The Best Black Diamond Mountain Bike Trail in Each US State

Hawaii: Kealia Trail

The Kealia Trail is short, steep, and loaded with switchbacks. Technical features abound. According to mtbhawaii.com, “Kealia is switchback after switchback down the side of a cliff face. Steep, rocky, sharp corners with drop offs. Know your limits and walk if you need to. Kealia Trail is a gem, some of the best technical singletrack on the island.”

Idaho: Rocky Creek Loop

Photo: chukt

As you can guess from the name, your distance doesn’t come easily on Rocky Creek Loop. According to chukt, Rocky Creek “may be called ‘primitive’ in an era when ‘flowy’ is the norm.”

For even more rugged backcountry trails in Idaho, check out the likes of Rocky Peak Via Spooky Trail, the Williams Summit Trails, and much, much more.

Illinois: Bullfrog Lake

Photo: Barbas

Bullfrog Lake is listed in our database as a sub-trail of Palos Forest Preserve. Reviewers note that Bullfrog Lake is a “black diamond” ride with “lots of obstacles,” including roots, jumps, and berms.

Indiana: Outback Trail at Imagination Glenn

Photo: rockhopper50

The challenges on the Outback trail are myriad, including tight, techy sections; roots; a jump line; and manmade wooden features; all spread out over the course of at least 10 miles of riding. Reviewers remain impressed with these trails: they net a 4.71 average out of 5 stars, with 38 total reviews.

Iowa: Palisades Park

Photo: Jared13

Palisades Park is listed as a sub-trail of the Decorah MTB Trail System in our database. According to Jared13, the trails here feature “twisty singletrack with rocks and roots,” technical log pile features, and downed trees as obstacles. You can score at least 5 miles of riding in Palisades Park, with more singletrack easily accessible in the greater Decorah area.

Kansas: Fancy Creek State Park

Photo: John Fisch

A rocky paradise where you’d least expect it! Here’s what Singletracks writer John Fisch had to say:

“Wow! What a shock to find this little gem on the Kansas Prairie! Rocks, rocks, and more rocks–usually at odd angles and laying before you a major challenge of just picking a line, let alone riding it all clean. The climbs are short but steep, and some of the quick descents run straight down the fall line. Not much flow in most places, more like a trials type ride, but all doable by a confident rider with good balance. Also adding to the fun is that this trail is in deep, dark woods, making you completely forget the hundreds of miles of flat, treeless prairie which surround you. Along with Switchgrass, this is one of Kansas’ two ‘must rides.'”

Kentucky: Fort Duffield

Photo: Guest

At most, Fort Duffield is home to 10 miles of singletrack… but hidden in these hills you’ll find freeride features to challenge the most of aggressive of riders. Unfortunately, recent reviews indicate that some of these features could be in disrepair. If so, there is more Kentucky gnar to be found at Youngers Creek.

Louisiana: The Beast

Photo: rob_co2

“The Beast” appears aptly-named, with many Louisiana locals decrying this trail as way too difficult and not any fun at all. According to ignezio,

“The overall trail is very dangerous and not well maintained. The trail has to be the worst in LA next to Hooper trail. . . .they have dangerous drops on both sides of a single foot track that is deadly if you fall, along with roots [that are] very difficult to maneuver. The descents are also met with pot holes at the bottom that catch the front tire and have you [go OTB].”

However, to hear other reviewers weigh in, the fact that The Beast is radically more difficult and challenging than other trails in Louisiana is a good thing–and puts it a touch closer to trails in other states with true difficulty. Here’s how LynnTheAvatar puts it:

“Fortunately, to some, there is nothing like The Beast in Louisiana, nor in Mississippi. It most closely resembles the technical trails around the Austin and San Antonio areas of Texas, but instead of rocks, the roots provide technical challenges. If you haven’t ridden more challenging trails locally, you’re in for a rude awakening. However, The Beast is a lot of fun once you solve all of its technical puzzles. Just relax, take a deep breath, and drop in!”

Maine: Carrabassett Valley Trail System

Carrabassett Valley is one of the most highly-acclaimed trail systems in Maine, boasting around 100 miles of trail. While you can find singletrack ranging from easy to advanced, the overall trail system has received a black diamond rating–a relative rarity for most trail systems of this size, as the rankings generally average out to intermediate.

Maryland: Frederick Watershed

Singletracks writer John Fisch notes that Frederick Watershed is “unmarked and unmaintained, and a truly wild experience despite its proximity to civilization.” He goes on to comment that it is “rocky in the extreme,” which is really saying something coming from John!

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