Best Mountain and e-Mountain Bike Trails in the US (2023)

bikers on a trail

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The United States is full of big mountains, national parks, stunning forests and well-carved-out trails. It’s a combination of these factors, and its illustrious MTB heritage, that make for some of the most impressive riding locations in the world.

 

In this guide, we’re going to explore the best mountain bike trails in the US, looking at a range of disciplines – from the gnarliest downhill routes to the best long-distance, cross-country challenges, and some of the best MTB parks the US has to offer.

 

So, strap yourself in, because there are some serious trails on this list. Welcome to our guide on the best MTB destinations in the USA.

Best Mountain Biking Trails In The US

1. Gooseberry Mesa South Rim

Where: Hurricane, Utah

Route Map:

Gooseberry Mesa South Rim bike trail

Distance: 8 miles (12.8km)

Total ascent: 360ft (109m)

Max elevation: 5,328ft (1624m)

Typical trail conditions: Dry and firm

Type: Largely single track

Difficulty: 4.5/5

Summary

This trail is no joke, it’s a serious route and one that certainly isn’t for beginners. It’s largely made up of single-track, cross-country riding, with big drops to the edge of the trail and lots of technical twisty and very narrow sections. 

 

You’re also going to take in some chunky uphill stretches and enjoy some incredible views throughout, making it undisputedly one of the best MTB trails in the US. 

 

This is Red Bull Rampage territory, where the world’s best riders fling themselves down death-defying drops which further cements its status as one of the best places to mountain bike in the US. You won’t be taking on many Rampage sections, but you’ll be soaking up the same scenery and tackling a beast of a trail all the same. 

 

As a track, it’s very well-maintained and has been in situ for around 20 years now. It’s worth noting there isn’t water onsite, so make sure to stock up before you take on this trail that’s equal parts beauty and beast.

2. Monarch Crest

Where: Salida, Colorado

Route Map:

Monarch Crest bike trail

Distance: 36.22 miles (58.3km)

Total ascent: 2,034ft (620m)

Max elevation: 11,961ft (3,646m)

Typical trail conditions: Mixed. Dry in summer (possible extreme heat), wet and muddy at times, snow in winter

Type: Single track cross country; double-track fast downhill sections

Difficulty: 4/5

Summary

Colorado is one of the best states for mountain biking in the US and this route highlights exactly why; this is a seriously chunky, high-altitude ride.

 

At 36.22 miles, it’s a long one, with the track taking in beautiful single-track sections through the stunning mountains, followed by some significant climbs and a super-fast downhill section. This trail is touted as being amongst the best bike trails in the US and it’s easy to see why.

 

From a physical perspective, this trail is a killer. With more than 2,000ft of climbing, you’ll be sure to feel this one in both the legs and in the lungs.

 

The nearby town of Salida has some decent options for post-ride feeds and a well-deserved drink, but there aren’t any stopping points en route to refill, so make sure to come prepared for the duration of your ride.

3. Bentonville

Where: Arkansas

Route Map:

Bentonville bike trail

Distance: Various

Total ascent: Various

Max elevation: Various

Typical trail/weather conditions: Mixed. It can get very hot and humid in summer. Can be wet and muddy in winter.

Type: Cross country single track, jump lines, downhill

Difficulty: Various difficulties

Summary

If you’re wondering where the United States’ mountain biking capital is, then look no further than Bentonville. The town has recently declared itself as the Mountain Biking Capital of the World, let alone just the US, and millions of dollars have gone into making the town a truly world-class MTB destination.

 

There are many dozens of miles of cross-country single-track trails, pro jump routes, and easier-going beginner routes. The trails are incredibly well-maintained, and with significant trail variety, it’s certainly making great strides towards being one of the best places in the US to MTB (if it’s not already, that is).

 

Bentonville is a spot which has something for everyone and due to being right in the centre of the town, there are many spots to eat and grab a drink after your ride.

4. Downieville Downhill Classic

Where: Downieville, California

Route Map:

Downieville Downhill Classic bike trail

Distance: 13.9 miles (22.5km)

Total ascent: 662ft (202m)

Max elevation: 7,103ft (2,165m)

Typical trail/weather conditions: Largely dry and firm, some colder conditions and snow in winter

Type: Downhill

Difficulty: 4.5/5

Summary

The Downieville Downhill Classic is a seriously gnarly downhill route, dropping 4,000ft in close to 14 miles, carving through the thick forest as it does so.

 

You’ve got some tasty drops in there and lots of technical, twisty sections, making it one of the US’s hardest (yet also most rewarding) mountain bike trials. In fact, it’s the longest and most demanding downhill route in the country. This one isn’t for beginners and will likely be tricky for intermediate riders.

 

If there’s one thing that’s for sure – this trail isn’t for the faint of heart!

5. East Tiger Summit Trail

Where: Issaquah, Washington State

Route Map:

East Tiger Summit Trail

Distance: 1.4 miles (2.4km)

Total ascent: 456ft (139m)

Max elevation: 3001ft (915m)

Typical trail/weather conditions: Mixed, depending on season

Type: Downhill

Difficulty: 3/5

Summary

Tiger Mountain is a cracking spot for riders of all abilities. There are many decent routes here, with some seriously technical rides on one end of the spectrum and more accessible beginner routes on the other.

 

Our pick is the East Tiger Summit Trail – a smooth downhill route that carves through the forest. Although mainly smooth, there are a few small sections with lumpy rock gardens and some well-maintained berms, but it’s manageable for intermediate riders and above.

 

It may only be a short ride, but there are many other options on the surrounding mountain and the scenery is to die for, with lush greenery everywhere. In terms of variety and accessibility for riders of all abilities, this mountain is certainly amongst the best.

6. North Star Bike Park

Where: Truckee, California

Route Map:

North Star Bike Park bike trail

Distance: Various

Total ascent: Various

Max elevation: Various

Typical trail/weather conditions: Mixed, depending on season

Type: Downhill, cross-country

Difficulty: Various difficulties

Summary

The North Star Bike Park is undoubtedly among the premier mountain bike parks in the US. It caters to all abilities and has 33 top downhill trails, including some gnarly black routes full of significant rock formations, steep drops and serious airtime jumps.

 

At the same time, around half of the park’s trails are set up for beginner and intermediate riders, with much wider paths and much softer features. It’s also a well-equipped centre, with a skills park, academy, on-site clinics, bike rental and many shops in the immediate area.

 

It also has a lift service to take you back up to the top of the mountain, and it’s one of few downhill bike parks in the world to host the Enduro World Series. Those are some serious MTB credentials right there.

7. Black Mountain Loop (Pisgah National Forest)

Where: Brevard, North Carolina

Route Map:

Black Mountain Loop trail

Distance: 13.6 miles (21.9km)

Total ascent: 2,158ft (658m)

Max elevation: 4,173ft (1,272m)

Typical trail/weather conditions: Largely dry

Type: Single-track, downhill, steep uphill

Difficulty: 4.5/5

Summary

Let us tell you something about this trail right from the off. It’s an absolute lung-buster.

 

With 2,158ft of climbing, it’s no child’s play and when you manage to get to the top, you then have to strap yourself in for a hair-raising downhill section through lumpy rocky parts, big drops and challenging, uneven terrain.

 

This is a challenging trail and despite its relatively short length, even the hardiest of riders will feel a sense of accomplishment by the end. The Black Mountain Loop unquestionably offers some of the best mountain biking along the United States East Coast, offering an excellent challenge for more experienced spinners.

8. The Flow Loop

Where: Copper Harbour, Michigan

Route Map:

Flow Loop bike trail

Distance: 2.85 miles (4.6km)

Total ascent: 32ft (10m)

Max elevation: 1,167ft (356m)

Typical trail/weather conditions: Mixed – dry in the summer, snowy in the winter, with muddy periods, too

Type: Point-to-point, downhill

Difficulty: 2.5/5

Summary

Copper Harbour has established itself as having some of the best all-round mountain bike trails in the United States. The area features excellent trails for various abilities, with shuttle services offering to take riders back up to the top.

 

Our pick of the bunch is the intermediate Flow Trail, which has one of the area’s longest descents, beginning with excellent views across to the stunning Lake Superior. The rest of the route drops down, taking in lots of fun berms, twists and turns.

 

A nice challenging ride, but one that intermediate riders will also simultaneously find enjoyable and achievable. The best of both worlds!

9. Hiline Trail

Where: Sedona, Arizona

Route Map:

Hiline Trail

Distance: 3.1 miles (5km)

Total ascent: 324ft (99m)

Max elevation: 4,645ft (1,416m)

Typical trail/weather conditions: Largely dry

Type: Single track, downhill

Difficulty: 5/5

Summary

Brace yourself for this one. This Arizona beauty is amongst the most challenging MTB trails in the United States. The trail commences with stunning views over the surrounding mountains on a narrow single-track, with big drops to its edge.

 

From there you fly into a seriously technical downhill section, with steep rocky drops, a large number of rock gardens and spiking cacti bristling all around you. This is one of the most challenging routes out there and is only for the highly-experienced riders amongst us.

 

But if you’re good enough to complete this trail, then you’ll be rewarded with a huge sense of achievement as one of the minorities of riders able to take it on.

10. Osberg Ridgeline Trail

Where: Sunny Valley, Idaho

Route Map:

Osberg Ridgeline Trail

Distance: 10.9 miles (17.6km)

Total ascent: 2109ft (643m)

Max elevation: 9,537ft (2,907m)

Typical trail/weather conditions: Mixed – snow winter, muddy throughout year and dry spells in summer

Type: Back-country, point-to-point

Difficulty: 3.5/5

Summary

This is an absolutely stunning ride, with epic views dominating most of the route. The Osberg Ridgeline trail is definitely one of the more fun rides out there, being flowy without being overly technical, whilst at the same time challenging enough to get your heart going – particularly when you take into account the amount of climbing you have to tackle here. Your legs and lungs aren’t going to be thanking you for this one, but it’s worth it for the endorphins and adrenaline!

 

Once you’ve got to grips with the climbing, there are some immensely enjoyable downhill sections to enjoy, which take you on a long descent back into town. It’s a well-laid-out and exciting trail that provides enjoyment without making you cling on for dear life like some of our other top picks. There’s also a shuttle service to take you back to the start of the trail – ideal.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the USA is blessed with some of the world’s most incredible MTB riding locations. In our guide, we’ve ensured that all the routes are both mountain bike and e-mountain bike friendly and considered routes for many different levels of riding.

 

We’ve incorporated some of the most challenging spots for elite riders and some more easy-going routes for intermediate spinners and beginners, from locations with immense scenery to gnarly downhill trails and flowy, cross-country, all-day rides.

 

This is our top 10 best mountain bike trails in the US, but we could have included many more incredible trails too. You’re never going to be short of fantastic places to ride in the United States, so the question is – what are you waiting for?

 

Get shredding.

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