3. Pocatello, Idaho

  • COL Index: 88.5
  • Median Home Price: $127,800
  • Population: 55,000
  • Miles of Singletrack: 200+

City Creek Trails. Photo: Jim Cummings

“It’s the most under-rated bike destination in the world,” said Ty Nelson, Owner/Operator of East Fork Bikes in Pocatello. While I can’t verify that it’s the most underrated, I can tell you that Pocatello is one of the most affordable towns with legit mountain biking in the nation–which is why it made this list.

Exactly how many miles of mountain bike trails are there in Pocatello? Even Ty can’t say with certainty. “I’d say 200 to 500 miles. That’s a tricky question because everything is connected, so you can ride a 10-mile loop or a 75-mile loop, or a different 10-mile loop every day for a month.”

Ty recommends the City Creek Trail as the go-to ride. It’s the closest to town and the best-marked, so it’s impossible to get lost. More adventurous mountain bikers will enjoy the East Fork-Crestline ride. “The Crestline Trail offers high-altitude scenery from ledgy mountainside singletrack, descending the east side of Scout Mountain,” says Chris Daniels.

Eastern Pocatello. Photo: Michlaovic, via Wikimedia Creative Commons

While again, being a mountain town in the Rockies cranks up the COL index a few points higher than some other places on this list, a median home price of $127,800 with access to hundreds of miles of trails is impressive. Similar to Butte, the market in Pocatello isn’t inflating all that quickly–the median price of homes listed for sale is still just $149,900.

One factor that could be keeping the cost of living in towns like Pocatello and Butte affordable is that neither of these towns is a true ski resort town. The closest ski resort to Butte is the relatively-small Discovery Ski Area located 46 miles away. Pebble Creek Ski Area is even smaller and is located about 20 miles from Pocatello.

# Comments

  • rajflyboy

    Great write up

    Also look at crime maps for some of the areas you picked. There could be a reason why housing costs are low.

    Anniston, AL has a high crime rate compared to the state of Alabama crime rate.

    Alabama is a great spot and 365 day a year riding weather. This is someplace I would want to live. I would just have to find a safe neighborhood on the east side of Birmingham.

  • Amsterdam60

    To truely be a great mountain bike town to pack up and move to, Greg should have included factors such as, how often one can ride based on weather patterns and seasons as well as the tolerance to ride as often as possible, again due to weather conditions, being temperature and humidity levels and very important the concentration of nuisances during riding such as bugs and how well maintained the trails are, if they are at all. As far as the trails in an area, the type, style and ratings and evaluation of the trails should have been done, not just the estimated mileage of trails, which is all Greg used to determine his list. At this point, I could reduce Greg’s list down to just a few. Greg also failed to include any level of consideration of other factors such as any amenities these towns offer outside of mt biking including any level of a jobs base or availibility of supplies and just as important, hang out establishments such as breweries, access to education sources, entertainment and ratio of men to women. I myself know of much better places, including the town I live in and find Greg’s report mediocre at best. One needs to combine all their own criteria and research to this type of consideration and not use a report like this. Zillow isn’t even an accurate tool to use for overall evaluation of area home prices and there are numerous other tools and resources and criteria to use for home buying consideration such as to start with, what sort of home does one get for the median price range found from zillow and what is the surrounding neighborhood like, what are the taxes like in the town or area, crime rate statistics, etc, etc. Greg’s report is a very weak pathetic approach to generalize this process and the real objective appears to be to just push out another article to keep the next issue of singletracks going! Lastly, I highly doubt that the mileage of singletrack trails actually exists in the areas of Greg’s report and if he bothered to confirm any of information in his report by riding the trails there, looking at real estate there, or being there long enough to really assess the cost of living index! This entire report can and probably was written from a desk, not a mt bike, simply by accessing information from other web sites!

    • Jeff Barber

      Fair enough. There are certainly a lot of factors to consider. This is a pretty lengthy analysis though, and clearly we had to cut it off somewhere.

      FYI, Greg and our staff have visited and ridden in most, if not all of these locations. Still, no analysis is perfect so we’d love to see what else you’re able to come up with!

      Also, be sure to catch our podcast on April 2 where Greg and I go into even more detail on this list, and share information we weren’t able to include in the final article.

  • TobyThomas

    Cool article. I love to see all of the great places to ride. I have ridden in 27 of the 50 states and found something great and unique about each one. While I did check out the MTB scene prior to moving, I recently moved to Florida from Ohio and was seriously surprised at the great trails down here. Ocala is a cool area because of Santos but if you are coming to the Ocala area and plan to ride, be sure to look around the other areas within an hour south of Ocala……great trails. And don’t forget to use your SingleTracks app for other places in Florida. While mostly flat, you will be pleasantly surprised (said the guy from Ohio) at the challenges that Floridians have managed to create.

  • padudle

    There are a number of towns in New Mexico that are good options, though maybe not as cheap. This includes Albuquerque.

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