Colorado: Crested Butte

Photo: Greg Heil

Photo: Greg Heil

Despite having three Singletracks writers based in Colorado, including Editor in Chief Greg Heil, Colorado’s capital selection was one of the most hotly-contested choices on this list. In part, the debate was a result of the incredible caliber of the riding that the entire state of Colorado has to offer. Eventually, we settled on Crested Butte. Crested Butte is one of the two places where mountain biking got its start–while pioneers in California were racing Repack on Mount Tam, pioneers in Colorado were racing up and over Pearl Pass. Also factor in that Crested Butte is home to the longest-running mountain bike festival in the world, well established endurance races, the best enduro racing in the state, amenities that a town of 1,500 just shouldn’t be able to offer, and of course, hundreds of miles of the best singletrack in the world, and CB came out on top. Stand-out rides in the area include Doctor Park, Trail 401, and more. Runners up for Colorado include Breckenridge, Fruita, and Durango.

Connecticut: East Hampton


East Hampton has a wealth of excellent singletrack located nearby, including several of the highest-rated trails in the state: Rockland Preserve, Millers Pond, Middlesex Community College, and more. While Connecticut may not be known for its epic mountain biking, having at least 32 trails within 25 miles of town means that you will have plenty of singletrack to entertain you during your visit!

Delaware: Newark

OverUnder #ridebikes #whiteclay #middlerun #newark #delaware #exploremore

A photo posted by @jawnsie215 on

The town of Newark boasts 22 trails within 25 miles of downtown, along with all of the best trails in the state. Granted that’s not tough to do in a state the size of Delaware, but considering that you’re within easy striking distance of White Clay Creek, Middle Run Natural Area, Lums Pond State Park, and Brandywine State Park, it’s hard to go wrong with this Delaware destination. Newark also offers plenty of amenities, thanks to the fact that its home to the University of Delaware.

Florida: Ocala

Photo: rangelinenaturepreserve

Photo: rangelinenaturepreserve

Ocala’s selection as the MTB capital of Florida boils down to one word: Santos. By far the most expansive, highest-quality, and best-known trail system in the state of Florida, an entire culture of mountain biking has grown up around this incredible network of singletrack. With at least 85 miles of sinuous trail plus an expansive array of freeride features, this single network has become the capital for an entire state. Runner up: the Tampa Bay area.

Georgia: Ellijay

Bear Creek trail. Photo: Jeff Barber

Bear Creek trail. Photo: Jeff Barber

There’s really no question that Ellijay is “the mountain bike capital of Georgia”–they even claim that as their unofficial slogan. At first blush you may think that’s a bit pretentious, but as you dive into the high-quality riding found in the Ellijay area, their claim gains validity. Located in the Appalachian Mountains, epic trails like Bear Creek and the Pinhoti are known around the nation. Also, the renowned Bull / Jake Mountain trails are technically located between Ellijay and Dahlonega but are within 25 miles of Ellijay (as the crow flies), as well as the Aska Trails in nearby Blue Ridge. And that’s just scratching the surface. To cap off this selection, Ellijay has a plethora of amenities including a quality local bike shop (Cartecay) and Mulberry Gap. Really, Mulberry Gap is a major factor putting Ellijay over the top: excellent lodging and dining right on the Pinhoti trail, along with shuttles, skills clinics, and just about everything you need for an epic mountain bike vacation.

# 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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