Bucket List Bests: Multi-Day Mountain Biking Trails

Most moun­tain bik­ing trails are devel­oped for day-trip­pers and fea­ture only short loops or out-and-back path­ways. Would­n’t it be great if you could hop on your bike and ride off into the wilder­ness night after night? Well, you can. Check out this col­lec­tion of some of the best overnight moun­tain bik­ing trails and tours in the Unit­ed States.

North Dako­ta, Mah Daah Hey Trail
When most peo­ple hear the phrase, “mul­ti-day moun­tain bik­ing tour” their brain does­n’t con­jure images of the bad­lands. But North Dako­ta’s Mah Daah Hey Trail is quick­ly becom­ing one of the most pop­u­lar bik­ing trails in the coun­try. Unlike most trails, The Mah Daah Hey was con­struct­ed with moun­tain bikes in mind. It is 97 miles long and winds through the grassy, beau­ti­ful bad­lands of North Dako­ta and fol­lows the Lit­tle Mis­souri Riv­er. This trail is less tech­ni­cal than most overnight bik­ing trails so it would be no prob­lem to bring a trail­er along. You might want to bring one since there is no hut sys­tem con­struct­ed; just you, your bike, and your gear fac­ing the for­est head on.

Ida­ho, Coy­ote Yurt
Nes­tled in the Saw­tooth Moun­tains at 8,700 feet lies Ida­ho’s Coy­ote Yurt. From this yurt, bik­ers have access to mul­ti­ple trails with­in the moun­tains. The trails in this area are well known for their long, flow­ing descents, so make sure you’ve either got a good pair of breaks, or a good pair of balls. There are two Yurts under the Coy­ote Yurt name and they both serve up mas­sive, hardy meals through­out the day for weary bik­ers. You can also bring your own food if you’d rather not splurge.

Mon­tana, Thomp­son Guard Station
Built by the Civil­ian Con­ser­va­tion Corps, the Thomp­son Guard Sta­tion pro­vides moun­tain bik­ers with access to the vast expanse that is the Hele­na Nation­al For­est. The Thomp­son Guard Sta­tion is a sin­gle cab­in with a wood stove for both heat and cook­ing that sleeps eight peo­ple. From the park­ing lot, it’s only a half mile to the hut, so you’ll be able to get in a warm-up ride before drop­ping off your gear and hit­ting the trail for the rest of the day. There are many trails that can be biked from the Thomp­son Guard Sta­tion, but your trip would be incom­plete if you did­n’t take the 17-mile trip to White Sul­fur Springs to bathe in the hot springs.

Col­orado, San Juan Huts
The 12 San Juan huts that make up this buck­et list-wor­thy route are acces­si­ble through Col­orado and Utah by way of two dif­fer­ent 215-mile trails. The hut sys­tem is made up of a num­ber of dif­fer­ent struc­tures, includ­ing a sheep-herders cab­in. Con­sid­ered the orig­i­nal hut-to-hut bike ride, the trails con­nect­ing the San Juan huts have been around since 1988 and stretch from either Tel­luride to Moab, or Duran­go to Moab. Both trails cross some of the most scenic and bike­able areas of the south­west­ern land­scape. The trip takes about a week, unless you’re a more elite bik­er and want to par­tic­i­pate in the annu­al 200-mile race.

Ore­gon, Cas­cade Huts
Mount Hood is Ore­gon’s high­est and most-like­ly-to-explode vol­cano, so you bet­ter see it while it’s still intact. The Cas­cade Huts are scat­tered around the bik­ing trail that cir­cum­nav­i­gates Mt. Hood, pro­vid­ing beau­ti­ful views of the Colum­bia Gorge and the Mead­ows of Mount Hood itself. The trail is 137 miles long and takes about 4 days to com­plete. If you are look­ing for more of a chal­lenge the trail can be extend­ed with more rugged, tech­ni­cal side-trails that are acces­si­ble from the ser­vice roads. The huts sleep about 8 peo­ple com­fort­ably, but there is always a lot of camp­ing in the Mt. Hood area if you feel like pulling along a trail­er or some saddle-bags.

Col­orado, Back­coun­try Bik­er Huts
The Back­coun­try Bik­er huts in Col­orado are per­fect for mix­ing your hard­core, dirty, and scenic, adven­ture with a bit of lux­u­ry at the end of the day. The trails between these huts tra­verse ion­ic slick rock canyons and have been said to be the best overnight back­coun­try bik­ing routes in the coun­try. The trails can be biked in 3 to 4 days and no mat­ter which route you choose, you’ll end up at the Gate­way Canyons Resort where there is a spa and a restau­rant. But the accom­mo­da­tions don’t start at the end of the trail. If you pay a lit­tle extra, you can have your gear, food and beer bounced for­ward to each hut before you arrive. You will also be able to tune your bike prop­er­ly every night as each hut is ful­ly equipped with bicy­cle main­te­nance rooms.