Nine of the Best Mountain Bike Trails

Outside Magazine said “you can’t call yourself a mountain biker” until you’ve ridden these nine great American Mountain Biking Trails.  Add them to your bucket list and set a goal to ride them all.   The trails are spread throughout the United States, from Oregon and California to the great Smokies National Park in North Carolina, and they range from relatively gentle and easy to some steep challenging single tracks.  Air up your tires and hit the road!

Hangover Trail

Photo by Outside Magazine

South Boundary

Taos, New Mexico


Distance: 20.8 miles
Technical Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced

Most of the riding is on a tight, root-filled single track through aspen trees. The final five miles is steep and rocky on loose rock.

Doctor Park

Almont, Colorado

Distance: 9.6 miles
Technical Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced

There are three distinct parts to this ride with the first being a climb to 10,900 ft through thick pines; second a narrow middle; then 2,600 ft down through sharp rock to Taylor River.

The Whole Enchilada

Moab, Utah

Distance: 32.6 miles
Technical Difficulty: Advanced

This ride which is almost all downhill starting at 11,150 ft and dropping 8,000 ft through forests, Warner Lake, slopes, dirt roads, and then over Moab Slickrock.

The Hangover

Sedona, Arizona

Distance: 3.7 miles
Technical Difficulty: Skull and Crossbones

This trail is definitely for the experienced, skillful rider as you climb up a massive butte and then down the backside where the trail narrows on the cliff side. This downside has waist-high step downs and roll-offs that could send you down that cliff side.

Rock Lake Epic, CAMBA Trails

Cable, Wisconsin

Distance: 27 miles
Technical Difficulty: Intermediate

The Epic Loop winds through maple and oak forest with four of the best trails for you to ride. On Rock Lake, Glacier, Patsy Lake and Namakagon you climb no more than 100 feet but you are challenged with rollers, logs, rock features and a lot of mud.

Thunder Mountain

Panguitch, Utah

Distance: 7.1 miles
Technical Difficulty: Intermediate

Being just outside of Bryce Canyon you take advantage of the beautiful scenery at 8,300 feet and descending about 2,000 feet on this trail. You need to take care as you run up against slippery, rough switchback along the way down.

McKenzie River

TrailBend, Oregon

Distance: 26 miles
Technical Difficulty: Intermediate

This trail is a single track through 300 foot Douglas firs of the Willamette National Forest where you will encounter passages of black lava rock or you can choose the ride-around option.  The trail follows the McKenzie River Trail where you cross over log bridges, and pass falls and lakes. You might even enjoy the few hot springs along the way.

Mt. Elwell

Graeagle California

Distance: 15.3 miles
Technical Difficulty: Advanced

If you enjoy a hike-a-bike trail to reach the 7,818 foot peak, then this is the mountain ride for you. From the top you drop 3,300 feet on the single track that starts out on rough granite and switchback to clear faster ride. You end your ride at the quaint town of Graegle.

Tsali Trails

Bryson City, North Carolina

Distance: 41.8 miles
Technical Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Inside the Great Smokies National Park are four trails which twist along the land beside Fontana Lake. Mouse Branch which is 8.7 miles is the most technical while the Thomson Loop hugs the shoreline and has the best views of the lake.


McKenzie Trail

Thanks go out to Outside Magazine for this list of bike trails and the pictures shown.

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