Cycling

MTB Trails to Ride Before You Die

Once you’ve started mountain biking, chances are good that you’ll want to bike everywhere you go. When you find yourself trying to figure out how to can take your bike along on business travel, “just in case,” it’s time to look into some MTB focused trips. Here are just a few trails or biking locations to add to your bucket list.

Downieville Downhill

Downieville, located in the mountains of California, boasts many amazing MTB trails, but the most famous of these is the Downieville Downhill. It’s a shuttled trail and many consider it one of the best ever created, anywhere. You’ll start on an easy singletrack that makes for the perfect warmup. Then you’ll connect with the Butcher trail, which adds a whole new level of technicality. You’ll do river crossings, face high-speed descents and tight switchbacks, and ride on loose rocks. Finally, you’ll hit another smooth singletrack section where you can go for speed until you cruise into town. If you love the area, give the Mills Peak trail a try, too. It’s a hidden gem that some love even more than the DD.

The Sacred Valley of the Incas

Photo by Sandro Ayalo on Unsplash

Everybody knows about Machu Picchu, but did you know that you can mountain bike nearby, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas? Ollantaytambo is a small town that boasts some epic MTB trails, but there are options all over the valley. There’s actually an enduro race held in the area each year – the Inca Avalanche. If you don’t know the area, it’s best to find a guided tour first. Schedule anything from a day trip to a 10-day adventure to get your fill of biking in the area.

The Spanish Pyrenees

The Spanish Pyrenees offers epic enduro-friendly tracks that you may never have heard of, but it doesn’t mean they’re not amazing. You’ll want to join a tour or make sure you have transportation, as the best trails are scattered around. Make sure you have a way to shuttle riders and bikes from one to the next for your adventure. Try Rabaltueras, the Maxi Avalanche Trail, Pas dels Llaeres, and more. You will get amazing views, ripping descents, and all of the pedaling your heart desires.

Crested Butte, CO

Photo by Alexey O on Unsplash

There are a million places to ride in Crested Butte and most of them will show off the gorgeous Colorado scenery at its finest. Start with 401 if views are important to you. You’ll get it all – snowcapped peaks, wildflower meadows, aspen groves, and more. You’ll drop over 2,200 feet in 9 miles, always staying between 9,000 and 11,000 feet. You can also try Teocalli Ridge Loop, for a great combination of climbing and downhill, or Doctor Park, for a grinding climb followed by an epic descent.

Dragon’s Back, Wales, UK

This is known as the trail that brought mountain biking back to Europe, so you’ll want to see what the fuss is all about. It’s located in Snowdonia National Park, as part of the Coedy-Brenin Bike Center. It offers 20 miles of rocky and other sorts of challenges, giving you a chance to test your skills and your endurance. The popularity of this trail allowed Wales to build a massive network of MTB trails, so it’s a key part of biking history.

Captain Ahab, Moab

Photo by Josh Soriano on Unsplash

Moab should be on your list as one of the USA’s mountain biking meccas. There is endless slickrock and trails for every level of rider. Captain Ahab is 9.4 miles of technical bliss. You’ll climb first, though it’s interspersed with short downhills. Your descent will begin with a significant rock drop, and most riders cruise the whole thing grinning from ear to ear. If Ahab isn’t your thing or you want to get started slowly, try the Bar-M-Loop trail in Arches National Park (just down the road) instead. It introduces you to the terrain and shows you what the area has to offer. And there’s always the Slickrock Bike Trail – the ultimate in MTB challenge and experience.

Rotorua, NZ

Ever since Rotorua hosted the MTB World Championships in 2006, this has been a major destination for riders of all skill levels. The trails are some of the oldest in the country and they take you through the¬†Whakarewarewa rain forest. For adventures in a lush landscape and to ride where some of the best in the world have ridden, you don’t want to miss this adventure. Take tours, ride the gondola up, and even heli-bike certain areas of the park. These are top trails in a beautiful location.


Make sure you know what you’re getting into before you go by making some calls ahead of time. Decide whether you want to take your bike or rent one at your destination and make sure all of your gear fits in your bags. Then go and have an amazing time combining your new passion with your love of travel!

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