Monarch Crest Trail. Rider: Marcel Slootheer. Photo: Greg Heil

Monarch Crest Trail, Salida, CO. Rider: Marcel Slootheer. Photo: Greg Heil

The top 10 mountain bike destinations in the United States are, at this point, widely known. This widespread knowledge is thanks in large part to lists like ours detailing the best places to ride across the nation. The thing is, this list doesn’t really change from year to year. Generally speaking, the best just keep getting better–the singletrack-rich towns get a massive influx of tourism revenue and in turn, they build even more trails.

But that doesn’t mean that the small guys, the startup MTB destinations, are destined to lurk in obscurity. No, many long-time mountain bikers have already ridden most, if not all, of the destinations on our top 10 list over the years. While traveling to 10 destinations flung across the country may seem daunting, when you start looking at your mountain bike career in terms of decades instead of months, it seems much more attainable.

To keep your MTB travel thirst slaked, we started digging to find out what the next 10 best mountain bike destinations are that you need to add to your bucket list. Consider these destinations numbers 11-20, if you will.

Quite honestly, building this list was much more difficult than creating the first top 10 list. While some destinations were shoe-ins since they were in the running for the initial top 10, others required some soul-searching about what exactly makes a mountain bike destination national-caliber versus simply regional-caliber. But in the end, we asked ourselves the question, “would I fly across the nation to ride here?” The answer, for every single one, was yes.

These next 10 destinations haven’t been ranked against each other and instead have been listed in reverse alphabetical order:

St. George / Hurricane, Utah

Gooseberry Mesa. Photo: bluejudad

Gooseberry Mesa. Photo: bluejudad

While it takes close to a half an hour to drive between St. George and Hurricane, they aren’t far apart as the crow flies and together, these two towns create one of the greatest mountain biking destinations in the desert southwest! Here in the southwest corner of Utah you’ll find “fantastic quantity and consistent quality across a great variety of singletrack and slickrock, all in the shadow of magnificent Zion National Park,” according to Singletracks contributor John Fisch.

This area of Utah is home to the biggest pockets of fundamental Mormons anywhere, so don’t expect much out of the beer scene. However, according to DMBTA, the bike legal singletrack totals at least 120 miles of seriously entertaining trails. And in my experience, the views from the tops of the mesas are second-to-none.

Guacamole Mesa. Rider: Zach Bryan. Photographer: Susan Bryan

Guacamole Mesa. Rider: Zach Bryan. Photographer: Susan Bryan

Must-Ride Trails:


Bike Shops:

# Comments

  • k2rider

    Wait a tic….I could be mistaken in my old age but wasn’t Breckenridge hailed as THE top spot in another article just a month or two ago? Now it makes the list of the NEXT 10 places to ride instead of being THE place to ride. I remember that article because it surprised me as I don’t know a single soul that has ridden at Breck or even suggested a road trip with break being the destination. I admit I can never figure out how you come up with these lists anyway. I know for me that while the town itself isn’t anything fantastic (at least it isn’t uppity Bend), OAKRIDGE definitely should be in anybodys FIRST top 10 riding areas to check out as the riding there is top notch!!

  • azdb

    RE Matthew at North Shore comment….you just described my perfect riding scenario……..wow……no doubt there is sort of west centric bias. I am from AZ, 40+ years now, Ill never leave and have tons of riding near including Sedona area, but I have to someday go east for a trip, Arkansas has been an intrigue, but what you described is my ideal setting. Urban commute to trail system and water to boot….Awesome.

  • k2rider

    Yeah, that was the Breckenridge reference I was referring to. If it’s the #1 MTB destination in the WORLD, I would still expect it to make the top of the list in the USA as well….rather than “the next 10” list. Not that it matters anyway, I appreciate the articles as they keep me motivated to keep reaching out to try new areas. I’m be ticking Crested Butte, Downieville and Tahoe off my list this Summer.

  • Bentjammer

    Stokesville, Virginia is home of the Shenandoah Mountain 100. Local to Harrisonburg which is home of the Massanutten Hoo-Ha and Tour de Burg. Some nice technical east coast rocks and roots if you like that sort of thing.

    • Dylan Judy

      Agree with Bentjammer! Stokesville is great… there are some incredible and quite technical trails in the Shenandoah valley between Winchester and Harrisonburg VA. If you want very technical, check out Elisabeth Furnace near Strasburg VA.

  • Whistlepig

    Bellingham is definitely worthy of the list although I’m a bit surprised since it’s not really on a lot people’s radar as a destination. It can certainly be a very demanding place to ride when wet and can be tough in the dry too. Lots of good beer, a very strong community mountain biking vibe, easy trail access, and wicked fun trails are in store for visitors.

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