This article offers a list of some of the most popular and loved mountain bike trails around the world. MTB isn’t just exercising. It’s an experience. And if you’re lucky, a breath-taking adventure.
We have done hours of research going through multiple websites to find some of the most amazing MTB trails in the US and rest of the world. Having said that, this article is weighted more towards bike trails in the US. With this article, we aim to give a glimpse into what riding on these trails is like. Hopefully, you’ll see something you like and experience these trails for yourself someday.
Before we jump into the list, we want to include a quick disclaimer and warning here. MTB can be tricky and dangerous, especially if you’re riding a trail that is above your skill-level. You don’t want to be on a MTB trail meant for advanced riders if you’re a beginner or intermediate biker yourself. You could end up hurting yourself very badly if that’s the case. Therefore we urge you to do further research while planning your visit to a certain trail and see if it’s suited to your skill level before going.
If you are well prepared for your trip and know what you’re doing, then MTB can be a truly exhilarating and breath-taking experience. And with that, we jump into out list of top mountain bike trails in the world, starting with those in the US:
Top Mountain Bike Trails in the US
Downieville Downhill in Downieville, California
As you can tell from the name, this 16-mile trail is mostly downhill and has only a few climbs. It is considered to be one of the best mountain bike trails in the West Coast. The trail features steep technical, rock gardens, drops and boulders as well as creek crossings and a faster lower area called 2nd divide. One thing to be mindful of is that this trail is meant for advanced riders. Some of the tracks are narrow and can be challenging for less skilled riders who might fall off them and get seriously injured. It is also recommended to use a navigation app that shows bike trails in order to not get lost in the area. (For a list of our favorite biking apps head to our article titled: “Best Cycling Apps” . The list includes trail navigation apps as well.) You will be able to spot waterfalls, swimming holes and suspension style bridges along the way.
Colorado Trail in Denver, Colorado
Voted the best mountain bike trail by the users of singletracks.com, the Colorado Trail in Denver stretches a whopping 535 miles (861 km). This trail has a lot to offer to beginners, intermediate and advanced riders alike. According to coloradotrail.org: “Families enjoy biking from the Denver trailhead at Waterton Canyon, which features six miles of gentle gravel road along the serene creek that is closed to most motor vehicles. Expert riders enjoy the challenge of the steeper terrain, such as the 75 miles in the San Juan Mountains from Molas Pass to Durango.” One thing to keep in mind regarding this trail is that you might have to carry your bike if it’s early in the season and there’s still snow on the ground as well as in certain rocky areas.
Osberg Ridgeline Trail in Sun Valley, Idaho
There are many climbs and descends along this fascinating alpine trail which stretches for 15 miles (24.1 km). This point-to-point trail traverses the ridgeline and offers some pretty amazing views. There are some climbs from west to east but over the entire trail you are actually losing elevation and descending into Ketchum. The ride is scenic and peaceful. It is also said to be the best mountain bike trail in Sun Valley even though the area offers 400 miles of singletrack, 30 miles of paved bike paths and 2 biking parks in total. Most popular trails following the Osberg Ridgeline are Adam’s Rib and Oregon Gulch ( a 3,000-foot descent into town).
Bangtail Divide Trail in Bozeman, Montana
This trail in Bozeman, Montana stretches 24 miles (38.6 km) and is multi-use in certain parts so you might encounter horses, dirt bikes and hikers along the way. It is suited for intermediate-level riders and should take an advanced rider no more than 4.5 hours including short breaks according to singletracks.com . For a beginner or a rider who likes to take their time, it might last up to 6 hours. The ride features switchbacks, ups and downs and beautiful views such as mountain scenery, wildflower meadows and lodgepole pines. A little tip by hiconsumption.com: “The trail is best biked south to north in order to take advantage of the intense switchback climb of Stone Creek and the smooth, speedy downhill of Grassy Mountain.”. They also warn against unexpected switchbacks so beware if you decide to go on this trail.
Dupont State Forest in Brevard, North Carolina
Spanning roughly 100 miles of singletrack and doubletrack trails, Dupont State Forest is a scenic and exciting destination for many mountain bikers and adventurers. Your journey here will include biking past the rushing waterfalls and the East Coast slickrock. You will also be riding through lush forests and on various terrains such as technical sidetrack, curved dirt descents and easy doubletrack. One of the most popular trails within is the Ridgeline Trail, which is a flowy and satisfying 1.1-mile descent. This ride actually allows you the chance to hit a few massive berms (roughly 8-10 feet high) as well if you’re so inclined. Dupont State Forest is the second best mountain bike trail in the world as voted by the members of singletracks.com and the best trail in North Carolina.
McKenzie River Trail in Blue River, Oregon
Considered to be the best mountain bike trail by many cyclists familiar with the area, the McKenzie River Trail spans 26 miles (41.8 km). The trail is mostly downhill and has amazing views. If you’re so inclined, you will be able to photograph cascading waterfalls, log bridges, some of the lushest foliage in Oregon and even lava fields. The initial 10 miles of the trail, in fact, go through a lava field but beyond that the trail is smoother. If you are more of a beginner-level cyclist or don’t want to push yourself, you could just take the lower portion for a less challenging ride. One thing to watch out for if you decide to go to the upper part for technical challenges is that snowy patches typically last through late Spring there.
The Kingdom Trails in East Burke, Vermont
This wide network of trails spanning 110 miles (177 km) attracts beginners and advanced mountain bikers alike from all over the world. This trail includes flow trails, technical singletrack, easy double track and skills parks. The good thing about the Kingdom Trails is that the network is completely interconnected. This means you can go from one end to another without having to get off the trail. Navigation on these trails is made easier by the signs and markings along the way. According to kindgromtrails.org, 11 full time crew members build and maintain these trails. The article titled: “12 Best Mountain Bike Trails in America” on hiconsumption.com, also states that the Kingdom Trails center has an expert staff that helps you decide on the best route based on your biking level.. The same article mentions a trail called Tap ‘N Die which is supposed to be very fast.
The Whole Enchilada in Moab, Utah
Yep, you’ve read that right. This mountain bike trail spanning approximately 26 miles (41.8 km), located in Moab, Utah is called “The Whole Enchilada”. According to singletracks.com, this trail is best suited for intermediate-level riders. The author of “The Whole Enchilada” article on the same website additionally called this track “one of the most technically diverse and by far the most fun ride” they have ever done . Its diversity comes from all the different terrains this trail stretches on such as wooded forests, rock drops and creeks. In fact, The Whole Enchilada connects four different trails, namely Hazard County, Kokopelli, Burro Pass and Porcupine. The poster wrote that they stopped a lot for pictures and scenery along the trail (Their ride took 5 hours in total including their stops). Your views on this almost-entirely-downhill trail will include the Warner Lake, Aspen Pine lands and the Colorado River, where the trail ends. Something to keep in mind if you are looking to get great photos out of your biking adventures as well.
Top Mountain Bike Trails in Other Parts of the World
The Old Ghost Road in Westport, New Zealand
As one of the most picturesque countries in the world, it should come as no surprise that New Zealand is also home to one of the best mountain bike trails in the world. The Old Ghost Road, which stretches 51 miles (82.1 km), is best suited for advanced riders. It’s a beautiful and raw experience. It will be you in the elements. The south end of the point-to-point trail is located in Lyell, a former mining town in Buller Gorge. From there your steadily climbing ride follows an old miner’s track and goes through the green lush of a temperate rainforest. Once you make it above the tree line you will get to experience the majestic views of one green hill after another. There, the trail becomes narrow and rocky for about 1 km so beware. It then eases down to Ghost Lake Hut, where you can spend the night. This is possibly the most popular hut on the trail and looks down Skyline Ridge from atop a hill. Following your stay at the Ghost Lake Hut, you will begin a challenging, exhilarating descent. It’s a grade 5 downhill track along Skyline Ridge complemented by zigzags, switchbacks and steps. This is only a short glimpse into what the entire trail offers but know that this trail will get your heart pumping. It was also elected the #1 trail out of all the mountain bike trails in New Zealand by singletracks.com members.
Cotopaxi Volcano National Park in Quito, Ecuador
Ready to take on the volcanic slopes of Cotopaxi? The trail features various riding surfaces such as ash, petrified lava, boulders and sand. You will be able to spot 8 different volcanoes on this adventure. You will ride on dirt roads and through a pine forest. The trail stretches 30 miles (48.3 km) and includes three, 700 m descents. You will be making your carving out your own way as you ride through ash and sand on wide lava clearings. There you will begin a flowy, narrow descent which ends in a flat valley. The journey doesn’t end there. But we have a feeling you will be in the mood for more. If luck’s on your side, you will also be able to spot plenty of animals such as highland waterfowls, ducks, gulls and even condors.
Lupra Pass in Nepal
If you feel that cycling in the depths of the Himalayas among the world’s tallest mountains speaks to your MTB-loving soul, then keep on reading. Here’s a section from what mountainbikeworldwide.com had to say about this trail: “After a 300m scrabble to a lofty height of 4100m through the Lupra Pass you’ll be rewarded with a solid vertical kilometre altitude dump filled with fast, flowing, dusty singletrack – all in a surreal surrounding.” The rest of the trail has even more to offer, including a series of switchbacks, a long suspension bridge and a dried up river bed. All this leads to a lunch spot in Jomsom, where you can take a break before continuing on to an overnight stop in Marpha. The ride between Jomsom and Marpha offers views of alleyways and farmland. Let’s just say the chances are you will not get bored riding on the Lupra Pass.
Achnashellach in Torridon, Scotland
This stony trail located in the isolated, rugged, wild west coast of Scotland will offer you great views and the MTB experience of a life-time. The rocky trail is challenging and technical in plenty of places so make sure you’re on your A-game. There’s a small wooden bridge you need to cross, after which the steep, climbing trail truly begins to push your limits. Once you make it to the Bealach Ban, you will be rewarded with a striking view of the Liathach, a mountain in the Torridon hills with two peaks of Munro status. What follows is a fast, rocky descent into the Coire Lair on loose rubble and over some pretty brutal rock gardens. A true test for an expert mountain biker.
Obviously, this list does by no means contain all the amazing MTB trails around the world and it is not meant to be a detailed guide for the trails that are included here. We just wanted to compile a list of some of the MTB trails that seemed the most unique and enjoyed by the riders who visited them.
You should always do your due diligence and further research into a bike trail you plan to visit. You don’t want to be caught unprepared or riding a trail that is higher than your skill level. So make sure you know everything there is to know before actually going on your trip. And as always, happy riding!