5 Cities Where Mountain Bikers Can Roost
How far do you need to drive to find a good hill to climb? Mountain biking news site Singletracks found that in 2016, mountain bikers took an average of two biking trips per year and about 90% of those trips were in cars. If you live far away from many good trails, you could easily find yourself spending more time in a car seat than in the saddle.
Put simply – it’s good to live near some good mountain biking trails. Using information from MTB Project’s incredible bike trail map, we picked out some the cities with the most and the best mountain bike trails nearby. Here are just five that are sure to burn your glutes.
Beantown may not be the first city that pops into your mind when you think mountain biking, but with a population of close to 700,000 and a lot of local parks, the city features a surprising amount of decent rides. Middlesex Falls Reservation features a number of loops spanning dozens of miles and the Western Greenway single track spans a number of parks and will make you forget you’re in a city at all.
But those trails are just for weekday rides. When you really want to shred, just outside the city you can find hundreds more trails all within an hour or two. Harold Parker State Forest, a locals’ favorite, provides all kinds of biking and nearby ski resorts offer great biking in the summer.
As the final destination of the most infamously brutal one-day bike rides in the country, LoToJa, it’s no surprise that Jackson has a strong biking tradition. Jackson is a classic ski town in the winter with resorts like Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee drawing in tourists from around the world. But in the summer, the town changes gears and focuses on things like kayaking, hiking, and of course, mountain biking.
Jackson is a smaller town and therefore has fewer places to ride, but this also means they’re much less crowded. Its proximity to various ski resorts and the Grand Tetons provides challenging trails and stunning vistas that residents can enjoy without hordes of bikers and hikers on the trails.
Perhaps nowhere in the country is more central to more great mountain biking than Denver. While there is little biking in the city proper, pointing your tire in any direction but east gets you into thousands of Rocky Mountain biking trails on Denver’s outskirts. From single tracks to technical climbs, the area surrounding Denver has it all.
And if that’s not enough, Denver locals are only a few hours away a variety of world-class ski resorts like Breckenridge and Vail that unsurprisingly provide world-class biking. According to MTB Project, Breck alone boasts 258 trails. To the south, Colorado Springs delivers its own cornucopia of trails all over the prominent Pikes Peak and its foothills.
Regularly the top destination in the country for mountain bikers Moab is mecca for those who ride. Moab’s primarily sandstone Slickrock Trail is perhaps the most famous bike trail in the world and challenges even the best technical riders. Besides slickrock riding, Moab’s mountain biking is as varied as its terrain.
The town’s incredibly strong bike culture means that all of its trails are well maintained, rated for difficulty, and clearly labeled. However, Moab is still mainly a tourist town and its population of just over 5,000 people may mean it’s too small for some people. Fortunately, Salt Lake City and Denver are just a few hours away, featuring big city amenities and of course, more mountain biking.
Situated just north of Seattle, Bellingham is well known for its outdoor recreation. Nearby parks, ski resorts, and mountains provide an abundance of trails. Locals are obsessed with Galbraith Mountain to the south of the city, which absolutely filthy with trails, boasting over 50 miles of single tracks spanning 3,000 acres. The mountain and its surrounding region even have their own nonprofit advocacy group called WMBC, which maintains and supports its trails and community.
Bellingham biking features a lot of riding through dense forests with cool temperatures – perfect for those who overheat on their rides. Mountain biking is a big part of the city’s culture and is only growing in popularity, so if you want to eat, sleep, and breathe rubber and gears, Bellingham is the place to be.