A favorite among outdoors lovers, mountain biking is an easy and inexpensive way to explore the outdoors while also paying respect to the land. Across the U.S. national parks, and recreational areas will be buzzing with life as excited visitors from around the world flock to these wide open spaces for some fresh air.
It’s always important to remember to pack lightly but intentionally when mountain biking during hotter weather. Keep a large bottle of water with you and plenty of sunscreen. Even if you plan on hitting trails with a lot of shade and in cooler areas (like the mountains) it’s best to stay prepared. Make sure you’re also wearing the proper attire and that you either rent or purchase a helmet. Even if your plans don’t include any extreme mountain biking you want to ensure your adventure is both safe and also the most enjoyable it can be.
When picking the perfect spot to mountain bike this year, the options might feel overwhelming. There’s truly that many trails to choose from which is why it can make your final selection tricky business. So we’ve narrowed down some of the best across the United States to help ease your decision-making process. Though this list certainly doesn’t cover everything at least it gives you a better idea of where to go whether you’re visiting a new state or staying home!
Pine Knot Trail, CA
This bike trail is one of several around the Big Bear Lake in Southern California. The entire trip is a 6-mile jaunt through picturesque forest scenery and spectacular views of Mt. San Gorgonio. You’ll want to be a bit more of a skilled bicyclist but it’s by far the most advanced trail that you’d come across.
If you’re thinking of extending your time outdoors you and your family or friends can pack a small lunch and take a well-deserved break along the way. There are several places to do so or you can also find yourself doing a little camping at the Deer Group Campground as well. Thinking of renting your bike instead of hauling around your own gear? You can get everything you need (and more) from places like Johnny’s Big Bear Sports or Goldsmith’s Bicycle rental instead.
Trail 401, CO
Located near the town of Crested Butte in Colorado, Trail 401 is a loop best suited for intermediate to advanced mountain bikers. The 14-mile trek has plenty of ups and downs and is sure to delight the senses with lush mountain scenery.
Prior to hitting the trail, there will be a little hiking on the agenda to reach the beginning of the path. Eventually, you’ll be greeted with an 11,339-foot summit and 360-degree views of the Elk Mountains. That means you’re going to have a lot more images to share when you get home. The trail becomes incredibly busy once it opens (usually around July) so be prepared to run into many other outdoor enthusiasts along the way.
Going-to-the-Sun Road, MT
Glacier National Park has outstanding outdoor space that showcases glacier-carved peaks and valleys, diverse wildlife and incredible lakes and forest terrain. And along with a stunning landscape, the park offers countless hiking, camping and bike trails for visitors to enjoy.
Going-to-the-Sun Road is as thrilling as it is difficult and is meant for advanced bikers to partake in. You’ll first climb a whopping 3,300 feet and reach a 6,646-foot elevation and continue the trail from there. The path is narrow and you’ll need to be technical about your movement along the way. Considering you’re traversing a path literally on the side of a mountain it’s best to come with your A-game before you arrive!
Flume Trail, NV
Situated close to Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side (since geographically the area shares a unique space), Flume Trail is excellent for intermediate-level bikers and outdoor lovers. Within the first four miles, you’ll conquer more than 1,000 feet but be rewarded with breathtaking views.
You’ll come across various steep spots, but they shouldn’t be too much for you to handle. There are a variety of spots that are perfect for a quick rest stop or if you’re ready to set up a picnic and chow down for lunch. Thanks to outfitters like The Flume Trail bike shop, you can take advantage of their shuttle services to get back to starting points after a long day out in the sun. Relax afterward in the bounty of shade which is easy to find or take a dip in the lake instead.
Captain Ahab, UT
If you’ve ever been to Moab, you know that the rocky desert is teeming with wildlife and exciting terrain. The unique red landscape is so vastly different than the rest of the state it almost makes it feel like a completely different world! But it’s one of the reasons that make the area so fun and an experience you can’t find in most places.
The Captain Ahab trail is once again for those with more experience and is up for a challenge. Trails like Hymasa route will lead you to awesome vistas where you can see the Colorado River and the Kane Creek anticline. This, of course, comes before the real excitement begins but at least gives you time to prepare. Once you hit Captain Ahab be ready for thrilling, and technically-challenging descents that will all be worth it in the end.
Cady Hill Forest, VT
It can be argued that Vermont is one of the best places on the East Coast to get your outdoor fix all year long. They have fantastic winter activities and their spring and summer opportunities are just as impressive. The entire state is filled with green bike trails where you can go escape the day-to-day for a few hours (or days).
Cady Hill Forest is located in Stowe, a pristine summertime counterpart to the beloved wintery wonderland of the mountain resort. The awe-inspiring scenery and laid-back vibes of the locals will set up a relaxing environment that you won’t forget. The trails are mostly intermediate, but there are options for all levels of bikers to enjoy.
Litchfield Hills B&B Bike Trails, CT
A total of eight bike trails can be found throughout Litchfield Hills. The trail network, which is aptly named thanks the unique B&Bs lining the way on each of the routes, equate to 97-miles of pure outdoor magic. The opportunity to rest in secluded bed-and-breakfasts during your visit means you can view the entire stretch without having to haul camping gear with you. Unless, of course, that’s something you were planning on doing anyway!
The route shifts from moderate to difficult in different spots, so if you’re only interested in intermediate biking you can stop, rest and head back to your starting point. Explore the foothills of the Berkshires, the Housatonic Meadows, and Dennis Hill State Park and take the opportunity to meditate, sunbathe or take selfies during your adventure!