More Mountain Bike Trails Close to Home: 10 Exciting Projects that IMBA Is Working On in 2024

IMBA is working with local groups to build quality mountain bike trails closer to home. Here are ten of this year's most exciting trail projects.
Building phase 1 of the Baker’s Park trail system. Photo: Jess Didion, courtesy IMBA

The iconic mountain bike experience has long been synonymous with epic rides in big mountains, deep forests, and desolate desert landscapes. In fact, the sport was founded on endless backcountry singletrack trails in places like Crested Butte, and as a result, riders have spent decades seeking out epic loop rides like trail Trail 401 or point-to-point shuttles like the Monarch Crest.

While those epics still attract throngs of mountain bikers today, as the tireless trail advocates at the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) surveyed the landscape of trail access, they realized that something was missing. They began to notice a glaring gap in trail access and how it was negatively impacting participation in the sport. And while it kept avid riders from getting on their bikes more often, it also effectively blocked a wide array of potential mountain bikers who had no way to access the backcountry epics that we all enjoy so much.

The gap they identified is a distinct lack of singletrack trail access close to home.

Building More Trails Close to Home in Cedar City, Utah. Photo: Liz Chrisman, courtesy IMBA

You don’t need to have 20 or 30 years of mountain biking experience to intuit the difficulty of accessing singletrack trails. If you’re like most of the nation’s population, you don’t live in a tiny mountain town with a trailhead less than a mile from your front door. Instead, you might need to drive for an hour or more to reach the closest trail, and even then the quality of the ride might be mediocre at best.

This close-to-home trail access gap doesn’t just apply to middle-aged mountain bikers. It’s also a major hurdle for hikers on foot, trail runners, and thousands of kids who don’t have the option of hopping in the car and driving anywhere.

Photo: Liz Chrisman, courtesy IMBA

In response to this glaring trail access gap IMBA shifted its primary focus to building “more trails close to home” in 2019. At the time, they created a goal of building “new trails close to home in 250 communities by 2025,” according to Eleanor Blick, Director of Communications for IMBA. As the 2024 riding season gets into full swing, the deadline is looming for IMBA’s 2025 goal. So how are they doing so far?

“We’re currently engaged with 530 communities that have a vision or demand [for] trails close to home. Eighty-nine communities are committed, which means they’ve gone through a lot of the process and their next step is construction in various phases—it’s out for bid or just waiting on permits, things like that. And we’ve already realized trails in 84 communities,” said Blick”

That’s an astounding 703 communities that IMBA is currently working with to enable their vision of new trails close to home! While perhaps 250 projects won’t be completed by the time 2025 rolls around, the outpouring of community engagement has been absolutely astounding. Just imagine: 703 communities across the country are actively working to build better trail access for their residents. This is a true local groundswell in mountain bike trail development and advocacy, and the pace of change right here, right now, in 2024 is so fast that it’s difficult to grasp.

While IMBA is lending a helping hand in every one of these 703 communities, Blick was quick to note that “these are all community-led processes.” IMBA as an organization doesn’t necessarily drive trail development. Instead, the national organization is “there to support [the communities] at phases of the trail development process.”

“I see all of these as communities who are making amazing progress, and IMBA’s there with them, helping them out,” said Blick.

While it’s impossible to profile every single one of the 89 projects that are currently in progress or the 530 beautiful visions for the future, we’ve rounded up 10 of the most exciting projects that IMBA is working on in 2024.

Omaha, Nebraska mountain bike park
Photo: Liz Chrisman, courtesy IMBA

Omaha, Nebraska

“We completed a city-wide feasibility study with Omaha as part of a Trail Accelerator grant,” said Blick. Out of that feasibility study, a number of trails will spring up around the Omaha metro area, the first of which include the Upland Park pumptrack and the Mandan Park Trails. Creating these small pockets of bike riding opportunity right in the heart of the metro area is opening up the sport of mountain biking to thousands of kids in the community.

Building trails in Mandan Park in particular has allowed the local community to reclaim a beautiful natural space that had developed a negative reputation for unsavory activities. But now, with purpose-built mountain bike trails and a skills park, Mandan Park is transforming into a positive space for the community to enjoy. 

Next up, IMBA, THOR (the local IMBA chapter), and other community partners hope to build more trails in Mandan Park, Adams Park, Swanson Park, and around the Papillion area of Omaha.

Mountain bike trail in Silverton, Colorado
Photo: Jess Didion, courtesy IMBA

Silverton, Colorado

After a decade of advocacy work, the first few miles of the highly-anticipated Baker’s Park trail system were built in Silverton in the fall of 2023. Officially, the trails still haven’t been opened to the public as IMBA Trail Solutions and the Silverton Singletrack Society (SSS) wait for the snow to melt so they can finish Phase 1 of the build this year. Once complete, SSS envisions 30 miles of purpose-built mountain bike trails rising above the historic mining town of Silverton.

Singletracks has previously profiled this visionary project in detail—be sure to catch the full scoop here.

Mountain biking in Prescott, Arizona
Photo: Liz Chrisman, courtesy IMBA

Prescott, Arizona

Arizona is rich with mountain bike trails, but almost all of the best rides are rocky, rugged, and technical. That’s all about to change. After years of planning and wading through approval processes, the Beans Peak Gravity Flow Trail System in Prescott, Arizona, has finally been green lighted, and the first phase of construction was completed in late 2023 (opening in early 2024).

“The Bean Peaks Gravity Flow Trail System will be the first of its kind in Arizona,” says Ximena Florez, Board President of the Prescott Mountain Biking Alliance. “The trail system will offer a safe and exciting rollercoaster-like experience that can be enjoyed by mountain bikers of many different levels and ages.”

Las Vegas, Nevada

After hosting a Trail Care School in 2023, the Southern Nevada Mountain Bike Association (SNMBA) became one of IMBA’s most recent Trail Accelerator Grant recipients. Their goal? A professionally-built trail system totalling 9-15 miles of new singletrack adjacent to Red Rock Campground. While the area around Red Rock Campground is already rich with fantastic singletrack, most of it is extremely technical. This new trail development will focus on beginner and family-friendly trails, helping expand the trail offerings in this region.

Note that the trail system at Red Rock Campground appears to be distinct from the new $6.5M bike park development beginning on nearby Southwest Ridge in 2024. Trail building in Las Vegas is going off!

Singletrack mountain bike trail in Sandpoint, Idaho
Photo: Betsy Byrne, NPS

Sandpoint, Idaho

“Internally, this project was first introduced to me as being led by ‘subversive grandmas.’ I was hooked!” said Blick. 

Sandpoint has long boasted historic trail access in the nearby National Forests. The town anchors the mountain bike community in the northern reaches of the Idaho Panhandle, but progressive, purpose-built trails were lacking. With so many up-and-coming kids in the community riding harder and faster than ever before, the demand for downhill flow trails and technical lines is high—and the local community rose to the challenge. This project is currently out for a construction bid as of press time.

Photo: Joey Klein, courtesy IMBA

Greeley, Colorado

If there’s one town in Colorado that is distinctively not known for mountain biking, it’s the cattle town of Greeley. Greeley sits further out in the plains than even nearby Fort Collins, yet despite its lack of dramatic topography, the locals want their own bike trails—and thanks to an IMBA Trail Accelerator grant, the community is closer to turning that vision into reality.

It’s been an uphill battle in Greeley, where no mountain bike trails currently exist, and public land itself is also virtually non-existent. However, with help from the Trust for Public Land, the City of Greeley was able to acquire 1,000 acres of open space along the Cache de Poudre River, which is perfect for trails. Game on!

Mountain bike jump in Bolton, Vermont
Photo: Richmond Mountain Trails, courtesy IMBA

Bolton, Vermont

The incredible riding scene in Vermont needs no introduction, but even in a highly developed trail network, such as the one in Bolton, there’s still work to be done to build more trails for more people closer to home. Specifically, in 2023, Richmond Mountain Trails (RMT) introduced The Driving Range, “creating Vermont’s first purpose-built fully adaptive mountain bike trail network,” according to IMBA. RMT plans to build over five miles of trail specifically for adaptive riders, and to do so, they’re raising money to finish the last two trails through IMBA’s 2024 Dig In fundraiser.

Mountain biking Cedar City, Utah
Photo: Liz Chrisman, courtesy IMBA

Cedar City, Utah

Cedar City’s Iron Hills Trail System is already an incredible success story for the local community, the BLM, and IMBA as all three partnered to create an incredible new trail system. In fact, the trails have grown so popular that the BLM built the all-new Pyramid Ridge campground at the southern end of the network, with trail access right from the campsites.

In late 2023, a new one-mile, beginner-friendly loop was built directly adjacent to Pyramid Ridge. And soon, the Iron Hills Trail System will be expanded so that it’s even closer to home to the residents of Cedar City. Another 10-15 miles of new trails will be constructed between the main trailhead and the edge of the city, allowing riders to pedal much more easily right out their front doors.

Mountain bike trail overlook in Pinedale, Wyoming
Photo: Alex Artz

Pinedale, Wyoming

Wyoming is rich in natural treasures, and Pinedale ranks highly among a slate of tiny, beautiful mountain towns. As the highest-elevation county in Wyoming, you can find it southeast of Jackson and west of the Wind River range, with Wyoming’s highpoint—Gannett Peak—towering on the skyline at 13,810 feet.

Yet many small Wyoming towns still lack access to high-quality singletrack. Pinedale currently offers seven miles of user-created trails, but as another recent IMBA Trail Accelerator grant recipient, they’re currently in the planning stages for an additional “15 miles of mountain bike-optimized trail that will also be open to hikers and equestrians,” according to Blick.

Trail building in Pioche, Nevada
Photo: Jess Didion, courtesy IMBA

Pioche, Nevada

The mountain bike star is rising all across the state of Nevada, andit’s not merely confined to the population center of Las Vegas—smaller communities across the state are beginning to invest in mountain bike trail access on their beautiful public lands as well. The latest community to break ground on an all-new mountain bike trail system is Pioche. IMBA Trail Solutions began construction on the Prospector trail system in February, and this wet winter has provided plenty of moisture to help them shape the soil into flowy, rolling trails. “When completed, the Prospectors Trails will include six beginner-friendly trails, eight intermediate-level trails, and one advanced,” writes IMBA.