Riding the Top 10 MTB Trails in the World, Part 3: Runners Up

If there’s anything we here on Singletracks.com are passionate about, it’s mountain bike trails. We ride trails, we map trails, we categorize trails, we talk about trails, we write about trails… yeah, we really love trails!

Recently, I spent some time reflecting on my experiences riding the “top 10 MTB trails in the world”: Part 1, Part 2. As you can tell from reading those posts, I personally thought some of the trails deserved to be on the list, namely Trail 401, Monarch Crest, the Colorado Trail, and 18 Road. But others? Not so much.

So, based on my personal experience (and my personal experience alone), here are a few trails I’ve ridden that I think would make excellent candidates for a top 10 list… at least, a “Top 10 Trails in the United States” list.

The Whole Enchilada, Moab, Utah

Sure, technically The Whole Enchilada isn’t one trail: it’s a series of trails strung together into one massive 29-mile shuttle route with 7,000 feet of descending. However, as I mentioned in Part 1, I think The Whole Enchilada should definitely replace Porcupine Rim on the top 10 list because, for one thing, the entire Porcupine Rim trail is included in the Whole Enchilada route. Add on a lot more quality singletrack and thousands more feet of descending, and The Whole Enchilada route is going to be in my top 3 trails of all time for a long, long time to come. For more information, be sure to read my ride report from this summer.

The Downieville Downhill, Downieville, California

17 miles and 5,000 feet of vertical drop, this is one classic shuttle that you can’t miss! For more information, be sure to read my destination feature from this summer.

Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina

One of the primary reasons Pisgah isn’t on the top 10 list is because it’s so hard to quantify. Is Pisgah a trail system? Is it a bunch of different trails in the same area? Is it a destination? And how do you organize it in the database?

We don’t have answers to all of those questions yet, but one thing I do know: Pisgah is one of the best places in the nation that I have ridden a mountain bike, hands down. With technical classics such as Black Mountain, Laurel Mountain, and others, there is probably more mountain biking in Pisgah National Forest than you can do in a month of hard riding!

Reno/Flag/Bear/Deadman’s, Crested Butte, Colorado

If I had to choose just one trail from Crested Butte to be on the top 10 list, this would be it. While 401 does have truly epic views, the scenery along this loop isn’t too shabby either!

What puts this route over the top is the singletrack. The 401 route is only about 40-45% singletrack, but this loop, on the other hand, is close to 75% singletrack. The combination of trails makes for an extremely varied ride, too. Some sections of singletrack are wide-open and smooth, others are steep and technical, and the never-ending downhill switchbacks of Deadman’s are guaranteed to give you some serious arm pump!

Arizona Trail, Arizona

I stumbled onto a section of the Arizona trail on a ride in Flagstaff this summer and I thought I had died and gone to singletrack heaven. This trail is absolutely fantastic cross country singletrack! And it’s huge, too: the AZT runs for over 800 miles from Mexico to Utah. That’s almost 300 miles longer than the Colorado trail!

Pinhoti Trail, Georgia

Running over 100 miles from the upper reaches of North Georgia to the Alabama border, the Pinhoti trail has a vast variety of different types of bike-legal singletrack along its length ranging from crazy rocky to smooth and flowy. If any trail in Georgia has a shot at being on the top 10 list, this is it.

Your Turn: What other trails do you think should be on the top 10 list?