Riding the Top 10 MTB Trails in the World, Part 2

After riding the top 10 mountain bike trails in the world as ranked by users on Singletracks.com, I thought I’d take some time to review my initial impressions of those trails and reflect on them based on my perspective today.

Click here to read about trails 1-5.

6. Monarch Crest Trail, Salida, Colorado

Photo by maddslacker. I foolishly didn't take any photos when I rode Monarch Crest. Hopefully I'll get to ride it again!

Original review, September 2008:

“An INTENSE ride! If you are in the area, and have never ridden the Monarch Crest trail before, you have a new goal in life! Get here and ride this trail.” (5 stars.)

Yes, it really is that good. It’s been over four years since I rode Monarch Crest and I still daydream about that trail. Out of the hundreds of trails I’ve ridden all across the nation, Monarch Crest easily ranks in my personal top 3 and, in my opinion, is definitely worthy of being on this list. For more information about the Monarch Crest Trail, check out this blog post by maddslacker.

7. Colorado Trail, Denver, Colorado

Original review, August 2011:

“How can you even begin to review the Colorado Trail? Well first off, while I’ve ridden several sections of it, I’ve not NEARLY ridden the whole thing. But the parts I have ridden have been amazing! Great flow, great construction, pretty smooth for the most part. Just a ton of fun!” (5 stars.)

Stretching 535 miles from Denver to Durango, the Colorado trail is a massive point-to-point singletrack route. Some of the best singletrack in the state of Colorado can be found on the Colorado trail. While I won’t claim to have ridden the entire thing, I do know that it has earned its place on this top 10 list!

For more information on the Colorado Trail, check out GimmeAraise’s blog series about his bikepacking expedition:

8. 18 Road Trails, Fruita, Colorado

Original review, June 2012:

“This trail systems isn’t too tough, but it sure is a whole lot of fun! Flowing trails, rocky trails, jump-filled trails, steep descents, crazy exposure, and views for miles… yes, this place has it all!” (5 stars.)

Another trail system that I made sure to ride this summer, I was seriously impressed with the singletrack at 18 Road. Despite putting in over 20 miles of riding there were still trails that I didn’t get to experience, and I can’t wait to go back! I’ve heard great things about the trails on the other side of Fruita (Horsethief Bench, Mary’s Loop, etc.), but since I haven’t ridden those I can’t comment on whether they or 18 Road should have a place on the top 10 list. But if the other trails are as good as those at 18 Road… maybe they both should be?

9. Trail 401, Crested Butte, Colorado

Original review, August 2011:

“I think the fame of this trail comes primarily from the epic grandeur of it all! It is so remote, so high up in the mountains, the views are so incredible, the mountains are so big, the singletrack is so sweet, the downhills are massive…. The only things I didn’t like about this ride were the climbs (but those are a necessary evil) and the wildflowers. Seriously, why does everyone seem to love the wildflowers? Sure, they were pretty for a little while, but then I just wished that I could see the trail! The trailside vegetation is so tall and overhanging that you have to severely limit your speed because you can only see about 5 feet in front of your tire, even though you can see the mountain range on the other side of the valley. Obviously, there’s nothing that can be done to fix this, I just wonder why everyone seems to enjoy them so much…. But still, this trail is absolutely epic and an absolute must-ride!” (5 stars.)

The views… oh my gosh, the views! This trail would deserve a spot on the top 10 list if only for the views. Add in the excellent singletrack and extended downhill, and 401 is a classic that won’t be unseated anytime soon!

10. Forks Area Trail System (FATS), Clarks Hill, South Carolina

Photo by brianW.

Original review, July 2009:

“Came and rode this trail this past Sun afternoon, and knocked out all 4 loops in one ride. It was a sweet ride! Nothing technical at all to speak of, so that was somewhat disappointing, but was made up for by the incredible flow and swoop of the trail, and the lovely rollers all over the place!! Despite the fact that it was crazy smooth almost everywhere, it was such a pleasure to ride! The trail work itself was beautiful, and it didn’t feel like you were riding in a trough like at places like Yargo, which is amazing bc of how much reputation this trail has! And, there’s so much of it concentrated all in one area, making it possible to do an epic, all-day ride without riding the same trail over or driving somewhere else. Not too many places like that in the southeast.” (5 stars.)

Yes, I still agree with my 5-star rating for FATS. The sheer number of miles and the swoop and flow of these trails is incredible, but do they deserve to be on a top 10 list of all mountain bike trails in the world? That is the question… and the answer is probably not, but FATS deserves its fair share of fame.

Coming Soon: Part 3–Runners up.

Your Turn: Did your favorite trail not make it onto the list? Make sure that it has been added to the trail database and that you’ve reviewed it!