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By Mamatus (Own work)

By Mamatus (Own work)

While the Southeastern US is a popular mountain bike getaway for northeasterners and midwesterners during the dead of winter, riders in the northern rockies need an escape, too! Thankfully, the desert Southwest is flush with epic destinations that receive very little–or no–snow.

For the purposes of this list, I stuck to destinations in the two darkest zones of the map above, meaning that these destinations receive less than 12 inches of snow annually. The locations below are organized below from north to south, based on latitude.

Moab, UT: 38.57° Latitude

Dry slickrock in the foreground on Captain Ahab, the snow-capped La Sal mountains in the background--perfect winter mountain biking! Photo: Heysockmonkey

Dry slickrock in the foreground on Captain Ahab, the snow-capped La Sal mountains in the background–perfect winter mountain biking! Photo: Heysockmonkey

While the map above might lead you to believe that Moab gets plastered with 12-24″ (or more) of snow each year, it’s worth noting that that map isn’t entirely accurate. In fact, Moab receives an average of 10 inches of the white fluffy stuff, coming in below our 12″ threshold with room to spare. However, extremes reign in the desert, with the average low in January a mere 18 degrees and the average high, 42. However, temps warm up fast with an average low of 25 in February and a high of 51, and highs in March into the 60s

Many riders have begun singing the praises of Fruita and Grand Junction over Moab, but Fruita misses our list with over 13″ of snow annually, and Grand Junction just down the road is nowhere close, with over two feet! So while the riding is pretty fantastic on the Colorado Western Slope, Moab still reigns supreme for winter riding.

And the trails? Well, really, does Moab need an introduction? Moab is featured prominently in our list of the Top 10 Destinations in North America, and it’s not likely to lose its spot anytime soon. Low elevation classics such as Slickrock, the Amasa Back Area, and many more should be good to go all year, but the upper elevations of The Whole Enchilada get buried in snow and are only rideable during the summer. However, you can still access Porcupine Rim any month of the year.

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