The Southeastern USA is a hotbed for mountain biking. With lush, tree-covered mountains, rolling hills, and a temperate climate that baits riders to pedal 12 months out of the year, trails are a natural part of the landscape. In many places, ancient singletrack dating back to the continent’s earliest inhabitants blends with modern trail building techniques based on the desires of modern mountain bikers.
The mountain biking disciplines being practiced in the Southeast only continues to grow more diverse. Downhill mountain bike parks are springing up in unsuspecting locations, without even the consideration of a snow sports component. Bikepacking routes are being pioneered across the region, with long-distance trails that rival the best in the West.
Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best mountain bike trails in the Southeast, grouped by trail type: all-around trail systems, lift-served bike parks, epic backcountry routes, big city trails, and best destinations.
5 of the Best All-Around Trail Systems in the Southeast
With over 80 miles of diverse singletrack available in Dupont State Forest, this network is truly an all-encompassing trail system. The various trails contain steep slickrock, flowy singletrack in the trees, scenic waterfalls, jumps, rocky technical sections, steep climbs, and rhododendron tunnels. While the Ridgeline flow trail is incredibly popular, the slickrock balds in the center of the forest are some of the most iconic trails on the East Coast.
Carvin’s Cove is considered by many to be the premiere trail system in Roanoke, if not all of Virginia. With singletrack ranging from flat to steep and from gnarly to flowy, almost every rider comes away from these trails with a grin on their face. Personally, I recommend the long, fast descents off the top of the mountain.
Still a work in progress, the trail system at Coldwater Mountain is ever-expanding, and it already offers some of the greatest trail diversity in the Southeast. With everything from mellow cross-country trails to backcountry-style singletrack, flow/jump trails, and a black diamond downhill track, this expansive system has something to please everyone. While this network is currently home to 35 miles of singletrack, eventually the goal is to pack some 60+ miles of trail onto the mountain, turning Coldwater into a destination in its own right.
Home to an annual spring break Fat Tire Festival, Santos not only pulls in mountain bikers from across the state of Florida, it also attracts riders from all across the United States who are looking to escape the winter cold with delectable, dry singletrack. Santos is home to over 80 miles of trail, and there are even some extremely technical features in the Vortex area to challenge the best riders, including wooden bridges and rollers, dirt jumps, and massive drops.
Five Points is, by all objective measures, one of the best trail networks in the state of Georgia. The network boasts plenty of mileage (over 20); entertaining, well-built singletrack filled with challenges and flow a-plenty; and scenic rolling hills that combine to make an act that’s almost impossible to follow. Key trails to hit include Tailings and Hogsback, which “are expert due to the narrowness and angle of the track” according to Singletracks reviewer nvrenf.