Have you ever noticed when you’ve looked at a map of the United States that every single state has a capital city… even the smallest and seemingly insignificant states? Maybe that seems obvious, but that observation left us wondering: “well, doesn’t every state have a mountain biking capital as well?” After thinking about it we decided that yes, every single state—no matter how big or small–needs to have a place to call its pinnacle of mountain bike access and hub of trail activity. So, we decided to determine, as objectively as possible, what the best mountain bike destination is in every single state—plus we decided to throw in a national mountain biking capital for the entire US for good measure.
While at first we thought this would be a simple task given our massive database of trail information and reviews from all of the states in the union, achieving a well-rounded list with accurate selections turned out to be much more involved than we initially anticipated. To achieve this list, we ended up drawing on a several different data sources.
First up, we used our database mentioned above, which incorporates reviews and feedback from our hundreds of thousands of mountain bikers, and almost every statistic imaginable including the number of trails, total trail mileage, trail difficulty, and much more. Secondly, we utilized data from a previous survey in which respondents told us what they think the top MTB destinations in the US are. Thirdly, we drew on the expertise of our editorial team members, who are spread around the nation and have collectively ridden in almost all of the top destinations.
When our editorial team put their heads together to talk about what these data sources indicated, we discussed many critical factors, including:
- The quality and quantity of mountain bike trails available in each specific area.
- Current trail access issues and any recent hostility toward mountain biking.
- The general popularity of a given destination with today’s mountain bikers.
- Amenities and infrastructure to support mountain biking tourism, including bike shops, shuttle services, craft beer, restaurants, lodging, and more.
After weeks of deliberation, we finally arrived at the capitals that you’ll see on this list. So without further ado, here are the 51 best mountain bike destinations, state-by-state:
National Capital: Moab
In addition to every map having a state capital, there is, of course, a national capital: Washington DC. By every objective measure, Moab, Utah is the definitive mountain biking capital of the United States. To start, Moab is one of the oldest–and still best–destinations, with hundreds of miles of epic trails and slickrock to ride, and arguably one of the best trails in the world: The Whole Enchilada. Moab is also the king of mountain biking infrastructure, with bike shops, shuttles, guiding, restaurants, a local brewery, hotels, camping, and more. Finally, taking into consideration that Moab is the only destination that showed up as a must-ride for mountain bikers from every single region of the United States in our survey, the choice for national mountain bike capital is clear.