We Know the Best Mountain Bike Trails (2023)

We are discovering new terrain each year, and plan to keep this list open to new trails. We may be biased in thinking Utah is the best place to bike, but it's not the only place we like to bike! Keep reading to learn about the best mountain bike trails near you.

Utah has the Best Mountain Biking Trails!Utah is home to several of the world's most-known mountain biking trails. If you haven’t taken your bike to Utah red rock, do you even bike? Once you experience the desert dirt on your tires, you will understand many people's itch. Moab has a dense trail system with something for all abilities, so the best mountain bike trails are available to everyone! Moab started to gain mountain biking traction in the 1980s, so the past 30-plus years have paved trails (pun intended) to be enjoyed without leaving town and maintained trails off the beaten path for adventure seekers.

While you’re in the area, visit the iconic scenery at Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park. Make a pit stop to check out the large selection of food, which includes Moab’s Southwestern cuisine and ventures to cuisine from around the world for any occasion (Discover Moab). Nothing beats good grub after a day on the trails.

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According to Single Tracks, Moab is the Nation's Mountain Bike Capital (don’t tell Bentonville).

“One of the oldest–and still best–destinations, with hundreds of miles of epic trails and Slickrock to ride, and arguably one of the best trails in the world: The Whole Enchilada… Taking into consideration that Moab is the only destination that showed up as a must-ride for mountain bikers from every single region of the United States in our survey, the choice for national mountain bike capital is clear.”

The Whole Enchilada

The Whole Enchiladastarts in the La Sal Mountains and is a world-class mountain bike ride that is a must-ride for most mountain bikers. The most popular shuttle route starts at the Burro Pass Trailhead, but you can also start at Hazard County Trailhead for a shorter ride. After a 7,000-foot descent, the 27-mile bike ride will end at the Colorado River. But don’t let the descent throw you off because there is still 2,200 feet of intense climbing!

This trail is for skilled backcountry riders and is more challenging than most riders anticipate. If you are an intermediate or moderate rider, do not try this trail until you have acquired the technical skills. This is no walk in the park; most will walk their bike at least a couple of times. For those coming from a lower elevation, 10,000 feet elevation can make the ride even more of a challenge. Like any technical bike ride, make sure you’re physically and mentally fit for the ride before arriving at the trailhead.

Slickrock

Another well-loved mountain bike trail is Slickrock, located in the Sand Flats Recreation Area. You will ride on Navajo Sandstone from the Jurrasic period, so look out for dinosaur fossils while you ride! There is a small fee to enter the Sand Flats recreation area, a $2 bike fee, or a $5 vehicle fee. These fees support the local system and maintain the area, so you can feel good about contributing to trail upkeep for mountain biking enthusiasts.

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The Slickrock area consists of many short but steep climbs, so prepare for a leg burner! If you're a first-timer at Slickrock, try the Practice Loop. This is not an easy alternative, but it is shorter so you can get a feel for the terrain before you commit to a longer route or if you’d like to try another time. The Practice Loop is a good introduction but should not undermine the skills required to ride it.

Slickrock is the ultimate mountain bike experience, so try this must-ride mountain bike trail if you haven’t yet!

Mag 7

Magnificent 7 trails, better known as Mag 7, include a loop of networking of trails. Seven connecting trails have turned into 9 to 10-ish interconnecting trails, depending on how they’re counted. These include parts of Bull Run, Gemini Road, Arth's Corner, Little Canyon, Gold Bar ST, Gold Bar Rim, Golden Spike, Poison Spider, and the Portal Trail.

Expect a ledgy Slickrock terrain with an exposed descent at the end. Most will start at Getaway or Bull Run, which is lower. Once you survive the Portal Trail, you’re home-free. Before you get too excited, prepare for some dismounting, which most people opt to their first time. This section entails some breathtaking views, but they come at a cost. The exposure is dangerous, so know your limitations and focus on enjoying the beautiful views.

If you find yourself near Denver, Evergreen Mountain is worth the detour. Evergreen Mountain East Trails are popular with bikers and hikers and live up to the hype. They are favored for a reason and are worth checking out. Here is an Evergreen mountain bike review by Ride With Gravity:


Lunch Loops

The main Lunch Loops Trailhead is accessed off Monument Road a couple of miles from Grand Junction. Free Lunch and Pucker Up, both rated very difficult, are the two bike-only downhill trails, but there is an impressive system of trails to pick through. Spectacular Rocky Mountain single tracks observe Colorado National Monument and Bangs Canyon, so you can’t go wrong. Trail difficulty ranges from difficult to very difficult– most trails are black diamonds but there are some double blacks. Buckle up for the best challenging and technical rides in Colorado.

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Close to downtown Grand Junction, the best mountain bike trails are a five-minute drive away. You don’t have to commit the whole day to your mountain bike ride, so the name is fitting. You can also visit the Lunch Loop Bike Park near the Lunch Loop Trailhead! All Lunch Loop trails and the bike park are free to access.

Hermosa Creek Trail

Hermosa Creek Trail is a well-loved mountain bike trail in Durango. This area has several moderate to challenging singletracks in the backcountry of the Rockies. Enjoy during all seasons!

Most people shuttle this trail, but it can also be ridden as an out-and-back. If you decide to shuttle, start above Purgatory Resort and end at Lower Hermosa Road (see map here). Although, if you end up shuttling, still expect some climbing. Shuttle companies such as Hermosa Tours offer self-guided tours.

Biking from Hermosa Park is a smooth start that follows the creek for 6.5 miles. In this section, you will cross a couple of bridges and eventually make it to a meadow which will connect to Salt Creek. This will begin the technical part of the ride and bring on some climbing. There is a section with 500 ft of ascent in a mile, so there is no shame in walking your bike. Luckily after a butt kicker (no shame in walking!) the decent mellows out.

This trail is known for the beautiful alpine scenery and view of the creek that is adjacent to the trail.

Sea Otter Bike Loop

One of our favorite bike events to participate in is the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. This year, the festival will be from April 20th to 23rd and there will be no shortage of mountain biking trails. The Sea Otter Mountain Bike Loop is an 18.7-mile loop with 2,300 feet of elevation gain. If you time it right, you can see an array of colorful wildflowers. This can be accessed for a fee from the racetrack side. Whether you’re visiting the central coast for the festivities or otherwise there is fun biking to explore!

Monterey Bay Coastal Trail

The Monterey Bay Coastal Trail is popular among road bikers. There are 18 miles of paved path that passes through tourist attractions and good eats. While you’re biking through the California scene, stop at the Fishermans Wharf for some clam chowder. Pick your starting point since there are many, so you can make it as short and sweet as you'd like. This trail is non-commital, so this is a good option for groups with differing biking abilities that want to enjoy the area.

Wilder Ranch State Park

Wilder Ranch State Park is a go-to biking hub in Santa Cruz county, not far from the Monterey area. Bike through redwoods and enjoy the coastal views. The majority of trails are blue, but there are blacks and greens shuffled in. Wilder Ranch Coast Trail can be a relaxed family ride, or you can take it up a notch with the Enchanted Loop trail.

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Whiskey Run Trails

Check out Oregon’s first coastal mountain bike single-track systems! Whiskey Run Trails includes 32 miles of single track within the Coos County Forest. This area accommodates all levels with 24 green, 18 blue, and 14 black or double black trails. Riding conditions are best late Spring through early Fall, but if there is a miraculous dry spell for a couple of days, it can be ridden outside of this window. There is something for everyone in this area, but if you’d fancy fat biking, there is fun sand biking on the South Coast nearby. You can go to the Oregon Dunes, which is a popular area for fat tire bikers.

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ThisWhiskey Run map isfrom Southern Oregon Coast

Mary’s Peak

The city of Philomath is not far from Marys Peak, which is the highest point on the Oregon Coast. Inevitably, there are beautiful views and a mountain to explore! Philomath is a lovely town with several bike paths and trails. North Ridge Trail to Marys Peak is a 7.1-mile out-and-back route with 2,000 feet of elevation gain and some technical areas. This trail is no stranger to climbing and few can complete it without stepping off their bike, so consider this a challenge!

Siuslaw National Forest, where Marys Peak lives, is full of trails with exposed roots and phenomenal views. High-elevation wildflowers and lush Noble Fir trees have designated Marys Peak as a botanical Special Interest, so it is worth checking out the area. Enjoy this trail in the Summer because it will be closed to bikes from October 16-May 14, 2023.

As we fully joined the biking scene, we were skeptical of what Bentonville, Arkansas had to offer. We were pleasantly surprised by the community and mountain biking options on our first visit. Mountain Bike Action mentions the top ten reasons to try Bentonville, aka the mountain bike capital of the world, and one of them is the stellar bike fest.

Slaughter Pen Mountain

Another point that made it to the top ten list is Slaughter Pen Mountain Bike Park. Just South of Bark Park, jumps, bermed turns, wall rides, drops, and tabletop jumps are available for all riding levels. This park is primarily man built, so there are constantly new developments.

You can stay put at the park or venture off and do Slaughter Pen via the Greenway and Blowing Springs to Back 40. Shuttled this 20-mile loop that is fun and challenging! This loop can start at Lake Anna or the trailhead at Blowing Springs. Parking at Lake Ann will be convenient to access the majority of trails, many being blue squares.

Related Links:
Top Mountain Biking Trails Near Monterey
6 Must Ride Mountain Bike Trails in California
Best Trails Near Evergreen, Colorado
Durango’s Local-Favorite’s MTB Trail Suggestions!
The Best Biking Trails in Fruita, Palisade & Grand Junction
Colorado Mountain Bike Opportunities: Lunch Loops Trail
Mountain Bike Park City
Top 10 Arkansas Mountain Bike Trail Systems
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