Kingdom Trails, Vermont. Photo: Rob Whelan.

Kingdom Trails, Vermont. Photo: Rob Whelan.

The West gets all the love. From the Rocky Mountains to the Cascades and the Sierras, and finally the crashing surf on the California Coast, it seems that all mountain bikers can talk about is “Colorado this,” or “California that.”

What about the East? Shouldn’t the East get some affection too?

Once you’ve ridden some of the epic western destinations on our Top 10 Best Mountain Bike Destinations in the USA list, it’s hard to argue that most eastern destinations can compete with the grandeur of the Rockies. However, we’ve never said that the East doesn’t have good mountain biking! After all, Singletracks HQ is based in Georgia… and the riding there is not shabby!

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In fact, the entire Singletracks staff has developed a special love and affinity for the mountain biking found in the ancient mountains known as the Appalachians. While maybe you won’t find the same thousand-mile views you’ll find out west, what you will discover are absolutely massive trees, never-ending forests, roots and rocks a’plenty, and a mountain bike culture that’s unique in its own right.

We wanted to highlight the excellent riding found in the eastern United States, and after consulting with our team of writers, member surveys that we’ve conducted in the past, and the data and reviews in our massive mountain bike trail database, we’ve arrived at the 10 best mountain bike destinations east of the Rockies! These aren’t in any particular order, but you can rest assured that you won’t be left wanting at any of these destinations:

Brevard, North Carolina

Rider: Maureen Gaffney. Photo: Alec Cervenka.

Rider: Maureen Gaffney. Photo: Alec Cervenka.

The only destination east of the Rockies to make our overall The Top 10 Best Mountain Bike Destinations in the USA list, of course Brevard will make an appearance here as well!

Brevard is home to hundreds of miles of the most technical backcountry singletrack anywhere, gorgeous Appalachian Mountain views, and more mountain biking infrastructure (including bike shops, rentals, guiding, races–you name it) than you can even take advantage of.

Must-ride trails include Dupont State ForestLaurel Mountain, and Black Mountain. But the thing is, once you venture deep into the heart of Pisgah National Forest–where most of the best mountain biking is found–you’ll realize that all of these trails, which are generally referred to as self-contained rides, are really incredibly interconnected, creating a trail system of massive breadth and a mind-blowing array of ride combinations.

The only limit is whether or not you’re up to Pisgah’s brutality.

After the ride, you’ll discover delicious eats with a Southern flair, as well as world-class beer, with bigger breweries like Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, and New Belgium having moved into the area, in addition to the numerous local operations.

# Comments

  • See3p0

    “Duluth is also home to the only lift-served downhill mountain biking in the Midwest, found at Spirit Mountain,” This is incorrect. Detroit Lakes Mountain is a ski resort/mtb destination not far from Duluth. http://detroitmountain.com/

    • Greg Heil

      Based on the website, it sounds like either the trails aren’t completed yet, or that they were just built (doesn’t look like it’s been updated in a while). Do you have any more info?

    • epic.biker

      I’ve ridden Detroit Lakes Mountain. It is open. Lifts only run on the weekends. I happened to hit is on a weekday so didn’t use the lift. There was plenty of flatter trail surrounding the mountain that didn’t require a lift to ride. Most of the trails were new and they were adding more. Hope they keep it going.

    • Tstreeting

      Boyne s in Northern Michigan run lifts for downhill also.

  • StaranCycles

    Great spots for sure Greg!
    I will throw one more in the mix that’s technically east of the Rockies : Toronto, Ontario

    If you are willing to venture ~1hr in any direction (but south, that’s Lake Ontario) you will find incredible trails from fun flowy stuff at Albion HIlls, Durham, or the Hydrocut, crazy climbs in Waterdown, rough flat stuff at the Halton Agreement Forest. Even in TO there are the DVP trails.

    • Greg Heil

      Good point! I know we didn’t mention in the title and perhaps we didn’t mention in the intro, but we were just going with the USA on this list. If we had done Canada, Vallee Bras Du Nord in Quebec would most likely have made the list.

  • GTXC4

    “Colorado this,” or “California that.”? I’d say Utah hands down, but they’re too busy riding to make a comment.

    I need to make my way east, gone too much for work. Should be able to really get some trail travel in after retirement. What I have found is that there are some gold mines tucked away in neighborhoods and towns across the country, just got know about it. Nice post.

  • Bill S

    Sugarbush in Vermont has Downhill Lift served biking everyday all summer, Plus the trails in and around the Valley make great XC riding. The development happening at Blueberry Lake has superior flow for all levels of Riders thanks to the Mad River Riders. After a great ride try some mountain soaring at the Warren Sugarbush Airport.

  • John Fisch

    Technically, the Black Hills are “east of the Rockies.” But they look just like anything along Colorado’s front range or even Northern New Mexico or Flagstaff, AZ. That said, I would take a week there before any of the 10 on this list. There is great quantity, quality and variety of riding, and very few people. some of the best trails remain under the radar and the savvy rider can find real solitude in the marvelous pine forests. There’s plenty of non-cycling adventure to be had as well.

  • granvillegravel

    Thanks for the article — very timely as I plan a late summer riding destination in the East.

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