Five of the Best Mountain Biking Spots in the West

©istockphoto/GibsonPicturesWith mon­strous moun­tains and numer­ous off-road trails to tack­le, the West has always been one of the best places to hop on a bike. Whether you’re a moun­tain bik­er who enjoys the adren­a­line rush that comes from fly­ing through the brush or just some­one who enjoys tak­ing in the scenery on wheels, here are the best places to go.

Bend, Ore­gon
Bend is one of the pre­mier out­door mec­cas in the coun­try thanks to end­less spans of open land avail­able for sports enthu­si­asts. It’s home to 300 miles of eas­i­ly accessed trails, much of which is sin­gle­track per­fect for moun­tain bik­ers who want to get lost for days. Whoops Trail is a true gem nes­tled inside the Phil’s Trail net­work just out­side of town and you’re only 90 min­utes away from Oregon’s most famous rid­ing path, the McKen­zie Riv­er Trail.

It’s dif­fi­cult to find an area more beau­ti­ful to ride in. Bend is sur­round­ed by plen­ti­ful alpine mead­ows, water­falls, boul­ders and lakes, that also con­tain many tech­ni­cal tracks. It’s a moun­tain biker’s heav­en and a good deal of rid­ers choose to call it home.

Duran­go, Colorado
Cross-coun­try trails, per­fect year-round weath­er, and two-hour loops leav­ing down­town in all direc­tions makes Duran­go one of the best moun­tain bik­ing areas in the U.S. It’s giv­en birth to some of the most elite cyclists in the sport’s his­to­ry and its 26-mile Her­mosa Creek Trail is wide­ly con­sid­ered one of, if not the best, trails in the country.

Locals are metic­u­lous when it comes to clean­ing and pre­serv­ing the trails sur­round­ing the town and work hard to estab­lish new paths to tack­le on a reg­u­lar basis. Estab­lished rid­ers are also hard at work here cre­at­ing a grow­ing youth cycling cul­ture and have cre­at­ed some of the best devel­op­ment pro­grams in the coun­try in order to spread the love for moun­tain bik­ing. It’s a great place for moun­tain bik­ers to raise a fam­i­ly of junior riders.

Down­ieville, California
The Down­ieville Down­hill, a 17-mile down­hill ride with a 5,000-foot ver­ti­cal drop made up of 85 per­cent sin­gle­track, is on every moun­tain biker’s buck­et list. The area around this once bustling gold min­ing town con­tains 500 miles of fierce ter­rain that ranges from begin­ner-friend­ly paths to rugged, rocky inclines that throw even the most expe­ri­enced cyclists off their wheels. The infa­mous Third Divide has seen speeds of up to 40 mph and is one of the fastest trails in the world.

The set­ting amongst the beau­ti­ful Sier­ra Nevadas cer­tain­ly doesn’t hurt this place’s appeal, either. It’s sur­round­ed by pic­turesque lakes, moun­tain vis­tas and epic water­falls, all of which you’ll see on many of the trails.

Park City, Utah
Park City was the first place to ever attain gold-lev­el sta­tus through the Inter­na­tion­al Moun­tain Bicy­cling Asso­ci­a­tion and con­tin­ues to prove why it’s con­sid­ered the cream of the crop when it comes to great sin­gle­track trails. Stun­ning vis­tas com­bined with over 450 trails loop­ing around the sur­round­ing hills and val­leys come togeth­er to cre­ate one of the fore­most bik­ing cul­tures in the country.

Enthu­si­asts here are com­mit­ted to keep­ing the city bike-friend­ly by ensur­ing $1 mil­lion in funds go to main­tain­ing the exist­ing trails while adding more each year. Aside from the great loops around town, there are also end­less arrays of activ­i­ties for out­doors enthu­si­asts includ­ing rock climb­ing and ski­ing. The Spiro Trail is a must-try for any­one who enjoys putting foot to pedal.

Sun Val­ley, Idaho
Sun Val­ley is some­what of a hid­den gem; it’s one of the best moun­tain bik­ing des­ti­na­tions in the coun­try but still not as wide­ly known as the spots above so it hasn’t reached the lev­el of sat­u­ra­tion that puts some rid­ers off. The climb­ing switch­backs are all ride­able while the Saw­tooth and White Cloud moun­tains pro­vide some pret­ty epic views as you nav­i­gate the 400 miles of sin­gle­track around the area. Cycling down Bald Moun­tain is one of the most beau­ti­ful and chal­leng­ing rides around.

The towns of Hai­ley and Ketchum are great land­ing points for moun­tain bik­ers with numer­ous bike shops and even closed loop tracks for the kids. The weath­er here can be a lit­tle fick­le, with snow and mud a prob­lem in the win­ter and spring, but most of the year you can find some pret­ty great days to tack­le the trails.