Have you ever noticed when you’ve looked at a map of the United States that every single state has a capital city… even the smallest and seemingly insignificant states? Maybe that seems obvious, but that observation left us wondering: “well, doesn’t every state have a mountain biking capital as well?” After thinking about it we decided that yes, every single state—no matter how big or small–needs to have a place to call its pinnacle of mountain bike access and hub of trail activity. So, we decided to determine, as objectively as possible, what the best mountain bike destination is in every single state—plus we decided to throw in a national mountain biking capital for the entire US for good measure.

While at first we thought this would be a simple task given our massive database of trail information and reviews from all of the states in the union, achieving a well-rounded list with accurate selections turned out to be much more involved than we initially anticipated. To achieve this list, we ended up drawing on a several different data sources.

First up, we used our database mentioned above, which incorporates reviews and feedback from our hundreds of thousands of mountain bikers, and almost every statistic imaginable including the number of trails, total trail mileage, trail difficulty, and much more. Secondly, we utilized data from a previous survey in which respondents told us what they think the top MTB destinations in the US are. Thirdly, we drew on the expertise of our editorial team members, who are spread around the nation and have collectively ridden in almost all of the top destinations.

When our editorial team put their heads together to talk about what these data sources indicated, we discussed many critical factors, including:

  • The quality and quantity of mountain bike trails available in each specific area.
  • Current trail access issues and any recent hostility toward mountain biking.
  • The general popularity of a given destination with today’s mountain bikers.
  • Amenities and infrastructure to support mountain biking tourism, including bike shops, shuttle services, craft beer, restaurants, lodging, and more.

After weeks of deliberation, we finally arrived at the capitals that you’ll see on this list. So without further ado, here are the 51 best mountain bike destinations, state-by-state:

National Capital: Moab

Slickrock trail. Photo: Erik Proano

Slickrock trail. Photo: Erik Proano

In addition to every map having a state capital, there is, of course, a national capital: Washington DC. By every objective measure, Moab, Utah is the definitive mountain biking capital of the United States. To start, Moab is one of the oldest–and still best–destinations, with hundreds of miles of epic trails and slickrock to ride, and arguably one of the best trails in the world: The Whole Enchilada. Moab is also the king of mountain biking infrastructure, with bike shops, shuttles, guiding, restaurants, a local brewery, hotels, camping, and more. Finally, taking into consideration that Moab is the only destination that showed up as a must-ride for mountain bikers from every single region of the United States in our survey, the choice for national mountain bike capital is clear.

Click to page 2 to keep reading about the MTB capitals.

# Comments

  • Derrick Nobman

    Don’t forget about Fitzgerald’s Bicycles in Victor Idaho!! The MTB authority in the Tetons and beyond!!

  • YETIMAN4164

    Naperville??? Seriously? Most of the trails you guys listed are not even trails they are walking paths. Having lived in Naperville for a few decades I can assure you…You are WRONG!

    • Jeff Barber

      Thanks Yetiman. A lot of people made the same comment but we haven’t heard any suggestions for a better selection. Unfortunately Illinois just doesn’t have a lot of options. 🙁

    • YETIMAN4164

      I would suggest Chicago for Northern Illinois! Less than an hour to almost everything you listed for Naperville (including the short but awesome SawWeeKee in Oswego). The up-side to Chicago is that unlike Naperville, there are a ton of bike shops, hotels, and food and you are less than 45 minutes from Indiana riding like Rum Village, Imagination Glen, Potato Creek, etc…And the soon to open “Big Marsh” project in Chicago.
      I have riden Peoria but not enough to comment…..So Chicago may not be the MTB capitol of Illinois, but Naperville certainly is not!

      Palos Rocks, Singletracks.com Rocks, Thanks guys!

    • Robert Whisler

      Illinois: Bad research! Really bad reply. 30 seconds on Google would have fixed that. You are writing on behalf of mountainbikers? You mailed that one in!

  • Jackofall

    Roanoke has Carvins Cove. It’s over 12000 acres of mountain biking.

    • Jeff Barber

      Right, and technically Carvin’s Cove is w/in 25 miles of Blacksburg which is why we picked it! We debated about Roanoke vs. Blacksburg but since they both grab Carvin’s Cove, we opted for the smaller town of Blacksburg.

  • mongwolf

    Wow, so many posters being so sensitive. I guess it just shows that mountain bikers feel strongly about their trails. All in all, for me it’s nice to see the list and see the other locations that riders really like. One state that of course doesn’t get much attention (and rightfully so) is Ohio. And though the current MTB capital may be Wooster. I think there is some momentum building in the southeast part of the state where the terrain is actually quite big and hilly and excellent for mountain biking. There is tons of potential there.

  • Adam@helpdeskpros.com

    Leominster? Seriously? Guess you guys never bothered to talk to any MTBrs in MA or maybe ride some of the much more actual MTB capitals: Harold Parker, Lowell Dracut, Russell Mills, Wompatuck, Vietnam, Trail of Tears, Otis, Fells, even tiny Landlocked Forest.

    • Jeff Barber

      Great selections Adam! For next year’s list, what is a central town for all (or most) of the trail systems you mentioned? BTW, we actually included Vietnam trails in our Rhode Island selection (Woonsocket) since it’s within 25 miles of there. So much great riding close together in the NE!

  • GTXC4

    Great work, I think this article pretty well sums up the best locations. Now, to hit them all….4 years to retirement lol.

  • mtbgrinder

    Great summary – I now have a more exhaustive list of “must-visits.” As a native of Washington state, Leavenworth is incredible – not only does it offer epic grinders, ripping descents and panoramic views, but also a community full of Bavarian fun. With that said, I have to make a plug for Bellingham, WA – a location Kona happily calls home for its US base. The mix and variety of terrain and general adventure vibe of the community makes it a great destination to visit.

  • Laird Knight

    Proud as punch that Davis is listed as the capital for West Virginia! Twas, my intention from the beginning to put Davis on the map. Kudos to the on-going trail building and all the awesome new trails built by the Blackwater Bicycle Association!!! Keeping it fresh! And, to Sue Haywood for all her efforts on the Canaan MTB Festival. Ride on!

  • kjj9701

    This was a really good read. To play on the Moab being the Washington DC of all the capitals, which capital is the New York city…ie the biggest, most diverse, most eclectic, ect. My vote is Crested Butte.

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