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Alabama: Birmingham

Rocky Ridge Trail at Oak Mountain. Photo: Michael Paul

Rocky Ridge Trail at Oak Mountain. Photo: Michael Paul

Birmingham wins the Alabama MTB capital award due primarily to popularity and infrastructure. While Oak Mountain State Park and Tannehill Historic Ironworks State Park are both high-quality trail systems, some have argued that Anniston takes top honors with Coldwater Mountain. However, our writers with significant Alabama expertise argue that Anniston doesn’t yet have the infrastructure to support major mountain bike tourism, and Oak Mountain maintains an edge in popularity due to its lengthier history. But it’s possible that the tides are turning in Alabama…

Alaska: Anchorage

Kincaid Park. Photo: DSimmons112

Kincaid Park. Photo: DSimmons112

According to our data, no other place in the state holds a candle to the mountain bike trail access found in Anchorage. Thanks in large part to the active Singletrack Advocates club, Anchorage residents have a plethora of trail systems to choose from that are accessible right from town, with standout systems including Kincaid Park and the STA Trails. Anchorage also has as much infrastructure as you could want, including bike shops, breweries, and much, much more.

Arizona: Sedona

Schnebly Hill Trail, with Hangover in the background. Rider: Greg Heil. Photo: Matt Mcfee/Hermosa Tours

Schnebly Hill Trail, with Hangover in the background. Rider: Greg Heil. Photo: Matt Mcfee/Hermosa Tours

Every single one of our data sources pointed straight to Sedona as the clear choice for Arizona, and there was no argument from our editorial team, either. Sedona is home to truly epic trails such as Hiline and Hangover, but the locals haven’t stopped there: they keep building and legalizing trails all around the valley, ever expanding the trail system into an even better destination. If it’s infrastructure you’re worried about, Sedona has it in spades with several bike shops, guiding (Hermosa Tours), lodging, and plenty of places to eat and drink.

Arkansas: Bentonville

Bentonville is home to a bevy of excellent singletrack trails, including our highest-ranked trail in Arkansas: Slaughter Pen. But the trail options don’t stop there, and Bentonville’s proximity to both Fayettville and Eureka Springs–which both also rank highly in our algorithm–means that the greater Bentonville region is home to tons and tons of mountain biking. According to our database, there are at least 15 trails and trail systems within 25 miles of Bentonville. While Mt. Ida deserves a nod for sheer quantity of singletrack–at least 281 miles of it–Bentonville wins out due to popularity, infrastructure, and the relentless pursuit by local trail clubs to keep building more singletrack.

California: South Lake Tahoe

Photo: TMBA.org

Photo: TAMBA.org

California, as a state, is one of the single biggest names for the sport of mountain biking–and for some people, South Lake Tahoe may be a controversial choice. However, our trail database supports this selection, with at least 34 trails–many of which, like the Tahoe Rim Trail, rank very highly–located within 25 miles of town. After much deliberation, our editorial team supported this choice. At least one writer wanted to simply label “Tahoe” as the capital, but in keeping with the other selections on this list, we simply selected one key town. However, as you may have already noticed from the infographic, Nevada’s capital is located a mere 40-minute drive away in Incline Village. We considered not having two capitals this close together, but ultimately decided that these areas (there’s one other spot like this on this list… keep reading) are just that good. So, both South Lake Tahoe and Incline Village made the list. Honorable mentions for California include Downieville, Big Bear Lake, Laguna Beach… and many more.

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# 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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