the trails that you need||”Perfect” riding season is short|
|Great PNW riding conditions in the summer||Wet most of the year|
|Visiting PNW bike brands like Kona and Transition that let you rent a bike for the day!||Lack of free camping options|
Bellingham has a world class mountain biking destination with over 65 miles of singletrack – Galbraith Mountain. Take a guided mountain bike tour from local experts, Dig Deep Tours, to ensure you hit the best trails during your stay!
|Ride right out of town||More city than a town|
|Camp right off the trail network||Trails can be dusty without the right moisture, high desert conditions|
|Downhill options at Mt. Bachelor|
|Breweries and awesome food options|
Bend is no longer a secret… but that certainly doesn’t mean that it should be overlooked. In fact, it’s one of the best mountain biking destinations out there! Plus, it’s an amazing location along the Deschutes River on the eastern edge of the Cascade Range make it a prime destination for paddling, hiking, skiing, and more. It’s also known for its many tasty microbreweries – so finish off your ride with a cold one!
|Much less crowded than popular trails out west||Hot and humid summers|
|Some of the best XC trails in the country. Yes, we said it||Limited free camping options|
|Long riding season, anytime from March to November or early December||Slippery when wet and can be wet often. Lots of roots and rocks|
North Georgia has some pretty sick singletrack – rolling hills, thick forests and long ridges make it a premier mountain biking destination in the Southeast. There are fantastic trail options right in the heart of Atlanta and all the way north through the Blue Ridge Mountains stretching through North Carolina and Tennessee.
|Quaint town with world class microbreweries, restaurants, boutiques and miles upon miles of singletrack||Arkansas can be off-the-beaten path for outdoor enthusiasts|
|Year-round riding||Limited free camping options|
|Singletrack trails less than a 2 minute pedal from town||Not really a “mountain town”|
|Thoughtfully planned trails that make use of space extremely well|
Bentonville is now known for more than just Walmart. It’s award-winning mountain bike trails are attracting more and more riders every year. This small Arkansas city has some of the best singletrack in the country now. Several members of the Walton family are passionate mountain bikers, and their Foundation helped to build the fantastic trail network.
The great thing about the various sections of purpose-built singletrack in the Bentonville area is that there are trails for all levels.
|Asheville is home to more breweries per capital than any city in the US!||Tourism traffic in summer|
|Asheville is an outdoor enthusiasts paradise, with some of the best biking, paddling, rafting, hiking, backpacking and climbing on the east coast.||Not much free camping, but tons of paid camping spots|
|We love Asheville’s funky hipster vibe and it’s arts district.|
Asheville is a truly incredible gem of the Southeast. It’s outdoor recreation can’t be beat – it’s surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, many National Forests and opportunities for almost every outdoor activity you can imagine. The city itself has a very artsy vibe and is filled with great restaurants, cocktail bars, eclectic shopping, art galleries and microbreweries.
Asheville is quickly gaining traction in the MTB scene thanks to its plethora of incredible trails that bring bikers to it’s lush green forests, flowy singletrack and scenic Blue Ridge views. Popular mountain bike networks such as Pisgah and DuPont are located just 15 minutes away from downtown Asheville.
For repairs and rentals, stop by Asheville Bike Company.
If you want to rent closer to the riding destinations, you’re better off renting in Brevard from The Hub or Sycamore Cycles
For a guided adventure or lessons, you can also check out The Bike Farm, bonus…they have camping options as well.
Asheville blooms from March to May. The mild temperatures around these months are ideal for outdoor activities. May is also Asheville’s festival month. Summer is also a great time to take a reprieve from the South’s hot summer days in the cooler mountains surrounding Asheville – but it’s definitely busier.
|Copper Harbor trail network is an IMBA designated Silver Level Ride Center||Can be off the beaten path (but this may be a Pro too!)|
|Western-like riding experience dubbed “the BC of the Midwest”||Not a ton of true beginner terrain (but they are adding more)|
|Rugged Lake Superior shoreline riding and views|
Copper Harbor is Michigan’s northernmost community, a small village that sits on a protruding peninsula deep into the clear blue waters of Lake Superior. It has world famous mountain biking and sea kayaking, and is the takeoff point for a trip to Isle Royale National Park, an archipelago of wilderness in Lake Superior.
Keweenaw Adventure Company is a highly rated outfitter that provides mountain biking rentals and tours. They also offer sea kayaking tours and rentals on Lake Superior and Isle Royale National Park.
The weather from June to September is the perfect season for biking, hiking and camping. Winter months offer great skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking opportunities!
No matter which awesome mountain biking town you choose, make sure you follow Leave No Trace principles, and recreate responsibly outdoors to ensure our wild areas stay pristine for generations to come.