The best urban mountain bike trail systems in the US

I read an article earlier this week that mentioned Blue Ride Outdoors named James River Park one of the best urban MTB trail systems in the Southeast and it got me thinking: Where do other urban mountain bike trail systems exist in the US? It turns out the New York Times wrote about urban mountain bike trails back in 2007 but I wasn’t satisfied their coverage – I needed to do my own research. Here are my picks for the top 5 urban mountain bike trails (no paved greenways!) in the US:

5. Ray’s Indoor MTB Park (Cleveland)


map by Google, photo by chris_lori

Believe it or not, Ray’s is an official IMBA Epic trail and while not technically urban, it is located in a warehouse not far from downtown Cleveland. Like most outdoor urban mountain bike trails, Ray’s makes the best of what’s available and offers courses for all abilities. Cleveland is also home to another new urban mountain bike trail at Cleveland Metroparks’ Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation.

4. James River Park (Richmond)


map by Google, photo by P. Kevin Morley / Times-Dispatch

Yep, I have to agree – James River Park contains some of the best urban mountain bike trails in the southeast. The park is host to tons of mountain bike races and events each year and is located just across the river from downtown Richmond. My southeastern runner-up, the Morningside trails near downtown Atlanta, don’t even come close.

3. Highbridge Trails (Manhattan, New York)


map by Google, photo by Daniel Avila

A real mountain bike trail on the island of Manhattan? Fahgeddaboutit. Somehow trail builders managed to squeeze in 3 miles of trail in one of the most densely populated cities on earth and now the park is a popular spot for a summer race series.

2. Theodore Wirth Park (Minneapolis)


map by Google, photo by Gopherhockey

Theodore Wirth Park boasts three and a half miles of fast, flowing singletrack mountain bike trails near the heart of downtown Minneapolis. Completed in 2005, riding these wooded trails feels like you’re miles from anywhere and sport some technical spots that will keep even advanced riders on their toes!

1. The I-5 Colonnade Trails (Seattle)


map by Google, photos by LUI KIT WONG/The News Tribune

You know a mountain bike trail is urban when the name of the trail starts with an Interstate Highway designation. The I-5 project is truly a wonder of trail engineering and makes use of some land that would otherwise remain vacant (who wants to build underneath a highway after all). These trails are a true testament to the will of mountain bikers to create places to ride and will be the gold standard against which new urban trails will be judged for years to come.