South Dakota: Centennial Trail
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.”
Wisconsin: Levis Mounds
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.
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!