The 51 Mountain Bike Capitals of the United States

Alabama: Birmingham

Rocky Ridge Trail at Oak Mountain. Photo: Michael Paul
Rocky Ridge Trail at Oak Mountain. Photo: Michael Paul

Birmingham wins the Alabama MTB capital award due primarily to popularity and infrastructure. While Oak Mountain State Park and Tannehill Historic Ironworks State Park are both high-quality trail systems, some have argued that Anniston takes top honors with Coldwater Mountain. However, our writers with significant Alabama expertise argue that Anniston doesn’t yet have the infrastructure to support major mountain bike tourism, and Oak Mountain maintains an edge in popularity due to its lengthier history. But it’s possible that the tides are turning in Alabama…

Alaska: Anchorage

Kincaid Park. Photo: DSimmons112
Kincaid Park. Photo: DSimmons112

According to our data, no other place in the state holds a candle to the mountain bike trail access found in Anchorage. Thanks in large part to the active Singletrack Advocates club, Anchorage residents have a plethora of trail systems to choose from that are accessible right from town, with standout systems including Kincaid Park and the STA Trails. Anchorage also has as much infrastructure as you could want, including bike shops, breweries, and much, much more.

Arizona: Sedona

Schnebly Hill Trail, with Hangover in the background. Rider: Greg Heil. Photo: Matt Mcfee/Hermosa Tours
Schnebly Hill Trail, with Hangover in the background. Rider: Greg Heil. Photo: Matt Mcfee/Hermosa Tours

Every single one of our data sources pointed straight to Sedona as the clear choice for Arizona, and there was no argument from our editorial team, either. Sedona is home to truly epic trails such as Hiline and Hangover, but the locals haven’t stopped there: they keep building and legalizing trails all around the valley, ever expanding the trail system into an even better destination. If it’s infrastructure you’re worried about, Sedona has it in spades with several bike shops, guiding (Hermosa Tours), lodging, and plenty of places to eat and drink.

Arkansas: Bentonville

Bentonville is home to a bevy of excellent singletrack trails, including our highest-ranked trail in Arkansas: Slaughter Pen. But the trail options don’t stop there, and Bentonville’s proximity to both Fayettville and Eureka Springs–which both also rank highly in our algorithm–means that the greater Bentonville region is home to tons and tons of mountain biking. According to our database, there are at least 15 trails and trail systems within 25 miles of Bentonville. While Mt. Ida deserves a nod for sheer quantity of singletrack–at least 281 miles of it–Bentonville wins out due to popularity, infrastructure, and the relentless pursuit by local trail clubs to keep building more singletrack.

California: South Lake Tahoe

Photo: TMBA.org
Photo: TAMBA.org

California, as a state, is one of the single biggest names for the sport of mountain biking–and for some people, South Lake Tahoe may be a controversial choice. However, our trail database supports this selection, with at least 34 trails–many of which, like the Tahoe Rim Trail, rank very highly–located within 25 miles of town. After much deliberation, our editorial team supported this choice. At least one writer wanted to simply label “Tahoe” as the capital, but in keeping with the other selections on this list, we simply selected one key town. However, as you may have already noticed from the infographic, Nevada’s capital is located a mere 40-minute drive away in Incline Village. We considered not having two capitals this close together, but ultimately decided that these areas (there’s one other spot like this on this list… keep reading) are just that good. So, both South Lake Tahoe and Incline Village made the list. Honorable mentions for California include Downieville, Big Bear Lake, Laguna Beach… and many more.

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