Singletracks has spilled gallons of digital ink ranking, categorizing, and highlighting some of the best mountain bike trails in the USA, but what about the rest of the world? We decided to consult with a number of mountain bike travel experts from across the globe to get recommendations for the best, must-ride trails and destinations in more than a dozen countries, and what we found is nothing short of spectacular. For the intrepid world traveler, these singletrack trails are not to be missed!
If you find yourself disagreeing with any of these picks (and we know, many of you will), be sure to share your favorites in the comments. You can also review trails or add new ones to the Singletracks worldwide mountain bike trail database.
Australia is a big place, and narrowing down the best places to ride is a daunting task. We consulted with several Australian mountain bikers, including Jo Mackey from Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA), the head organization for mountain biking in Australia, to come up with the following recommendations.
Blue Tier Trail
It turns out that some of the best mountain biking in Australia can be found in Tasmania, an island state located south of the mainland on the eastern side of the country. The 20km Blue Tier trail is a part of the Blue Derby trail system, located within a self-described “temperate rainforest” zone with epic scenery and the perfect topography for building world-class mountain bike trails. Simon French, managing director at Dirt Art, says the Blue Tier trail is “predominantly a descent, [and] the trail begins on a sub-alpine plateau, before plunging into dark, mossy wilderness.”
About 80km of trails have been built at Blue Derby in just the last few years, and judging by the photos, riders will be hard pressed to find more beautifully sculpted singletrack anywhere else on the planet. Singletracks reviewers note the trails at Blue Derby are “flowing” and “fast and fun.” That seems to be an understatement.
Maydena Bike Park, also located in Tasmania, is slated to open on January 26, 2018, and promises to be an instant classic. With 820m of vert and 30km of trails on opening day (plus another 90km being developed), Maydena Bike Park already has mountain bikers making plans for the new year.
All Mountain Trail
Located within Kosciuszko National Park, the Thredbo resort area is a mountain biking paradise, with miles of singletrack trails threading through and around beautiful valleys, mountains, and rivers. Simon French says the All Mountain trail at Thredbo is not to be missed.
[All Mountain Trail offers] an iconic 11km descent from just below the summit of Australia’s highest point, Mount Kosciuszko, down to Thredbo Village, 620 vertical metres below. The trail features stunning alpine views, and an array of technical and flow terrain. As an added bonus, the trail is accessed via a high speed chairlift. The trail is part of over 100km of trails in the Snowy Mountains region, including the iconic back-country Thredbo Valley Track. Once the Thredbo Valley Track is completed, it will combine with the All Mountain Trail to offer a 70km+ descent between the summit of Thredbo and Jindabyne.
The resort itself offers lift access to 25km of trails and claims the “longest gravity mountain biking trails” in Australia. Singletracks trail reviewer ottodavies says Kosciuszko National Park features “a truly awesome network of trails. . .from easy [to] intermediate to advanced. Some beautiful, flowing singletracks through absolutely pristine mountains & rivers & valleys.”
Smithfield Mountain Bike Park
The city of Cairns claims there are more than 700km of bike trails in the area, and none appear to be more popular than those at the Smithfield Mountain Bike Park on the west side of the city. With more than 60km of rainforest trails to explore, ranging from beginner to expert, visitors will not be disappointed. Smithfield is hosting this year’s UCI World Championships for both cross country and downhill in September.
Next up: Canada.
When most mountain bikers think of Canada, the first thing that comes to mind is the Whistler Bike Park in western British Columbia. But Mike Brcic, founder of Sacred Rides adventure tour company, says it’s hard to beat the trails in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia. Sacred Rides hits the best trails within the region on their Ultimate BC tour, and DiY tourists can base their adventures out of the towns of Nelson, Rossland, or Revelstoke.
Rossland’s Seven Summits Trail
Mike tells us the Seven Summits trail near Rossland is one of the best trails in Canada, and according to the Sacred Rides website, the trail has also been voted one of the “Top 10 trails in the world.” Singletracks readers agree, awarding Rossland’s Seven Summits trail perfect, 5-star ratings. The roughly 30km route takes riders above tree line and through some of the most beautiful alpine scenery in North America. The ride can be done as a point-to-point shuttle ride, or as an epic loop through the town of Rossland.
Keystone Standard Basin
Keystone Standard Basin, a high alpine ride near Revelstoke, is another one of Mike’s favorites in Canada. The 11km out-and-back ride rolls through pristine wilderness areas, across scree fields, and along tire-wide ribbons of singletrack. Since the trail elevation maxes out over 2,000m, be sure to plan a trip for July or August to ensure the route is snow-free and accessible.
Singletracks readers have rated Smith Creek one of the top 3 bike trails in Canada, no doubt due to the trail’s overall excellent flow. Riders who make the long, steady climb to the top are rewarded with one of the best descents in Canada.
Next up: Chile, Costa Rica, and Ecuador.
Torres Del Paine National Park
“Professional mountain bike traveller” and lead guide at H+I Adventures, Euan Wilson, says his top choice for mountain biking in Chile is Torres Del Paine national park. After “years of research and bargaining,” singletrack within the park is now open to mountain bikes, making this Euan’s favorite spot. One way riders can experience the Torres Del Paine singletrack is on H+I Adventures’ Chile + Patagonia tour.
La Angelina Mountain Bike Park
If it’s enduro-style trails you crave, La Angelina has what you need. The bike park features more than 25km of trails, and often hosts large mountain bike races and events. In addition to offering the best singletrack in Costa Rica, Singletracks trail reviewer rcastillio14 notes La Angelina has an “excellent trail centre, good and fun pumptrack, [and a] beginners’ trail in the parking lot area.”
Rumor has it the 21-mile-long Mamarumi descent in Ecuador was cleared by two brothers whose grandfather told them about an old liquor smuggling route through the mountains. Today, it’s Euan Wilson’s favorite trail in Ecuador, and part of H+I Adventures’ Andes of Ecuador bike tour. There’s also a world-class downhill race held on Mamarumi each year.
Marek Gunda, from 2112 Tours, recommends two volcano rides in Ecuador: El Valle de la Muerte ( Valley of the Dead) at Pichincha volcano and Los Hieleros at Chimborazo volcano.
Next up: France, Germany, Guatemala, and Nepal.
When it comes to mountain biking in France, it’s really hard to beat the riding in the area around Morzine and Les Gets in the French Alps. With Crankworx invading Les Gets starting back in 2016, this is a French mountain bike destination that is not to be missed. This zone is crisscrossed with hundreds of kilometers of bike trails, which means there isn’t just one must-ride trail to visit.
Grand Tour Portes du Soleil
Instead, Singletracks trail reviewer Jim Cummings recommends the Grand Tour Portes du Soleil, which traverses multiple ski areas and trails along its roughly 80km length. Riders will get to experience trails within multiple bike parks along the way, all while taking in the incredible alpine scenery. Why choose between riding park and trail? This ride combines both for one of the best rides in France!
We reached out to the staff at Enduro Magazine, based in Germany, to find out which trails were the best in the country. In the end, the staff was unable to come to a definitive consensus–apparently there are just too many great trails to ride! Moritz Dittmar from Enduro Magazine did mention Germany’s first trail center, Radenburg, where mountain bikers can rent bikes and explore several purpose-built singletrack loops.
Rodalben F Trail
Based on Singletracks readers’ ratings and reviews, the Rodalben F Trail is one of the highest rated mountain bike trails in Germany. The small town of Rodalben is actually surrounded by a number of scenic mountain bike trails, and the Rodalben F trail–about 40km long–is among the most popular. Singletracks reader C-Lo rode the entire route in 2015 and had this to say:
I can finally say this trail is the greatest I have ridden. It is well-marked and has a great diversity of everything. It took me about 6 hours of riding to make it happen. I will definitely do this one again before I leave Germany. There is only about 2 miles of doubletrack on this entire route. Great!!!
The trail itself is mostly forested singletrack, with incredible rock outcroppings and features dotting the route.
Guatemala is known for its Mayan cultural roots and lush, tropical rain forests. For tourists visiting the country, perhaps the best-known mountain biking trail is a route known as Cielo Grande, or “Big Sky.” Mike Brcic from Sacred Rides says, “this all-day ride traverses most of the valleys and volcanoes of the Antigua area. For expert riders, the trail traces ancient footpaths through old-growth cloud forest, and passes through several Mayan villages.” It’s no surprise that Sacred Rides bills this as “one of the top rides in Central America.” Mountain bikers can experience this trail as a part of Sacred Rides’ La Ruta de Maya trip or as a day trip through a local outfitter like this one.
If you’re planning to go mountain biking in Nepal, bring your lungs! Eight of the ten highest mountains on the planet are located within this fascinating country.
Mandil Pradhan, Sacred Rides’ lead guide in Nepal, says the Lubra Trail is his favorite and is perhaps the most iconic in all of Nepal.
Directly under the shadows of Dhaulagiri (26,800 feet), thought to be the highest mountain in the world until the discovery of Everest in 1852, this ride is a combination of iconic Himalayan vista coupled with a flowy natural trail that are mostly used by locals as their daily commute. The ride starts at 14,000 feet and descends all the way down to the Kali Gandaki river bed at just under 9,000 feet.
The Lubra trail is located in the Mustang District and is part of Sacred Rides’ Treasures of the Himalaya trip.
Next up: New Zealand.
A couple years ago we asked more than a thousand mountain bikers to name a mountain bike destination on their bucket list, and one country received more responses than any other: New Zealand. With incredible terrain, other-worldly beauty, and generally favorable weather, it’s no wonder mountain bikers pine for New Zealand singletrack.
The Old Ghost Road
Don’t let the name throw you off: the Old Ghost Road is little more than a rocky ribbon of trail plunging deep into the wilds of New Zealand. Four out of four of the New Zealand mountain bike experts we consulted recommend this trail, which makes this ride stand out even among all the other world-class trails on this list. Rachel Howells, owner of Adventurers Travel Company, says, “every single ride we’ve done after this one, no matter where in New Zealand, gets compared to this, and not one of them beats it!” Note: experienced mountain bikers often take 2 days to complete this 85km point-to-point ride.
Whakarewarewa Forest, also known as Whaka or The Redwoods, features more than 160km of forested, purpose-built mountain bike trails. Riders of all abilities can choose from among dozens of named and signed trails branching off area forest roads. Singletracks trail reviewer Jim Cummings tells us, “you won’t find a better network of trails in New Zealand,” and other reviews seem to agree!
The technically challenging, 35km Moerangi Track is located in Whirinaki Forest on New Zealand’s north island. It’s one of Adventurers Travel Company’s Rachel Howells’ favorite backcountry rides.
The uphill starts straight away and is pretty relentless, it’s not the only one either. But for each uphill you’re rewarded with an awesome downhill. Riding by some of the most pristine native bush in NZ, this ride is remote and unique. With classic kiwi backcountry huts to visit along the way it really has everything for an experienced mountain biker.
Visitors can ride Moerangi Track as a part of Adventurers Travel Company’s North Island mountain bike tour, which visits New Zealand mountain bike hotspots Rotorua and Taupo.
Craigieburn to Arthurs Pass
Located on the south island of New Zealand, the Craigieburn Range is known for its rugged, remote trails that adventurous mountain bikers will love to explore. This particular ride traverses a ski area where riders will encounter steep scree fields and vast beech forests. Rachel Howells says her favorite route takes riders from the Craigieburn ski field road “all the way to Castle Hill, with 30km odd of both up and downhill.” Singletracks reviewer Desperado recommends Craigieburn because it’s a “great alpine day [of] riding — and it’s less than two hours’ drive from Christchurch.”
Next up: Peru, Philippines, and Spain.
The Lares Trail
The Lares Trail in Peru is typically ridden as a shuttle route, since the starting elevation sits all the way up at 14,500 feet above sea level. Mike Brcic from Sacred Rides says, “it’s often cold and drizzly at this high altitude, where there is little vegetation, and most people find themselves short of breath.” However, “the climate quickly improves and the oxygen gets more plentiful as you descend, passing through spectacular Andes landscapes and Inca villages and dropping almost 5,000 vertical feet over 13 miles.” Sacred Rides offers a guided ride of the Lares Trail as a part of their Inca Adventure Downhill and All Mountain trips.
Inca Avalanche DH
Located within the same region as the Lares Trail near the town of Ollantaytambo, the Inca Avalanche DH route starts at an elevation of almost 16,000 feet and drops nearly 6,000 feet along the way. Top riders, like those competing during the annual Inca Avalanche Trail Festival, have been known to complete the entire run in under 25 minutes.
With nearly 100km of trails claimed to exist in the Timberland network, it’s no wonder some call this the capital of mountain biking in the Philippines. Timberland is one of the few places riders can find purpose-built mountain bike trails in the Philippines, and the venue regularly hosts races and mountain bike events.
Nathan Powell, a guide with TrackMTB in Spain, tells us the Lost Valley of Benasque, located in northern Spain, is an “Enduro heaven [offering] breathtaking landscapes, as well as jaw-dropping technical treats.” And for travelers visiting this zone, the 30km El Gallinero route is not to be missed. Nathan says, “you’ll find everything on this trail, from high alpine plains, fast flowy singletrack, hairy technical sections, and woody dirt goodness.” Visitors can experience El Gallinero and some of the other excellent Benasque area trails as a part of TrackMTB’s Big Mountains Pyrenees Trip or MTBDreams’ Enduro Tour Pyrenees.
Next up: South Africa, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Giba Blue Trail
The Giba Blue Trail in Pinetown, South Africa isn’t quite 20km long, but clearly local mountain bikers are quite passionate about it. The trail is said to include “switchbacks, bridges, [roots], rock, and drop offs,” with many ride-around lines available for less advanced riders. Ann du Plessis says Giba Blue is “such an awesome trail with great climbs; amazing, flowing descents; and some fun technical sections.”
Kinnekulle Trail System
Located in the western half of Sweden, the Kinnekulle Trail System boasts 45km of scenic, cross-country mountain bike trails. Not only that, Kinnekulle is one of the highest points in the region, offering some of the best opportunities for climbing and descending in the area. Leo Ranta, whose tour company Hillside Cycling offers guided tours and transportation to Kinnekulle, tells us “the trail is well-suited for beginners, since it’s not too technical and difficult.”
Switzerland is renowned as the epicenter of the Alps, with epic mountain peaks in seemingly every direction. With that in mind, there are no end of epic rides in this landlocked and mountain-rich country, but here’s one that you can’t go wrong with:
The Welschtobel Valley trail is on one of the GPS tours that originates in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, passing through the town of Arosa. You can easily download the GPS track from either Singletracks or the Lenzerheide website, buy a couple of lift passes for the three different lift rides, and access this epic backcountry descent. While perhaps not as well known as the Biketicket 2 Ride GPS tour in the same area, the Welschtobel valley is unparalleled–incredible mountain views, gnarly singletrack, all located along a rushing mountain river. Singletracks Editor in Chief Greg Heil says, “not only is Welschtobel the best trail that I rode when visiting Lenzerheide, but it is hands-down one of the most visually-stunning locations I’ve ever seen in my life. But the quality of the singletrack backs it up, too–the descent is worth flying around the world for.”
Next up: United Kingdom and United States.
The United Kingdom offers up a diverse selection of great mountain bike trails throughout each of the countries that make up the Kingdom. In fact, we’ve already profiled some of the must-ride trail destinations in places like Wales and Scotland. But choosing just one or two must-ride trails for the entire UK? That’s a fool’s errand. Luckily, few have claimed we are wise.
Afan Forest Park
After aggregating Singletracks trail ratings and reviews for all the trails in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, Afan Forest Park came out on top. With up to 200km of trails to choose from, Singletracks readers give Afan Forest Park high marks for both trail quality and variety. Standout trails within Afan Forest Park include The Wall and Skyline due to their epic scenery and rowdy descents.
Among the Seven Stanes in Scotland, Kirroughtree is generally considered the most popular, if not the best of all the trail centres. Not only that, Singletracks readers rated the trail the second most popular overall within the United Kingdom due in part to the well-organized trail centre operation. Kirroughtree boasts nearly 70km of trails rated from beginner to expert, which Singletracks reviewer SunSnowandWater says are “well-built, smooth, and great fun.”
There are countless excellent mountain bike trails to choose from within the United States, from purpose-built singletrack to days-long backcountry epics, and from lift-served bike parks to remote technical challenges. But perhaps no ride in the USA gives mountain bikers a taste of all that diversity in a single ride like The Whole Enchilada in Moab.
The Whole Enchilada
For those who aren’t American English speakers, the phrase “the whole enchilada” is an idiom that essentially means “everything,” which is a great way to describe this classic Moab ride. The Whole Enchilada shuttle route begins above treeline at Burro Pass in the La Sal mountains, and descends roughly 7,000 feet to the Colorado River over the course of 26 miles.
As the route descends, riders will pedal through lush aspen groves, across a high grassy mesa, among low, straggly pines, and finally across barren, rocky desert terrain. The trail is incredibly scenic, but it also offers up both flowy, smooth singletrack and technical rocky challenges, all in a single ride.
As an added bonus, The Whole Enchilada incorporates parts of many iconic trails like Porcupine Rim, LPS and UPS, and Kokopelli’s Trail. Visitors can also easily access all the other world-renowned riding in the Moab area.
Did we miss your country? If so, what’s the best mountain bike trail where you live?