The Best Mountain Biking Destinations in North America

Newsroom Summer Mountain Getaways The Best Mountain Biking Destinations in North America

As the snow melts, temperatures rise, and the days get longer, mountain enthusiasts turn their attention from lapping ski runs to lapping mountain biking trails. And just as North America is full of great ski destinations, it’s also home to tons of incredible mountain biking destinations. Mountain bikers will find it all, from lift-accessed downhill riding and sprawling bike parks at ski resorts to cross-country routes through national forests to steep technical terrain in the desert and much more. So we’ve put together a list of some of the best mountain biking destinations in North America for mountain bikers. Dust off your mountain biking gear and start planning that epic summer mountain biking trip.

The Best Mountain Biking Destinations in North America

Moab, Utah

South of Salt Lake City, Moab isn’t just one of the most popular mountain biking destinations in America, but one of the top mountain biking destinations in the world. It’s to mountain biking what the Wasatch is to skiing. Moab’s challenging desert terrain, extraordinary landscapes, and variety of trails is unrivaled. While a lot of Moab’s mountain biking terrain is for advanced to expert riders, groups like the Moab Trail Mix have been building more beginner-friendly areas to accommodate more riders.

Moab has everything from rough rocky terrain to flowy forested trails to wide-open desert trails to steep single track and a lot more. Moab is home to scores of famous trails like the aptly named Slickrock Trail, a 10-mile ride that is equal parts technical and dangerous. The Whole Enchilada Trail, featuring more than 7,000 feet of descent, we named one of the top mountain biking trails in America.

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Mountain Biking, Moab Utah, on the Whole Enchilada Trail.
Mountain biking on the Whole Enchilada trail, Moab, Utah ©Shutterstock

Sedona, Arizona 

Like Moab, Sedona boasts terrain, landscapes, and trails that you just won’t find in any destination. Dramatic red rock cliffs and sand towers sprawl across its otherworldly landscape, drawing people from around the world for adventures, beauty, and an energy that you’ll only find here. Sedona is home to lots of slab riding and 400 miles of trails, rocky ridgelines, and dry creek beds. First time to Sedona? Practice your technique at the skills park in town.

Headlining mountain biking trails in Sedona include the Hangover Trail, a strenuous 6-mile out-and-back trail that climbs up the saddle of two impressive rocks that rise into the canyon. Hiline, similar in distance, is another advanced trail with technical climbs and exposure at narrow parts of the trail, making it best for very skilled riders.

If you’re planning a Sedona mountain biking trip in the spring, then consider planning your trip around the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival. The three-day mountain bike celebration features bike demos, shuttled rides, skills clinics, tons of gear vendors, live music, food trucks, a beer garden, and more. 

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Person biking down trail surrounded by rock formations near Sedona, Arizona
©Shutterstock

Crested Butte, Colorado

Crested Butte has been a premier mountain biking destination for decades. Popular for its high-alpine trails through wildflower fields, Crested Butte is home to hundreds of miles of trails. Among the highlights is the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Park. Established in 2009, this downhill park offers more than 30 miles of lift-served trails with tons of fun features and routes for every type of rider. Other popular mountain biking trails around Crested Butte include Trail 401, which takes riders above the tree line and on a 1,500-foot descent down Mt. Belleview and through Rustler Gulch. Ride it during the wildflower season for one of the most beautiful rides in Crested Butte.

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Crested Butte, CO, mountain biking couple, female gold medal Olympian, biking through aspens.
Mountain-biking through the aspens in Crested Butte Mountain Resort ©Randi Sidman-Moore

Lake Tahoe, California

Extraordinary terrain paired with stunning views of North America’s largest alpine lake put Lake Tahoe at the top of the list for mountain biking enthusiasts. Die-hard mountain bikers can enjoy miles and miles of single track trails through dense forest as they wind their way above Lake Tahoe, while downhill riders can enjoy great mountain biking parks like the Northstar Bike Park, home to Northern California’s largest bike park. Northstar has a great fleet of mountain bikes for rent, which guests can save 20% on when they book online.

The Tahoe Rim Trail welcomes riders on a lot of its 165-mile trail that circles Lake Tahoe. The Bench section of the Tahoe Rim Trail is just rocky enough for intermediate and advanced riders to provide a challenge without going over the edge. Stop at the bench between Spooner and Kingsbury for the trail namesake and an epic view. The Flume Trail opens up over the eastern shore of the lake on the Nevada side and can be connected to the Rim Trail if desired. Arguably Lake Tahoe’s most famous mountain biking trail is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, a rocky, technical, 6-mile descent that lives up to its name. 

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Mountain biker riding above Lake Tahoe on a sunny day
©Shutterstock

Sun Valley, Idaho 

While Sun Valley has long held the moniker of America’s first destination ski resort, the mountain biking is not to be missed, with the region home to more than 400 miles of single track. Popular biking destinations in Sun Valley include Bald Mountain, featuring America’s longest purpose-built downhill trail with 3,400 vertical feet of descent. Bikers can load their bike at Sun Valley Resort’s River Run Plaza for lift-served access.

The White Clouds trails are ideal for more low-key riders or those looking for a more family-friendly ride. Sun Valley Resort offers rentals and guided tours, along with tons of activities and post-riding food and drinks in the village. A particularly intriguing after-hours activity is taking in Sun Valley’s night ski. Sun Valley and the accompanying town of Ketchum sit in America’s first Dark Sky Reserve, which provides the perfect viewing platform for the night sky above. 

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Two people biking down a trail on a sunny day at Sun Valley Resort
©Sun Valley Resort

Bend, Oregon

Bend, located in Central Oregon’s High Desert, has terrain and landscapes you won’t just find anywhere, from riverfront trails along the Deschutes River to forested rides to rocky drops to scenic trails featuring beautiful views of cascade lakes, mountains, and more. The Bend area has an expansive network of flows, berms, and single track trails, boasting an incredible 900 miles of trails. Lair is a fun trail in town, especially for those riders who like catching air, while the Whoops Loop is a popular advanced trail crafted from water banks that were created after the area was logged decades ago.    While it can be overwhelming to those who haven’t biked around Bend, Cog Wild is a good starting place, offering guided bike rides, bike shuttles, custom trips, and skills instruction.

Mt. Bachelor Bike Park is a great introduction to mountain biking in Bend. All total it has 13 miles of lift-accessed gravity trails, including Redline, Mt. Bachelor’s popular advanced jump line. New riders to Mt. Bachelor Bike Park can begin in the skills area of West Village before progressing to the Little Pine beginner lift. 

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East Burke and Kingdom Trails, Vermont

New England is full of great mountain biking destinations and bike parks. However, Kingdrom Trails is an association and network of trails that you won’t just find anywhere. That’s because The Kingdrom Trail network, popular with local riders, exists on the land of 100 private landowners who generously allow the Kingdom Trail Association to manage the trails. More than 100 miles of multi-use trails decorate the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, from hand-built single tracks to larger flowy trails to gravel roads and much more. A membership is required for trail users to access it, with the Kingdom Trail Association offering daily, monthly and annual memberships. Head to their website to purchase a membership and download trail maps.

Some of its trails intersect with Burke Bike Park, making for a great introduction to Vermont mountain biking. Burke Bike Park has 12 downhill and 10 cross-country trails, as well as a park featuring expert jump, excavated, and flow trails. Head to Burke Mountain’s website for more information.

Jay Peak, located an hour from Burke Mountain, is a fun mountain biking destination for beginner and intermediate riders. Jay Peak expanded their biking terrain in 2022 to include a dirt pump track built by Sinuosity Flowing Trails, conveniently located next to the Hotel Jay and Pump House Waterpark. Access is free. Jay Peak is also home to a beginner loop that starts/ends on Tramside, as well as some intermediate trails that connect to both base areas.

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Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina 

While many people may not think of North Carolina when they think mountain biking, Western North Carolina, and more specifically, Pisgah National Forest, is a renowned mountain biking destination. The region’s new Old Fort Gateway Trails, located near Asheville, are a good starting place. The first 6 miles recently opened, which are a part of a 42-mile expansion that’ll make Pisgah National Forest more accessible to mountain bikers. Among the popular trails for more advanced riders is Heartbreak Ridge, which descends 2,000 feet in just a few miles. While it’s not as technical as other famous mountain biking trails, it’s challenging nonetheless. 

Western North Carolina is home to a number of other great mountain biking destinations, including DuPont State Recreational Forest (DSRF), which is located an hour south of Asheville. It has about 80 miles of single track, plus a lot of double-track and gravel roads that are open to for a variety of outdoor adventures. DSRF has a multi-use trail system, so bicylists are often sharing the trail with hikers, dog walkers, and horseback riders.

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Mountain biker riding down wooded trail in North Carolina Mountains
©Shutterstock

Snowshoe, West Virginia

The theme of great East Coast mountain biking destinations continues in West Virginia at Snowshoe. We’ve previously written about Snowshoe, featuring it in our round-up of the best ski resorts for mountain biking. Located in the Allegheny Mountains, Snowshoe is a great winter ski destination, featuring 60 trails over 257 acres of skiable terrain. Come summer, mountain biking takes over, with the resort chock-full of berms, jumps, drops, and miles of trails for every skill level. Snowshoe is such a renowned mountain biking destination that the resorts hosts a number of major mountain biking events, including UCI World Cup races.

All told Snowshoe has more than 60 miles of mountain biking terrain, 40-plus miles of trails, and 1,500 feet of vertical descent. Annual mountain bike passes can be purchased through Ikon for $329 for adults.

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Group of riders biking through the woods at Snowshoe
©Snowshoe/Kurtis Schachner

Whistler, British Columbia

Just about any conversation about the best mountain biking destinations is going to include Whistler. Whistler Mountain Bike Park itself is massive with everything from easy-flowing green trails to high alpine routes to steep, technical black runs to tons of jumps. Whistler Mountain Bike Park is broken up into four distinct zones—Garbanzo, Fitzsimmons, Peak, and Creekside—with 70 different trails to choose from. The Gatorade Skills Park is located in the Fitzsimmons Zone and is great for those looking to hone their skills on some super technical features. Whistler has created a Progression Scale for riders to use to know exactly which trails are suited for their skill levels and which ones will challenge them without being too much. Whistler’s Orientation Guide is a good place to start for first-timers to mountain biking at Whistler.

Beyond Whistler Blackcomb, the Whistler area is home to miles of cross-country trails through alpine meadows, old-growth rainforest, and more. Additionally, the Sea to Sky Trail, is one of the newest perks for outdoor adventurers. While parts of it are still under construction, the 180 km trail (111 miles) connects British Columbia’s Sea to Sky communities from D’Arcy to Squamish.

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Two bikers biking down rocky trail with snow-covered mountains behind them
©Shutterstock

Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec 

Eastern Canada is home to some amazing mountain biking destinations, and Mont-Sainte-Anne is no exception. While it’s a smaller than many of the other destinations and bike parks mentioned above, it packs a punch, as evidenced by its history hosting the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. Mont-Sainte-Anne’s gondola-served terrain features an impressive 2,000 feet of vertical drop for riders from May to October. Most of the trails are double-track, but there’s plenty of fun single track to play on. Its steeper, sharper, and faster runs are in part what bring the Mountain Biking World Cup here year after year. For those beginner riders, La Chapelet Debutant is a solid loop. 

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Mountain biker catching air at Mont Sainte Anne.
©Mont Sainte Anne/EtienneDionne

More recommendations for mountain bikers

While the above list is by no means an exhaustive list of North America’s mountain biking destinations, they represent are some of North America’s top mountain biking destinations for trail riding. See more recommendations in the following articles.

The Best Ski Resorts for Mountain Biking

The Top Mountain Biking Trails in America

Top Lift-Accessed Mountain Biking Adventures

The Best Mountain Biking Season Passes 

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