IMBA announced their list of 2011 Epic rides late last month and in case you missed it, here are the trails that made the cut. Two of the five new Epics are outside the US and, as IMBA’s Mark Eller notes, the new crop includes several backcountry trails. “For many years, the term ‘Epic’ was the only honorific IMBA used, so we started applying it beyond backcountry trails. Today, the variety of Model Trail categories provides more options, so it’s a good moment to go back to the original idea of an Epic ride.”
Brown County State Park (Indiana)
With nearly 30 miles of singletrack, Brown County State park is a pretty solid pick for IMBA Epic designation. A couple quotes from singletracks reviewers: “the best trail system I’ve ever ridden,” and “if I could give this trail system more stars I would.” The trails are flowy and fast with rocks, boulders, and bridges to keep things interesting. And if great trails weren’t enough, Brown County State Park also offers fantastic views and scenery. As one reviewer put it prior to the IMBA Epic announcement, “I have ridden three EPIC systems and this is better than two of them!” Touché.
Kerr Scott Trails (North Carolina)
North Carolina just bagged their third IMBA Epic trail with the addition of the Kerr Scott Trails this year. Dark Mountain was the first mountain bike trail built at Kerr Scott Reservoir back in 2002 and local volunteers have been working with the Corps of Engineers ever since to add more trails and more miles. Today, Dark Mountain is joined by the Overmountain Victory Trail and the Warrior Creek trail for a total of 35+ miles of singletrack. Sign up for next year’s BURN 24 Hour mountain bike race to get your fill of this Epic trail!
Mountain Hero (Yukon, CANADA)
Talk about a backcountry trail! Mountain Hero features 28 miles of hand-built singletrack crossing mining claims inside the Yukon, Canada’s westernmost province bordering Alaska. The IMBA description suggests bringing along bear spray if you attempt this one so bring your A-game.
Rattling Creek (Pennsylvania)
IMBA hasn’t posted a lot of info on this trail (system?) located near Lykens, PA but from the sound of it, this place is a hidden gem! There’s a 3/4 mile boulder field along the trail and riders say the trail flows well in either direction (a rare distinction among mountain bike trails). As best we can tell there are about 20 miles of trail at Rattling Creek, though we’d love some help filling in the blanks!
W2 Trail (Wales, UK)
Unlike most bike trails in the US, the W2 trail in Wales boasts a bike shop, showers, and bike wash right at the trailhead parking lot! The trail system itself features 27 miles of singletrack inside Afan Forest with a mix of tight, twisty stuff and clean jump lines. One ticket to Wales please.
For the US trails it looks like this year’s list is a sweep for states east of the Mississippi. Better luck next year left coast!