Mountain biking trails span the entire United States with different terrain, difficulty, and levels of innovation and enjoyment. Unfortunately, we often can’t fit every state into our itinerary when going mountain biking on vacation. The good news is, you can find high-quality riding in just about every state and some of the best mountain biking in the world in some of those states.
Before jumping into our top mountain biking destinations, we need to cover what exactly makes somewhere the best state for mountain biking. Here are the different categories we took into consideration when picking out our winners.
From shallow creek crossings to slickrock and high alpine traverses, a variety in terrain is a huge factor in deciding the best state for mountain biking. While many of us have our favorite style, we recognize the need for switching things up. Our top spots have every type of terrain for everyone.
Just like different terrains, we all have different skill levels. The best mountain biking is mountain biking that you enjoy doing and feel comfortable or challenged riding. So we looked at trails that give everyone the possibility of riding, whether you’re a beginner or a competitive racer.
Most of our top mountain biking destinations are filled with public lands that you can cruise freely. The top spots need to allow for riding to happen all around you. While this is huge in the west, some east coast states boast an impressive network of trails through both public and private lands.
Top 5 States for Mountain Biking
Top Pick: Utah
Utah is an easy pick to take the number one spot on our list of top mountain biking destinations in the US. It has everything you could want with quick and easy access from its major cities.
Terrain: You can ride the slick redrock of Moab, the cross-country trails around Salt Lake City, or visit one of the many bike parks in Park City. This desert state is filled with opportunities to test out a wide variety of terrain.
Difficulty: No matter your experience, Utah has hundreds of trails for every level of rider.
Access: Three-quarters of Utah is public land. Not all of that is trail, but a huge chunk is. That provides a vast playground for bikers that want to cruise through the stunning desert landscapes.
Slickrock Trail (Moab)
Wasatch Crest Trail (Park City/Salt Lake City)
Red Canyon/Thunder Mountain (Panguitch)
Right behind Utah is another of the absolute best desert mountain biking destinations, Arizona. We proudly call Arizona home and are honored to be surrounded by such a vast array of biking.
Terrain: The desert terrain in Arizona brings jaw-dropping views every twist and turn you take. There are singletrack trails that put you amidst a sea of wildflowers, and the trails near Sedona put you deep in Mars-like red canyon walls.
Difficulty: Arizona is filled with trails that let you hone your skills as a beginner or test your skills as an expert. There are plenty of options for everyone here.
Access: Arizona is made up of almost 50% public land, which gives us a considerable amount of land to explore on bike.
Hangover Trail (Sedona)
Schultz Creek Trail (Flagstaff)
Jumping over to the east coast brings us straight to North Carolina. The land of the Blue Ridge Mountains allows riders to pedal through gorgeous landscapes no matter the time of year.
Terrain: Technical backcountry singletrack trails weave a huge network through the mountains of NC. The rolling Appalachian Mountains provide some cruisy, but challenging trails to ride.
Difficulty: You can easily find trails that will test the most experienced riders and go down the road to find trails that you can learn on.
Access: North Carolina has a huge number of state parks and public lands that you can ride. There are trail networks that pass through some private land, but mountain biking culture is alive and well, making it easy to find.
Dupont State Forest (Brevard)
Pisgah National Forest (Asheville)
Honorable Mentions: Colorado and Washington
The list for the best mountain biking can’t be complete without mentioning these two meccas. Colorado and Washington are home to many trails that take you through diverse terrain and a wide range of difficulty. So next time you’re in the Pacific Northwest or the Rocky Mountain State, be sure to bring your bike.