One of the main things that stokes the fires of my mountain biking passion is travel. While mountain biking is exponentially more interesting than road riding, if I had to ride the same trails day in and day out (and year in and year out) I could easily imagine the flames dying down to low, glowing embers, and then finally fizzling out altogether.
Thankfully, we don’t have to ride the same trails all the time! Right now, in 2013, we are blessed to have thousands of miles of entertaining singletrack trails spread across the landscape of the United States, just begging to be explored! Add in all the singletrack in neighboring Canada, Mexico, and all the countries abroad, and there is truly more singletrack on this planet than any one person could ever hope to explore in a lifetime.
While I know there is no way I can ever ride all the trails even in the United States, that doesn’t have to stop me from trying! Last summer, my wife and I embarked on a road trip of truly epic proportions. Leaving from our home in Georgia, our main goal was to spend 3-4 weeks exploring and documenting the trails in the San Francisco Bay area and the greater Los Angeles area. What started off as a month-long trip quickly turned into so much more than that…
As we explored, I logged GPS data of every trail, took well over a thousand photos, collected trail maps, and took copious notes. Once off the trail and on the laptop, I added all the information to the Singletracks trail database and then later wrote articles about some of the best rides–all in an effort to help grow the best mountain bike trail resource in the world!
We stretched what was initially supposed to be a three-week journey into an almost two-month excursion. While we spent over a month of that in California alone, there were numerous trails to ride (and friends to visit) along the way that we just couldn’t drive past.
In the end, we put about 7,000-8,000 miles on my pickup truck and I rode almost 700 miles of trails. Some of those trails were out of this world and some of them weren’t worth writing about, but in the end this experience was one that I will remember forever!
I had the privilege of getting to ride numerous types of singletrack trails with all sorts of different trail designs, soil composition, and surrounding ecosystems. Each trail I rode and each place we visited was a little different and had its own unique character.
The more I travel and the more places I ride, the more humbled I am by the vastness of the mountain biking experience. There are millions of riders around the world riding bikes on dirt, and each place is special.
Unfortunately, we can’t all ride every single trail, but thankfully we can write about them so others can share a small taste of what the experience was like!
Many of the articles from this trip were published out of chronological order, and some were published several months after the fact. So, I decided to compile a chronological list of posts in case you want to read about my journey from start to finish. With 26 chapters in this saga, who needs to spend money on books or magazines? 🙂
Comprehensive, chronological list of blog posts from this road trip:
- How to Plan the Perfect MTB Road Trip
- Testing MTB Gear on the Road this Summer: Jamis 650b, Yakima Doubledown, Pearl Izumi Gear, and More
- Front Range Riding: Buffalo Creek and Lair O’ the Bear. (by Jeff)
- Mountain Biking in Boulder, Colorado. (by Jeff)
- Riding Kenosha Pass to Georgia Pass in Bailey, Colorado
- Wherever I May Roam: Traveling to Moab via Salida, Fruita
- I Ate The Whole Enchilada in Moab
- If You Only Have Two Days to Bike in Moab…
- Mountain Biking the Tahoe Rim and Flume Trails
- Shredding the Classic Downieville Downhill in California
- Visiting the Birthplace of Mountain Biking: Marin County, California
- The East Bay: Anti-Mountain Bike Stance Relegates Riders to Doubletrack
- Mountain Biking Beneath the Redwoods of El Corte de Madera Open Space
- Soquel Demonstration Forest, Santa Cruz, California
- Shuttle Runs in the San Gabriels: Mount Wilson and Mount Lowe
- MTB in SoCal: General Impressions + Turnbull Canyon and Fullerton Loop
- MTB in SoCal: The Luge, Whiting Ranch, and Mountain Lions
- Riding the Locals’ Favorite: El Prieto, Altadena, California
- The Wild West of Mountain Biking: Los Angeles, California
- Mountain Biking Big Bear Lake: Snow Summit Mountain Resort
- Epic Big Bear XC Ride with Gavin Burke
- Traveling to Big Bear Lake: Lodging, Eats, and Drinks
- Mountain Biking Flagstaff, Arizona
- 2012 Jamis Dakar SixFifty B Pro Long-Term Review: Part 1
- 2012 Jamis Dakar SixFifty B Pro Long-Term Review: Part 2
- Yakima Doubledown Ace 4 Bike Rack Review
Not nearly all the trails I rode over the course of those two months were worth writing about, and of the ones that were, many were lumped together into a single post. But if you are looking for more detail on which trails I actually rode, here is as close to a comprehensive list in chronological order as I was able to compile:
- Switchgrass, Wilson, Kansas
- Buffalo Creek, Pine, Colorado
- Valmont Bike Park, Boulder, Colorado
- Lair ‘O the Bear, Morrison, Colorado
- Heil Valley Ranch, Boulder, Colorado
- Colorado Trail: Kenosha Pass, Fairplay, Colorado
- Meyer Ranch, Aspen Park, Colorado
- Arkansas Hills Trail System, Salida, Colorado
- 18 Road Trails, Fruita, Colorado
- The Whole Enchilada, Moab, Utah
- Porcupine Rim, Moab, Utah
- Burro Pass, Moab, Utah
- UPS and LPS, Moab, Utah
- Hazard County, Moab, Utah
- Slickrock, Moab, Utah
- Tahoe Rim Trail, Tahoe, Nevada
- Flume Trail, Incline Village, Nevada
- Downieville Downhill, Downieville, California
- Pauley Creek, Downieville, California
- 1st, 2nd, 3rd Divide, Downieville, California
- Redwood Regional Park, Castro Valley, California
- Joaquin Miller, Oakland, California
- Camp Tamarancho, Marin, California
- China Camp, Marin, California
- Greenbelt Park, Hayward, California
- Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont, California
- Anthony Chabot Regional Park, Castro Valley, California
- El Corte De Madera Open Space, Woodside, California
- Soquel Demonstration Forest, Santa Cruz, California
- Henry W. Coe State Park, Morgan Hill, California
- Mount Wilson, Pasadena, California
- Sunset Trail, Pasadena, California
- Mount Lowe Railway, Pasadena, California
- Sam Merril Trail, Pasadena, California
- Chantry Flats, Arcadia, California
- Turnbull Canyon, Whittier, California
- Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park, San Dimas, California
- Fullerton Loop, Fullerton, California
- The Luge, Lake Forest, California
- Aliso Creek, Laguna Beach, California
- Whiting Ranch, Lake Forest, California
- Backbone Trail, Malibu, California
- Hummingbird, Simi Hills, California
- El Prieto, Altadena, California
- Snow Summit Mountain Resort, Big Bear Lake, California
- Pine Knot, Big Bear Lake, California
- Don’t Shoot Me, Big Bear City, California
- Kenny’s, Big Bear City, California
- Cougar Crest, Big Bear City, California
- Hanna Flat, Fawnskin, California
- Grout Bay Trail, Fawnskin, California
- Fort Valley Trail System, Flagstaff, Arizona
- Schultz Creek Trail, Flagstaff, Arizona
- Arizona Trail, Flagstaff, Arizona
Toward the end of our journey, both my wife and I were ready to be back home sleeping in our own bed. Life on the road is exhausting, but it is well worth it!
But after being home for only a couple weeks, I was already surfing through the Singletracks trail database with a far-off look in my eye, dreaming again of magical singletrack in a distant mountain range.
Share your thoughts with us about traveling to mountain bike in the comments section below!
My wife and I just moved Cross Country to Boulder, Co. We have ridden a few trails here but it has been snowing like crazy. Ive added some pictures to some trails this week and updated some trail status’s but i was wondering. What is the best information that you guys need to help improve the MTBIBLE (Singletracks.com) I imagine its GPS data and will revisit the appropriate post to learn how to contribute.
(GS3, Android, Strava)- app i use
It should be beautiful here this weekend. Look forward to sharing.
Hey casto, thanks for reading and helping to make Singletracks the best mtb resource ever! The biggest thing we need is TRAILS. while we have pretty good coverage in places like boulder, other areas we do have holes. If you ever find and ride a legal trail that we don’t have in the database, don’t hesitate to add it
Second is definitely GPS data. For more info on how to add data, check out this article: http://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-trails/how-to-turn-your-strava-data-into-a-usable-mountain-bike-trail-map/ Strava is used as the example, but the steps in the last half of the article apply to all GPS submissions.
We also always appreciate reviews, photos, and videos too!
Again, thanks for being a part of Singletracks man! It’s people like you who have made Singletracks into the excellent resource that it is today!
So excited to get out and explore some new trails around the West this summer!
Awesome man. I’d love the chance to do that one day.
It was the experience of a lifetime!
Looks like book research to me! Mountain Biking the West, or something like that! When should we expect it out?!
Haha I’m not totally sure what I want to write about for my first book… although as I said above, with 26 awesome blog posts from my western travels, who needs to buy books? 🙂
That would be awesome! Glad someone gets to do these type of things