Singletracks collects trail reviews from thousands of mountain bikers each year, and we use the ratings from those reviews to rank the best trails. Not only do we consider each trail’s average rating and the number of ratings, but we also include a measure of how many people want to ride or have ridden a particular trail or trail system. The results, while not perfect, provide a fascinating glimpse at which trails are the most popular within each US state and Canadian province.
This year, we’re including Puerto Rico, a US Territory, for the first time. Nine US states saw new #1 trails crowned this year, with highlights including Slaughter Pen in Bentonville, AR taking Womble’s spot and Loon Lake swiping Eagle Bike Park’s #1 spot in Idaho.
Read on for additional commentary on select states and province rankings.
Coldwater continues to expand and improve, but it’s still not enough to unseat longtime favorite Oak Mountain State Park. Of course the trails at Oak Mountain continue to improve as well, so don’t expect Oak Mountain to give up its top slot anytime soon.
Some riders are starting to refer to Hangover, Hiline, and Hogs as the Triple-H ride in Sedona. Not a bad way to hit two of the top trails in the state in a single ride!
We’ve been hearing a lot about trail development in and around the Bentonville area, and IMBA even held their World Summit there this year. As riders flock to Bentonville, it seems trails like Womble (previously #1) are receiving less love. Both Slaughter Pen and Blowing Springs, located in the greater Bentonville/Northwest Arkansas area, passed Womble this year.
1. Downieville Downhill (Downieville)
2. Forest Of Nisene Marks and Soquel Demonstration Forest (Santa Cruz)
3. Northstar Bike Park (Truckee)
It seems Eagle Bike Park, #1 in Idaho last year, may have been a victim of a downvote train due to it’s popularity. However, recent reviews mention the lack of scenery (trees) at Eagle Bike Park. Fortunately Loon Lake has trees AND a beautiful lake for riders to enjoy.
Fay Pickering is back! This was a controversial result when it ranked #1 back in 2015, and we’re sure it will be controversial again. The trail system does continue to get favorable reviews from those who have visited, so perhaps its ranking isn’t completely unfounded. Both Kickapoo and Farmdale were recommended and included on this year’s Five2Ride in Illinois.
We have to admit: either an individual or a group is probably gaming the system with Memorial Park reviews. While we don’t have proof, the timing of the reviews is certainly suspicious. The upshot is we’re constantly tweaking and improving the trail ranking algorithm to hopefully address failures like this one.
We recently asked our readers to tell us about their favorite trails in Michigan, and each of the three trails above got a least a couple mentions. This confirms that at least in Michigan, the ranking algorithm is working pretty well.
These three trails basically just swapped places since last year. Clearly all three are still very popular trail systems!
The big surprise in Nevada this year is that Blue Diamond edged out a section of the Tahoe Rim trail for second most popular in the state. Accessibility no doubt plays into the popularity of Blue Diamond.
Somehow, our popularity ranking algorithm completely fails when it comes to picking the most popular trails in the state of New York. For our Five2Ride article earlier this year, we consulted with New York Singletracks readers and local trail experts alike, and only one of the five “must ride” trails our group settled on are in the list above. Does anyone have a clue what might be going on here?
Curiously, none of the three trails listed above are technically located within the much-revered Pisgah National Forest. However, all three of these trails are good choices for riders of all stripes, from beginners to experts alike, which probably has much to do with their appeal.
John Fisch gave a shout out (or was it a Bronx cheer?) to the McKenzie River Trail in his article, “10 Trails You Like More Than Me,” so clearly not everyone is a fan. Still, it’s hard to argue that it’s one of the most popular in Oregon, especially when you include mountain bike tourists.
Singletracks also published a Five2Ride for Pennsylvania this year, and our expert panel chose 2 out of the 3 trails listed above, which isn’t too bad. Nockamixon, unfortunately, didn’t get a lot of love from our panel, but clearly many riders enjoy it.
With so many great trails to choose from, especially in Eastern Tennessee, White Oak Mountain seems like an unusual top choice. Raccoon Mountain has been a popular Chattanooga destination for many years now, but judging by the number of recent White Oak Mountain reviews, it seems riders are starting to explore other trails in the area–and they like what they find at White Oak Mountain!
While Porcupine is a part of the Whole Enchilada, many riders choose to experience this trail on its own. It’s also interesting to see Gooseberry Mesa in the top 3, despite the mega-popularity of Moab. Choosing the most popular trail in Utah is like trying to choose a favorite child!
It appears the upvote train recently paid a visit to the Mountain Laurel Trails and Angler’s Ridge slid two slots to #3. Many of the Mountain Laurel Trail reviews do appear to be genuine, and mainly demonstrate how appreciative riders are for these trails.
Camrock 3 has gained a lot of steam over the past year, with riders stoked on local races and the work that’s been done here. The trail system’s location near Madison doesn’t hurt either, making this a popular choice for many riders.
Prince Edward Island
Your turn: Aside from the things that make mountain bike trails great, what makes a trail system truly popular?