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Mount Hood Express MTB Shuttle, photo: Chris Daniels

Mount Hood Express MTB Shuttle, photo: Chris Daniels

Ah, the mountain bike shuttle. While I’m not scared to climb for hours and earn my turns, I can never pass up an opportunity to snag a ride to the top of the mountain and bomb back down!

Of course, most shuttle runs still require a good bit of climbing, but getting the bulk of it taken care of via a motor and some gasoline is becoming an increasingly popular option at MTB destinations around the world. In fact, shuttle routes have become so popular that many riders consider an epic shuttle to be a prerequisite for all true mountain bike destinations. I say, the more the merrier!

With so many excellent shuttle routes cropping up, it’s tough to choose the best ones. But the Singletracks staff got together, and here are our top 10 picks in the Western United States. With these choices we tried to focus on routes that are serviced by a commercial shuttle option, in order to make it as easy as possible to show up, plunk down your cash, and shred.

One thing’s for sure: you’ll have a blast on all of these rides!

1. The Whole Enchilada, Moab, Utah

Photo: Michael Paul

Photo: Michael Paul

With over 7,000 feet of net descending from the high point to the low point, and passing through almost every climate zone imaginable, the Whole Enchilada is the king of shuttle routes. Riders flock from all over the world to experience this mountain biking masterpiece, and to try their luck on Moab’s technical obstacles.

There’s a host of companies shuttling riders up the Whole Enchilada, including Whole Enchilada Shuttle Co. and Coyote Shuttles.

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# Comments

  • Chris Daniels

    Timberline to Town. From Rhododendron, OR, catch the bus up to Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood and descend 4,100 feet over 16 miles back to Rhododendron. It’s unique in that you don’t need a shuttle vehicle and it’s only $2 for the bus fair or $5 for an all-day pass for multiple runs. Awesome article, Greg, thanks!

    • Greg Heil

      Man, so many great options… sounds like I need to get back to Oregon to hit this one & the Bachelor to Bend ride that Lev mentioned!

      Not to mention Teton Pass, Helena, Wasatch Crest…. my list is just getting longer! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jared Steffen

      I’m so stoked Helena made the list! We hit the first Trail Rider shuttle of the year for MacDonald Pass off the CDT. Huge rock gardens, tons of flow and a few switchbacks near the end, such a great ride!

      Next time we hit it I’ll try to remember to snap some pictures. I was too busy enjoying the ride on Friday (my bad.)

  • k2rider

    Great list for sure and I’ve done (4) of them. Like you said, there’s just so many quality rides out there nowadays and there’s no true way to narrow it down to just 10. Plus there’s always personally preferences involved. For example, I love riding in trees and would put the Alpine Trail (specifically Alpine to Tire Mtn to Clover) and even the top half of the MRT above TWE. There were parts of TWE that were truly world class but multiple miles of fire road dampened my enthusiasm overall.

  • chukt

    What are my favorite shuttles you ask?
    -Line Creek Plateau, Red Lodge MT
    -12mile to Lime Creek, Salmon ID
    -Warm Springs Ridge, Sula MT
    -Powderhouse to Perreau, Salmon, ID
    To name only a few…and I have ridden 6/10 of your list.

    • John Fisch

      chuckt

      Line Creek is positively choice!
      Those others are still on my bucket list.

  • William Roussel

    Well it seem Single Track Mag has not been to Ashland Oregon. We would like to invite your crew to jump on our shuttle 3 or 4 times and see the many routs Mt Ashland has to offer, the least of which os 13 miles and over 4,600′ of ele loss.
    It is in fact one of the “Biggest Bangs for the Buck” in terms of time, $ and fun factor. Not to mention a town that is most friendly to the traveler, bosting over 100 resteraunts, 2 large well known Breweries and the Shakesphere Festival for those of you who need to get there culture in.
    http://WWW.ASHLANDMOUNTAINADVENTURES.COM

    • Aaron Chamberlain

      Thanks for the suggestion William! Ashland is going on the list of places to visit for sure. Do you work for Ashland Mountain Adventures?

  • Craig Riccelli

    Don’t forget South Mountain in Phoenix, AZ the great guys at Gnar Gnar tours can take you to the top.

  • mongwolf

    Big shuttles in the West … … You are killing’ me Greg. I’m trying to make the best of it in the Midwest. Things are finally starting to dry out, but it looks like a couple of days of rain again today and tomorrow. Should be out West again in about 10 days. None too soon this year.

    • Greg Heil

      Not to worry, your timing for the high alpine should be excellent! There’s still some snow on the Monarch Crest, but it’ll be gone soon. Of course, some of these lower shuttles have been riding great already, but there’s plenty of summer left ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Pseudomugil

      If you can make it to copper harbor, you can shuttle the flow and overflow trails from the keweenaw adventure company.

  • visitsunvalley

    Great List for sure!

    Osberg’s Ridge and Edge of the World (Oregon Gulch) out of Sun Valley, Idaho are definitely worth looking in to as well!

    • Greg Heil

      Sounds like it’s time for a full-blown Idaho road trip!

    • visitsunvalley

      Most definitely, Greg! We’ll show you where all the goods are!

  • thub

    I live in Anchorage, AK we have several great shuttle rides up here. Most are cross country shuttle rides that you have to get a bud or two to pull off. There is a new shuttle service out of Hope, AK I believe they are called Billy Goats that take you from Hope to Cooper Landing to ride the Resurrection Pass. It’s a sweet 39 mile ride. About a 12 mile climb, 15 miles of up and down and 12 mile downhill at the end. Lost Lakes near Seward, AK is a sweet 15 mile or so traverse of technical single track. Johnson Pass is another great 23 mile traverse of single track. You get great downhill on all of these rides but you definitely earn it. I just did a great 12 mile downhill shuttle ride right in Anchorage this weekend. We rode from Flat Top trailhead down to the Smoke Jumper trailhead in head. Very little up hill and mostly single track. Come check us out, Alaska has some world class rides and the scenery is out of this world. Of course bring a bell to hang off the seat so the bears know your coming and pick up some bear spray. I ride with bear spray and a Ruger 454 revolver just in case. The other trail hazard is moose, they are all over the place. I almost ran into a moose calf last weekend, had to lay it down which resulted in a nicely gravel filled elbow.

  • StaranCycles

    A couple other contenders for your riding pleasure:

    1. Go a lot further west and ride down Mauna Kea, ~80km and 3123m elevation loss but 1248m gain!
    http://active.magellangps.com/activity/123782

    2. A little further west on Maui is Haleakala, 53km, 3094m loss, 241m gain
    http://active.magellangps.com/activity/123781

    Loving wife shuttled me on these, poor thing had to wait at the beach until I was done.

    3.Other than a dirty climb 2/3 of the way in, Hermosa Creek, near Durango, CO was a blast.

    Hermosa Tours shuttled 5 of us up on this one. Great service.

    Jeff

  • Alan Bennett

    The article, and maybe even more the comments, make for a life-long bucket list. Bookmarking this….thanks all!

  • whiplashingitis

    Another great place to ride is The Full Lemon Drop, Tucson, AZ. I was there in March last year and there was about 6″ of snow at at the top and by the time I got to the bottom 10 hours later it was in the upper 80’s. I started at the post office (not the top) because of time, however if you go later in the year you can add an extra 1500ft of vert and a chairlift ride. Garmin says I climbed 4000ft and decended 10000ft over 34 miles. This trail is not for the faint of heart, and is very difficult, but well worth the trip!

  • Doug Bursnall

    Head down to Colorado Springs and ride Pikes Peak, you can start at either the summit 14,110 or Elk Park 12,000+ (Better riding). Both provide over 7,000โ€™ of descending, Elk just throws in about 1,500โ€™ climbing but gives you a more challenging and remote option without the hikers.
    Follow Elk to Barr, the Mtn View and on to the newly built Lake Moraine Trail, then Jones Park to Buckhorn and Captain Jacks, finishing on the Chutes and Chamberlain, 26 miles and almost all of it singletrack. Oh and a couple nice breweries a mile from the end.

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