The logistics of taking your own bike, as well as the local knowledge needed to find trailheads, can often get in the way.
But some towns in the U.S. deserve a visit from even the most casual of mountain bikers. Terrific trails combined with scenery and other outdoor activities make these must-visit destinations for anyone who enjoys riding through the woods on two wheels.
Here are 10 Amazing Mountain Bike Destinations that are well worth your time to plan your next mountain biking trip.
Crested Butte, Colo.1 of 11
Photo Credit: Trent Bona Photography
This is one of the country's classic mountain biking towns with great cross-country singletracks through Aspen forests and pine trees. Stay in Crested Butte and bike right from town or head up to Mt. Crested Butte and bomb down the mountain on aptly named trails such as Luge. Don't let the Rockies intimidate you, there's something for everyone in one of the most beautiful mountain settings in America.
Marin County, Calif.2 of 11
Photo Credit: Trailsource.com
Marin County lies just across Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco and is considered, by many, the birthplace of mountain biking. Ironically, many trails in the Marin Headlands are now off-limits to cyclists — but mountain bikers can still enjoy other great rides. From the recently updated and strenuous Camp Tamarancho in Fairfax to the intermediate rolling singletrack of China Camp, there's just something special about riding in the place where it all began.
Bend, Ore.3 of 11
Few towns its size can match the trail network and bike-friendliness of Bend. It just seems to be a way of life in Oregon, and the trails on Oregon's Eastern Cascade Slopes and Foothills are fast-paced singletracks through ponderosa pines and bitterbrush. The volcanic plateaus and iconic cone mountains of the Cascades west of Bend make for unrivalled scenery and with a mid-sized airport nearby some of the most accessible, as well.
Lake Tahoe, Calif.4 of 11
Photo Credit: Rob Penner
The epic Flume Trail on the Nevada side put Lake Tahoe on the map among mountain-biking thrillseekers. But vertigo-inducing trails like Mr. Toads Wild Ride, or mellow cruises like Sawtooth Ridge, give you options on all sides of the lake that provide beautiful views of Sierra Nevada. The only negative can be the irritating Tahoe area traffic in summer and the time it takes to drive between all the amazing rides.
Burke, Vt.5 of 11
New England has its share of great mountain biking locales across Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and upstate New York. But what the nonprofit Kingdom Trail Association has done in Burke, Vermont, over the past two decades — putting private land to public use — takes the title in the Northeast with its extensive trails. And they just raised funds this summer to add another 133 acres. Consider a trip in early autumn as the fall foliage provides a bounty of natural colors. A staff member will even customize a ride for you based on your skill level, conditions and desired ride-length. That's service worth traveling for!
Asheville, N.C.6 of 11
Photo Credit: Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventures
The Southeast might be the most underappreciated region in the country for its mountain terrain. Fact is, Mt. Mitchell comes close to 7,000 feet and the miles and miles of singletrack within Pisgah National Forest (Pisgah to locals) provides days of riding. Like any mountain biking town, it helps to recruit the help of local experts, and Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventures is one of those special outfits that can turn your trip into mountain biking bliss.
Moab, Utah7 of 11
Any Moab veteran will tell you that riding Slickrock Trail is unlike any other ride, and every mountain biker should try it at least once. Though this list doesn't focus on epic trails themselves, an 11-mile ride on sandstone with the scenery of the Colorado Plateau merits a trip. The town's founding as one of the first crossings of the Colorado River for the new frontier gives it a textured history, but access to National Parks like Canyonlands and Arches are Moab's present-day calling. Combine a day of riding with some kayaking or canoeing on the Colorado River. That's a tough combo to pass up.
Sun Valley, Idaho8 of 11
Photo Credit: Sun Valley Resort
Sun Valley Resort added mountain bike trails and lift tickets to its summer activities in 2014, so one of the country's best ski resorts gets a nod for most improved. But that was just a drop in the bucket among the 400 miles of trails and bike rides in the area. A short drive over Galena Summit takes you to the gorgeous Sawtooth Range vistas. Lawmakers recently banned mountain biking in the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains east of the Sawtooth Valley. But with some of the most stunning views you'll ever see, it doesn't matter much where you ride, it's bound to stir the soul.
Whitefish, Mont.9 of 11
Photo Credit: Rob Penner
Due to its location, Whitefish might get overshadowed by Glacier National Park. However, it's a great destination on its own with a gorgeous lake, big-time ski mountain and picture-perfect main street. Whitefish Trail around the lake is more than 25 miles of interconnected loops, overlooks, singletrack and logging roads, but it's the future plans of expanding to more than 50 miles over the next decade that really catch the eye. If the adrenaline rush is what you are looking for, Whitefish Mountain has 30 miles of downhill riding and the next day you can hike in Glacier National Park, just 30 minutes away.
Flagstaff, Ariz.10 of 11
Photo Credit: Flagstaff CVB
Flagstaff and nearby Sedona, 15 miles to the south, have such a wide variety of riding that you'll likely find yourself wanting to come back for more after your first taste. Sedona features several expert, technical trails, while Flagstaff has two longer intermediate cruisers that are among the best in the Southwest no matter your skill level. Thanks to local Northern Arizona University (enrollment 25,000), Flagstaff has a youthful vibe and hopping nightlife.