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South Dakota: Centennial Trail

Photo: GTXC4

A 111-mile point-to-point route, challenges await on the Centennial Trail. “With elevation changes from 3,200 feet to 5,600 feet, this trail consists of exceptional rollercoaster sections, rugged climbs with loose rock, difficult descents, stream crossings, tight switchbacks, and some smooth portions of low prairie singletrack, as well ones that wind quickly through beautiful pine trees,” said one Singletracks contributor. “Rocks sticking out of the ground on this trail will require you to keep your eyes open as you zip through it.”

Tennessee: Sharps Ridge Memorial Park

You might not expect to find the highest-rated black diamond trail located in the heart of Knoxville, but Sharps Ridge Memorial Park reigns supreme. While the park overall gets a black diamond rating, the Knight Fall Gravity trail within the system is a downhill jump line that garners most of the acclaim.

For even more black diamond riding in Knoxville, be sure to check out Devil’s Racetrack.

Texas: Reveille Peak Ranch

Photo: Sierradirtslayer

While you’ll have to pay $10 to ride on this private ranch if you’re not entering a race, by all accounts Reveille Peak is the real deal. Most of the trail runs over rough granite bedrock, with rock gardens in between the bedrock. But don’t worry–“there is some smooth dirt here and there,” according to armyslowrdr.

 

Utah: Porcupine Rim

Photo: Chris Daniels

Is it any surprise that the venerable Porcupine Rim wins the ratings in Utah? But one interesting item of note: somehow “The Whole Enchilada,” of which Porcupine Rim is the final segment, has received an average intermediate rating from 36 reviewers. In what world would you give The Whole Enchilada a beginner or intermediate rating?! But I digress.

Porcupine Rim is filled with ledge drops, huge rock gardens, serious exposure, and a couple of sections of trail that are rideable only by the pros.

Utah, and Moab by itself, is home to no end of ultra-technical trails that are also ultra-fun. Honorable mentions include Captain Ahab and Slickrock.

 

Vermont: Killington Mountain

Killington has received a double black diamond rating from our reviewers, due to its wide-ranging network of technical downhill trails. However, with 29 named trails totaling 30 miles, this lift-served DH park does offer some blue lines and one or two shorter green trails… just don’t expect to find anything that’s truly easy.

Virginia: Douthat State Park

Photo: mtberik

This 40-mile trail system earns a black diamond rating overall, speaking to the highly technical nature of these trails on average. Don’t expect to find berms and new school trails here: Douthat provides old school, rocky singletrack riding at its finest.

The race was tight in Virginia, with Dragon’s Back a close second. Yet another extremely rocky backcountry trail, Dragon’s Back has managed to earn a double black diamond rating from our reviewers–it’s no joke!

Washington: Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham

Photo: JWanamaker

Located on the flanks of Mount Saint Helens, Ape Canyon / Plains of Abraham offers extremely rocky backcountry riding with no concessions made for the mountain biker. Bmtbyker likens it to “riding on the surface of the moon.”

West Virginia: North Fork Mountain Trail

Photo: oldnoob

With 24 miles of extremely technical backcountry riding, North Fork shows why West Virginia riding is so special. It led Singletracks member Alex NIN to call it, “absolutely one of the best rides I’ve done.”

Honorable Mentions: Big Bear Lake Trail Center and Snowshoe Bike Park.

Wisconsin: Levis Mounds

Photo: Greg Heil

Levis Mounds is one of the oldest purpose-built mountain bike trails in the world, and despite recent advancements in incorporating flowier trail features, these classic trails still earn a black diamond difficulty rating based on over 50 reviews. Specifically, reviewers rate Sidewinder very highly–and very black–although most of that technical rating is due to the sheer drop off exposure. Other trails like Toad Road, Cliffhanger, and Porky Point are much rockier and objectively more difficult to clean.

Wyoming: TNT

Photo: candyrapper

A named trail within the Wilkins Peak Trail System, TNT is “a fast, fun, furious freeride to the bottom with tight turns and steeps,” according to candyrapper. It’s received an average of 4.91 out of 5 stars from 11 reviewers, and a black diamond rating.

If double black is what you seek, the Lunatic Fringe trail in the same trail system should satisfy, with “several ladder bridges and some areas of exposure,” according to ryoak. “There are several opportunities for drops ranging from 3 to 7 feet.”

Your Turn: Know of an incredible tech trail that we didn’t include here? Tell us all about it in the comments section below!

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# Comments

  • ScottGreer

    Greg Heil I am disappointed in you. As someone who has lived in GA how is Quehl even in the top 5? How is it even a black diamond? It’s a .2 mile smooth flow track and only takes ~40 seconds. The 20 minute descent down Mountaintown is -30% grade in some places. It blows Quehl out of the water in every imaginable category. Descending Bull, Pinhoti 2, Bear Creek or Mountaintown should put Quehl to the back of the line. Even the ridge riding over stegosaurus spines the last 8 mile segment of Snake Creek Gap is worth mentioning first.

    I just don’t get it. So many better trails and 10-20 minute blistering, rocky, rooty descents in GA, but somehow the bunny slopes at Blankets creek are the “Best black diamond in GA”??? You have been stuck in CO too long brother!

    • Greg Heil

      Apparently you breezed right over this sentence: “If it’s rocks that you seek, check out the Pinhoti Trail: Snake Creek section, or the Mountaintown Creek section of the Pinhoti.”

    • ScottGreer

      I didn’t breeze over it. Just dumbfounded how they are second mentions and Quehl gets the nod as “Best Black Diamond in GA”…….all .2 miles of it.

    • ScottGreer

      Quehl should be on Jeff’s list of Best Beginner trails. Haha

    • Jeff Barber

      It’s also worth mentioning that Greg didn’t pick the trails on this list–Singletracks readers did, based on their ratings. “The roundup below features the highest-rated […] based on the ratings that Singletracks members have assigned.”

    • Greg Heil

      What Jeff said.

      But I’d also argue that if you can air out the big line in Quehl Holler, you’re an advanced-level rider. Those doubles are huge! It’s definitely a black diamond, just in a different way.

    • mtndew24

      I absolutely agree. Quehl Holler has no business being on this list it makes me doubt this whole list.

  • mtengaio

    My vote for Idaho: Over the Top, Pocatello, ID. For Wyoming: Lithium, Wilson, WY.

  • Pseudomugil

    I would argue that in Michigan, Marquette’s South trails or Harlow lake trails are more technical than most of copper harbor. Copper Harbor is amazing, but for milage and tech, Marquette wins or for me.

    • Jennifer Rock

      I would agree with this. While I love the Harbor Marquette is more gnarly.

    • Greg Heil

      As noted in the intro, these aren’t necessarily the MOST technical trails in each state, but rather the black diamond trails with the highest ranking from reviewers.

  • James Howery

    Alyeska Bike Park, as fun as it is, is not a trail in Alaska. It’s a bike park. I like going there, but it should not be on the list. We do have some good black diamond trails, but it may be difficult for someone to know about all of them if they don’t live here, even though they are completely legit trails.

  • Springy

    I think everyone who saw this list and saw that Quehl Holler was rated #1 for Georgia is laughing their pants off right now. This is barely even considered a trail. It’s a dirt jump line with a few berms and a wall. Really hard to consider this black diamond.
    There are two major problems with this list. First the author claims it is based on the ratings. There are three black diamond trails rated higher on the list for Georgia 1. Pinhoti 3, 2. Whipper Snapper, 3. Voodoo. The second biggest problem with the list is it’s based on popularity and reviews are skewed by length of time the trail has been in existence.
    If you are going to do a list like this you should actually review the trails for what they are. Instead you continue to create list based on singletracks rating criteria that is only a popularity contest. Once again giving love to Blankets Creek, do you guys get some kickback for continuing to make lists up that would benefit this mediocre trail system?

    I guess the worst part of this list as it relates to Georgia is it showcases a flow/dirt jump line trail. Let’s think about the far superior flow/dirt jump trails that blow Quehl Holler out of the water: Every line at Big Creek free ride area, Medusa/Mo-flow/Knuckle Sandwich at Allatoona Creek.

    Your rating system is a joke and questions the validity of Singletracks.com

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