THE BEST PLACES TO RIDE MOUNTAIN BIKES IN NORTH AMERICA

TOP BUCKET LIST MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDES OF 2022

One of the great things about mountain bikes is that you can ride them almost anywhere. That’s one of the reasons they caught on so fast over 30 years ago. Riders could take them on trails, on the streets, on bike paths, in the snow, and even on beaches if they wanted. Often the best place to go mountain biking is on the trails that are close to home so you can fit in a quick ride when you don’t have time to travel.

At other times, when you want to get away from home for a while, it’s nice to have a place you can go where the riding is even better, with fun trails, beautiful scenery, and a culture that looks upon mountain biking as a wonderful way to spend a day outdoors. 

With those things in mind, we’ve put together our list of 10 destinations that most mountain bikers would be happy to visit for a few days. These are places where you can get in all the riding you want without having to ride the same trails every day. In no particular order, here are 10 of our favorite places to ride in North America.


1. BENTONVILLE, ARKANSAS

Hans Rey (left) and Steve Peat. Photo: ShreddyShots

Bentonville has leaped into the national spotlight in the last few years and is now considered one of the best mountain bike destinations in America. Thanks to the support of the mountain bikers in the Walton family (whose grandfather started Walmart), the town has been adding mountain bike trails at an amazing pace, sometimes building as many as two to three miles a week. Everyone we know who has gone and ridden there has come back raving about it.

2. SQUAMISH, BRITISH COLUMBIA

Will Roper. Photo: Heather Carter

 

 

Located just south of the much-more-famous Whistler, Squamish is considered by many riders to be even better. It’s home to some of the top stars of our sport, including Junior Downhill World Champion Jackson Goldstone and the amazing Brandon Semenuk. The landscapes and mountains in Squamish are fantastic, with interesting terrain and miles of challenging trails.

3. WHISTLER, BRITISH COLUMBIA

Richie Schley and Brett Tippie.

 

Less than an hour north of Squamish, Whistler is home to the most celebrated bike park in the world. The park features over 50 memorable trails designed for everyone from beginners to pros, with a number of lifts that can take you up the mountain and let you ride all day long. Whistler Village lies at the base of the lifts, offering shops and restaurants aplenty. If you don’t feel like buying a pass to the bike park, there are also great and memorable trails in the town that can be enjoyed for free.

4. BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON

2019 Shimano XT launch in Bellingham, Washington Photo: Sterling Lorence

 

Bellingham lies in western Washington, about two hours north of Seattle and about 80 minutes south of Vancouver, Canada. It offers a wide range of beautiful and challenging trails set in the forests common to the Pacific Northwest. A number of top mountain bike companies have their headquarters here, which makes it easy for them to attract dedicated mountain bikers who are happy to live in an area with a veritable Disneyland of trails.

5. PARK CITY, UTAH

Photo: Deer Valley Resort

 

Less than a half-hour drive from the sprawling suburb of Salt Lake City lies one of the best riding destinations in the world. Park City has an incredible network of trails that literally surround the small mountain resort town. Trails ranging from flowing cross-country to advanced-level downhills are supported by ski resort lifts as well as local shuttle services. The Wasatch Crest trail is the area’s highlight and should be on everybody’s visit wish list.

6. SEDONA, ARIZONA

Travis Brown in Sedona, Arizona

 

Speaking of the Southwest, there’s a lot to be said for the joys of riding in Sedona, Arizona, during those months when much of the country is dealing with cold, wet weather. While the summers might be too warm for mid-day rides, the rest of the year offers mid-day temperatures in the ’60s and ’70s. Furthermore, the trails are fantastic, with dramatic rock formations rising into the sky, making for one of the most unforgettable landscapes in America.

7. CRESTED BUTTE, COLORADO

Photo: JK MBA

 

All it takes is one visit to Crested Butte to find out why it has been one of the most popular mountain bike towns in America for over 30 years. While the town offers a top-level ski resort in the winter, the lifts switch to carrying bikes in the summer, and the other amazing trails in the area make it just as fun for mountain bikers who want to explore the surrounding mountains and valleys on their own.

8. PISGAH, NORTH CAROLINA

Photo: Squatch Bikes

 

While most of the top mountain bike towns in America are out west, this mountainous region of North Carolina is known for offering some of the finest mountain biking in the country. The riding is so good that numerous bike companies have opened offices here so they can test their products in an area with one of America’s finest trail networks.

9. KINGDOM TRAILS, VERMONT

Photo: Jim Paiva

It was around a year ago that Juliana Furtado—the only pro mountain biker in history to win world championships in both cross-country and downhill—named the Kingdom Trails as one of her three favorite places to ride in America. Our staff agrees. The trail network here is phenomenal, and so is the scenery. As for the weather, it’s great for riding most of the year. When it snows in the winter, you can go fat biking or skiing. Either way, you’ll be able to stay in shape all year and still have fun. 

10. MOAB, UTAH

Hans Rey. Photo: Carmen Rey

When mountain biking caught on in the 1980s, Moab quickly became one of the go-to destinations for the sport. The riding is truly epic, with miles of spectacular landscapes and world-class trails. This is one of those places that should be on every rider’s bucket list. The Slickrock Trail is one of the most famous trails in the area, but there are plenty more, too.


If you are looking for more bucket list MTB rides click here for our 2020 Top 5 list (this one takes you to Poland

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