I’d go to Fruita CO, Moab UT, Durango AZ, Cortez CO, and Sedona AZ, all in one long trip. They are all fairly close together and you would be riding some of the best trails in the Southwestern United States. You could spend a week in most of these locations without coming close to to riding the same trails twice. Kokopeli, Whole Enchilada, White Rim, Poison Spider, Back of Beyond, Hermosa Creek, Horse Gulch, Twin Buttes, Phils World, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock. Any of those trails making you curious?
I don’t know if there is one true epicenter these days. Hard to nail down just one place, but I think my #1 choice to visit right now would be Whistler and North Shore. But I also want to get to Moab. And Bend. And Park City. And I want to go back to Sedona. And Fruita. And Bentonville. And…
Singletracks named Moab the MTB capitol of the USA a few years back and I don’t think much has changed.
However, it’s hard to argue against Whistler as the epicenter of MTB, perhaps worldwide. With all the big events that come through Whistler each year, plus the trails, athletes, and brands located in the vicinity, it’s hard to think of another place that’s more central.
I live in Durango CO and all the places I mentioned above are places I ride when I want to get out of town. You could drive from Fruita to Durango and it would take about 4 hours and you would pass through Moab and Cortez along the way. Sedona is further—about 6 hours from Durango. Ride 1-2 days in Fruita, 3-4 days in Moab, stop and ride Phils World in Cortez on the way to Durango, ride in Durango 2-3 days, spend the rest of you time in Sedona 3-4 days, drive back to Fruita. Or just skip Sedona and spend more time in Moab and Durango.
This past October a friend and I did Downieville, Tahoe, Salt Lake City (too much snow to ride unfortunately), Moab, Sedona then back up the Eastern Sierra. Fantastic trip in about 10 days which wasn’t quite enough.
Well you sort of asked two different questions. You asked where the Epicenter is and then where one would go if they had a chance to do one big trip.
Epicenter? That’s actually a very simple question and Jeff Barber nailed the answer and why. It’s Whistler by a long shot. There’s no place like Whistler in the US (maybe Europe has something similar) that has every discipline of MTB’ing at your doorstep as well as all the events that pass through, obviously Crankworx being the biggest. There are visitors and riders form every corner of the world. I also saw more kids and more female riders in ONE DAY in Whistler than I’ve seen in 30 YEARS of riding combined at all other places and that is no exaggeration. It was eye opening for sure.
One big trip? Depends on what you’re after I guess. This is where opinions can vary a great deal as some people prefer to ride in desert landscapes while others like riding in dense, deep, lush green forests with nice loamy dirt. I live in SoCal so all our “go to” long weekend spots are in the desert….Sedona, Phoenix, Hurricane. I have family in Durango so ride there and cCortez every year. All that being said, my “big trip” is all about trees so we head North and hit Ashland to Oakridge to Mt Hood to Bellingham before heading into BC to ride Squamish and Whistler. We did this last Summer and plans for 2020 are already in the works.